Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fox Fights Back Against Defamation Lawsuit Brought Over Seth Rich Story

From NPR: Fox News is trying to derail a defamation lawsuit filed by Rod Wheeler, who alleges that the network has attributed statements to him in an article regarding a story about the death of Seth Rich in order to make the story more credible. Mr. Wheeler says the statements do not represent him; Fox News says they are like those he has made, and in any case he is a Fox employee. Fox says that as an employee, Mr. Wheeler must agree to arbitration with the network and cannot press his claims in court. Fox has since retracted the article.  More here from Newsweek. 

September 20, 2017 | Permalink

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sobel on Artificial Intelligence's Fair Use Crisis @BKCHarvard

Benjamin L. W. Sobel, Harvard University Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, is publishing Artificial Intelligence's Fair Use Crisis in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. Here is the abstract.

As automation supplants more forms of labor, creative expression still seems like a distinctly human enterprise. This may someday change: by ingesting works of authorship as “training data,” computer programs can teach themselves to write natural prose, compose music, and generate movies. Machine learning is an artificial intelligence (AI) technology with immense potential and a commensurate appetite for copyrighted works. In the United States, the copyright law mechanism most likely to facilitate machine learning’s uses of protected data is the fair use doctrine. However, current fair use doctrine threatens either to derail the progress of machine learning or to disenfranchise the human creators whose work makes it possible. This Article addresses the problem in three parts: using popular machine learning datasets and research as case studies, Part I describes how programs “learn” from corpora of copyrighted works and catalogs the legal risks of this practice. It concludes that fair use may not protect expressive machine learning applications, including the burgeoning field of natural language generation. Part II explains that applying today’s fair use doctrine to expressive machine learning will yield one of two undesirable outcomes: if US courts reject the fair use defense for machine learning, valuable innovation may move to another jurisdiction or halt entirely; alternatively, if courts find the technology to be fair use, sophisticated software may divert rightful earnings from the authors of input data. This dilemma shows that fair use may no longer serve its historical purpose. Traditionally, fair use is understood to benefit the public by fostering expressive activity. Today, the doctrine increasingly serves the economic interests of powerful firms at the expense of disempowered individual rightsholders. Finally, in Part III, this Article contemplates changes in doctrine and policy that could address these problems. It concludes that the United States’ interest in avoiding both prongs of AI’s fair use dilemma offers a novel justification for redistributive measures that could promote social equity alongside technological progress.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 18, 2017 | Permalink

Langvardt on Regulating Online Content Moderation @DetroitMercyLaw

Kyle Langvardt, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, is publishing Regulating Online Content Moderation in volume 106 of the Georgetown Law Journal (2018). Here is the abstract.

The Supreme Court held in 2017 that “the vast democratic forums of the Internet in general, and social media in particular,” are “the most important places…for the exchange of views.” Yet within these forums, speakers are subject to the closest and swiftest regime of censorship the world has ever known. This censorship comes not from the government, but from a small number of private corporations – Facebook, Twitter, Google – and a vast corps of human and algorithmic content moderators. The content moderators’ work is indispensable; without it, social media users would drown in spam and disturbing imagery. At the same time, content moderation practices correspond only loosely to First Amendment values. Recently-leaked internal training manuals from Facebook reveal that its content moderation practices are rushed, ad-hoc, and at times incoherent. The time has come to consider legislation that would guarantee meaningful speech rights in online spaces. This Article evaluates a range of possible approaches to the problem. These include 1) an administrative monitoring and compliance regime to ensure that content moderation policies hew close to First Amendment principles; 2) a “personal accountability” regime handing control over content moderation to users; and 3) a relatively simple requirement that companies disclose their moderation policies. Each carries serious pitfalls, but none is as dangerous as option 4): continuing to entrust online speech rights to the private sector.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 18, 2017 | Permalink

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pedrioli on Pope Francis and the Limits of Freedom of Expression @ABFResearch

Carlo A. Pedrioli, American Bar Foundation, has published Pope Francis and the Limits of Freedom of Expression in Comparative Perspectives on Freedom of Expression 197 (Russell L. Weaver, Steven I. Friedland & Mark D. Cole eds., 2017). Here is the abstract.

