Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

MTV Cancels "Buckwild" After Star's Death

In the wake of reality star Shain Gandee's death MTV has cancelled the show Buckwild. The Washington Post notes that the network plans a Buckwild marathon and then a Buckwild special before it bids farewell to the popular show. Mr. Gandee, his uncle, and a friend were found dead last week in their vehcile, which was partially submerged in mud. More here from [Link to the show's website here].

April 11, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What "Science" Means In the Copyright Clause

Ned Snow, University of South Carolina School of Law, has published The Meaning of Science in the Copyright Clause in the Brigham Young University Law Review (2013). Here is the abstract.

The Constitution premises Congress’s copyright power on promoting “the Progress of Science.” The word Science therefore seems to define the scope of copyrightable subject matter. Modern courts and commentators have subscribed to an originalist view of Science, teaching that Science meant general knowledge at the time of the Framing. Under this interpretation, all subject matter may be copyrighted because expression about any subject increases society’s store of general knowledge. Science, however, did not originally mean general knowledge. In this Article, I examine evidence surrounding the Copyright Clause and conclude that at the Framing of the Constitution, Science meant a system of knowledge that comprises distinct branches of study. This historically accurate meaning casts doubt on whether a distinct group of expression may be copyrighted — namely, expression that the First Amendment does not protect. I argue that the original meaning of Science cannot support a constitutional copyright of unprotected speech.

Download the full text of the article from SSRN at the link.

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Latest Issue of the IP Law Book Review

The latest issue of the IP Law Book Review is available here.

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Zealand's Government Responds To Cyberbulling

Fascinating post from Steven Price on the new remedies to be available for victims of cyber-buylling in New Zealand. Read it here at his blog, Media Law Journal. Among the remedies are take-down orders and criminal prosecution. More here from the New Zealand Herald.

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Second Day of IMDB Invasion of Privacy Trial

Venkat Balasubramani at THR, Esq. offers an update on the Hoang v. IMDB lawsuit here. His assessment: the IMDB lawyers "scored some key points." Ms. Hoang admitted on the stand that she submitted some inaccurate information herself, and that her income from acting was actually very low, suggesting that she may not be an actor, but "a disgruntled customer." I would note that one could actually be both, but as Mr. Balasubramani points out, the jury may have to decide whether Ms. Hoang suffered any damage here.

April 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Fox News Reporter May Go To Jail To Protect Source In Colorado Shooting Suspect Trial

Fox News journalist Jana Winter is waiting to see if her notebook, which contains background information on a story she wrote last summer about Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes, will be introduced into evidence in his trial. If so, she also may be called to testify, and she may be asked to reveal her sources. Ms. Winter does not, of course, want to reveal her sources for the story, and is attempting to use to Colorado's shield statute to prevent such an outcome.  Ms. Winter's attorney is also arguing that forcing his client to testify would have a "chilling effect" on journalists. James Holmes's lawyers claim that Ms. Winter's failure to disclose her source hamper his ability to obtain a fair trial. More here from Fox News, here from the New York Times.  Opinion here from the New York Times.



April 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Judge Joe Brown On Hollywood's "Trick Economics"

Joe Brown, whose "Judge Joe Brown" court tv show is second only to "Judge Judy" in terms of popularity, comes to the end of its run next month. Judge Brown attributes the end of his syndicated show to "trick economics," the accounting methods that CBS, the network that distributes his show, uses to calculate profits. He alleges that CBS's methods results in much less profit than is actually attributable to the show. Judge Brown plans to form his own production company and launch new tv and radio shows for distribution. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

April 9, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Actress's Lawsuit Against IMDB Proceeding

The Hollywood Reporter is following the invasion of privacy trial brought by Huong Hoang against IMDB for publishing her age. Ms. Hoang alleges that publication of that fact has cost her work, since she claims that Hollywood is ageist and will not hire actresses who are older or perceived to be older. The judge has already ruled that the plaintiff may not mention "age discrimination" in court, which makes her case that much more difficult. More here. The Screen Actors Guild offered support to Ms. Hoang's claim that publishing such information is an invasion of privacy. More here.

April 9, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Child Pornography Exception

Carissa Byrne Hessick, Arizona State University College of Law, is publishing The Limits of Child Pornography in volume 89 of the Indiana Law Journal (2014). Here is the abstract.

Although the First Amendment ordinarily protects the creation, distribution, and possession of visual images, the Supreme Court has declared that those protections do not apply to child pornography. But the Court has failed to define child pornography. Providing a clear definition of the child pornography exception to the First Amendment has become increasingly important because recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the penalties associated with the creation, distribution, and possession of child pornography. 

This Article proposes a clear definition of the child pornography exception. It argues that an image ought to fall within the exception only if a child was sexually exploited or abused in the creation of the image. That the circulation of an image might inflict privacy or reputational harm on the minor depicted should be insufficient to categorize that image as child pornography for constitutional purposes. This proposed definition would place tangible limitations on child pornography prosecutions; it would prevent prosecution in many cases where the minor depicted is above the age of consent, where the image was created through computer morphing, and where the image is the result of surreptitious filming or photographing of a minor.

April 8, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)