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January 2005

MediaLawLetter May 2005


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MLRC: “Storms Across the Border” Conference Examines Canadian Media
Law Landscape & Risks for U.S. Publishers

Legislative Update: Reporters’ Privilege and Access Bills


N.D. Ohio: Ohio Federal Court Dismisses Publisher’s Retaliation Claim Against Mayor
Mayor prohibited city officials from speaking with reporters
Youngstown Publ’g Co. v. McKelvey

4th Cir.: Courts Err in Assessing Reporters’ “News Boycott” Claims
Judges mischaracterize relief sought by newspaper
Baltimore Sun v. Ehrlich

N.C.: Government Can’t Bring Declaratory Judgment Actions Over Open Meetings Laws
Court finds allowing government to sue citizens would have chilling effect
City of Burlington v. Boney Publishers

Me.: Priest Sex Abuse Records to Be Made Open to the Public
Supreme court orders release of names and investigative records
Blethen Maine Newspapers, Inc. v. Maine

4th Cir.: Weekly Newspaper Publisher Settles “Newspaper Raid” Lawsuit for $435,000
Defendants retaliated for past criticisms; to suppress content of newspapers
Rossignol v. Voorhaar


U.S.: Reporters Petition Supreme Court to Reverse Contempt Ruling
Reporters face up to 18 months in jail for refusing to reveal sources
In re Grand Jury Subpoena


Ill. Cir. Ct.: Chicago Tribune Wins Libel Trial
Jury finds article was false, but not published with actual malice
Knight v. Chicago Tribune

S.C. App.: Directed Verdict for Broadcaster Reversed on Appeal
Question as to whether defendant was acting within scope of employment
Murphy v. Jefferson Pilot Comm.

Ky. Cir. Ct.: Kentucky Jury Finds Talk Show Host Not Liable for Defamation
Jury rejects claims of invasion of privacy; intentional infliction of emotional distress
Divita v. Ziegler

Tex. App.: Texas Appeals Court Dismisses Lawyer’s Libel Suit on Interlocutory Appeal
Court holds news reports discussing allegations were substantially true
Associated Press v. Boyd

Pa. Super. Ct.: Libel Case Dismissed for Lack of Prosecution
Six years of inactivity was sufficient to merit dismissal
Zotter v. North Hill News Record

M.D. Fla.: Fear and Loathing in Orlando
Privacy claim stemming from “undercover” reporter’s article dismissed
Mills v. Wenner Media, LLC

S.C. Cir. Ct.: Libel Case Over Report of Meeting Ends in Directed Verdict
Plaintiff councilman claimed article mischaracterized statements
Davis v. Marion Star

Pa. Super. Ct.: Pennsylvania Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Lack of Actual Malice
Newspaper not liable for publication of “letter to the editor”
Weaver v. Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.

Md. Cir. Ct.: Maryland Court: No Actual Malice Means No False Light
Images of plaintiff’s company shown in newscast insufficient to substantiate claim
Ross v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.

10th Cir.: Tenth Circuit Affirms Libel Verdict for Martial Arts Supplier
Court held plaintiff’s arguments were not properly preserved for appeal
Century Martial Arts Supply, Inc. v. Nat’l Ass’n of Prof’l Martial Artists

D. Kan.: Kansas Federal Court Upholds Constitutionality of Kansas Criminal Libel Statute
Local statute tracks language of state’s criminal libel law
How v. Baxter Springs; Thomas v. Baxter Springs

Va. Cir. Ct.: Virginia Man Acquitted of Charges Under Virginia Criminal Libel Statute
Court found evidence presented did not support a finding that statute was violated
Virginia v. Cary


N.Y. Sup. Ct.: No Preaction Discovery in Publisher’s Suit Against Former Employee
Publisher sought to determine whether confidentiality agreement was violated
Matter of American Media, Inc. v. Green

M.D. Fla.: Florida Court Restrains Reports on Juror Identities in High-Profile Terror Trial
Media prohibited from reporting on identity of jurors
United States v. Al-Arian


D.C. Cir.: D.C. Circuit Vacates FCC’s Broadcast Flag Rules
Court addresses lack of jurisdiction, not merits of regime
American Library Ass’n v. FCC


7th Cir.: Seventh Circuit Rethinks Right of Publicity Preemption
Holds state law right of publicity claim not preempted by Copyright Act
Toney v. L’Oreal U.S.A. Inc.

Congress: The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act – “Sanitizing Hollywood”
President Bush has signed into law act governing use of copyrighted works


UK: UK Court of Appeal Issues Landmark Privacy Ruling
A boost for privacy rights in England; A blow for those who wish to trade in them
Douglas v. Hello! Ltd.

Belgium: European Reporters Privilege Case Continues
Hans Martin Tillack seeks to protect sources in leak investigation

New Zealand: New Zealand Television Allowed to Report on Contents of Leaked Document
Court refuses to issue injunction against television station