Prior to the January 2015 terrorist attack on the French publication Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo had cultivated a reputation for satire of topics such as government, business, and religion. Various Charlie Hebdo depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad had been particularly controversial. The January 2015 attack on the Charlie Hebdo office came at a time of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe. A poor economy, high unemployment, and ongoing immigration had contributed to this sentiment. The tensions were the greatest in France, which, in early 2015, had as many as six million Muslims and a legacy of colonialism in Algeria, Syria, and North Africa. In the midst of all of this tension, which included discussion over how far freedom of expression in an open society should go, Argentine Pope Francis entered the scene. When a journalist asked Francis about the limits of freedom of expression, the Pope, using an analogy, stated that if a friend of his insulted the Pope’s mother, the friend should expect the Pope to punch him. Apparently thinking that freedom of expression needed robust defense, various voices in the U.S. media promptly critiqued the Pope’s comments. The Pope’s comments shortly after the attack on Charlie Hebdo presented an opportunity to look at the limits of freedom of expression from another perspective, a religious one. Since religious voices play a role in the public sphere, considering freedom of expression from a religious viewpoint is important. Although somewhat different from a traditional U.S. perspective on the speech that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons constituted, the Pope’s perspective nonetheless was consistent with existing theology of the Catholic Church. To develop such a thesis, this paper proceeds by offering the following: a more detailed and contextualized summary of the papal remarks, an overview of relevant principles of U.S. free speech law and an application of those principles to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, and an overview of relevant principles of Catholic theology and an application of those principles to the cartoons. The result should be an improved understanding of an additional perspective on how far freedom of expression in an open society should go.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 8, 2017 | Permalink

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Rothman on The Role of Custom in Intellectual Property @profrothman

Jennifer E. Rothman, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, is publishing In the Shadow of the Law: The Role of Custom in Intellectual Property in I Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law (Peter Menell and Ben Depoorter, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018). Here is the abstract.

Custom, including industry practices and social norms, has a tremendous influence on intellectual property (“IP”) law, from affecting what happens outside of the courts in the trenches of the creative, technology, and science-based industries, to influencing how courts analyze infringement and defenses in IP cases. For decades, many scholars overlooked or dismissed the impact of custom on IP law in large part because of a belief that the dominant statutory frameworks that govern IP left little room for custom to play a role. In the last ten years, however, the landscape has shifted and more attention has been given to considering how custom affects IP entitlements both outside and inside the courtroom. This book chapter in the Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law focuses on the theoretical frames that inform the incorporation of custom into the law, and documents some of the practices and norms of various communities that use IP. I criticize the frequent and unreflected reliance on custom to determine the scope of IP rights, suggesting guidelines for when it can nevertheless be a sometimes useful tool for providing insights about IP laws. This analysis is partially informed by traditional common law limits on the incorporation of custom into the law. The chapter concludes with some recommendations for future areas of research for scholars based on my framework for thinking about custom in the context of IP laws.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 7, 2017 | Permalink

La Diega on the Internet of Citizens: A Lawyer's View on Some Technological Developments in the United Kingdom and India @guidonld

Guido Noto La Diega, Northumbria University, has published The Internet of Citizens: A Lawyer's View on Some Technological Developments in the United Kingdom and India at 12 The Indian Journal of Law and Technology 53 (2017). Here is the abstract.

