Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Judith Miller, the former New York Times reporter who went to jail for 85 days rather than name her source, Lewis Libby, is scheduled to take the stand today at his trial. Two other journalists, NBC's Tim Russert, and Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, are likely to follow her, in what is often described as a newsperson's nightmare--when the reporter becomes the story. Read more here in a CBS account. Mr. Russert said publicly yesterday that he was not the source of information that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA, as Mr. Libby has claimed. For a British view of the trial, see Alex Massie's article for the Telegraph here.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Italy may become the next EU nation to criminalize denying the reality of the Holocaust. A bill drafted by the Italian Justice Minister is on its way to the Italian Parliament for debate. Other EU nations with similar legislation already on the books include Germany, France and Austria. Read more here. Note that David Irving, mentioned in this article as having been convicted under the Austrian Holocaust denial law, recently won an appeal and is being released.
Owen Gibson argues in a column today in the Guardian that the Press Complaints Commission, and its code, may not be doing the job when it comes to journalistic oversight. He points to the recent Goodman case as well as other press scandals that suggest that reporters eager for scoops have crossed the line and muses that the PCC has been unable to rein them in. But what, if anything, should replace the PCC? Read more here.
Friday, January 26, 2007
In Larson v. Galliher, a federal district court has granted a plaintiff newspaper publisher a preliminary injunction in a case alleging cybersquatting, trademark infringement, and slander. The defendant alleged that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because both parties reside and do business in California, the events giving rise to these claims occurred in California, and this court sits in Nevada. The court held that jurisdiction and venue is proper because the defendant brought a defamation suit against the plaintiff in Nevada state court, thus voluntarily waiving his defenses. The two actions (defamation and cybersquatting) involve the same set of facts. The domain names at issue are exactly those of the plaintiff's newspapers, with "www" and "com" on either end. "Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury if the Court does not require Wild West Domains, Inc., the domain register, to place the infringing <holtvilletribune.com>, <imperialvalleyweekly.com> and <calexicochronicle.com> domain names on hold, and lock, change or disable the domain name server information, and deposit them with the Court, pending litigation of this matter...Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of its claims for cybersquatting under 15 U.S.C. § 1114;...The balance of hardships tips in favor of Plaintiff because the preliminary injunction will merely place the infringing domain names on hold and lock pending trial, and failure to issue the injunction would potentially cause Plaintiff to suffer and incur additional expense in having to file additional lawsuits if the domain names were to be transferred to other registrants during the pendency of this action."
The case is Larson v. Galliher, 2:06-CV-1471-RCJ-GWF (U.S.D.C. Nev.), decided Jan. 5, 1007. Read the entire ruling here.
Ten-year-old Dominic Scott Kay, who voiced Wilbur the Pig in the live action picture Charlotte's Web, has sued Conroy Kanter, who provided financing for his short film Saving Angelo. Mr. Kay says Ms. Kanter claims total creative and distribution control over the film. Ms. Kanter says the disagreement is between herself and Mr. Kay's mother, and really does not involve Mr. Kay. Read more in a San Diego Union Tribune article here.
The family of a woman who died after participating in a Sacramento radio station's ill-fated on-air contest sponsored by the station's "Morning Rave" show has now filed suit against the station. The Federal Communications Commission is also investigation the radio station's actions. Read more here. Read KDND's message to its listeners concerning the cancellation of the radio show Morning Rave. Here is an audio link to part of the show provided by the Sacramento Bee.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The London agency responsible for keeping the city clean is threatening the publishers that make newspapers available free that their products may be banned if they don't assist with the cost of disposal. Invoking the environmental principle of "polluter pays", Westminster City Council says it may require the companies that provide the immensely popular London Paper and London Lite do something about the deluge of newsprint left after readers are finished with the issue of the day.
