Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The First Amendment, Net Neutrality, and Speech

Geoffrey A. Manne and Ben Sperry, both of the International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE), and Thomas W. Struble and Berin Michael Szoka, both of TechFreedom, have published A Conflict of Visions: How the '21st Century First Amendment' Violates the Constitution's First Amendment in volume 13 of the First Amendment Law Review (2015). Here is the abstract.

Is net neutrality necessary to protect First Amendment values in the 21st Century? Or does the First Amendment actually prevent net neutrality regulation? At issue is a conflict of visions about the nature of the liberty protected by the First Amendment. Philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously described two clashing concepts of liberty — negative and positive. Simply, negative liberty is freedom from external interference. Positive liberty, on the other hand, is freedom to do something, including having the power and resources necessary to do it. Proponents of net neutrality regulations (i.e., rules barring broadband providers from engaging in blocking, unreasonable discrimination, and the like) invoke a positive conception of liberty, while opponents of such regulations invoke a negative conception. As a result, the two sides routinely talk past each other. But with few exceptions, our Constitutional rights embody the negative conception of liberty. This includes the right of free speech protected by the First Amendment. Of course, even under a negative conception of liberty, there are important restraints upon ISPs. Social mores, generally applicable laws, and contracts govern how ISPs use their property, just as with all other private entities. If consumers truly desired net neutrality and punished companies for diverting from such a policy, social pressure and contracts could likely do most of the work to ensure “neutral” outcomes. Meanwhile, if ISPs have so much market power that they can safely ignore consumer preferences, antitrust law will restrain (and, importantly, deter) their abuse of that power. In this article, we examine the debate over the First Amendment merits of the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) “Open Internet” Order issued in March 2015. In Part I, we explore the positive conception of free speech in legal theory, and analyze it under current First Amendment jurisprudence. We argue that net neutrality regulation is not required by the First Amendment. In Part II, we present our primary argument, that prescriptive regulations governing network management (as distinct from a transparency mandate) may actually violate the First Amendment under the compelled speech doctrine — a question that the D.C. Circuit did not have to reach in its most recent net neutrality opinion, Verizon v. FCC, because, while the court upheld the FCC’s transparency rule, it struck down the FCC’s non-discrimination and no-blocking rules on statutory grounds. In Part III, we suggest alternative ways to protect consumers from the harms at which net neutrality regulation is aimed (if they can be substantiated) while minimizing First Amendment problems, including: more clearly establishing a record, tailoring regulation to clear problems, beginning with enforcement of a transparency rule and other existing laws, user education and empowerment, and promoting both broadband competition and deployment.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 13, 2015 | Permalink

Canadian Copyright and the Mandatory Tariff

Ariel Katz, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, is publishing Spectre: Canadian Copyright and the Mandatory Tariff - Part II in volume 27 of IPJ (2015). Here is the abstract.

Canadian copyright collectives and the Copyright Board have in recent years advanced the theory that when the Board certifies collectives’ tariffs (or fixes the royalties in individual cases), those tariffs become mandatory on users. Users have no choice whether to deal with the collective; they must pay the specified royalties as long as they make a single unauthorized use of a work from the collective’s repertoire. Many users, for some strange reason, have also subscribed to this view, despite its extraordinary consequences. This is a second article in a series of two. The previous article showed that the “mandatory tariff” theory cannot, as a matter of statutory interpretation and in light of the case law, withstand scrutiny. This article shows that in addition, construing the Act in accordance with the “mandatory tariff” theory gives rise to numerous practical challenges, conceptual puzzles, procedural nightmares, and constitutional headaches, each of which should weigh the scales against it. In contrast, the “voluntary licence” theory avoids all these quandaries, and, in addition to being consistent with earlier case law, appears clear, simple, and coherent.
The article is not available for download. Here is a link to the abstract of Part I of the article, published at 27(2) IPJ 151 (2015) .