This article is a useful tool for both Asian and European readers as regards some of the state-of-the-art technologies revolving around the Internet of Things (‘IoT’) and their intersection with cloud computing (the Clouds of Things, ‘CoT’) in both the continents. The main legal issues will be presented, with a focus on intellectual property, consumer protection, and privacy. India and the United Kingdom are selected because they are at the forefront of the IoT innovation in their respective countries. The IoT is an expanding and heterogeneous universe encompassing all Things which are capable of connectivity and are equipped with sensing and actuating capabilities. One canhttp://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00d8341bfae553ef00d8341bfe4653ef/post/compose# find Things in very diverse sectors, from agriculture to manufacturing, retail, healthcare, leisure, domotics, urban development, etc. Therefore, not only is providing an exhaustive and static definition of the IoT nearly impossible (or at least pointless), but also the endeavour of providing a complete picture of the phenomenon would be a cumbersome path towards failure. Consequently, I will give account only of the highlights of the IoT in India and the United Kingdom. In India, the IoT will be analysed through the prism of net neutrality, smart cities, manufacturing, computer-related inventions, and a recent bill on the surveillance aspects of the world’s largest biometric database (Aadhaar). In turn, I will look at the British context by analysing some (quasi) regulatory acts with a focus on privacy and consumer protection. One last caveat. When it comes to new technologies, one tends to be either ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘integrated’. Either the technology will save us all by leveraging a revolution leading to a disruptive innovation, or it will destroy our lives and the world will go to the dogs. I take a middle position and believe that through education, collective awareness, and soft law, one will be able to keep the human being at the centre of innovation, to unite people rather than divide them, to empower them and alleviate discrimination and poverty. What is important is neither should one delegate to technology nor to rely entirely on government: if the IoT is to actually become a revolution, it will do so due to the commitment of each and every one of us who will contribute to create the Internet of Citizens.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 7, 2017 | Permalink

Charge Dropped Against Public News Service Reporter Who Asked Questions of HHS Secretary Tom Price

The local prosecutor has dropped charges against journalist Dan Heyman (Public News Service), who was charged with "willful disruption of governmental processes" for asking questions of HHS Secretary Tom Price a few months ago. Mr. Price was at the West Virginia Capitol building when Mr. Heyman, walking alongside him, pressed him for answers about health-care policy. Shortly afterward, Mr. Price was arrested.  Had he been convicted, he would have faced up to six months in jail.

The Washington Post quotes Mr. Heyman's attorney as saying that because Mr. Heyman had audio evidence of the encounter, as well as video evidence provided by the state, he could demonstrate that the reporter agreed to move away physically from Mr. Price. 

PNS and the prosecutor's office issued a joint statement announcing withdrawal of the charges.  More here from PNS. 

For the text of the joint statement, see the pinned tweet for the Public News Service @PNS_News.

September 7, 2017 | Permalink

Schuster on Public Choice Theory, the Constitution, and Public Understanding of the Copyright System @Prof_Schuster

W. Michael Schuster II, Oklahoma State University, is publishing Public Choice Theory, the Constitution, and Public Understanding of the Copyright System in the UC Davis Law Review. Here is the abstract.

The U.S. Constitution commands that copyright laws must benefit society by promoting the progress of science and the useful arts. Building on past research in public choice theory, this Article posits that Congress has deviated from this utilitarian goal, and the only means to correct the state of affairs is via pressure from the electorate. However, reform is unlikely if the citizenry lacks sufficient knowledge to recognize that copyright laws should be, but are currently not, designed to maximize public benefit. The following study uses novel survey data to establish that the U.S. electorate poorly understands the copyright regime and is thus unlikely to exert the necessary influence to effect reform. This Article then discusses the implications of these findings and proposes means to return copyright to its Constitutional moorings.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 7, 2017 | Permalink

Reynolds on The LImits of Statutory Interpretation: Towards Explicit Engagement, By the Supreme Court of Canada, With the Charter Right to Freedom of Expression in the Context of Copyright

Graham J. Reynolds, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law, has published The Limits of Statutory Interpretation: Towards Explicit Engagement, by the Supreme Court of Canada, with the Charter Right to Freedom of Expression in the Context of Copyright at 41 Queen's Law Journal 455 (2016). Here is the abstract.