Jared Paul Stern, the former New York Post reporter whom federal investigators suspected of trying to extort money from billionaire Ron Burkle in exchange for favorable coverage, will not be charged with any crimes. Mr. Burkle said Mr. Stern asked for money up front and additional regular payments to ensure that coverage; Mr. Stern denied the allegations. Read more here in a New York Times article. Here is coverage from the New York Post, Mr. Stern's former paper. Contrast it with the coverage the Post gave the case when Stern was initially accused.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Adrienne Shelly was murdered last year, but her film, "Waitress", premiered at Sundance Sunday. Her husband Andy Ostoy has announced the creation of a foundation to assist female filmmakers. Fox Seachlight Pictures has acquired the rights to "Waitress" for about four million dollars. Meanwhile, according to those in the know, Law and Order may be doing an episode based on the Shelly case sometime soon.
The Turkish government and police have begun investigations into the murder of newspaper editor Hrant Dink, shot Friday outside his office in Istanbul. Police have arrested a teenager believed to be linked to a far right nationalist party. Some commentators are now questioning whether the assassination shows that Turkey is unready to become a member of the European Union, because it further demonstrates what some see as intolerance of minorities and lack of acceptance of free speech. Read more here in an article in the Guardian and in an article in the Washington Post.
The Media Guardian reports that Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Pride and Prejudice) is suing the Daily Mail over recent reports suggesting that she might be anorexic, even though she denies it. Read more here. As the Media Guardian notes, Kate Hudson won a similar dispute against the National Enquirer (UK) in 2006.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Laura A. Heymann, College of William and Mary School of Law, has published "Inducement as Contributory Copyright Infringement: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd." in the International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, vol. 37 at 31 (2006). Here is the abstract.
This brief commentary, published in January 2006, provides an analysis of the Grokster decision. It begins by characterizing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios as conveying two important limitations on secondary liability: a recognition of the difference between knowledge acquired before product distribution and knowledge acquired afterward, and a requirement that this knowledge must relate to the product's design for infringement rather than for copying. It then goes on to describe the Court's inducement-based holding in Grokster and evaluates the two concurrences considering the Sony question sidestepped in the majority opinion, ultimately concluding that Justice Breyer's concurrence, which relies on the important distinction between the distribution of technology generally and the promotion of technology for a particular (infringing) purpose, is more faithful to the values underlying Sony.
Download the entire article from SSRN here.
The Chronicle of Higher Education comments on a Boston Globe report that Brandeis University has told filmmaker Jonathan Demme that he may not film former President Jimmy Carter as he delivers a speech this week. Read the item on the Chronicle's blog here. Here's the Boston Globe article.
Ted Kaczynski, Government, Victims, in Argument Over Whether His Writings Can be Sold In Internet Auction
A furious debate continues over whether convicted Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski's writings, among other possessions, can be redacted and sold in an Internet auction. The federal government would like to do so, in order to compensate his victims, or the surviving families of his victims. A federal district court judge had given permission to do so, and the 9th Circuit had upheld his ruling. But Mr. Kaczynski claims that under the First Amendment the government has no right to alter his manuscripts, and he would prefer to give his work to an institution that would preserve them for posterity. Survivors of the bombings and families are in disagreement over how to proceed. The New York Times has an article today on the issue.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Turkish newspaper editor Hrant Dink, who spoke out about the deaths of Armenians during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, was murdered earlier today outside his office in Istanbul. Mr. Dink was convicted of "insulting Turkishness" in 2005 for writing about the Armenian genocide. Read about Mr. Dink's death and Turkish reaction here and here.
The Media Guardian and other press continue to cover the controversy over Channel 4's "Celebrity Big Brother' show, in which some of the contestants are accused over making racist comments about one of the other participants. Government officials have gotten into the the debate, and viewers have been complaining bitterly to the network about what they have been seeing, and hearing, about the show. The British agency Ofcom has indicated that it would contact Channel 4 soon. Read more here. This page provides additional links to earlier stories.