Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Relationship Between the Media and Terrorists

Ekrem Ersen Emeksiz, City University of New York, John Jay College, has published The Media of Terrorism. Here is the abstract.

This study is an attempt to understand the questions on interconnections between media and terrorism. Firstly it is analyzed, how the term ‘terrorism’ is presented and understood by various scholars. Secondly, It is interesting to look at the relations between the media and terrorists from two points of view: how the media using terrorists, and vice versa. It is also important to observe how the media in this case affects public and government perception on terrorism. Obviously terrorists try to be present in the media for as longer as possible; their main aim is to become well known to the public. Attempting to influence the media, they influence the audience by spreading the word on the existence of their organization. When the terrorists get the audience’s attention, people become aware of their existence and methods they might use to reach their group or concrete target. It is also important to remember that gaining their attention they are doing their propaganda by proxy. In the final analysis , It is important to remember that it is not only the media, which wants high viewer ratings, but terrorists desire that as well. As the result of such ordinary, at the first sight, media coverage, the media itself subconsciously, unwillingly and indirectly assist terrorists in achieving their main goals and aims.


Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

September 11, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WGA Schedules Hearing For Joan Rivers On Allegations She Violated Guild Rules

The Writers Guild of America East has scheduled a hearing to consider charges that Joan Rivers worked on the  "Fashion Police" as a writer and showrunner while the show's writers have been on strike. If found in violation of WGA rules, Ms. Rivers could be fined, suspended, or expelled from the Guild. More here from the Hollywood Reporter.

September 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Dropping Legal Anchors On the Pirate Bay

Joost Poort, University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law, Jorna Leenheer, CentERdata, Joeren Van Der Ham, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Natural Science, Mathematics and Information Science, and Cosmin Dumitru, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Natural Science, Mathematics and Information Science, have published Baywatch: Two Approaches to Measure the Effects of Blocking Access to the Pirate Bay. Here is the abstract.

In the fight against the unauthorised sharing of copyright protected material, aka piracy, Dutch Internet Service Providers have been summoned by courts to block their subscribers’ access to The Pirate Bay (TPB) and related sites. This paper studies the effectiveness of this approach towards online copyright enforcement, using both a consumer survey and a newly developed non-infringing technology for BitTorrent monitoring. While a small group of respondents download less from illegal sources or claim to have stopped, and a small but significant effect is found on the distribution of Dutch peers, no lasting net impact is found on the percentage of the Dutch population downloading from illegal sources.



Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

September 10, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Zimmermann Trial and Pretrial Publicity

Margaret Tarkington, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, has published Lost in the Compromise: Free Speech, Criminal Justice, and Attorney Pretrial Publicity. Here is the abstract.

Publicity by the prosecution and defense in the criminal proceedings against George Zimmerman again raised the question of the appropriate scope of First Amendment protection for attorney pretrial publicity. The Supreme Court, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and many scholars have viewed restrictions on attorney pretrial publicity as a compromise between the constitutional guarantees of free speech and a fair trial. Nevertheless, scholars advocate widely divergent levels of free speech protection for attorney pretrial publicity — ranging from core free speech protection to almost no protection. Traditional First Amendment doctrines fail to elucidate the proper scope of free speech rights for attorneys, especially when acting in a representative capacity.

The access-to-justice theory of the First Amendment provides a workable methodology specific to examining the constitutionality of restrictions on attorney speech. Grounded in established free speech theories and philosophy, the access-to-justice theory ties attorney speech rights to the proper and constitutional functioning of the justice system. Rather than viewing attorney pretrial publicity as a compromise between incompatible rights to a fair trial and lawyer free speech, the lawyer’s speech right is keyed to the lawyer’s role in the justice system. Such an approach does not eliminate the free speech side of the traditional compromise. In fact, restricting certain pretrial publicity can frustrate the attorney’s role to protect a client’s life, liberty, and property.

Thus the appropriate scope of free speech protection for attorney pretrial publicity is determined by examining the respective roles of the prosecutor and defense attorney in the criminal justice system and the effects of pretrial publicity by each on the proper workings of that system. Such an analysis demonstrates that the traditional compromise, as embraced in MRPC 3.6, violates the robust free speech rights of the defense attorney to protect her client’s reputation and rights to a fair trial, a just plea, and a presumption of innocence. The compromise also improperly creates false constitutional walls that have kept states from curbing their own representative, the prosecutor, from prejudicing the state’s criminal processes. The prosecutor maintains essential, but limited, First Amendment rights to engage in speech necessary for the investigation and prosecution of crime and to respond to defense-initiated publicity. Notably, the failings of the compromise work to one end: undermining the rights and constitutional processes necessary to protect the guilty and the innocent in the face of state power to forfeit life or liberty.


Download the text of the article from SSRN at the link.

September 9, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Copyright In Practice

Michael Birnhack, Tel Aviv University, Buchmann Faculty of Law, is publishing Copyright Pioneers in volume 5 of the W.I.P.O. Journal (2013). Here is the abstract.

