Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Open Call For Fellowship Applications, Berkman Klein Center For Internet & Society @BKCHarvard

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard is accepting fellowship applications for the 2017/2018 year until January 16, 2017.  More here.


Via @zittrain.

January 1, 2017 | Permalink

Friday, December 30, 2016

Washington Post Reporter Receives Death Threats Over Articles On Trump

The Hill reports that Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has received death threats after reporting on President elect Donald Trump. The Post hired a security consultant to advise on measures to protect Mr. Fahrenthold. Politico also reports that it has received death threats for reporting on Mr. Trump. The Hill reported earlier this year that the Arizona Republic received threats after it endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. An October 2016 article in the Atlantic Monthly reported on a rise in anti-Semitic threats on Twitter aimed at Jewish journalists. 


Mr. Fahrenthold discusses the reactions to his reporting, including the threats, in this article for Washington Post magazine here.

December 30, 2016 | Permalink

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission: Broadband Service a Basic Service

Jean-Pierre Blais, head of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), announced today that access to a minimum level of fixed broadband and mobile speed is a basic service for all Canadians.  The minimum speed that ISPs must provide is 50 megabits per second for downloads and 10 megabits for uploads. Here is a link to the transcript of Mr. Blais's speech.  

December 21, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, December 19, 2016

250 Years of Swedish Freedom of the Press @LawLibCongress

Elin Hofverberg, a foreign law research specialist at the Law Library of Congress, notes that December 2, 2016 is the 250th anniversary of the Swedish Freedom of the Press Act.


More here from In Custodia Legis, the Law Library of Congress's official blog. (Post by Elin Hofverberg).

December 19, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 16, 2016

Landrigan on the Constitutional Protection of Protests Outside Australian Abortion Clinics

Mitchell Landrigan, University of Technology Sydney, is publishing Protests Outside Abortion Clinics Constitutionally Protected Speech? in volume 41 of the Alternative Law Journal (2016). Here is the abstract.

This article focuses on whether, by banning anti-abortion protests in safe access zones, the legislation might infringe the implied freedom of political discourse under the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. It reviews the buffer zone legislation in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 16, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Curtin @AdamLawSchool and Leino on Openness, Transparency, and the Right of Access to Documents in the EU

Deirdre Curtin, Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance, and Paivi Leino, University of Helsinki Faculty of Law, have published Openness, Transparency and the Right of Access to Documents in the EU. In-Depth Analysis as Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2016/63. Here is the abstract.

Upon request of the PETI Committee, the Policy Department on Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs commissioned the present analysis, which examines the situation in relation to openness, transparency, access to documents and information in the EU. Case law and developments in the jurisprudence of the CJEU are examined, notably for legislative documents, documents relating to administrative proceedings, to Court proceedings, infringement proceedings and EU Pilot cases, protection of privacy and international relations. Current and future challenges, as well as conclusions and policy recommendations are set out, in order to ensure compliance with the Treaties’ and Charter of Fundamental Rights’ requirements aimed at enhancing citizens’ participation in the EU decision-making process, and consequently stronger accountability and democracy in the EU.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 15, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 9, 2016

Retrial of Woman Charged With Murder For Hire Now Underway: Defense Alleges Police Wanted Attention of "Cops" Producers

Via @law_newz: The retrial of a woman arrested for solicitation to commit the murder of her husband is underway in Florida. The prosecution alleges that Dalia Dippolito tried to hire a "hit man" and former lover who turned out to be working with the police. The defense contends that she is the victim of an ambitious police department that wanted to impress producers of the "Cops" television series. Ms. Dippolito was convicted in 2011, but an appeals court granted her a new trial in 2014.

Livestream via LawNewz here.