August 13, 2015 | Permalink

Civil Recourse For Online Privacy Violations in the Chinese Legal System

Scott Livingston, Covington & Burling, LLP, and Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law, have published The Emergence of Tort Liability for Online Privacy Violations in China as 135 Privacy Laws & Business International Report 22-24 (2015). Here is the abstract.
Between 2009 and 2014, China’s legislative organs promulgated a series of fundamental data privacy laws and regulations. Amongst these developments is an increased attention to providing individuals a civil recourse (or tort action) in instances where their personal privacy has been violated by online activities. This first part of a two-part article focuses on such protections as existed via China’s 1986 General Principles of the Civil Law (GPCL), and there subsequent codification in the 2009 Tort Liability Law (TLL). However, these developments have not, in themselves, led to a significant level of litigation, possibly due to uncertainly over how the TLL would function in this area. However some cases under the GPCL, notably the Wang Fei case, may have a continuing significance for the meaning of privacy under Chinese law, and on the role of intermediaries (IISPs). The second part of the article will focus on an attempt to clarify some of these uncertainties, China’s Supreme People’s Court passed a regulation in October 2014 entitled “The Supreme People’s Court Regulations Concerning Some Questions of Applicable Law in Handling Civil Dispute Cases Involving the Use of Information Networks to Harm Personal Rights and Interests.” (SPC Regulation).
Download the text of the article from SSRN at the link.

August 13, 2015 | Permalink

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Judge Rules as Unconstitutional New Hampshire Law Banning Posting Of Voted Ballots To Social Media

In Rideout v. Gardner, United States District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro has ruled that a New Hampshire statute prohibiting individuals from posting images of their filled-in ballots on social media violates the First Amendment.  The statute reads as follows:

 

No voter shall allow his or her ballot to be seen by any person with the intention of letting it be known how he or she is about to vote or how he or she has voted  except as provided in RSA 659:20.  This prohibition shall include taking a digital image or photograph of his or her marked ballot and distributing or sharing the image via social media or by any other means.

 

The state attempted to justify the law as a content neutral restriction. After extensive discussion of the the statute's legislative history, the judge examined it under strict scrutiny, noting that it banned posting of executed ballots, not of ballots that had not been filled in, as well as for other reasons.

 

In the present case, as in Reed, the law under review is content based on its face because it restricts speech on the basis of its subject matter. The only digital or photographic images that are barred by RSA 659:35, I are images of marked ballots that are intended to disclose how a voter has voted. Images of unmarked ballots and facsimile ballots may be shared with others without restriction. In fact, the law does not restrict any person from sharing any other kinds of images with anyone. In short, the law is plainly a content-based restriction on speech because it requires regulators to examine the content of the speech to determine whether it includes impermissible subject matter. Accordingly, like the sign code at issue in Reed, the law under review here is subject to strict scrutiny even though it does not discriminate based on viewpoint and regardless of whether the legislature acted with good intentions when it adopted the law.

The Secretary nevertheless contends that the new law should be exempt from strict scrutiny even if it is a content-based restriction on speech because it is only a partial ban on speech about how a voter has voted. In other words, because the new law leaves voters free to use other means to inform others about how they have voted, the Secretary argues that the law is merely a time, place, or manner restriction on speech that is subject only to intermediate scrutiny. This argument is a nonstarter. As the Supreme Court explained in United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., "[t]he distinction between laws burdening and laws banning speech is but a matter of degree.

The Government's content-based burdens must satisfy the same rigorous scrutiny as its content-based bans." ...Here, the law at issue is a content-based restriction on speech that deprives voters of one of their most powerful means of letting the world know how they voted. The legislature cannot avoid strict scrutiny when it adopts such a law merely by leaving voters with other arguably less effective means of speaking on the subject.

The Secretary also argues that the law should not be considered a content-based restriction on speech because paragraph II of RSA 659.35 additionally prohibits a voter from placing "a distinguishing mark upon his or her ballot." ... That is, because paragraph II prohibits another type of marking on ballots, the new law barring a voter from disclosing an image of a marked ballot is content neutral. This argument fails. The two paragraphs simply regulate two different categories of speech: paragraph I regulates a certain type of speech that ordinarily occurs outside the polling place and paragraph II regulates what types of markings a voter can make on a ballot while in the polling place. Because paragraph I regulates speech based on the content conveyed, paragraph II cannot save it from being a content-based restriction on speech.

In a last-ditch effort to save the law from strict scrutiny, the Secretary argues that completed ballots are a form of government speech and thus do not trigger First Amendment protection at all. He cites Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, which held that Texas's specialty license plate designs constituted government speech and thus Texas was entitled to refuse to issue plates featuring a group's proposed design....  In reaching its decision, the Court in Walker relied on the facts that (1) license plates "long have communicated messages from the States," (2) Texas license plate designs "are often [27]  closely identified in the public mind with the State," and (3) Texas maintains direct control over the messages conveyed on its specialty plates.... The problem at issue here, however, is quite different from the problem the Court resolved in Walker. First, ballots do not communicate messages from the state; they simply list slates of candidates. Second, although blank ballots may be identified with the state, there is no possibility that a voter's marking on a ballot will be misinterpreted as state speech. Third, New Hampshire does not maintain direct control over the messages that people convey on ballots, apart from the restriction that they place no distinguishing mark on their ballot. .... Accordingly, any markings that voters place on their ballots clearly do not qualify as government speech.