In its post-2002 copyright jurisprudence, the Supreme Court of Canada has clarified that the Copyright Act grants a significant degree of latitude to non-copyright owning parties to express themselves using copyrighted works. This outcome is attributable neither to the SCC having interpreted provisions of the Copyright Act according to Charter values nor to the SCC having weighed provisions of the Copyright Act against the section 2(b) right to freedom of expression. Rather, it has resulted from the SCC interpreting provisions of the Copyright Act through the lens of the purpose of copyright, as re-articulated by the SCC. The author argues that despite the positive outcomes for the expression interests of non-copyright owning parties that have thus far resulted from the SCC’s post-2002 copyright jurisprudence, relying on statutory interpretation as the sole mechanism through which to protect freedom of expression fails to adequately protect this Charter right in the context of copyright. In order to ensure that this right is adequately protected, the SCC should, where appropriate, explicitly engage with the Charter right to freedom of expression in the context of copyright.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 7, 2017 | Permalink

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Slane on Search Engines and the Right To Be Forgotten: Squaring the Remedy With Canadian Values on Personal Information Flow @UOIT

Andrea Slane, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Legal Studies, has published Search Engines and the Right to Be Forgotten: Squaring the Remedy with Canadian Values on Personal Information Flow. Here is the abstract.

In Canada, the data protection regime governing the private sector has yet to be interpreted to obligate search engines and other information processors that primarily deal in publicly accessible online information to abide by fair information practices. In a recent case, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) endorsed a complainant’s pursuit of a declaratory court order, which would allow the complainant to appeal to Google to honour its voluntary search alteration policies. The European Union, however, requires search engines to honour complainant’s requests directly, because search engines are primarily commercial business ventures that collect, process, and package information, regardless of the public nature of their source. Search engine results are in this sense a product sold by the search engine company – not directly to the user, but rather to advertisers and other data brokers with an interest in search result content and compilation. In light of this view of search engines as data controllers, this article considers what a Canadian right to be forgotten might look like.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 6, 2017 | Permalink

Rambo on When the First Amendment Should Protect Judges From Their Unethical Speech @TAMULawSchool

Lynne H. Rambo, Texas A&M University School of Law, is publishing When Should the First Amendment Protect Judges from Their Unethical Speech? in the Ohio State Law Journal. Here is the abstract.

Judges harm the judicial institution when they engage in inflammatory or overtly political extrajudicial speech. The judiciary can be effective only when it has the trust of the citizenry, and judicial statements of that sort render it impossible for citizens to see judges as neutral and contemplative arbiters. This lack of confidence would seem especially dangerous in times like these, when the citizenry is as polarized as it has ever been. Ethical codes across the country (based on the Model Code of Judicial Conduct) prohibit judges from making these partisan, prejudicial or otherwise improper remarks. Any discipline can be undone, however, if a court finds the discipline in violation of the First Amendment. Many courts have not even recognized this, and others have been confused about the proper First Amendment analysis to apply. Because the ethical code restrictions on speech are content-based, they would ordinarily receive strict scrutiny. But the great harm that judges’ unethical speech can pose warrants granting the state greater discretion in the disciplinary process. Specifically, the free speech rights of judges facing discipline for unethical extrajudicial speech should be subject not to strict scrutiny, but to the doctrine applied to public employees in Pickering v. Board of Education. Under Pickering, extrajudicial speech that does not involve a matter of public concern — such as racist or sexually harassing remarks — would not be protected at all. Extrajudicial speech that does involve a matter of public concern would have the court balance the judge’s interest in speaking against the state’s interest in prohibiting the speech. Additionally, a presumption of validity would accompany any ethical code provision that provided notice to judges in advance specifically what they are not to say and why.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 6, 2017 | Permalink

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Stemler on Implications of the CDA on Liability Within the Sharing Economy @MillenialProf1

Abbey Stemler, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Law, has published Death by Ten Thousand Duckbites? Implications of the Communications Decency Act on Liability within the Sharing Economy. Here is the abstract.

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) is a 1996 law that has been used as an immunity shield for online platforms, especially those in the sharing economy. Stretched beyond recognition to protect companies from everything from fraud to invasion of privacy claims, it is now time to revisit this antiquated law. This Article explores the legislative history of the CDA, its current applications and limitations, and international approaches to platform liability. It concludes by presenting model legislation to improve the CDA.