How did ordinary authors, publishers, copyright owners, and users act and interact within a particular, copyright setting? The historical view of the everyday life of copyright law — the way the law operated in practice — has by and large gone under the radar of mainstream copyright history. Missing from this picture is the micro-level: the nuanced, fragmented, perhaps messy or mundane, local dealings with copyright. Applied to the law, microhistory queries not only the law and its direct history, or the particulars of a judicial decision. A microhistorian legal analysis asks about the context of the events surrounding a case, or about a specific person, trying to better figure out the political, social, and cultural meanings of the developments, going beyond the inevitably limited contours of the judicial opinion or legislation.Applying the microhistorian lens to copyright law can yield yet-unobserved elements of the big picture, supplementing our understanding of the making and application of the law. The study of specific events can offer explanations for such gaps. By exposing the messiness of the law, micro-analysis supplements or challenges the macro picture. This article suggests that we pay more attention to the people who engaged with copyright in their everyday life: the less powerful authors and publishers, who were not necessarily involved in a major litigation. More specifically, the article wishes to draw attention to authors or intermediaries that changed the law in some aspect, but who acted on their own behalf, protecting or promoting their own interests, rather than under an official role or as self-designated activists. These are copyright pioneers. While they did not necessarily seek a broader change, their engagement with copyright has nevertheless brought such change. I illustrate the relevance of such a lens, by two short case studies from Mandate Palestine (1917-48).


Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 9, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 6, 2013

U. S. Government Asked Yahoo For Data Nearly 12,500 Times In First Six Months of 2013

Yahoo has released information indicating that various governments around the world asked it for data nearly 30,000 times in the first six months of 2013. The U.S. government's requests accounted for 42 percent of the total.

September 6, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Copyright Protection For Sexually Explicit Forms of Media

Derek E. Bambauer, University of Arizona College of Law, has published Exposed in volume 98 of the Minnesota Law Review (2014). Here is the abstract.

The production of intimate media – amateur, sexually explicit photos and videos – by consenting partners creates social value that warrants increased copyright protection. The unauthorized distribution of these media, such as via revenge porn, threatens to chill their output. To date, scholarly attention to this problem has focused overwhelmingly on privacy and criminal law as responses, neglecting the power of intellectual property doctrine to curtail harms and spur beneficial uses. Copyright law leverages an established, carefully limited system of intermediary liability that addresses the true risks of abuses, such as revenge porn. Importantly, copyright is also consonant with key statutory protections, such as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that protect the thriving Internet ecosystem.

This Article proposes creating within the Copyright Act a right for identifiable people captured in intimate media to block unauthorized distribution and display of those images or video. It then uses the proposal, and issues for intimate media more broadly, as a window into contentious scholarly debates over the nature of authorship and the balance between copyright and free speech. The Article closes by identifying the rise of intimate media and its concomitant challenges as part of the ongoing revolution in information production. 


Download the full text of the article from SSRN at the link.

September 6, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Price Media Law Moot Court Competition: Americas Regional Round Competition Date Announced

From the administrators of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition:


Save the Date:

The Price Media Law Moot Court Competition

Americas Regional Round in New York City

January 22 - 26, 2014


The Americas Regional Round of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition is an
international moot court program sponsored by the University of Oxford's
Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of
Law, and the Annenberg School of Communication. The competition provides a
regional forum for dialogue and debate on freedom of expression and media law
issues of global importance. This year's case focuses on privacy, surveillance, and data
, issues that are very much relevant to current events
as well as the future of international and national media law. Participants
will use international case law, including the rights enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and upheld by the Universal Court of
Human Rights. Participants will also be encouraged to draw on domestic law when
formulating their legal arguments.


Schools from Canada, the United States, Central America, South America, and the
Caribbean are invited to participate. The competition will be adjudicated by
judges and leading media law attorneys. Winning teams will qualify to
participate in the International Rounds held at Oxford University, UK.


Limited funds are available for teams from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.


For more information about the Americas Regional Round, applying for funding for
teams, FAQs and testimonials please visit

To register a team, visit:

For questions, please email: 




September 5, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What If? The Wikileaks Case and the UK Legal Regime

David Banisar, ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression, and Francesca Fanucci, Free Expression Associates, have published WikiLeaks, Secrecy and Freedom of Information: The Case of the United Kingdom in Beyond Wikileaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society (Brevini, Hintz, and McCurdy, eds., Palgrave, MacMillan, 2013). Here is the abstract.

The bulk releases of internal information about US military and foreign affairs by WikiLeaks were a shock to American officials in their scope and scale. However, so far, despite the public anger showed by the US government and immediate action against the lone alleged leaker, no new legislation restricting free expression rights has been adopted by Congress and signed by the president.

Clearly, the WikiLeaks saga has triggered a vigorous debate far beyond the borders of the United States. In the United Kingdom, where Julian Assange has been very active – given his collaboration with UK-based news outlets and his participation to in numerous public discussions – WikiLeaks has renewed the debate on the balance between secrecy and openness and the prospects for reform.