The judge ruled that the state could not meet the required burden. It could not demonstrate that a less restrictive alternative to meet its stated goal--that of preventing vote buying--was available.

As the complaints of the voters who are now under investigation reveal, the people who are most likely to be ensnared by the new law are those who wish to use images of their completed ballots to make a political point. The few who might be drawn into efforts to buy or coerce their votes are highly unlikely to broadcast their intentions via social media given the criminal nature of the schemes in which they have become involved. As a result, investigative efforts will naturally tend to focus on the low-hanging fruit of innocent voters who simply want the world to know how they have voted for entirely legitimate reasons. When content-based speech restrictions target vast amounts of protected political speech in an effort to address a tiny subset of speech that presents a problem, the speech restriction simply cannot stand if other less restrictive alternatives exist.

The judge granted the plaintiffs' request for declaratory relief but denied their request for an injunction.

 

Discussion of the case here from Slate, here from NPR.

August 12, 2015 | Permalink

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Canadian Net Neutrality Regime So Far

Michael Geist, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, takes a look at Canada's net neutrality regime here.

He writes in part that at first reports from the CTRC suggest that net neutrality violations are rare, suggesting that things are going well. However, on closer inspection, he finds that there are actually two kinds of consumer complaints: throttling complaints and quality of service complaints.

Dr. Geist concludes that Canadian net neutrality rules "have provided consumers with a system to address concerns with their Internet service" but with  "no penalties for ISPs that fail to abide by the rules and no limits on throttling that is publicly disclosed...".  Interesting analysis. His blog Michael Geist is always informative.

 

August 11, 2015 | Permalink

The Rights-Based Approach and the Course-Packs Issue

Gautam Bhatia, Yale University Law School, has published Fair Use, the Three-Step Test, and Access to Knowledge: A Doctrinal, Rights-Based Approach. Here is the abstract.

In the last decade, academic scholarship has mounted a serious challenge to the dominant, utilitarian understanding of Anglo-American intellectual property law. In particular, deontological, or rights-based approaches, have gained currency. This development has taken place simultaneously with the rise of the access to knowledge (A2K) movement. This paper lies at the intersection of these two contemporary alternatives to the traditional IP regime. It applies the rights-based approach to an issue that is of central concern to the A2K movement: the legality, under copyright law, of course-packs (i.e., compilations of photocopies of parts of academic textbooks, for the purposes of classroom teaching) in universities. The paper complements the theoretical work of the rights-based and A2K scholars, by presenting a doctrinal analysis of the course-packs issue. This analysis is three-pronged. First, I ground the rights-based approach within existing international law. I invoke widely ratified international legal instruments, such as the ICCPR and the ICESCR, and their authoritative interpretations, to demonstrate that international law recognizes rights that are directly relevant to course-packs specifically, and A2K more generally: that is, rights of access to educational materials (flowing from a right of free speech and expression), and rights to cultural participation. Secondly, I examine cases in the United States and in Canada, to argue that a rights-based approach, when applied to the fair use (or fair dealing) doctrine, leads to tangibly different judicial outcomes in cases involving course-packs. And lastly, I argue that these outcomes are consistent with international treaties such as TRIPS and Berne. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that not only is the rights-based approach theoretically and philosophically sound (as other scholars have argued), but that it is a viable legal tool that can be used in copyright litigation, and by judges, worldwide, to ensure outcomes that are both substantively just (at least from an A2K perspective), and doctrinally sound.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 11, 2015 | Permalink

Monday, August 10, 2015

Trinity Mirror Newspapers Will Appeal Phone Hacking Damages Awards

From the Guardian: The Trinity Mirror group of newspaper will appeal the more than 1 million pounds in phone hacking verdicts against it to the Court of Appeals as "soon as reasonably possible." One plaintiff, Sadie Frost, received more than 260,000 pounds in damages, an award believed to be the single highest verdict ever awarded in a privacy suit since the series of phone hacking lawsuits began. Trinity CEO Simon Fox told the Guardian that the company has set aside a total 28 million pounds to pay possible awards.

