Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Manning Pleads Guilty To Lesser Charges

Bradley Manning, the private accused of leaking documents to Wikileaks, has pled guilty to 10 charges that he possessed secret papers including diplomatic cables, field reports, and other classified materials, and that he released those materials to unauthorized persons. He has justified his actions by telling a judge that he wanted to let the U.S. public know about what was actually going on in Afghanistan. The judge will now decide whether to accept Private Manning's guilty plea. Private Manning indicated that he had tried to speak to the mainstream press, including the New York Times, before contacting Wikileaks, but did not receive a response. Prosecutors could still proceed with a court martial of Private Manning on other charges.

More here from the Guardian, the Washington Post.

February 28, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

ABA To Judges: Be Cautious In the Use of Social Media

The ABA has pointed out that, as in "real" life, "virtual" life can pose pitfalls for judges who seem overly friendly to one side or the other. Be careful that your social media "likes" don't seem to endorse a candidate, a lawyer, or an organization, says the venerable lawyer's group in an ethics opinion issue February 21st. Here's a link to the text of Formal Opinon 462:  Judge's Use of Electronic Social Networking Media. It reads in part:

The Model Code requires judges to “maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives.” Thus judges must be very thoughtful in their interactions with others, particularly when using ESM. Judges must assume that comments posted to an ESM site will not remain within the circle of the judge’s connections. Comments, images, or profile information, some of which might prove embarrassing if publicly revealed,  may be electronically transmitted without the judge's knowledge or permission to persons unknown to the  judge or to other unintended recipients. Such dissemination has the potential to compromise or appear to compromise the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judge, as well as to undermine public confidence in the judiciary. 

February 28, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

He's Baaaack.....?

Will Silvio Berlusconi pull off a return to a top spot in Italian politics, even though he has faced scandal, (literal) trial, and possible jail time over the past year? It looks like it, after the recent Italian elections. More here from, here from the National Post, here from CNN.

February 26, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Avast There, Ye Lubbers! Buckle That Swash!

From the Hollywood Reporter: The Pirate Bay, the file-sharing site made famous for its willingness to infringe copyright laws, is abandoning Sweden's bandwidth for what it seems to consider friendlier digital shores in Norway and Spain. Meanwhile, the Pirate Bay itself is suing the anti piracy organization Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC), which is based in Finland, for copying its logo and stylesheet. More here from the International Business Times. 

February 26, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ron Paul Wants His Domain Name!

Ron Paul, former Representative and candidate for U.S. President, has filed a complaint with ICANN over ownership of the domain names and, currently owned by Ron Paul supporters. Dr. Paul says the current owners should give up the names because he has a common law trademark on his name. There is some dispute over whether the owners offered to sell Dr. Paul the names and if so, for what sum. More here from FoxNews, here from the Huffington Post.

February 25, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Using Twitter To Teach Media Law

Jack Lerner, a professor at USC Law School, has a great idea: using Twitter to assist in covering the course content (which is media in the digital age). The Twitter handle is @USCMediaLaw. Check it out.

February 23, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oscar Pistorius Documentary Will Air On BBC; No Date Set

The BBC has already jumped on the Oscar Pistorius murder story as a subject for a documentary, barely a week after the death of Reeva Steenkamp. The network has not announced a date for an airing on BBC Three. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

February 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nielsen Changing System Of Tracking Viewing

The Nielsen Company is changing the way it defines "TV" viewing to mean not just the traditional box, but also broadband and Xbox viewing, and will eventually add tablets. This expanded definition will capture new kinds of viewing, including streaming, that US viewers have migrated to over the past few years. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

February 21, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Time For Cameras In the SC Courtroom? Not Yet

Tony Mauro of the National Law Journal reports that the newest Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, now seems to have abandoned her willingness to advocate for opening the Court up to the inquiring eye of the media--namely the television camera. She recently told PBS's Charlie Rose that the public might not quite be able to put oral arguments in context because of the "devil's advocate's" nature of the process. Mr. Mauro notes that other Justices have also changed their minds about introducing cameras to the Supreme Court, including Elena Kagan and Samuel Alito. More here.

February 19, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

French Publishers and Google Come To An Agreement

From the New York Times, a discussion of a new deal that French publishers have agreed to with Google, concerning French publishing content (including websites and other digital material). Other European publishers are concerned, since they had wanted to present a united front and pursue legislation that would regulate the questions both of copyright and use of digital content in the EU.

February 19, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CBS New York Affiliate Anchor Arrested On Domestic Violence Charges

Police arrested Rob Morrison, anchor for WCBS, on "charges of second-degree strangulation, second-degree threatening and disorderly conduct" after incidents at their Connecticut home Sunday night. They said Mr. Morrison assaulted and threated his wife, CBS MoneyWatch reporter Ashley Morrison. More here from CBS News.

February 19, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 15, 2013

FCC Issues Third Broadband Report

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Librarian, Targeted By Defamation Suit, Receives Support From Around the World

Dale Askey, the McMaster University librarian facing a defamation suit from Edwin Mellen Press, is gaining support from librarians, faculty unions, and academics around the world. Those wanting to show their sympathy for Mr. Askey can sign an online petition at; as of 3:50 p.m. CST on 2/14/2013 it had nearly 2000 signatures. More here about support for Mr. Askey from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

February 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ronald Dworkin Dies

Ronald Dworkin, the noted legal philosopher and professor of law at New York University School of Law, has died of leukemia. The New York Times's Adam Liptak offers an obituary here.