More here from

December 9, 2016 | Permalink

Man Files Defamation Lawsuit After Individuals Claim He's Responsible For "Pedals the Bear"'s Death

John DeFilippo has filed a defamation lawsuit against a number of people (via. whom he says have spread stories on social media claiming that earlier this year he killed a popular black bear named "Pedals," known for walking on its hind legs. The lawsuit alleges that these individuals have published comments, including comments on Facebook pages, linking Mr. DeFilippo falsely to the bear's death and urging revenge against him. Some comments included a claim that he is a "bear murderer." More here from the Daily Record. 

The lawsuit also claims that some of the defendants have posted personal information about Mr. DeFilippo on social media. More here from ABC News.

December 9, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Donald Trump Will Have Executive Producer Credit On "The Apprentice"

President-elect Donald Trump will have an executive producer credit on The Apprentice, the popular NBC tv series, when it returns with actor and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as host. Mr. Trump's transition team spokesperson Hope Hicks announced his connection with the show on December 8, and said that more information would be forthcoming on December 15th. More here from The Hollywood Reporter.

December 8, 2016 | Permalink

The Boundaries of Free Speech Online

From NBC News, a report on discussions out of the last meeting of the Global Network Initiative, and analyses of the possibilities of curbing hateful speech, fake news, and harassment online. 

December 8, 2016 | Permalink

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Carroll @erinccarroll13 on Balancing Newsworthiness and Privacy in the Age of Algorithms

Erin C. Carroll, Georgetown University Law Center, has published Making News: Balancing Newsworthiness and Privacy in the Age of Algorithms. Here is the abstract.

In deciding privacy lawsuits against media defendants, courts have for decades deferred to the media. They have given it wide berth to determine what is newsworthy and so, what is protected under the First Amendment. And in doing so, they have often spoken reverently of the editorial process and journalistic decision-making. Yet, in just the last several years, news production and consumption has changed dramatically. As we get more of our news from digital and social media sites, the role of information gatekeeper is shifting from journalists to computer engineers, programmers, and app designers. The algorithms that the latter write and that underlie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are not only influencing what we read but are prompting journalists to approach their craft differently. While the Restatement (Second) of Torts says that a glance at any morning newspaper can confirm what qualifies as newsworthy, this article argues that the modern-day corollary (which might involve a glance at a Facebook News Feed) is not true. If we want to meaningfully balance privacy and First Amendment rights, then courts should not be so quick to defer to the press in privacy tort cases, especially given that courts’ assumptions about how the press makes newsworthiness decisions may no longer be accurate. This article offers several suggestions for making better-reasoned decisions in privacy cases against the press.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 3, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, December 2, 2016

Call For Nominations: 2017 Anthony Shadid Award, Center For Journalism Ethics

Center for Journalism Ethics Announces
2017 Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Journalism Ethics seeks nominations for the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics. Nominations are now being accepted for ethical decisions in reporting stories in any journalistic medium, including, print, broadcast and digital, by those working for established news organizations or publishing individually. Individuals or news organizations may nominate themselves or others.

The award focuses on current journalism and does not include books, documentaries and other long-term projects. Entries should involve reporting done for stories that were published or broadcast in 2016.

The award includes a $1,000 prize and travel expenses to accept the award and discuss the reporting at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

Judging committee chair Jack Mitchell says this award differs from other journalism prizes in its emphasis on ethical decision-making, “We seek outstanding reporting, of course, but will make our selection on how thoughtfully reporters and editors dealt with the ethical dilemmas they encountered in doing that reporting.”
Previous winners of the award include:
  • 2016: Martha Mendoza, Margie Mason, Robin McDowell and Esther Htusan, Associated Press
  • 2015: David Jackson, Gary Marx and Duaa Eldeib, Anthony Souffle, Chicago Tribune
  • 2014: Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo and Ted Bridis, Associated Press 

A graduate of UW-Madison, Shadid died in 2012 on a reporting assignment in Syria for the New York Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his courageous and insightful foreign correspondence. Shadid sat on the ethics center's advisory board and strongly supported its efforts to promote public interest journalism and to stimulate discussion about journalism ethics.
How to submit a nomination

December 2, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, November 28, 2016

MGM Goes To Court To Clear Rights For "Buckaroo Bonzai" TV Series

MGM has filed a lawsuit against Earl MacRauch and Walter Richter, the writer and director, respectively, of the 1984 The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, in order to proceed with a television series using the characters.  The studio asserts that it owns copyright in the characters and is asking a court to clear the way for it to move ahead with it tv deal. More here from the Hollywood Reporter. 


