Skip to main content
August 2015

MediaLawLetter July 2015

in this issue

New York Court Reduces Damage Award for Libelous Online Review

$125,000 Award Cut to $100 A $125,000 damage award for a defamatory review posted to the online complaint website was reduced on appeal to a mere $100. Lynn & Cahill v. Witkin, 2015 NY Slip Op 06020 (N.Y. App. July 9, 2015). In a typically short and terse New York appellate court decision, the…


The Second Circuit’s New Primary Beneficiary Test

When Are Interns Entitled to Wages and Overtime? By Thomas H. Wilson The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently adopted a seven-factor “primary beneficiary” test to determine when interns are employees entitled to minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., Nos. 13-4478-cv, 13-4481-cv, 2015…

Streaming Service FilmOn Found to be Eligible for Statutory Broadcast Retransmission License

Alki David Gets First Win, But FCC or Congress Could Have Last Word By Jeff Hermes In Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FilmOn X, LLC, Docket No. 12-cv-6921 (C.D. Cal. Jul. 16, 2015) (FilmOn IV), the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California held that online streaming service FilmOn could qualify for a…


2d Circuit: Director Does Not Have a Separate Copyright in Contributions Integrated in a Motion Picture

Director Cannot Interfere with Producer’s Exploitation of the Film By Eleanor Lackman On June 29, 2015, the Second Circuit answered a question of first impression in the Circuit: “May a contributor to a creative work whose contributions are inseparable from, and integrated into, the work maintain a copyright interest in his or her contributions alone?”…


Washington Court Provides Standard for Unmasking Anonymous Posters (Sort Of)

Standard May Vary Based on Nature of Speech By Judy Endejan On July 6, 2015, the Washington Court of Appeals handed down a decision that purports to establish the standard that a defamation plaintiff must meet to obtain the identity of anonymous posters. While it did so in the specific case presented – Thomson v….

TOPICS : Obtains TRO to Stop Interference with Payment Processing for Adult Ads

Pressure on Credit Card Companies Threatened Irreparable First Amendment Injury By Jeff Hermes On July 24, 2015, Judge John J. Tharp, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a temporary restraining order against Sheriff Thomas J. Dart of Cook County, Illinois, prohibiting him, his office, and his agents from…

Next Gen Report: Is the Right to Be Forgotten Among Our Unalienable Rights?

By Erin E. Rhinehart “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 It is doubtful that our founding fathers ever considered whether…


Developments in the Emerging Law of Butt Dialing

By Lynda Hils Mathews and John C. Greiner We’ve all either placed one or received one – the inadvertent cell phone call, often referred to as the “butt dial.”  Perhaps it’s not surprising that the federal courts have been called upon to weigh in on this phenomenon.  The most recent decision comes via the United…


Texas Court of Appeals Reverses Wiretap Conviction

Coach Had No Privacy Interest in Locker Room Talks In an interesting non-media case, a Texas appellate court ruled that secret recording of a high school coach’s locker room talks to his team was not a violation of the state’s criminal wiretap statute because the coach had no reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances….


Appeals Court Reverses Denial of Publisher’s Anti-SLAPP Motion in “Shoot on Sight” Libel Lawsuit

By Paul C. Watler and James McFall A libel suit by an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate who told the Dallas Morning News (“The News”) that immigrants should be “legal, lethal targets” for south Texas ranchers must be dismissed, according to a recent opinion by the Fifth District Court of Appeals of Texas. Dallas…

TOPICS : , ,

Oregon Court of Appeals Strikes SLAPP Suit Against TV Station

No Likelihood of Success on Negligence and Emotional Distress Claims Negligence and emotional distress claims brought by a prison guard and his wife over a news report that showed the guard outside his home were dismissed on appeal under the Oregon anti-SLAPP statute. Mullen v. Meredith Corp., dba KPTV, 271 Or App 698 (2015). The…


Single Publication Rule Bars Former American Idol Contestants’ Libel Suit Online

Articles Are Not Perpetually Actionable Under Tennessee Defamation Law By Brittany Berckes The Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of libel and related claims brought by two former American Idol contestants, holding their claims were barred by the single publication rule or otherwise improperly pled. Clark v. Viacom, No.14-5709 (6th Cir. July 8, 2015) (applying Tennessee law)…


Ex-Firefighter’s Defamation Claim Extinguished

“Kelly’s Court” Segment on Disability Recipient Protected Opinion By Steven Mandell and Natalie Harris Former Milwaukee firefighter Aaron Marjala swam, biked, and ran himself into the center of a controversy about the Wisconsin state duty disability system. That system provides publicly funded lifetime benefits to firefighters who suffer permanent work-related injuries and can no longer…


Unsealing the Cosby Documents

Comedian Voluntarily Narrowed His Zone of Privacy By Gayle C. Sproul An iconic comedian “voluntarily narrowed his zone of privacy” by donning the role of “public moralist,” according to the court in Constand v. Cosby, 2015 WL 4071586 (E.D. Pa. July 6, 2015). By doing so, Bill Cosby substantially diminished his claim that “good cause”…


Ken Stabler: R.I.P. – and the Story of a Libel Case

By George Freeman Kenny Stabler died last month at 69. The obituaries duly noted his being named the NFL’s most valuable player in 1974, his leading the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl championship in 1977, and his status as one of football’s greatest quarterbacks not to be elected into the Hall of Fame. The…

MediaLawLetter July 2015

 Download Publication MLRC From the Executive Director’s Desk Ken Stabler: R.I.P. – and the Story of a Libel Case LIBEL & PRIVACY E.D. Pa.: Unsealing the Cosby DocumentsComedian Voluntarily Narrowed His Zone of PrivacyConstand v. Cosby Wis. Cir.: Ex-Firefighter’s Defamation Claim Extinguished“Kelly’s Court” Segment on Disability Recipient Protected OpinionMarjala v. Fox News Network 6th Cir.:…