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October 2012

MediaLawLetter September 2012

in this issue

Online Streaming of Television Programming Not a “Cable System” Under Copyright Act

Second Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction The Second Circuit, late last month, held that ivi, Inc. (“ivi”), a company that streams television programming live and over the Internet, is not a “cable system” under §111 of the Copyright Act of 1976. WPIX, Inc. et al v. ivi, Inc., No. 11-788-cv, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18155 (2d…


Documentary Filmmaker Can Sue NJ Police For Civil Rights Violations

No Qualified Immunity Since Filmmaking Is Protected Newsgathering In an interesting decision, a New Jersey appellate court this month reinstated a documentary filmmaker’s civil rights complaint against a local New Jersey police department and an individual officer.  Ramos v. Flowers, et al., No. A-4910-10T3 (N.J. App. Sept. 21, 2012) (Cuff, Waugh, St. John, JJ.).  The…


A Tale of Two Conventions

By Mickey H. Osterreicher It was not the best of times or the worst of times but it certainly was an interesting time. In anticipation of demonstrations during the recently held political conventions there was a strong desire to avoid a repeat of 2008, where journalists were arrested in St. Paul and Denver leading to…


Publishers’ Lawsuit Against Arizona Sheriff Arpaio and Special Prosecutor May Proceed

En Banc Ninth Circuit Panel Reinstates Suit By  David J. Bodney and Peter S. Kozinets On the night of October 18, 2007, officers from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Selective Enforcement Unit” arrested Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, co-owners of the Phoenix New Times (“New Times”), following New Times’s publication of a front-page exposé of…

Philippines Enacts Cybercrime Law Making Online Libel a Crime

By Harry Roque On September 12, Philippines President Benigno Aquino III signed a controversial new law, the Cybercrime  Prevention Act of 2012.  The bulk of the new law deals with the protection of computer systems and deterrence of computer hacking.  However, a more controversial section makes online libel a new cybercrime.   This portion of the…


Ending Hostile Legal Environments Abroad – An Anthology

A newly published anthology featuring essays by fifteen prominent media lawyers, including several MLRC members, explores the challenges and rewards of pro bono service abroad pursuing reforms of media law. The anthology, Exporting the Matrix: The Campaign to Reform Media Laws Abroad, presents the personal accounts of fifteen experts who volunteered to work in transitional…


Media Coalition Seeks Supreme Court Review of “State Only” FOI Law

By Kevin Goldberg In 2009, two individuals – not members of the media – filed relatively self-interested requests in Virginia under the Commonwealth’s Freedom of Information Act.  In 2012 (or, more likely 2013), Mark McBurney and Roger Hurlbert could make it significantly easier – or harder – for anyone – including members of the media…


Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Holds That Rape Shield Law Does Not Preclude Public Access to Search Warrant Affidavit

By Michael J. Grygiel and Zachary C. Kleinsasser In the context of a public access issue of first impression, the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) of Massachusetts – the Commonwealth’s highest court – recently reaffirmed that search warrant materials are presumptively public after the search warrant return has been filed in the issuing court.  Commonwealth v….


Federal Court Asks for Help in Girls Gone Wild Privacy Case

Georgia Supreme Court Asked to Clarify Misappropriation and Consent Issues The Northern District of Georgia, late last month, certified a series of questions to the Georgia Supreme Court to help determine whether a minor who was featured in a Girls Gone Wild video and related advertising has a claim for misappropriation of image.   Bullard v….

Legal Blonde Bombshell – Ninth Circuit Holds That Marilyn Monroe’s Right of Publicity Died with Her

By Lincoln D. Bandlow One of the original privacy torts developed over the past hundred years is the tort of misappropriation or “right of publicity.”  This tort is now recognized in most states, through common law or statute or both.  In general, the tort provides a right action to an individual against a defendant who…

Florida Judge Dismisses “Fun Center” Defamation Lawsuit

By Cheryl A. Feeley A Tallahassee, Florida trial court dismissed with prejudice a defamation suit filed by a children’s play center against a television news station and two of its reporters.  C&D Macconnell’s, Inc., d/b/a Ollie Wallie’s Fun Center v. Gray Television Group, Inc., D/B/A WCTV 6, No. 11-CA-2848 (Fla. Cir. Sept. 4, 2012) (Cooper,…

Subpoena to Google for Identity of Blog Posters Was Properly Denied

Reviewing and applying the Dendrite standards for protecting anonymous online speech, a New Jersey appellate court this month affirmed that a subpoena to Google seeking the identity of online posters was properly quashed.  Somerset Development v. Cleaner Lakewood, No. A-2819-10T3 (N.J. App. Sept. 26, 2012) (per curiam) (unpublished).  At issue in the case were statements…


Harsh Online Review of Doctor Not Defamatory As a Matter of Law

Analyzing an online libel claim through the unique context of the Internet, a New York trial court recently dismissed a case brought by a medical doctor over harsh criticism left on an online review site.  Tener v. Cremer, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3721, 2012 NY Slip Op 32022U (N.Y. Sup. Aug. 1, 2012) (Ling Cohan,…


Tripadvisor’s “Dirtiest Hotel” Ranking Protected Opinion

Hotel Owner’s Complaint Dismissed for Failure to State Claim A hotel with the dubious distinction of being number one on Tripadvisor’s 2011 list of “Dirtiest Hotels,” can now add failed libel plaintiff to its list of accomplishments.   Seaton d/b/a Grand Resort Hotel & Convention Ctr. v. Tripadvisor, No. 3:11-cv-549, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118584  (E.D….


Florida Jury Should Have Been Allowed to Decide Shock Jock Private Facts Claim

Directed Verdict for Defense Was Error A Florida appellate court this month reinstated a private facts claim against Beasley Broadcasting over on-air statements made by a now-deceased Florida shock jock.  Doe v. Beasley Broadcasting Group Inc., et al.  No. 2d11-3869 (Sept. 21, 2012) (Morris, Northcutt, Crenshaw, JJ.).  The appellate court held that the trial judge…

MediaLawLetter September 2012

 Download Publication LIBEL & PRIVACY Fla. App.:  Florida Jury Should Have Been Allowed to Decide Shock Jock Private Facts Claim Directed Verdict for Defense Was ErrorDoe v. Beasley Broadcasting Group Inc., et al. E.D. Tenn.: Tripadvisor’s “Dirtiest Hotel” Ranking Protected OpinionHotel Owner’s Complaint Dismissed for Failure to State ClaimSeaton d/b/a Grand Resort Hotel & Convention…