Link to the complaint here, via THR.


November 28, 2016 | Permalink

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What English Words Are Most Offensive? The UK Public Responds To an Ofcom Survey

Ofcom, the UK's communications watchdog agency, has surveyed the UK public to find out its views on the most offensive English words around and has published the results. The survey is part of a larger body of research concerning the public's attitudes toward potentially offensive language and gestures on television and radio. Here's a link to the report.

November 27, 2016 | Permalink

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Husovec @Hutko on Intellectual Property Rights and Integration By Conflict: The Past, Present, and Future

Martin Husovec, Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg University Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Stanford University Law School Center for Internet and Society, has published Intellectual Property Rights and Integration by Conflict: The Past, Present and Future at 18 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 239 (2016). Here is the abstract.

This paper analyses how the Court of Justice of the European Union resolves conflicting situations surrounding intellectual property rights (IPR). More specifically, it looks into how it approaches clashes of IPR with other fundamental rights and economic freedoms and with what consequences. Building upon previous literature, I advance the argument that the resolution of the conflict, by means of the proportionality interest-balancing exercise, pursues a pro-harmonisation agenda not only in the obvious context of free movement, but also in the setting of fundamental rights. I show that the recent Coty Germany ruling is likely to accelerate this trend because of its recognition of positive obligations of the Member States in the context of fundamental rights. It is argued that this could also be used by national courts to improve an existing IPR framework, in particular by filing preliminary references that question legislators’ choices such as non-implementation of permissible exceptions and limitations. After highlighting the importance of maintaining a separation between different policy levels (secondary law vs Charter), I outline why Coty Germany is a very worrying reading of Article 17(2) of the EU Charter, and suggest that this could be remedied by synchronising its interpretation with the Court’s doctrine of ‘specific subject matter’ in the context of free movement.
The full text is not available from SSRN.

November 23, 2016 | Permalink

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hoernle and Carran on Gambling Advertising and Protection of the Vulnerable in the UK

Julia Hoernle, Queen Mary University, London, School of Law, and Margaret Carran, City Law School, City University, London, have published A Sieve that Does Hold a Little Water – Gambling Advertising and Protection of the Vulnerable in the UK. Here is the abstract.

This article reviews the regulation of gambling advertising and argues that the restrictions imposed by the largely self-regulatory system only have limited effect. We compare the regulation of gambling advertising, by way of analogy, to a sieve that does hold only a little water. The article analyses the law against the third statutory objective considering the existing research literature on the impact of advertising on problem gambling. The article points to gaps in the protection of children and vulnerable persons and argues that the law should focus more on them. It concludes that currently the law focuses too much on the communicative intent of the advertiser and not sufficiently on the impact of advertising on the vulnerable and the lack of regulation of the online space. It makes recommendations as to how the law in the UK should change.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 22, 2016 | Permalink

Seipel on How the Press Violates the NLRA: The Social Media Policies of News Companies

Matthew Seipel, UCLA School of Law, has published How the Press Violates the NLRA: The Social Media Policies of News Companies. Here is the abstract.

When does a news company’s social media rule violate the NLRA? This Article intends to answer that question. I investigated the social media policies of six well-known news companies looking for NLRA violations. And I think I found some. This Article lays out my findings.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 22, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rimmer @DrRimmer on The Washington Redskins, Offensive Trademarks, Freedom of Speech, and Racism in Sport

Matthew Rimmer, Queensland University of Technology, has published Change the Mascot: The Washington Redskins, Offensive Trade Marks, Freedom of Speech and Racism in Sport at 29 Australian Intellectual Property Law Bulletin 178 (2016). Here is the abstract.

