Wednesday, February 29, 2012
From the University of Oxford (PCMLP) and the Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
The Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford (PCMLP) and the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications for the 14th annual Media Policy Summer School, to be held from June 17 - 29, 2012 at the University of Oxford.
The annual summer institute brings together young scholars and regulators to discuss important and recent trends in technology, international politics and development and its influence on media policy. Participants come from around the world; countries represented at previous summer institutes include Thailand, Kenya, China, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, Jordan, Italy and Bosnia, among others.
This year the summer institute seeks, as part of the cohort, researchers and academics (PhD candidates and early career academics, for example), who will come with a research project related to the general subject of the Institute. Research generally related to the work of the Center for Global Communication Studies and the Programme for Comparative Media Law and Policy is especially welcome, and some participants will be asked to present their research. Applications are also welcome from those working as lawyers and those employed by NGOs, government bodies, and regulatory agencies.
The seminars this year will focus on several key areas, including media governance in India and China and strategic communications in conflict and post-conflict and transitional environments, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, the successful curriculum that has been the foundation of the programme over the years will continue, with sessions covering global media policy issues such as media and economic/social development, freedom of information, internet regulation and convergence. Part of the course will be devoted to new developments in comparative approaches to regulation, looking at Ofcom in the UK and other agencies, including examples from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The seminar brings together a wide range of participants from around the globe and provides them with an environment in which significant policy issues are seriously discussed. The richness of the experience comes from exposure to a variety of speakers and from the discussions among participants themselves.
This year, we will again be offering more than twelve Media Policy Fellowships that cover tuition, housing, travel, and per diem for exceptional applicants from the developing world. For more information on the Media Policy Fellowships, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for the 2012 programme will be accepted via our online application form on a rolling basis through March 31, 2012. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who you think might be interested.
For more information about the programme, application instructions, and a link to the online application please visit http://pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/an-ox
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Brad A. Greenberg, UCLA School of Law, has published A Public Press? Evaluating the Viability of Government Subsidies for the Newspaper Industry at 19 UCLA Entertainment Law REview 189 (2012). Here is the abstract.
Despite the availability of information from online news organizations and new media outlets, newspapers remain the primary contributor of new content to the marketplace of information and ideas — integral in setting the agenda for public discourse, connecting readers with their communities, reducing the costs of citizen oversight on elected officials, and producing investigative and local news reports. But newspaper economics have sparked massive reductions in editorial operations and threaten the press’s role in American democratic society. The strong public interest in preserving the newspaper industry should compel Congress to stabilize the press.
Journalists, politicians, and legal scholars have discussed many possible solutions. This Comment evaluates the practical and constitutional questions raised by two potential public subsidy programs — direct government funding and indirect support by facilitating newspaper conversion to nonprofit status — and whether such programs could be administered without jeopardizing the Fourth Estate’s independence. This Comment argues that direct subsidies, though they could be tailored to survive constitutional challenge and to protect editorial independence, cannot deliver a feasible long-term solution. Indirect subsidies likely would only be available to newspapers following an amendment to the U.S. tax code and even then would provide limited benefit to qualifying newspapers until they have developed a fundraising base. Yet, this Comment concludes that subsidies could stabilize the press practically if Congress combined direct funding and tax-based incentives into a hybrid similar to that utilized by public radio.
Download the Comment from SSRN at the link.
Shepard Fairey, the "Obama poster" artist has pled guilty to criminal contempt, a surprise twist in the saga of the saga involving Mr. Fairey's use of a photograph which the Associated Press claimed was the basis of his famous "Hope" poster. The parties settled the lawsuit last year, but doubt continued concerning Mr. Fairey's testimony over which photo he had actually used in the work. On the 24th of February Mr. Fairey entered a plea of guilty.
Monday, February 27, 2012
The Iranian English language Press TV reports that two of its journalists have been arrested in Western Libya. Nicholas Davies and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson are currently being detained in Tripoli; Human Rights Watch reports that "efforts are underway to secure their release." More here from the BBC.
Members of the media have lost several of their own, and undergone a number of shocks over the past weeks. Well known journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik died in Homs, Syria, last week, while covering the violence against civilians. Acclaimed New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid died of an ashma attack, also in Syria, on February 16, also while covering the situation in the country.
