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January 2009

MediaLawLetter February 2009


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Ethics: New York Adopts ABA Model Rules, Effective April 1st
NY Lawyers Take Note: Major Changes for Law Firm Practice

MLRC London Conference 2009
October 1-2, Stationers’ Hall; Save the Date

New MLRC Bulletin Examines Media Trials and Damages in 2008
Long-Term Trend of Fewer Trials, Increasing Media Victory Rate Continues


1st Cir.: Truth Not an Absolute Defense in Private Figure / Private Concern Case
Massachusetts Law Provides for Liability for Malicious Statements
Noonan v. Staples, Inc.

7th Cir.: Seventh Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Freakonomics
Innocent Construction Rule Applied to Criticism of Academic
Lott v. Levitt

Va. Cir. Ct.: Virginian-Pilot Wins Libel Trial on Directed Verdict
Plaintiff Failed to Present Sufficient Evidence of Falsity or Negligence
Erb v. Landmark Communications

NY App.: New York Court Applies Broad Protection for Opinion in Dismissing Libel Action against Hearst
Context Makes Fact-like Statements Matters of Opinion
Bonanni v. Hearst Communications, Inc.

NJ Super. Ct.: Court Dismisses Defamation/Invasion of Privacy Claims Arising out of “Hot Chicks with Douchebags” Book
Book Clearly Intended as Humorous Social Commentary
Gorzelany v. Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Pa. App.: Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms Judgment For Broadcaster
Reaffirms Court’s Gatekeeping Role on Summary Judgment
Mingacci v. Fox 29 WTXF TV

NY Sup. Ct.: Statutory Misappropriation Claim Against Documentary Filmmaker Dismissed
Use of Nine Second Video Clip Not Actionable
Diokahne v. 57th & Irving, Inc.

Congress: House Subcommittee Convenes Hearing To Discuss Libel Tourism
Panelists Encourage Effective Legislative Remedy
Senate Bill 449 “Free Speech Protection Act 2009”


UK & Europe: Across the Pond – Developments in UK and European Law
Parliament Hearing; Iraq; ECHR Privacy Rulings; More Gloom From Ireland

Sidebar: US Publishers Join Media Submission to UK Parliament on Libel Reform


NY Sup. Ct.: Court Quashes Verification Subpoena Citing State Constitution-Based Privilege
Reporter’s Privilege Based on State Constitution’s Press Protection
New York v. Kinnear


S.D.N.Y.: Federal Judge Reaffirms “Hot News” Misappropriation
AP’s Claim Against Aggregator Survives Motion to Dismiss
Associated Press v. All Headline

C.D. Cal.: Copyright Claim Over the Movie “Robots” Dismissed
No Substantial Similarity to Support Claim
Rosenfeld v. Twentieth Century


Cal. App.: Electronic Mapping Database Must Be Disclosed Under Public Records Act
Rejects Homeland Security Regulations, Copyright Reasons to Deny Disclosure
County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court

Pa.: Autopsy Reports Are Public Records
Not Clear Whether Autopsy Reports Will Remain Open under New Right to Know Law
Penn Jersey Advance v. Grim


NC: Bill Introduced to Curb Defamatory Internet Content
Would Criminalize Defamatory Statements Online; Amend Retraction Statute

D. Conn.: Student Punished for Personal Blog Denied Recovery
School Officials Protected By Qualified Immunity
Doninger v. Niehoff


Congress: Legislative Update – DTV, Open Government, and Copyright Dominate Early Media Agenda on Capitol Hill

FTC: FTC Proposes Major Revisions To Guidelines on Endorsements and Testimonials