The full text is not available from SSRN.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

New Law On Performance of Chinese National Anthem Criticized By Hong Kong's Free Speech Advocates

From the Guardian: a new Chinese law, which takes effect in two weeks, will criminalize mocking the Chinese national anthem. Residents of Hong Kong will presumably be subject to the law as well, although some Hong Kong critics point out that provisions of the law might be difficult to enforce. For one thing, China and Hong Kong have different legal systems, guaranteed when the United Kingdom turned over the territory to China in 1997. For another, the sanctions include administrative detention, which doesn't exist under the legal system in Hong Kong. But critics also say that prohibiting changes, satire of, or uses of the national anthem violates freedom of expression. 

ABC News reports that the law seems to be a direct response to the Chinese government's desire to encourage patriotism.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Mezei on De Minimis and Artistic Freedom: Sampling on the Right Track?

Péter Mezei, Institute of Comparative Law, has published De Minimis and Artistic Freedom: Sampling on the Right Track? Here is the abstract.

For many years, U.S. and European case law has offered a negative and restrictive interpretation on the sampling of sound recordings. Courts have traditionally deemed sampling as an infringement on the copyrighted material (and in Europe the related rights), even if the sample lasted for less than 2 seconds. Several notable precedents have been published in the wake of the first ruling on sampling, published in 1989 in the U.S., all of which have confirmed this interpretation. However, more recently, four decisions have been published, two in the United States and two in Germany, which deviate from this line of jurisprudence. It is these decisions which will form the crux of the analysis within the present article. To outline them briefly, the TufAmerica and the VMG Salsoul rulings highlighted that the de minimis test applies to the sampling of trivial portions and thus liability is excluded in such situations. The German Goldrapper ruling of the Federal Supreme Court (BGH) and the Metall auf Metall III decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) have also opened the doors for sampling in Continental European legal systems. The Goldrapper ruling focused on the length of the sample, whilst the BVerfG in Metall auf Metall III introduced a novel discourse based on fundamental rights, concluding that sampling functions as a practical example of artistic freedom. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether the ECJ will accept such an interpretation. However, this may become clearer in the not too distant future with a preliminary ruling being initiated by the BGH in June 2017. This article will analyze these four cases, as well as offering a view on the possible outcome of the preliminary ruling.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Tan on Image Rights and Data Protection @NUSingapore

David Tan, National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law, has published Image Rights and Data Protection as NUS Law Working Paper No. 2017/010. Here is the abstract.

In Singapore, both the rights of publicity and privacy are neither recognised under the common law nor statute. However, the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA) offers protection against unauthorised use and disclosure of “personal data” in certain circumstances, which in turn confers incidental personality rights in the form of a right of private action for breaches of the PDPA. Generally, data protection legislation are not intended or designed to protect against unauthorised commercial exploitation of personal data: (i) on or in products, merchandise or goods; or (ii) for purposes of advertising or selling, or soliciting purchases of, products, merchandise, goods or services. An individual’s whose personal data – i.e. name, image or any “data” that identifies him or her – has been commercially appropriated in advertising or merchandising will often have to seek recourse under right of publicity or passing off laws. This paper discusses the ambit of the PDPA and concludes that even though the right of publicity is not recognised in Singapore, the tort of passing off – and possibly even an action in defamation in exceptional circumstances – can offer robust protection for the commercial exploitation of one’s identity in advertising and selling.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Greenleaf on ASEAN's Two Speed Data Privacy Laws: Some Race Ahead @grahamgreenleaf

Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law, has published ASEAN's Two Speed Data Privacy Laws: Some Race Ahead at 147 Privacy Laws & Business International Report 25-28 (2017). Here is the abstract.

The ten ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) member states include some of the world’s most rapidly-developing economies, and have high ambitions for economic integration. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), established in 2015, has as one of its e-commerce objectives the development in 2016-2025 of a ‘coherent and comprehensive framework for personal data protection’, including ‘Regional Data Protection and Privacy Principles’. By 2014 five of the ten member states had enacted data privacy laws: Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and, to a lesser extent, Indonesia and Vietnam. Since then, there have been significant developments in all five countries, including strong enforcement actions in both Singapore and the Philippines in the past year, and new legislation in Indonesia and Vietnam. However, there have been few developments since 2014 in the other five members (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand), so that overall, there is limited progress toward the ‘coherence’ which is the aim of the AEC. This article surveys developments in all these countries from mid-2014 to mid-2017.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Goldman on the Ten Most Important Section 230 Rulings @ericgoldman

Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law, is publishing The Ten Most Important Section 230 Rulings in volume 20 of the Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property (2017). Here is the abstract.