There has been a long history of conflict and disputation in respect of Indigenous Intellectual Property. In the United States, there has often been controversy over representations of Native Americans in trademark law. There has been intensive public and legal debate over offensive trademarks, such as the Washington Redskins. The Navajo activist Amanda Blackhorse has led a campaign to cancel the trademarks of the Washington Football team – the Washington Redskins. She observed: "This is such a huge victory not only for, you know, our group, but for Native Americans all over the nation…. The cancellation of the trademark does not mean that the team has to change their name. Our biggest thing with this is that, you know, their name, the “R” word, does not deserve federal protection. We don’t think that Dan Snyder and the co-owners should make money off of a racial slur, especially a racial slur directed at Native American people." In a study of the impact of native mascots and team names on American Indian and Alaska native youth, Erik Stigman and Victoria Phillips have documented how ‘these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices”’. Opponents to the trademark ran advertisements against the Washington Redskins as part of the ‘Change the Mascot’ campaign. This article previews the Supreme Court of the United States’ possible consideration of a dispute over offensive trademarks, freedom of speech, and racism in sport. It suggests that it would be worthwhile the Supreme Court of the United States to hear a combined case dealing with the question of offensive trademarks. It argues that that it is within the power of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to regulate offensive trademarks. Furthermore, it highlights the need for the United States Government to provide effective protection for Indigenous Intellectual Property. First, this piece considers the legal dispute in respect of the Washington Redskins trademarks. Second, it examines the parallel conflict dealing with The Slants trademarks. Finally, this study examines the political responses to the controversy over offensive trademarks in the United States Congress, the White House, and the Presidential race.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 21, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, November 18, 2016

Marta Iljadica's New Book Copyright Beyond Law: Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture @martailj @hartpublishing

New from Hart Publishing: Marta Iljadica, Copyright Beyond Law: Regulating Creativity in the Graffiti Subculture (Hart Publishing, 2016). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.

The form of graffiti writing on trains and walls is not accidental. Nor is its absence on cars and houses. Employing a particular style of letters, choosing which walls and trains to write on, copying another writer, altering or destroying another writer's work: these acts are regulated within the graffiti subculture. Copyright Beyond Law presents findings from empirical research undertaken into the graffiti subculture to show that graffiti writers informally regulate their creativity through a system of norms that are remarkably similar to copyright. The 'graffiti rules' and their copyright law parallels include: the requirement of writing letters (subject matter) and appropriate placement (public policy and morality exceptions for copyright subsistence and the enforcement of copyright), originality and the prohibition of copying (originality and infringement by reproduction), and the prohibition of damage to another writer's works (the moral right of integrity). The intersection between the 'graffiti rules' and copyright law sheds light on the creation of subculture-specific commons and the limits of copyright law in incentivising and regulating the production and location of creativity.

Media of Copyright Beyond Law

November 18, 2016 | Permalink

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Randazza @marcorandazza On Being Cool and Informed About the Law on Filming Pornography In the U.S.

Marc J. Randazza, Randazza Legal Group, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and Università di Torino Faculty of Law, is publishing The Freedom to Film Pornography in volume 17 of the Nevada Law Journal (2016). Here is the abstract.
Repeat after me WITH FEELING: 1. "Pornography is not prostitution" 2. "It is legal to film porn everywhere in America" Now, download the article and read it so that you can learn why. You'll be smarter, and more interesting at parties. Some smarmy sanctimonious clown will think that surfing Reddit substitutes for three years of law school and a bar exam. They'll say "you know you can only film porn in California and New Hampshire." Then you can proclaim "oh yeah, well I read the complete study of this issue and you are WRONG." You'll be the coolest one at the party. All because you read this law review article about the First Amendment right to film pornography.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

November 15, 2016 | Permalink