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April 2013

MediaLawLetter April 15, 2013


MLRC MediaLawDaily

Media Law Daily
mobile/print | email us | | April 15, 2013
Access/Freedom of Information | Broadcast/Cable/Satellite
Commercial Speech | Defamation | Editorials | Internet/New Media
Internet Privacy | Intellectual Property | International | Labor Issues
Media Business | Media Technology | Miscellaneous | Newsgathering
Prior Restraint | Privacy | Reporter’s Privilege | Supreme Court

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Supreme Court Top
Chief Justice John Roberts’ visit to Lewis & Clark College sparks a press freedom controversy
The Oregonian
College officials insisted the story needed to be screened first by the Supreme Court’s press office, which court officials now say was “a misunderstanding.”
Reporter’s Privilege Top
N.J. Sup.: Judge rules Union County blogger is protected by the state’s shield law
In a decision that could impact bloggers across New Jersey, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a self-declared citizen watchdog who writes stinging critiques of Union County government has the same legal protections as a professional journalist.
> Order: In re Grand Jury Subpoena
Defamation Top

N.D. Cal.: Charles Carreon Has To Pay $46K In Legal Fees
Carreon represented an internet site, Funnyjunk, that threatened Matthew Inman over an Oatmeal cartoon that made fun of that client.
> Opinion: Recouvreur v. Carreon

 Idaho Dist.: Judge weighs depositions of magazine employees
Associated Press
A state judge is deciding whether to require an editor and reporter of a national magazine to submit to depositions sooner rather than later in a defamation lawsuit filed by Idaho Falls businessman Frank VanderSloot.

D. Miss.: Car company founded by McAuliffe files $85 million suit over articles
Washington Post
The $85 million lawsuit accuses of libeling the company in two online articles, including one that quoted an investment adviser saying the venture was a “fraud investment” because of its use of a federal program that grants visas to foreign entrepreneurs in exchange for making investments in the U.S. that create jobs.

N.Y. Sup.: Man sues star of genealogy series on Oprah Winfrey Network for defamation
New York Daily News
Vincent Oleniak of the Bronx claims he was embarrassed by Pamela Slaton in her book, ‘Reunited: An Investigative Genealogist Unlocks Some of Life’s Greatest Family Mysteries,’ in which she claimed he was her father and said he abandoned her mother.

Herbert Richardson v. the World
Chronicle of Higher Education
Richardson’s libel suit against a university librarian is only the most recent of many legal attempts to defend his reputation….Two weeks before that phone call, Edwin Mellen Press had sent Mr. Askey two notifications of pending libel lawsuits against him seeking damages of more than $4-million.

Privacy Top
Access/Freedom of Information Top
Newsgathering Top

Cal.: A Legal Twist In The Effort To Ban Cameras From Livestock Plants
All that AB 343 would do is require that anyone who videotapes or records animal abuse turn over a copy of the evidence to police within 48 hours. It sounds like the type of bill that animal welfare groups would welcome — but it isn’t. Rather, these groups have branded AB 343 as simply a new, and subtler, attempt to stifle undercover investigations of animal cruelty.

See also
Tennessee bill on livestock sparks First Amendment debate
Knoxville News Sentinel

Tex. Dist.: Texas judge rescinds media coverage restrictions
Associated Press
A South Texas judge has rescinded his order restricting media coverage in the case of a 16-year-old boy accused of killing nine immigrants in a crash.

Navy Admits Detaining of Weekly Photographer Was Illegal
Monterey County Weekly
U.S. Department of Defense Police overstepped the bounds of their authority in detaining and threatening to arrest a Monterey County Weekly photographer who was taking pictures of the Naval Postgraduate School’s exterior.

Prior Restraint Top
Broadcast/Cable/Satellite Top

Cal. Sup.: Inside Universal’s Ugly Battle with the Creator of ‘Knight Rider’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’
Hollywood Reporter
Glen Larson is taking a “ready, fire, aim!”-approach to recouping millions in lost profit participation claims; the studio is fighting back, even subpoenaing his ex-wives.

Internet / New Media Top

N.D. Cal.: AdWords User Wins Boost in Suit Against Google
Courthouse News
Google cannot scuttle a class action over allegedly unfair pricing practices connected to its advertising service, AdWords, a federal judge ruled.
> Opinion: Woods v. Google

Bing serves up more malicious sites than Google, report says
An independent testing lab in Germany finds search engines aren’t 100 percent effective at removing malicious sites from results — and Microsoft’s Bing is less effective than Google.