From the Guardian: reports of warnings about a culture of phone hacking as far back as 2006 at the now defunct tabloid News of the World. The Guardian reports that an email shows that someone in law enforcement told Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both then still at News International and at News of the World, that there were "victims" of phone hacking at that time. An email also informed Ms. Brooks that NotW had made payments to investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who later went to prison for hacking.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
From the Hollywood Reporter: AFTRA members have overwhelmingly okayed a contract with the four major networks that covers daytime programming, unscripted (reality) shows, and late night tv. Among the provisions--a two percent wage increase. The agreement runs for nearly three years. More here.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Marcus Norrgård, Hanken School of Economics, has published Blocking Web Sites – Experiences from Finland. Here is the abstract.
The article presents and discusses 'injunctions to discontinue,' i.e. injunctions against Internet Access Providers blocking access to websites in cases of alleged copyright infringements, from the point of view of Finnish legislation and case law (for example IFPI v. Elisa (concerning blocking access to The Pirate Bay).
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
From the New York Times: yet another controversy over who owns your data. This time the flap is over the app, or rather, the contact information stored in the app in your smartphone. Some apps routinely collect this information, and developers do not divulge to users that their apps are doing so. Some social media sites and distributors, such as Google, insist on user consent before the app developers can move forward. Apple has consistently said it requires user consent but complaints, and now a Congressional inquiry, indicates that some Apple-available apps have been collecting this data without user knowledge. Apple's has now clarified its position: it will now require apps that track such data to get user consent before doing so. The FTC has also stepped in, saying Apple and Google must let parents know more fully what information their apps are collecting about children.
From the Guardian: Some Sun reporters are preparing a human rights complaint over the paper's disclosure of information to law enforcement that the employees believe compromised sources. The employees have approached the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) to assist them and to hire Sir Geoffrey Robertson, the noted barrister, to represent them. The reporters assert that the disclosures resulted in the arrest of Sun journalists earlier this year. Sir Geoffrey has written that journalists must "fight for their rights" in the wake of the internal inquiry.
George Robert Barker, Centre for Law and Economics, ANU College of Law, has published Assessing the Economic Impact of Copyright Law: Evidence of the Effect of Free Music Downloads on the Purchase of Music CDs. Here is the abstract.
This report examines data on the effects of Internet peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing activities on music purchasing which was obtained from a survey commissioned by Industry Canada. The survey was designed to inform Industry Canada's policy development work and ultimately therefore support better policy decisions regarding the copyright law in Canada. In order to support its policy decisions regarding the copyright regime in Canada, Industry Canada commissioned a survey by Decima Research in 2006 which was designed to measure the extent to which peer to peer (P2P) file-sharing activities act as substitutes or complements to music purchases. Given this purpose the Decima survey asked respondents to comment on their behaviour in the absence of P2P file-sharing, as follows:
Considering the songs that you downloaded for free through P2P networks during 2005
a) what % would you have purchased at paid music sites if they were not available through P2P
b) what % would you have purchased as part of a music CD if they were not available through P2P
After analyzing the answers to this question, I report on two key findings:
1. three out of every four respondents said that if P2P were not available they would have purchased some or all of the music which they downloaded; and
2. almost two-thirds of the hardcore P2P downloaders (those who indicated in the survey that they only acquired music by P2P) said they would have purchased one-third of the tracks they downloaded if the songs were not available on P2P network. This is estimated to amount to an average additional expense of $168 per person, adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue for the music industry per year from this group alone.
This analysis of survey data then suggests that P2P downloads have strong negative effects on legitimate music purchases and that P2P downloading acts as a substitute for legitimate music purchases. One might reasonably infer from this analysis that stronger copyright laws would substantially increase music purchases and music industry sales revenues and, by implication, increase artist income, industry employment, economic growth and government tax revenues in Canada. My analysis not only focuses on an important survey question which to date has not been analysed by the researchers hired by Industry Canada, it also contradicts the results of the original analysis of the data commissioned by Industry Canada, first published on Industry Canada's website in a 2007 report entitled, Don’t blame the P2P file-sharers: the impact of free music downloads on the purchase of music CDs in Canada, and then subsequently republished with changes by the authors in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics in 201'3. (sic).
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.
Michael L. Rustad, Suffolk University Law School, has published Copyrights in Cyberspace: A Roundup of Recent Cases, at 12 Suffolk University Journal of High Technology Law 106 (2011). Here is the abstract.
Decades from now, we will remember 2010 for the BP oil spill and the year 2011 because of a slow recovery from the steepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Nevertheless, it is reasonably certain that intellectual property (IP) lawyers will still remember some of the remarkable copyright cases included in this roundup of cyberspace-related cases. For the past two decades, copyright law has been accommodating to the digital age. While the World Wide Web did not become part of mainstream American culture until the mid-1990s, the widespread use of the Internet dramatically changed the course of copyright law.