Because the United Kingdom presents a significantly different appreciation of openness and freedom of speech when compared to the United States, we decided to explore what would happen if a similar release of information were to occur in the United Kingdom. Hence, this chapter sets out to explore the comprehensive system of secrecy engrained in the British government, the legislative framework that characterizes it, and the past and current efforts made to promote a culture of openness.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 5, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Two Writers Depart DC, Leaving "Batwoman" Behind

Batwoman's co-authors J. H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman have announced via a blogpost (unavailable 9/5/2013 due to maintenance issues) that they are parting ways with DC Comics, due to creative differences (more here from The Hollywood Reporter).  The writers note that they understand that "as much as we love the character, Batwoman ultimately belongs to DC." Among the differences is a disagreement over plans to have Batwoman (Kate Kane) come out as gay. More on the editorial dispute from the blog Geeks of Doom.

September 5, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Media Self Regulation In the Indian Legal Regime

Aastha Mishra, Delhi University, has published Self Regulation in the Indian Media. Here is the abstract.

The fourth pillar of democracy, the media, has never hogged more limelight than it has in the last few years in India. In the scramble for TRPs (target rating points), the line between news and entertainment has become blurred. The media is not just the fourth pillar but also the backbone of any democratic society. This is because while the legislature makes the laws, the judiciary interprets it and the executive implements it, it is the media which acts as the watchdog of the three pillars, in order to ensure that they are performing their constitutional duties, thus calling for accountability. Considering the fact that the media performs such an important function, it is particularly important that there should be some codes or ethics which act as its watchdog, lest the media take undue advantage of its role. India's vibrant media landscape includes close to 650 television channels, more than 2,000 publications, over 80,000 newspapers and more than 30 FM radio operators running 245 stations. And not to forget our very new social media. As the country's media continues on this trajectory of expansion, its call for regulation will continue to echo.


September 4, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Food Fight! Food Truck Owners Sue NY In Federal Court Because of Ban Over Name

Over at the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, Jacob Gershman writes about a food fight, ahem, brewing over the name of Andrea Loguidice and Brandon Snooks's food truck, the Wandering Dago. Said truck has been banned from the streets around the New York state house and the Saratoga Race Track because of its questionable name. The pair has sued in federal court, alleging that the New York State Court of General Services, which banned the truck because of its moniker, has interfered with its business relationships, and violated its First Amendment rights, and its speech rights under the New York Constitution. Here's more coverage from the Albany (NY) Times Union, and the Register (UK).

September 3, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Routing Internet Transmission Across the Canada-U.S. Border and U.S. Surveillance Activities

Jonathan A. Obar, University of Toronto Faculty of Information, and Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and Andrew Clement, University of Toronto Faculty of Information, have published Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty.  Here is the abstract.

Preliminary analysis of more than 25,000 traceroutes reveals a phenomenon we call ‘boomerang routing’ whereby Canadian-to-Canadian internet transmissions are routinely routed through the United States. Canadian originated transmissions that travel to a Canadian destination via a U.S. switching centre or carrier are subject to U.S. law - including the USA Patriot Act and FISAA. As a result, these transmissions expose Canadians to potential U.S. surveillance activities – a violation of Canadian network sovereignty.

In the face of this unregulated surveillance of Canadians, the Federal government and internet service providers should re-assert our national network sovereignty and better protect Canadian civil liberties. In what follows, we present boomerang route findings and discuss NSA tracking concerns. We then offer a plan for strengthening Canadian network sovereignty, including: 1) strengthening and enforcement of Canadian privacy law (e.g. PIPEDA), and 2) repatriation of Canadian internet traffic by building more internet exchange points.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

September 3, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

CBS and Time Warner Come To Agreement Over Retransmission Fees

CBS and Time Warner have announced an agreement that ends the one month blackout for cable subscribers hungry for such hot shows as "Big Bang Theory," "Under the Dome," and "How I Met Your Mother," as well as CBS Sports.  Media watchers seem to consider the agreement a victory for CBS, which will receive an undisclosed bump in retransmission fees. Cable companies like Time Warner are feeling the pinch, both from legacy broadcasters and from other competitors such as Netflix which deliver product through wireless access.  Here is FCC Interim Chair Mignon Clyburn's statement on the news of the end of the blackout.

"I am pleased CBS and Time Warner Cable have resolved their retransmission consent negotiations, which for too long have deprived millions of consumers of access to CBS programming.  At the end of the day, media companies should accept shared responsibility for putting their audience's interests above other interests and do all they can to avoid these kinds of disputes in the future."

September 3, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

David Frost Dies

Well known interviewer, journalist, and TV personality Sir David Frost has died. Sir David was aboard the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth when he suffered a fatal heart attack. He may be best known to US audiences for his extensive interviews with former President Richard Nixon. More here from the BBC, here from the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), here from the Los Angeles Times.

September 1, 2013 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)