Internet Privacy Top

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft execs back CISPA through trade group
A tech trade group whose guiding lights include executives from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo sent a letter to Congress this week in support of CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — proposed cybersecurity legislation that’s raised privacy concerns among groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.

Loads of Companies Are Violating Children’s Privacy
The FTC’s comprehensive overhaul of privacy rules affecting digital companies targeting kids will go into effect July 1. Just what exactly those changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) are is anybody’s guess. The FTC promises to clarify the updates in the form of FAQs “sometime this month,” leaving companies with only 10 weeks to get in line.

Forget data transparency: options grow for letting you hide your data
Asking companies to share their data with consumers could take a while, and hiding data could mean less personalization. As more online personalization becomes more popular, better solutions could emerge.

Intellectual Property Top
S.D.N.Y.: NPPA Joins Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against Google
National Press Photographers Association
The Federal suit alleges the “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of numerous photographers and other visual artists.
Commercial Speech Top
Media Business Top

The New York Post: the game is up for Murdoch’s plaything
The Guardian (Michael Wolff)
Murdoch’s once-mighty tabloid toy is out of time: the new News Corp can’t carry the spectacularly loss-making vanity project.

Boston Globe former owner mulls buying back paper
Market Watch
The Taylor family, which sold the Boston Globe to the New York Times Company in 1993, is contemplating making an offer to buy the paper back, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Look At How Gannett’s Digital Strategies Are Paying Off
Editor & Publisher

Bezos on Competitors, Royalties, Kindles
Publishers Weekly

Simon & Schuster launches ebook lending pilot with New York City public libraries
The publisher is making all of its titles available in the trial, but would not comment on how much it is charging libraries for them.

NBC News Turns Big Flipboard Presence Into Ad Sales
About a year ago, NBC News established an account on Flipboard—the increasingly popular magazine-formatted, social mobile app—and has since grown its presence to a whopping 1.3 million monthly active readers.

Economics Changing for Cable, Bundling Threatened
If sports networks decoupled from cable distribution and offered consumers standalone services at market prices,”you have an unsustainable model” for cable companies, he said.

More Cracks Undermine the Citadel of TV Profits
New York Times (David Carr, Media Equation)
Television has thrived on bundling, which offers a way of protecting things but also tends to obscure the weaknesses within. Now those flaws are becoming more apparent.

Dish Network offers to buy Sprint in $25.5B deal, says bid is superior to SoftBank’s proposal
Washington Post

Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti: ‘We’re not like something that came before’
The Guardian
The social news site’s creator and CEO on how it became a hit, meeting Murdoch – and why cat posts grab so much traffic.

The native matrix
Reuters (Felix Salmon)
Jay Rosen asks, reasonably, that people start drawing useful distinctions between buzzy terms like content marketing, sponsored content, native advertising, and even brand journalism. Here’s my stab at it.

Media Technology Top

Microsoft Working With Suppliers on Designs for Touch-Enabled Watch Device
Wall Street Journal
Microsoft is working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device, executives at suppliers said, potentially joining rivals like Apple in working on a new class of computing products.

Clues Emerge to How Twitter Will Promote Music
New York Times
The service’s music feature is still hidden from the public, but it appears to be a way to learn what music is becoming popular.

Labor Issues Top
International Top

EU pours millions into groups seeking state control of press
The Telegraph
The European Union is quietly pouring millions of pounds into initiatives and groups seeking state-backed regulation of the press, including key allies of the controversial Hacked Off campaign.

Europeans Reach Deal With Google on Searches
New York Times
Google has for the first time agreed to legally binding changes to its search results after an antitrust investigation by European regulators.

See also
Google’s EU Antitrust Settlement Offer Won’t Suit Rivals

EU Approves Liberty Global, Virgin Media Deal
Fox Business
Europe’s biggest cable operator Liberty Global Inc received the green light Monday for its 17.2 billion euros ($22.5 billion) acquisition of Virgin Media Inc., the U.K.’s second largest pay-TV operator, after the European Union said the acquisition raised no competition concerns

EU court decision heralds multi-country European music licenses
Europe’s music royalties societies must now allow artists to sign up to a society of their choice and make multi-country licenses available to the likes of Amazon and Apple after a court backed an EU veto on national monopolies.

