Thursday, May 31, 2012
The judge overseeing the Dish/Fox ad-skipper litigation has granted a preliminary restraining order that prohibits Fox Networks from proceeding until next month. U. S. District Court Judge Laura Swain will take up the litigation in a few weeks when she hears more motions in the case pitting Dish Networks against Fox, and the related suits brought by Fox and other networks in California against Dish. More here (with analysis) from the Hollywood Reporter, here from L. A. Times.
Andy Coulson, formerly an editor at the now shuttered News of the World, and then Director of Communications for David Cameron, has been charged with perjury over his testimony at the trial of Tommy Sheridan in 2010. He was arrested yesterday at a police station in Glasgow. More here from the Guardian.
David S. Levin, Elon University School of Law; Stanford University Center for Internet and Society, has published Bring in the Nerds: Secrecy, National Security and the Creation of International Intellectual Property Law at 30 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 105 (2012). Here is the abstract.
The negotiations of the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement have been conducted largely in secret, elevating intellectual property piracy to the level of national security concerns for purposes of accessing information through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, the level of actual secrecy has been tiered, with corporate interests enjoying far more access to negotiation information than the general public. At the same time, similar intellectual property issues were negotiated in the relative transparency of Congress’ debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act, allowing for much greater public involvement. With national security concerns as the backdrop, the focus of this Article is the use of national security arguments to prevent the public, and more specifically, public experts (i.e., the “nerds”) from accessing information through FOIA about the creation of international intellectual property law. The Article proposes ways to address the information failures existing in international intellectual property lawmaking and international lawmaking more generally from policy and, as introduced in this Article, theoretical perspectives.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Russian radio host and journalist Sergei Aslanyan iwashospitalized after being stabbed at least 20 times by at least one or possibly more than one unknown persons. Mr. Aslanyan told police he went outside to talk with someone and then was attacked. Law enforcement is investigating. The attack on Mr. Aslanyan is one in a pattern of assaults on members of the media over the past few years. Some journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya (2009). In a first trial, those accused of murdering her were acquitted. A second trial is underway.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Carina Trimingham, the partner of Chris Hulme, the former Secretary of State for Energy, has lost a lawsuit against the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday in which she alleged that articles the papers printed invaded her privacy and harassed her. The judge hearing the case ruled that she invited public interest since she worked on Mr. Hulme's campaign, and thus was not a purely private figure. Mr. Justice Tugendhat also denied her any right to appeal and ordered her to pay the papers' costs of litigation, which might reach a million pounds. Here is a link to the decision. Here is reaction from the New Statesman.
Alina Ng, Mississippi College School of Law, is publishing Copyright and Moral Norms in the Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law. Here is the abstract.
The role normative principles such as morality and ethics play in a legal system is a highly contentious point in jurisprudence and legal theory. Scholars and philosophers have often disagreed on whether laws should reflect and incorporate moral and ethical norms. The idea that there could be a necessary connection between law and objective morality has been forthrightly rejected by some jurists because of the heterogeneity of social views and beliefs about what is right and wrong conduct. This paper challenges the assertion by legal positivism that morality cannot be incorporated into legal analysis because they obfuscate analytical thinking about the law. Instead, this paper argues that morality and ethics clarifies the proper role for law and legal institutions in society and deepens one’s understanding about the functions of a legal system. For copyright law, incorporating moral or ethical principles into legal analysis would allow one to determine if copyright laws accurately reflect common expectations for the progress of science. This paper then shows that modern day jurisprudence on copyright law does not reflect common expectations of society for the progress of science. It goes on to argue that copyright law should reflect these standards if the progress of science is to be sustained. This paper is divided into three parts. The first part of this paper analyzes literature to draw out the essential premises for the disagreement between legal positivism and natural law. It demonstrates that the incorporation of moral and ethical ideals into legal analysis will lead to greater understanding about the nature and purpose of law. The second part of this paper shows how the social and separability theses so essential to positivism affect legal understanding of copyright laws and the role copyright laws play in society. The third part of the paper argues that copyright laws must reflect objective morality - and not economic calculuses - for the progress of science to be sustained and looks to environmental law as a model for conserving and preserving the common good in copyright. This paper concludes with a preliminary proposal on how the progress of science can be sustained by the incorporation of moral and ethical principles into the law.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Cannes Film Festival organizes have nixed the showing of the movie The Antisemite, an offering from the Iranian Documetary and Experimental Film Center, during the Cannes film market, because its content might lead to a public disturbance. The film depicts a character who, dressed as a Nazi officer, "pokes fun" at the Auschwitz death camp. The movie is scheduled to be distributed over the Internet.
Oh, those annoying commercials. Wouldn't it be great to be able to skip them? A technology actually allows you to do that, and Dish Network lets its subscribers use it via "Auto Hop," but networks are understandably not happy about that. They've gone to court to try to prevent the company from continuing to make Auto Hop available. Dish is firing back, asking for a ruling that offering the feature is not a breach of its contract with the networks. More here from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Hollywood Reporter.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Hot topic at the Cannes Film Festival: the possible changes in the EU's film funding rules that would cut funding for non-EU projects, making it more difficult, industry commentators say, to bring together international productions. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Jyh-An Lee, National Chengchi University, and Ching-Yi Lee have published Forbidden City Enclosed by the Great Firewall: The Law and Power of Internet Filtering in China in volume 13 of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology (2012). Here is the abstract.
China’s Internet filtering and censorship regime has received considerable global attention. The Chinese government has successfully regulated access to Internet content at the national level through technical means. Although some researchers optimistically viewed the Internet as a liberating force in China’s democratic development, the Chinese government has actually been using network technologies to control online information and grafting its own ideology to the Net. Digital technologies have become the government’s tool to tamp down political threats. The rise of the Chinese model of Internet control prompts many interesting questions associated with Internet law scholarship. This Article uses Lawrence Lessig’s pronouncement “code is law” as a lens for understanding the Internet filtering system in China. Through the application of Lessig’s theory to the great firewall of China, we aim to illustrate the theory’s new implications and the government’s policy options in cyberspace.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.
Julie Hilden weighs in on whether Facebook "likes" should get First Amendment protection here. The case is Bland v. Roberts. Briefly, the issue presented is whether "liking" a page on Facebook is constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment. The judge in the case ruled that it is not. Generally, commentators including Hilden don't "like" his opinion. See here and here.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Another victim of the 7/7 London bombing has now sued News International and Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator whom News of the World employed to find out information about survivors and victims of the bombing at Edgware Road. John Tulloch, a former professor at Brunel University, who was injured in the bombing, has filed suit claiming NI invaded his privacy. Mr. Tulloch has published a book about his experiences in the bombing.
Last year, Sheila Henry, the mother of Christian Small, who died in the bombing, sued News International for invasion of privacy. She settled the suit, as have a number of other plaintiffs.
Monday, May 21, 2012
From the Independent: After a lengthy investigation, the European Union Commission in charge of antitrust matters is giving Google "weeks" to address EU concerns about whether the search company giant abuses its position in delivering search results to place those which favor it higher in the rankings than those that favor its competitors. Other issues of concern to the EU include Google's possible control of advertising by its partners. Google's failure to address EU's objections successfully could mean high fines for the company. More here from Fox News. Link to statement, May 21, 2012, of Joaquín Almunia Vice President of the European Commission on the Google antitrust investigation.