Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Judge Rules Film's Use of Faulkner Quote Is Fair

A federal judge has handed a win to Sony Pictures in an infringement lawsuit brought by the literary estate of William Faulkner over the use of a quote from the late author's classic, "Requiem for a Nun," in the Woody Allen movie "Midnight in Paris." Sony argued fair use as a defense. The judge agreed with Sony, dismissing the action under Federal Rule 12(b)(6).  More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

Read the ruling here.

July 20, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Asiana Airlines Plans Suit Against KTVU Over Broadcast Of Offensive, False Names

Asiana Airlines says it will pursue a lawsuit against KTVU, the tv station that mistakenly aired offensive names it identified as the names of the four flight crew of the jet that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 7th. The crash killed three and injured dozens of passengers and crew. The airline says the broadcast defamed the airline. More here from the Los Angeles Times. The station admits it made a horrendous error; it confirmed the names with an NTSB intern, who has since been fired by the agency. 

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

No Book From Juror B37

One of the jurors in the George Zimmermann trial, known only as Juror B37, has abandoned her plans to write a book based on her experiences in the trial. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

July 16, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brief Amici Curiae HathiTrust

Pamela Samuelson and David R. Hansen, both of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, have made available the Brief Amici Curiae of 133 Academic Authors in Support of HathiTrust Digital Library. Here is the abstract.

The HathiTrust digital library contains over 7.3 million potentially in-copyright books. The complaint in this case has demanded that the court impound the in-copyright books in this repository and enjoin the use of all 7.3 million of these books, although the Authors Guild and its co-plaintiffs have identified only 116 works in which they claim to hold copyrights. Relying on an exceptionally broad conception of associational standing, the plaintiffs have asserted an entitlement to litigate this case and to attain injunctive relief that goes far beyond what the law allows.

The Authors Guild’s broad theory of associational standing is wrong for two reasons. First, the Copyright Act itself prohibits suits by non-rightsholders. The Guild does not claim to hold such an interest in its members’ copyrights; the district court therefore correctly held that the Authors Guild does not have associational standing to bring broad claims of infringement under the Act. Second, the Authors Guild’s theory of standing violates prudential limits on associational standing that have been developed carefully by courts over time. Article III courts have prohibited third party associations from pursuing claims when those claims would require more than the limited participation of individual association members. Because the works in the HathiTrust corpus likely implicate the rights of a very large number of third parties — including ourselves, co-authors, publishers, and other transferees — it would take involved participation by individual association members to prove who holds the rights in the works which the Guild claims to represent.

Academic authors — whose works are likely more typical of those in the HathiTrust corpus than works of the Authors Guild and its members — would be harmed by the outcome that the Authors Guild seeks because we typically benefit from HathiTrust, both because it makes our books more accessible to the public than ever before and because we use HathiTrust in conducting our own research. HathiTrust’s fair use defense is more persuasive to us than the Authors Guild’s theory of infringement. If granted, the Guild’s request for an injunction to stop HathiTrust from making its corpus available would directly harm academic author interests. In short, a “win” for the Authors Guild would be a “loss” for academic authors. This divergence in the interests of academic authors and of the Guild and its members, which may also affect the fair use calculus, is an additional reason why this Court should limit the Guild’s standing to the copyrights it actually holds.

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

July 15, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FCC Extends Date For Public Comments To Changes On Indecency Policy

The FCC has extended the date for replying to its notice requesting public comments on whether it should make changes to its current indecency policy. The new date by which public comments should be filed is August 2, 2013.

July 15, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)