 

More here on the rulings against the conglomerate in a May 2015 column from Roy Greenslade.

August 10, 2015 | Permalink

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Statements of FCC Commissioners Regarding Expansion of the Spectrum

Judge Dismisses "Mob Character" Lawsuit Against Fox

A Los Angeles judge has dismissed actor Frank Sivero's lawsuit against Fox, finding that the plaintiff did not have a likelihood of prevailing on the merits at trial. Mr. Sivero objected to the depiction of the character Louie on the popular show The Simpsons, alleging that the show based the character on him. Mr. Sivero has played mob characters in Goodfellas and The Godfather II. Under California's anti-SLAPP statute which protects the right to free speech, a plaintiff must show that he is likely to prevail on the merits in order to overcome the defendant's motion to strike.   More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

More on the original filing of the suit here from the Los Angeles Times.

August 6, 2015 | Permalink

A New Zealand Ruling Concerning Bloggers As Journalists

Hannah Ryan, University of Sydney, has published What's in a Name? Bloggers, Journalism, and Shield Laws at 33 Communications Law Bulletin 10 (2014). Here is the abstract.
The High Court of New Zealand recently handed down a decision finding that bloggers can be legally considered as journalists and claim protection for their confidential sources. Hannah Ryan provides a summary of the Court’s decision and compares it with the legislative framework in Australia.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 6, 2015 | Permalink

Is the Era of the Password Over?

Daniel J. Solove, George Washington University Law School, and Woodrow Hartzog, Samford University Law School & Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society have published Should the FTC Kill the Password? The Case for Better Authentication at 14 Bloomberg BNA Privacy & Security Law Report 1353 (2015). Here is the abstract.
Data security breaches are occurring at an alarming frequency, and one of the main causes involves problems authenticating the identity of account holders. The most common approach to authentication is the use of passwords, but passwords are a severely flawed means of authentication. People are being asked to do a nearly impossible task – create unique, long, and complex passwords for each of the numerous accounts they hold, change them frequently, and remember them all. People do very poorly in following these practices, and even if they manage to do so, hackers and phishers can readily trick people into revealing their passwords. There is widespread consensus about the problems with passwords. Better alternative authentication techniques exist, such as two factor authentication, yet organizations have been slow to move to these alternatives. In this essay we argue that in certain circumstances, the FTC should start requiring better methods of authentication than passwords alone. We explore the foundation in current FTC jurisprudence for such action, and suggest how the FTC should start making the push toward improved authentication.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 6, 2015 | Permalink

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Arizona Appeals Court Upholds TV Station's Right To Broadcast Live Police Chase and Suicide of Suspect

In Rodriguez v. Fox News (CA-CV 14-0437), the Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's dismissal of tort claims and the First Amendment right of the defendant to broadcast the car chase and subsequent suicide of a suspect on live television.

The media defendant argued that the First Amendment bars recovery because the speech here is a matter of public concern. The court agreed, noting, "the Fox broadcast clearly addressed a matter of public concern. The content of the broadcast depicted a police chase of an armed suspect who had fired at officers and demonstrated great disregard for the safety of others. The public has a strong interest in monitoring the manner in which law enforcement responds to criminal behavior....Certainly the public has a legitimate interest in the manner in which law enforcement officers perform their duties. Moreover Romero's crimes themselves were 'events of legitimate concern to the public.' "

More discussion here from Eugene Volokh (Washington Post), article about the police chase and death here.

 

 

August 5, 2015 | Permalink

The First Amendment and Tort Law

George C. Christie, Duke University School of Law, has published The Uneasy and Often Unhelpful Interaction of Tort Law and Constitutional Law in First Amendment Litigation at 98 Marquette L. Rev. 1003 (2015). Here is the abstract.
There are increasing tensions between the First Amendment and the common-law torts of intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and privacy. This Article discusses the conflicting interactions among the three models that are competing for primacy as the tort law governing expressive activities evolves to accommodate the requirements of the First Amendment. At one extreme there is the model that expression containing information which has been lawfully obtained that contains neither intentional falsehoods nor incitements to immediate violence can only be sanctioned in narrowly defined exceptional circumstances, even if that expression involves matters that are universally regarded as being of no public interest. At the other extreme is the model that some expression which, though lawfully obtained, reveals to a wider audience intimate private information about another should be subject to sanction, as should verbal abuse of a private figure even if there is no implicit threat of physical violence. Some provisions of the American Restatement adopted with scant attention to constitutional developments have taken, and to some extent continue to take, that position. Finally, there is an intermediate model — now gaining wide-spread support in Europe and to some extent in America, even among some members of the United States Supreme Court — that expression which does not concern matters of “public concern” can be subject to public sanction even if it has been lawfully acquired and involves no threats of physical aggression against others. This Article sets out how this confusing impasse has come about and the dangers that this lack of clarity present for freedom of expression.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 5, 2015 | Permalink