The World Wide Web continues to enable copyright infringement on a scale unfathomable in the 1980s and 1990s. In October 2011, the U.S. Copyright Office released its strategic plan that prioritized its activities for the next two years. One Copyright Office priority is the "feasibility and facilitation of the mass digitization of books, outside the context of Google’s private effort." Google Book Search already enables users around the world to access millions of books from the world’s finest libraries at the click of a mouse. Among the U.S. Copyright Office’s call for legislative action is to find new ways to deter "rogue websites" that enable widespread copyright infringement of copyrighted works, "particularly motion pictures, television programs, books, and software." Another legislative priority is to ramp up "criminal penalties for unauthorized online streaming of content." The U.S. Copyright Office also calls for "amending federal law to give librarians and archivists more support in their efforts to deal with digital content." The priority of restraining widespread infringement on the Internet is a top priority for copyright owners around the world. This Article is a roundup of how Internet-related cases decided in the past two years continue to reshape the contours of copyright law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
MSNBC has terminated commentator Pat Buchanan's collaboration with the network, several months after putting him on suspension. Network president Phil Griffin seemed to want to distance himself and MSNBC from Mr. Buchanan's latest book, Suicide of a Super Power, which has received criticism from some quarters. There's much coverage on the net: here's a selection from the Christian Science Monitor and UPI; reaction from the Root, BBC, the Telegraph, and Mr. Buchanan himself.
Congress is looking at auctioning off part of the public airwaves to fund the payroll tax cut and some unemployment benefits. Some of the money raised should go to provide a network for first responders. Story here from the New York Times. Other coverage here from the Washington Post.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Some proposed changes in an existing IP policy at the University of Louisiana system have some faculty extremely upset. The changes, which actually tweak IP policy already in place but apparently overlooked, would allow University administrators to claim 60 percent of faculty royalties earned for academic writings and to hold proposed contracts for up to four months while the administration decided whether it wanted to claim any rights in the proposed works. IP experts at other universities say the general policy seems to be a departure from those in place at other institutions. More here from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Here's a link to the AAUP webpage offering "sample intellectual property policy & contract language."
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The Warner Brothers lawyers have advised Charlie Sheen that he will be facing yet another lawsuit if he uses WB copyrighted material to advertise his new show, "Anger Management." Shots of Mr. Sheen in his "Two and a Half Men" character have been included in promo material for his new show; the WB attorneys are notifying Mr. Sheen officially that use of such material is copyright infringement. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Graham Greenleaf, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, has published IP, Phone Home: The Uneasy Relationship between Copyright and Privacy, Illustrated in the Laws of Hong Kong and Australia at 32 Hong Kong Law Journal 35 (2002). Here is the abstract.
The author argues that privacy's relationship to copyright is that the right to experience intellectual works in private - free from surveillance - is part of the public domain aspect of copyright works (in Boyle's terms) or the creative commons (in Lessig's terms).
The development of content-protection technologies (CPT) and digital rights management systems (DRMS), despite their benefits to rights holders, pose many dangers to the protection of privacy, which some have said could mean an end to the privacy of reading. Hong Kong and Australia are two of the earliest jurisdictions in the world with laws implementing the anti-circumvention and rights management information (RMI) protection provisions arising from the WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 (WCT). They are also two of the few jurisdictions outside Europe with privacy (data protection) laws applying to the private sector. These two jurisdictions, therefore, give two of the best illustrations of the tensions now arising between copyright and privacy: property versus privacy. In this article, the author explores how CPT and DRMS affect privacy, how existing data protection and privacy laws affect the operation of CPT and DRMS, and whether laws against copyright circumvention devices and interference with RMI prevent privacy protection. The author concludes that privacy could now be unduly prejudiced in favour of property, and suggests reforms which may help restore the balance. The first decision on the Australian provisions, Sony v Stevens  FCA 906, also indicates that the Courts may also be interpreting anti-circumvention provisions narrowly, avoiding some of their dangers to privacy.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Rupert Murdoch has yet another scandal to deal with after five Sun journalists were arrested yesterday in connection with the seemingly ever-widening and continuing phone-hacing mess. More here from the Hollywood Reporter, here from the Guardian.
Last week police announced they were investigating allegations of email hacking at the Times of London, another Murdoch-owned paper.