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October 2016

MediaLawLetter September 2016

in this issue

Nexstar-Media General Merger May Signal New DOJ Approach to Broadcast Television Mergers

Retransmission Fees, in Addition to Advertising, Examined By David C. Kully In the past three years, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed six antitrust lawsuits seeking to block the merger of broadcast television station groups. Each case was settled with a consent decree, filed simultaneously with the complaint,…

Florida Judge Erred In Sequestering Reporter Without Prior Notice And Showing Of Relevancy

By Cindy Gierhart A Florida appellate court recently held that a trial judge improperly sequestered a reporter who was called as a surprise witness the morning of trial, without prior notice and without a showing that his testimony was relevant to the proceedings. Palm Beach Newspapers, LLC v. Colin, No. 4D16-2165 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App….


Ninth Circuit Court Affirms Yelp’s CDA Immunity for a User’s Negative Review

By Robert L. Rogers, III Earlier this year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals chipped away at the immunity afforded to websites under the Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”) in Jane Doe v. Internet Brands. But in September, the Ninth Circuit issued a strongly worded defense of CDA immunity when affirming the dismissal of an…


FAA Waivers Allow for Greater Newsgathering Opportunities with Drones

By Jennifer M. Nowak and Christine N. Walz On August 29, 2016, the new Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulations allowing for greater commercial use of drones weighing less than 55 lbs. became effective. These regulations open up significant opportunities for newsgathering. Under the regulations, operators may also request waivers for operations outside the parameters of…


Class Action Right of Publicity Suit Against AAVO Dismissed

Online Attorney Profiles Not Commercial Use An Illinois federal district court dismissed for failure to state a claim a putative right of publicity class action suit against online attorney directory Avvo.  Vrdolyak v. Avvo, (N.D. Ill. Sept. 12, 2016) (Gettleman, J.). The court held that Avvo’s attorney profile pages are akin to newspaper or phone book…

Misappropriation Claims Over Grand Theft Auto Dismissed on Appeal

New York Misappropriation Law Does Not Extend to Videogames In a combined opinion, a New York appellate court dismissed misappropriation lawsuits brought by actress Lindsey Lohan and reality TV star Karen Gravano against Take-Two Interactive Software, maker of the popular Grand Theft Auto videogame series. Gravano v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., et al.; Lohan v….

Rolling Stone to Face Defamation Trial Over “Rape on Campus” Article

UVA Dean Produced Sufficient Evidence of Actual Malice A Virginia federal district court recently ruled that University of Virginia Dean Nicole Eramo is a limited public figure for purposes of her libel suit against Rolling Stone over its now discredited “Rape on Campus” article and that she submitted sufficient evidence of actual malice to send…


No Harm, No Foul, Sayeth the Court––Despite What the Jury Said

Plaintiff Loses When It Can’t Prove Damages Under Oklahoma Law By Robert D. Nelon and Elisabeth E. Muckala The focus of defamation cases is often on the issues of falsity or fault, with legal issues of opinion or privilege sometimes thrown in. In a recent case tried in federal court in Oklahoma, however, the issue…

In Memorium:Southwest Florida Media Lawyer Steven W. Carta (1945-2016)

By Charles D. Tobin My first real exposure to media law came in 1985, when I was covering courts for The News-Press, Gannett’s newspaper in Southwest Florida. A prosecutor had read my stories and was eager to learn how I knew what the grand jury was looking into. So, of course, he subpoenaed me. At…

Media Law Family Feud and Other Highlights of the 2016 Virginia Conference

From the Executive Director’s Desk The Virginia Conference which ended last week had many substantive highlights: a discussion with Philadelphia’s Deputy Police Commissioner about public access to videotapes and police bodycam film, and their effect on the community in volatile situations – a discussion which was eerily timely in light of the police shootings of…

MediaLawLetter September 2016

 Download Publication MLRC From the Executive Director’s DeskMedia Law Family Feud and Other Highlights of the 2016 Virginia Conference In Memorium: Southwest Florida Media Lawyer Steven W. Carta (1945-2016) LIBEL & PRIVACY W.D. Okla.: No Harm, No Foul, Sayeth the Court––Despite What the Jury SaidPlaintiff Loses When It Can’t Prove Damages Under Oklahoma LawChoctaw Town…