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January 2004

MediaLawLetter April 2004


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LDRC Inst.: First Amendment Seminars at High School Journalism Conventions
Seminars explore how reporters balance public safety and fair trial concerns

Legislative: Broadcast Decency Continued; OFAC Regulations

Ethics: Attorneys Risk Disclosure of Their Communications with Expert Witnesses
Under Federal Rule 26, attorneys should be wary of information they provide to experts


U.S.: Privacy Interests Bar Release of Vince Foster Photos
Shift in Burden May Hamper Media
National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish


S.C.C.P.: Directed Verdict for Newspaper after Mid-Trial Ruling on Public Figure Status
Court ruled guardian ad litem was public figure who did not prove actual malice
Erickson v. Jones Street Publishers, L.L.C.

Mass. Super. Ct.: The Right to Reveal Intimate Details: A Protected Right
Court dismisses private facts case, recognizes author’s right to tell personal story
Bonome v. Kaysen & Random House

Ill. App., N.D. Ill.:  Chicago Sun-Times Wins Two Cases on Innocent Construction Rule
Illinois courts dismiss libel cases over articles implying mafia ties and prostitution
Salamone v. Hollinger International, Inc.; Knafel v. Chicago Sun-Times

Ill.App. Being Turned Away from Memorial Service Not Defamatory
Appellate court affirmed dismissal of sports agent’s claim against newspaper
Zucker v. Chicago Tribune Company

S. Ct. Petition for Cert. Filed in Ross v. Santa Barbara News-Press
Seeking to appeal $2.25 million jury award

N.Y.A.D. 2d Dep’t: NY Court Affirms Dismissal of Media Ride-along Claims
Plaintiff’s failure to allege property related damage from trespass fatal to claim
Every Drop Equal Nutrition, L.L.C. v. ABC, Inc.

R.I.: Court Affirms Summary Judgment for News Station, Condemns “Ambush Interview”
Court upholds investigative journalists’ rights while disagreeing with methods
Leddy v. Narragansett Television, L.P.

M.D. Pa.: Court Dismisses Pro Se Prisoner’s Case Holding Plaintiff Libel Proof
Plaintiff incarcerated for drug trafficking incapable of proving damages for defamation
Istrefi v. Pocono Record Newspaper

N.Y.A.D.: Old Public Figures Still Never Die, Nor Do They Fade Away
4th Dep’t Court rules that public figures, once established, retain status for later commentary
White v. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

Penn. C.P.: Claim that Pennsylvania Judge Used Handicapped Parking Spot Is Not Defamatory
Reports about parking violations deemed embarrassing, but not highly offensive
Joyce v. NextMedia Group, Inc.

Utah Dist. Ct.: Utah Anti-SLAPP Statute Applied to Dismiss Defamation Claim Against Newspaper
In first application of statute in media context, court awards attorney fees to newspaper
Jacob et al. v. Bezzant et al.

Georgia: Legislature Acts to Protect Amber Alert Broadcasters
Senate Bill creates broad civil immunity for media outlets that broadcast Amber Alerts

S.C. App.: South Carolina Asserts Jurisdiction over Book Publisher
Court ruled publisher that sold only 30 copies of book in state had targeted market
Moosally v. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

D.S.D.: Ex-Senator’s Libel Suit Against Website Survives Motion to Dismiss
Court ignores defendant’s rhetorical hyperbole and opinion argument
Abourezk v.

4th Cir.: Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Religious Rights Legal Group
Court rules press release accusing school officials is a matter of public concern
Hugger v. Rutherford Institute


S.D.N.Y. Judge Prohibits Publication of Juror Names in Quattrone Retrial
Judge cites recent Tyco mistrial as basis for bench order

N.Y. Sup.: Transcripts of Chambers Meeting with Hold-out Juror in Tyco Trial Unsealed
No choice but to declare mistrial


Mass. App.: Court Vacates Order Prohibiting Identification of Witness
Judge finds state interest not sufficient to support injunction
Commonwealth v. Porter

6th Cir.: Court Stays Prior Restraint of “Naked Newscaster” Video
Defendant demonstrated strong likelihood of showing injunction violated 1st Amend.
Bosley v.


N.D. Ill.: Reporter Ordered to Testify About Defendant’s Demeanor During Interview
Reporter’s impressions relevant to obstruction charge
U.S. v. Hale

Ill. Cir. Ct.: Sun-Times Columnist Defeats Subpoena for Deposition
Underlying case lacked merit under innocent construction rule
Michael Breen MD v. WBBM-TV et al.


ABA: Survey Confirms Internet Jurisdiction Concerns
ABA/ICC survey finds majority of media companies fear being sued in foreign courts

4th Cir.: Fourth Circuit Affirms Chat Room Liability Decision
Court upholds ruling that 47 U.S.C. §230 immunity applies to federal claims
Noah v. AOL Time Warner Inc.

Cal.: Cal.S.Ct. to Review Barrett v. Rosenthal
Decision Held “User” Not Entitled to Immunity


S.D.N.Y.: Court Awards Attorney Fees in Copyright Suit over Robert Mitchum Obituaries
Judge awards three television networks total of $300,000 for successful fair use defense
Video-Cinema Films v. CNN, Inc. and ABC, Inc., Video-Cinema Films v. CBS Corp.

6th Cir.: Court Reverses Jury Verdict in Movie Infringement Case
Holds reasonable jury could not find substantial similarity after filtering elements
Murray Hill Publications, Inc. V. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.


Australia: Australian Attorney General Pushes for Uniform Libel Law or National Legislation
Proposals for national law even more favorable toward plaintiffs

Canada: Canadian Court Denies Compelled Disclosure of P2P File Swappers Identities
Court held music companies failed to make prima facie case of copyright infringement
BMG Canada v. John Doe

Japan: Toyko Court Overturns Restraint on Magazine
Injunction not warranted for alleged invasion of privacy


11th Cir.: PGA Tour is Entitled to Restrict Real Time Golf Scores
Rejecting antitrust claim, court holds PGA has business justification to control scores
Morris Communications Corp. v. PGA Tour

FCC: FCC Announces $495,000 Fine Against Clear Channel for Howard Stern Broadcast; Miami Station Fined for Crank Call to Castro

Media Groups Protest Seizure of Reporters’ Tapes at Scalia Speech
In response, Scalia apologizes for incident, promises more access for print reporters