February 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

FCC Meeting Agenda, February 20, 2013

Below is the meeting agenda for the FCC's February 20th meeting.


Commission Meeting Agenda

A Public Notice of the Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commission News Media Information (202) 418-0500 445 12th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20554

Internet: *

The summaries listed in this notice are intended for the use of the public attending open Commission meetings. Information not summarized may also be considered at such meetings. Consequently these summaries should not be interpreted to limit the Commission's authority to consider any relevant information.

February 13, 2013 FCC TO HOLD OPEN COMMISSION MEETING WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013 The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on the subjects listed below on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. The meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m. in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.

ITEM NO. BUREAU SUBJECT 1 WIRELESS TELE- COMMUNICATIONS TITLE: Amendment of Parts 1, 2, 22, 24, 27, 90 and 95 of the Commission’s Rules to Improve Wireless Coverage Through the Use of Signal Boosters SUMMARY: The Commission will consider a Report and Order to significantly enhance wireless coverage for consumers, while protecting wireless networks from interference, by adopting new technical and operational requirements for signal boosters.

2 OFFICE OF ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY TITLE: Revision of Part 15 of the Commission’s Rules to Permit Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) Devices in the 5 GHz Band SUMMARY: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to substantially increase the amount of unlicensed spectrum available to accelerate the growth and expansion of new Wi-Fi technology offering consumers faster speeds and less network congestion at Wi-Fi hot spots.

The meeting site is fully accessible to people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Sign language interpreters, open captioning, and assistive listening devices will be provided on site. 2Other reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. In your request, include a description of the accommodation you will need and a way we can contact you if we need more information. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to: or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202- 418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty). Additional information concerning this meeting may be obtained from Meribeth McCarrick, Office of Media Relations, (202) 418-0500; TTY 1-888-835-5322. Audio/Video coverage of the meeting will be broadcast live with open captioning over the Internet from the FCC Live web page at For a fee this meeting can be viewed live over George Mason University's Capitol Connection. The Capitol Connection also will carry the meeting live via the Internet. To purchase these services call (703) 993-3100 or go to Copies of materials adopted at this meeting can be purchased from the FCC's duplicating contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (202) 488-5300; Fax (202) 488-5563; TTY (202) 488- 5562. These copies are available in paper format and alternative media, including large print/type; digital disk; and audio and video tape. Best Copy and Printing, Inc. may be reached by e-mail at


February 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Duchess of Cambridge, Pregnancy Pics, and the UK Media

The Guardian's Roy Greenslade discusses whether UK media would publish pictures of the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge on the island of Mustique, and if they did so, whether they would win an invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by the Royal family or avoid censure by the Press Complaints Commission. He notes that prior cases (one involving Prince Harry, one involving Elle MacPherson) have gone both ways.

February 14, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ASA Bans Sexually Suggestive Chanel Ad

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has upheld objections to a Chanel ad featuring actress Keira Knightly, noting that it was scheduled during a time when children could easily have been watching. The ad "involved sexually suggestive content" which was "unsuitable for young children." 

A TV ad, for the perfume Coco Mademoiselle, included scenes that showed the actress Keira Knightley being photographed on a bed. The photographer was shown unzipping her clothes before she undressed herself, showing her shoulders and part of her back. The actress was then shown dressed only in a bed sheet crawling towards the photographer before lying back on the bed. The photographer appeared about to kiss her when she put a finger to his lips and said "lock the door".

Said the ASA:

[T]he undressing in the ad took place in the context of a photo shoot but nevertheless [the ASA] considered those scenes involved sexually suggestive content. We noted that the photographer was directly involved in unzipping the actress's garments and that there was a suggestion that she was naked aside from a bed sheet. We also noted that there was clear sexual tension between the pair and that they appeared about to kiss on the bed. We noted that Ice Age 2 was of particular appeal to children. We considered the ad was suitable for older children, but that the sexually suggestive material was unsuitable for young children. We therefore concluded that the ad was inappropriately scheduled and an ex-kids restriction should have been applied to prevent the ad from being broadcast in or around children's programming.

Read the entire ruling here.

February 13, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Australian Magazine Publishes Pix of Duchess of Cambridge On Holiday

Despite objections from the Royal family, Australian magazine Women's Day says it will publish photos of the Duchess of Cambridge which show her in a bikini with a noticeable "baby bump." The magazine says in its defense that the pictures were taken while the Duchess was on holiday, in public, and were snapped by another person also on vacation, not by professional photographers. More here from The Guardian.

February 13, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Egyptian Court Bans YouTube For One Month

According to the AP, an Egyptian court has ordered a month-long ban on Google because YouTube provides access to the trailer for the anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims." Google owns YouTube. Google says it has not been notified of the court's ruling.

February 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Librarian Faces Publisher's Wrath (and Defamation Suit)

The Edwin Mellen Press has brought a defamation suit against Dale Askey over statements Mr. Askey made in a post on his own blog in September 2010. Among those comments was one particularly vivid one, that the Press is "a dubious publisher." Mr. Askey, currently a librarian at McMaster University, says he was commenting as a librarian on the quality of Edwin Mellen Press titles, in the area of philosophy. There's more, of course, which you can read in this story published in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Press has now filed its suit in an Ontario court. Here's more commentary at Leiter's blog, here from Inside Higher Education, and at the Academic Librarian, which has a link to the actual complaint. 

February 8, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)