In 1996, Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a major statutory reform of the telecommunications industry. The act included the Communications Decency Act (CDA), Congress’ first (and unconstitutional) regulation of the Internet. The CDA principally criminalized online pornography, but it also included 47 U.S.C. § 230 (Section 230), which says that websites aren’t legally responsible for third party content. While somewhat overshadowed at the time by the Telecommunications Act and the CDA’s criminal provisions, Section 230 has emerged as one of Congress’ most important accomplishments of the 1990s. Section 230 has been described as “the law that gave us the modern Internet,” the “most important law in tech,” and “the law that makes the Internet go.” All of the top 10 most-trafficked websites (as ranked by Alexa) republish third party content, and nine of those sites depend on Section 230 to do so. In effect, Section 230 provides the legal foundation for the Internet we know and love the most. Since its passage, Section 230 has been litigated hundreds of times. This jurisprudence has profoundly impacted the law’s scope and reach — and has sparked intense policy discussions, including recently introduced Congressional bills seeking to reverse one of the cases discussed below (Doe v. Backpage). A review of the most important Section 230 cases tells a story about how the case law has built such an important yet controversial immunity. This essay takes that journey by rank-ordering the top Section 230 cases of the past two decades.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Charles Rivkin Takes Over As Head of the MPAA: Interview With THR

In the Hollywood Reporter: An interview with the new head of the Motion Picture Association of America, Charles Rivkin.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Reynolds on Moving Past Michelin: Toward Judicial Reconsideration of the Intersection of Copyright and the Charter Right to Freedom of Expression

Graham J. Reynolds, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law, is publishing 'Moving Past Michelin: Towards Judicial Reconsideration of the Intersection of Copyright and the Charter Right to Freedom of Expression' in volume 30 of the Intellectual Property Journal (2017). Here is the abstract.

On a regular basis over the past two decades, Canadian courts considering the intersection of the Charter right to freedom of expression and copyright have cited to Michelin v. CAW-Canada as authority. In this paper, I argue that it is no longer acceptable for them to do so. As I will establish, the approaches to the intersection of freedom of expression and copyright employed in Michelin rely upon and have been shaped by conceptions of copyright and freedom of expression that although once endorsed by the Supreme Court of Canada, are no longer valid, namely the author-centric view of copyright as well as an approach to freedom of expression under which it is accepted that property rights are insulated from Charter scrutiny. As such, the Michelin approaches to the intersection of the Charter right to freedom of expression and copyright are no longer good law, and should be explicitly rejected.

The full text is not available from SSRN.

September 5, 2017 | Permalink

Friday, September 1, 2017

A New Book About British Women in Broadcasting From Kate Murphy @CMH_BU @BBC

New from Palgrave Macmillan:

Kate Murphy, Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC (2017).

 

 

Behind the Wireless tells the story of women at the BBC in the 1920s and 30s. Broadcasting was brand new in Britain and the BBC developed without many of the overt discriminatory practices commonplace at the time. Women were employed at all levels, except the very top, for instance as secretaries, documentary makers, advertising representatives, and librarians. Three women held Director level posts, Hilda Matheson (Director of Talks), Mary Somerville (Director of School Broadcasting), and Isa Benzie (Foreign Director). Women also produced the programmes aimed at female listeners and brought women broadcasters to the microphone. There was an ethos of equality and the chance to rise through the ranks from accounts clerk to accompanist. But lurking behind the façade of modernity were hidden inequalities in recruitment, pay, and promotion and in 1932 a marriage bar was introduced. Kate Murphy examines how and why the interwar BBC created new opportunities for women. 

 

September 1, 2017 | Permalink