Ethiopian Data Privacy Law

Kinfe Micheal Yilma, Hawassa University, is publishing Data Privacy Law and Practice in Ethiopia in volume 5 of International Data Privacy Law. Here is the abstract.
Ethiopia has recognized the right to privacy throughout its brief constitutional history, albeit to different degrees. All Ethiopian Constitutions, including the first written Constitution of 1931, have had provisions dedicated to the right to privacy. Comprehensive privacy safeguards were, however, introduced by the Constitution of 1995, which protects privacy of persons, their home, and correspondences in a detailed manner. The constitutional guarantees to privacy are furthered in subordinate instruments that refine details of the protection. These fairly robust constitutional guarantees to privacy are, nevertheless, recently being undermined and eroded by the myriad of ill-conceived privacy-unfriendly laws the country has recently introduced and surveillance practices conducted in the absence of any oversight mechanisms. Recent reports have implicated the government for allegedly undertaking massive surveillances, interception of electronic communications, and even cyberattacks on members of opposition groups and journalists. This article examines the present legal safeguards to data privacy along with major practical challenges and proffers suggestions towards a robust data privacy regime.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

August 5, 2015 | Permalink

Models of Minority Media Participation In the Baltic States, Belgium, and Finland

Petra Lea Láncos, Peter Pazmany Catholic University, has published Three Models of Minority Media Participation – A Brief Analysis of Language Related Prescriptions in National Media Laws. Here is the abstract.
The present article aims to shed light on the variety of language rules enshrined in national legislation governing audio-visual media from a language policy perspective. The study will show that national legislators often seek to regulate the language of audio-visual media services in order to attain certain language policy goals – which in turn, affect minorities present in the given state. In the following I shall briefly describe three different sets of audio-visual media policy rules governing language use in the media (Baltic states, Belgium, Finland). Next, I will use these examples to develop three models of minority participation in the national media. I will show that the models employed in the national media context depend heavily on national language policy goals. Subsequently, I analyse the individual models upon the backdrop of the 2013 OSCE Guidelines on the use of Minority Languages in the Broadcast Media in order to substantiate that all three solutions meet the international standards of minority protection. Finally, I draw conclusions with respect to the need for further research into minority participation in the media from a language policy perspective.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 5, 2015 | Permalink

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

IP Laws and the Meaning of "Copy"

Peter K. Yu, Texas A&M University School of Law, is publishing The Copy in Copyright in Intellectual Property and Access to IM/Material Goods (Jessica C. Lai and Antoinette Maget Dominice eds.; Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016). Here is the abstract.

Since their inception, copyright and proto-copyright laws have been developed around the concept of "copy," which primarily referred to printed book manuscripts in the reign of Queen Anne. Although copyright began mostly as a right vested in copies, and therefore a right to prevent others from multiplying copies, the emphasis has now been dramatically shifted to the act of copying itself. The terms "copy" and "copies" have also been slowly re-conceptualized to respond to changing technology and to expand the scope of copyright protection. Taking a historical perspective, the first half of this chapter recounts the use of the concept of "copy" by the Stationers’ Company and in the Statute of Anne. It also addresses two different sets of challenges to this foundational concept. The first set focuses on the seminal case of White-Smith Music Publishing Co. v Apollo Co., the first major challenge to this concept on the other side of the Atlantic. The second set concerns the efforts in the mid-1990s to update the concept to meet the needs of the digital environment, which inevitably involves both material and immaterial copies. The second half of this chapter examines four areas in which digital technology has posed major challenges to the concept of "copy": reproduction, distribution, public performance and making available. These four areas are chosen because they correspond to the different rights in the bundle of rights covered within the copyright system. They also highlight questions involving material copies and the distinction between material and immaterial goods. The chapter concludes with six observations concerning the future development of copyright law in the digital environment.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

