Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

BBC Delays Program On Royals After Contact From Lawyers

The BBC has decided to delay broadcast of a two part documentary, Reinventing the Royals, after attorneys for "senior royals," presumably the Prince of Wales and his wife, contacted the network with concerns about the program's content. The documentary takes a look at the way the Prince of Wales and his PR team handled criticism of his behavior after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. More here from The Hollywood Reporter, here from the Daily Mail.

December 30, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A New Publication On French Copyright Law

Of interest:  a new publication by Brad Spitz, The Guide to Copyright in France. Business, Internet, and Litigation (Wolters, Kluwer, 2014). 

December 25, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Scots Wha' Hae!

From across the pond, news that a tuxedo cat is striking a blow for feline rights. Jordan, a media-savvy (read his thoughts on life, the Universe and everything here on his Facebook page here) and intellectually curious kitty who lives at the nearby Catholic chaplaincy, has been hanging out at the Edinburgh University library for years. Now he has finally scored a library card.  Why not? Why should the library only be open to those formally enrolled? Democracy holds that the pleasures of learning should be available to all! University staff and students say Big Cat on Campus Jordan is very popular, and helps to de-stress the atmosphere around exam time. He still goes home for meals, however. 

December 19, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keep Watching the Skies!

Timothy M. Ravich, University of Central Florida, College of Health and Public Affairs, is publishing Commercial Drones and the Phantom Menace in the Journal of International Media and Entertainmental Law. Here is the abstract.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) — commonly referred to as “drones” — get a lot of bad press. Their operations are portrayed as a clear and present danger to privacy and property rights — the constitutional equivalent of falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater for First Amendment purposes. In regular conversation, the pejorative “drone” is used instead of the proper “UAV” to connote danger, imminent and otherwise. This is understandable given the technology’s military origins. “Drones” are hunter-killer robots with scary names like “Predator” and “Reaper.” They are scary “smart” with robust intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance capabilities. In the “war on terror,” they stalk human beings with indefatigable persistence and kill them with “Hellfire” missiles. Unfortunately, this context overshadows the many civil and commercial uses of UAVs, including natural gas pipeline monitoring, agriculture remote sensing, and aerial cinematography.  This article is the first to examine the current UAV regulatory environment as applied to the media and entertainment industry.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 18, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Non-Fiction List of "Must Reads"

From the Guardian, a compilation of non-fiction titles "everyone should read."  

December 11, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

THR: Sony Didn't Plan To Release "The Interview" Even Before Hack

A source has told The Hollywood Reporter that Sony Pictures didn't plan to release the James Franco/Seth Rogan picture "The Interview" even before the recent major hack. That attack on Sony's network resulted in leaks of personal information about Sony executives and talent, including salary info, and emails between Sony execs that have already resulted in apologies.

December 11, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Loyola (L.A.) Journalist Law Program Now Accepting Applications For Summer 2015

Loyola (Los Angeles)'s Journalist Law School is now accepting applications for its summer 2015 session. More here at its website.

December 10, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Learning Law Via Videos

Reblogged from LegalED, via TaxProfBlog: Ted Style Videos on Law Teaching

December 10, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Justice Must Not Only Be Done...

Leonie Van Lent, Utrecht University School of Law, has published Procedural Justice Seen to Be Done: The Judiciary's Press Guidelines in the Light of Publicity and Procedural Justice at 10 Utrecht Law Review 131 (2014). Here is the abstract.

As in other jurisdictions, the Dutch judiciary has been confronted with public unease about criminal justice and is trying to enhance its legitimacy. System and culture however contain hardly any opening for public involvement in criminal justice, and this implication of the publicity principle traditionally encounters disapproval. In its aim of (re)gaining confidence in the criminal justice system, publicity intertwines procedural fairness and public influence: it requires that the (perception of the) lay public is taken into account when conducting proceedings and phrasing the judgment, thereby ensuring visible conformity with publicly-held fairness standards and thus a perception of legitimacy by participants and the public alike. Procedural justice research confirms these notions in finding that the perception of proceedings as fair legitimizes the judiciary and the justice system. The judiciary’s wish to enhance transparency – of which the press guidelines (2013) are the most important expression – is therefore essential. Both publicity and the procedural justice concept refer to the procedure as central in legitimization and therefore provide important arguments for allowing the audiovisual registration of criminal proceedings. As system and culture do not change easily, this may lead to more public-minded proceedings and to a shift in the public debate towards procedure.


Download the article from SSRN at the link.

December 10, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Russian Regulation of the Web

Andrey Tselikov has published The Tightening Web of Russian Internet Regulation as Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-15. Here is the abstract.

Over the past two years, systematic Internet regulation has increased more in Russia than anywhere else in the world. A series of progressively more restrictive legislative developments between the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2014 have increased the power of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and federal agency Roskomnadzor to block or take down websites for a wide range of alleged infractions. New legislation has also mandated the registration of bloggers with the federal government and greatly increased Russian law enforcement access to user data, among other changes. This paper examines this growing web of regulations and explores how Russian Internet users and freedom of information advocates are responding through online and offline protests, circumvention, and a range of other tactics.


Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 5, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Rolling Stone Retreats From Story On UVa Gang Rape

From CNN: Rolling Stone magazine is pulling back on its coverage of the University of Virginia fraternity gang rape story, citing "discrepancies" in the interviewee's story, including problems with her account of a party at the fraternity the night she alleges the rape occurred and the identities of the men she claims attacked her and. More here from NPR, here from

A link to Rolling Stone's "note to readers" here. A link to the original story here.

December 5, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Even More Stories About Bill Cosy, Now Questioning Whether NBC Execs Knew Of Allegations When "Cosby Show" Was On Air

From the Hollywood Reporter, a story discussing whether NBC execs knew anything, and if so, how much, concerning allegations that actor/comedian Bill Cosby had sexually assaulted women during the years The Cosby Show was on the air. The stories concerning Mr. Cosby have been in the headlines for years, but have picked up steam in recent weeks.  More coverage here from such varied outlets as The New Yorker,  Philly,  CNN,  the Chicago Tribune, and  Rolling Stone.

December 4, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Public Performance Right After the Aereo Decision

Matthew Sag, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, has published The Uncertain Scope of the Public Performance Right after Aereo. Here is the abstract.

The Supreme Court’s recent majority decision in American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, Inc. 134 S.Ct. 2498 (2014) holds that a service allowing consumers to watch broadcast television programs over the Internet virtually simultaneously with the original over the air broadcast directly infringes the copyright owners the exclusive rights to 'perform the copyrighted work publicly.' The majority overrules the Second Circuit ruling in the same case, and throws into doubt one of the central holdings in the Second Circuit’s Cablevision decision.

The majority’s 'looks like a cable system' approach makes the public performance right almost incomprehensible. This Article considers a number of questions left open by the Aereo decision relating to specific technologies, including remote DVRs, devices that allow the consumer to pause and rewind live television, and cloud computing generally. It also considers whether the Court's decision in Aereo portends the use an effects-based approach to expand other exclusive rights under the Copyright Act in future cases. Finally, this Article concludes with a concise explanation as to why Aereo would not have prevailed under a fair use analysis. Judge Chin’s intuition that Aereo’s design was a mere 'Rube Goldberg-like contrivance, over-engineered in an attempt to avoid the reach of the Copyright Act,' was spot on; however this technological contrivance should not have been the foundation for the Supreme Court's legal contrivance.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 3, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Working With the ECJ's Ruling In the Google "Right To Be Forgotten" Case

Alessandro Mantelero, Polytechnic University of Turin, Department of Production Systems and Business Economics; Nexa Center for Internet & Society, has published Finding a Solution to the Google’s Dilemma on the 'Right to Be Forgotten', after the 'Political' ECJ Decision. Here is the abstract.

The decision of the European Court of Justice on the Google case has re-opened the debate on the importance of remembering and forgetting in the digital age. For this reason, the decision induces to reconsider the provisions of the Article 17 of the EU Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation. 

The future EU regulation should consider the peculiar nature of search engines and introduce an "ad hoc" legal provision, which excludes the direct enforcement of the right to erasure carried out by data controllers and requires a complaint direct to a court or data protection authority (DPA).

At the same time, this provision should also impose to data controllers the temporary removal (e.g. 20-30 days) of the links in dispute, which will be reactivated if the data subject does not take legal action within this time.

These Remarks were adapted from my contribution to the 58th Congress of the Union Internationale des Avocats, held on October 29-November 02, 2014, in Florence, Italy.


Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 2, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Alternatives To the "Right To Be Forgotten"

Martha Garcia-Murillo and Ian MacInnes, both of Syracuse University, have published The Right to Be Forgotten: Its Weaknesses and Alternatives. Here is the abstract.

In this article we argue that the European Union directive on “the right to be forgotten” is unrealistic and suggest instead a series of principles that can protect us from the potentially harmful publication of private information. The dissemination of personal information through public and private databases as well as social media is gradually educating humanity about reality: humans are weak; everyone misbehaves; and we need to learn to accept public knowledge of the imperfections of ourselves and others.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.


December 2, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

John Stuart Mill and Sexually Explicit Speech

Clare McGlynn, Durham University Law School, and Ian Ward, University of Newcastle Faculty of Law, have published Would John Stuart Mill Have Regulated Pornography? at 41 Journal of Law and Society 500 (2014). Here is the abstract.

John Stuart Mill dominates contemporary pornography debates where he is routinely invoked as an authoritative defence against regulation. This article, by contrast, argues that a broader understanding of Mill's ethical liberalism, his utilitarianism, and his feminism casts doubt over such an assumption. New insights into Mill's approach to sex, sexual activity, and the regulation of prostitution reveal an altogether more nuanced and activist approach. We conclude that John Stuart Mill would almost certainly have accepted certain forms of pornography regulation and, in this light, we argue that Mill can provide the foundation for new, liberal justifications of some forms of pornography regulation.


The full text is not available from SSRN.

December 1, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Looking For the Meaning of "Speech": A Waste of Time?

Larry Alexander, University of San Diego School of Law, has published The Misconceived Search for the Meaning of 'Speech' in Freedom of Speech as San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 14-173. Here is the abstract.

In this (very) short essay, I establish these points: All speech is symbolic; any conduct can be used to communicate a message (i.e., symbolically); government’s purpose in regulating, and not a speaker’s intention to communicate, defines the realm of freedom of expression; and determining the value of speech has a denominator problem.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

December 1, 2014 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)