Canada: Supreme Court becoming ‘Charter-averse,’ expert says
Globe and Mail
Constitutional experts are questioning whether the Supreme Court of Canada still has the stomach to guarantee fundamental rights. Not only is the court hearing fewer Charter cases, they contend, it increasingly releases timid, confusing judgments that confound lawyers and restrict the potential of the Charter.

Canada: Five things about the Canadian newspaper industry
Globe and Mail
Here are five things we learned about the newspaper industry’s current state from the quarterly report.

China’s Theaters May Soon Show Tarantino Film
New York Times
Details remain sparse, but Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” is expected to be back in China’s theaters soon, after some further editing.

Germany: Top Court Grants Foreign Media Access to Nazi Trial
Germany’s top court has ruled that foreign media must get access to the trial of a suspected neo-Nazi charged in connection with the murders of 10 people, including eight of Turkish descent.

India: Researchers see need to change Internet laws
The Hindu
While laws governing the Internet in India are in need of urgent reform, the inherent deficiencies in the system, including lack of awareness among law enforcement and poor understanding of the medium, must be tackled, researchers participating in a conference on “Strengthening freedom of expression online in India” have said.

Japan: A Wave of Media Distrust Post-Tsunami
PBS Mediashift

New Zealand: Earthquake Commission v Unknown Defendants, Interim injunction against EQC blogger
International Forum for Responsible Media
I feel as if I write this same thing about once every year. Someone rushes to court to get an injunction preventing the release of information. It’s based on breach of confidence. Here it’s the Earthquake Commission seeking to prevent the release of a database containing assessments about 83,000 Christchurch claims.

Turkish pianist Fazil Say convicted of insulting Islam
BBC News
World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say has been given a suspended 10-month jail sentence for insulting Muslim values.

UK: Libel tourism victims’ warning: Defamation Bill will not address foreign claims
Press Gazette
Two of the most notable victims of libel tourism in recent years have warned that the long-awaited Defamation Bill will not address this issue.

See also
UK: Defamation Bill: back in the Commons with a row about corporations
International Forum for Responsible Media

UK: LSE professors ‘at risk’ over BBC’s film on North Korea
The Telegraph
BBC reporters who posed as students to gain access to communist North Korea have damaged the reputation of British universities and put academics at risk, higher education leaders have said.

See also
BBC insists Panorama North Korea programme will go on
BBC News

UK: More on “secret arrests” – the Judges and the Sun
International Forum for Responsible Media
On 4 March 2013, a number of senior judges formally responded to the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper 209 on Contempt of Court. … It is, therefore, at first sight surprising that this document should feature in the Sun newspaper on two successive days.

See also
UK: Secret arrests would be an affront to justice
The Telegraph
Secret arrests, like secrecy of any kind, make for bad justice. This wrong-headed proposal should be abandoned immediately

UK: Streetmap sues Google over ‘anti-competitive’ search results
Computer Business Review
UK-based online mapping firm Streetmap has sued Google, claiming that the search giant is misusing its dominant position in the online search market.

UK: What can and can’t you say on Twitter?
BBC News
A student who made racially offensive comments about footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter has been jailed for 56 days – the latest case where a comment made on social media has landed someone in court.

Miscellaneous Top

The end of big (media): When news orgs move from brands to platforms for talent
Nieman Journalism Lab
What if news organizations confronted the reality that nearly all media will be ‘social media’ a decade hence?…What if news organizations acknowledged this — or even got out in front of it, ahead of the curve this time — and organized themselves as platforms for talent?

Pennsylvania Abortion Doctor’s Murder Trial Sparks Media Debate
Some journalists are asking why the murder trial of a Philadelphia abortion doctor isn’t receiving more coverage.

Supreme Court Spectator Line Acts as a Toll Booth
New York Times
Place holding is common at Congressional hearings and is on the rise at the Supreme Court, where seats for last month’s arguments went for as much as $6,000.

Douglas Rushkoff on Everything Happening Now
New York Times
A leading media theorist says we’ve made bad choices with our technology, and it’s changing us as people.

Editorials Top

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