August 4, 2015 | Permalink

The Supreme Court's Categorical Free Speech Doctrine

Alexander Tsesis, Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law, is publishing The Categorical Free Speech Doctrine and Contextualization in volume 65 of the Emory Law Journal (2015). Here is the abstract.
This article analyzes the impact of the Supreme Court’s recently developed categorical approach to free speech doctrine. It demonstrates that, contrary to the concerns of some other scholars, the Court should not be understood to have placed a complete restriction on interest balancing. In several cases – such as those dealing with government employee speech, civil defamation, and fraud – the Court continues to rely on balancing approaches. This has created a seeming internal contradiction with other precedents that appear to only recognize the constitutionality of content based restrictions on categories of speech that have historically and traditionally been unprotected. These two lines of cases can and should be reconciled for the sake of adjudicative predictability and stability. The Court’s categorical free speech doctrine should be understood as a bar only against ad hoc balancing but not as a total prohibition against a contextual analysis of expressive and countervailing social interests. Indeed, even some of the categories the Court has identified as being historically unprotected – specifically obscene, defamatory, and fraudulent speech – were first derived through evaluations of private and public concerns. I argue that the Court should approach free speech regulations from a holistic standpoint that evaluates whether a restriction on speech arises from a conflict with constitutional, statutory, or common law interests; whether the restricted expression has historically or traditionally been constitutionally protected; the breadth and strength of general welfare policies behind the speech restriction; the fit between the objectives and regulations; and whether a less restrictive means could be enforced to meet particularized goals. This balancing requires more complex analysis than categorical induction, but contextual reasoning is more likely to identify the full spectrum of factors pertinent to a decision.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 4, 2015 | Permalink

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dungeons & Dragons Lawsuit Dropped; Parties Move Forward With "D&D" Film

From The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner:  the parties on opposite sides of the Dungeons & Dragons litigation (Warner Brothers, Hasbro, and Sweetpea Entertainment) have decided to come together to create a new movie that will feature--wait for it--Dungeons and Dragons. David Leslie Johnson will write the script, and Roy Lee will produce. The federal judge in the case, U. S. District Court Judge Dolly Gee, encouraged the parties to come to an agreement rather than pursue the case, and they certainly have done so.

 

More here on the history of the suit: Hasbro's filing

Sweetpea's response

Article on

August 3, 2015 | Permalink

A Quick Survey of the Supreme Court's 2014/2015's Term

Todd E. Pettys, University of Iowa College of Law, has published Weddings, Whiter Teeth, Judicial-Campaign Speech, and More: Civil Cases in the Supreme Court's 2014-2015 Term at 51 Court Review 88 (2015). Here is the abstract.

Commissioned by the American Judges Association, this brief article provides an overview of the most significant civil cases decided by the Supreme Court during the 2014-15 Term.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

August 3, 2015 | Permalink

Thursday, July 30, 2015

An Overview of Media Reform

Des Freedman, University of London, Goldsmiths College, and Jonathan A. Obar, University of Toronto, Faculty of Information, & Michigan State University, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, have published Media Reform: An Overview as the introductory chapter in Strategies for Media Reform: International Perspectives (Fordham University Press, forthcoming). Here is the abstract.
Media reform is a great and formidable challenge. Across international contexts, reformers are inspired by what the late C. Edwin Baker referred to as the democratic distribution principle for communicative power: ‘a claim that democracy implies as wide as practical a dispersal of power within public discourse’ (Baker, 2007, p. 7). The challenge is made manifest in battles over the future of investigative journalism, media ownership, spectrum management, speech rights, broadband access, network neutrality, the surveillance apparatus, digital literacy and many others waged in pursuit of the normative ideals at the heart of Baker’s vision. At the same time, those committed to media reform confront formidable challenges: entrenched commercial interests and media conglomerates; sometimes powerful, sometimes disorganized and sometimes neoliberal governments; a general public often disenfranchised, digitally illiterate and not focused on issues of media reform; and always, the uphill battle of organization, mobilization and influence that is the work of any activist. In light of these significant challenges, the central question addressed by this volume is: what strategies might be utilized to overcome these obstacles in the pursuit of media reform? The chapters included in this volume aim to present and analyze successful strategies that have helped to advance media reform efforts in a variety of countries and contexts throughout the world. The remainder of this introductory chapter includes a working definition of media reform in light of the many challenges we currently face, and concludes with an overview of the chapters included in the volume.
Download the chapter from SSRN at the link.

July 30, 2015 | Permalink