Media Law

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  • FCC Asks For Comments on Recommendations In Preparations For Next Year's World Radiocommunications Conference

    Media Law Prof Blog
    Media Law Prof
    28 Aug 2014 | 8:47 am
    The FCC has released and is seeking comment on recommendations approved by the Advisory Committee for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference. The Conference will take place in Geneva from November 2 to the 27th, 2015.
  • California Supreme Court Limits Franchisor Liability

    Seller Beware Blog
    Neil Rosenbaum
    30 Aug 2014 | 8:58 pm
    In a closely watched case, the California Supreme Court provided significant protection to franchisors from liability for lawsuits based on the actions of their franchisees. In clarifying the standard for franchisor liability -- an issue that has been increasingly troubling for franchisors -- the Court ruled in Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC that a franchisor was not liable for the acts of a franchisee’s employees where the franchisor did not have day-to-day control over the operations leading to the claim. In Domino’s, the Court determined that the franchisor was not liable for…
  • ProPublica and the Problem With Journalism

    Media & Communications Policy
    Patrick Maines
    21 Aug 2014 | 12:34 pm
    It’s symptomatic of the syndrome: So many people who presume to speak for and about journalism’s shortcomings misdiagnose both the problem and its solutions.  So it is that individuals of a certain mindset promote the idea that “corporate influence” is a problem, and nonprofit media are an answer. One of the most prominent purveyors of the wrong stuff is the Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica, the nonprofit “newsroom” that produces investigative journalism “in the public interest.” ProPublica has received funding from such birds of a feather as George Soros and the Knight…
  • Canned “Spamalot”: School censors pull the curtain on “offensive” productions

    Student Press Law Center
    Frank LoMonte
    31 Aug 2014 | 12:35 pm
    The Tony Award-winning Monty Python musical, “Spamalot,” is two hours of goofy, over-the-top fun with an ending that, for a few fleeting seconds, includes the wedding of two men — the show’s theme song, “Find Your Grail,” momentarily becomes instead, “Find Your Male.” That scene in an otherwise silly-but-inoffensive script was enough for the principal of […]
  • Brett Ratner Sued Over 'Hercules' Party Injury

    Hollywood Reporter - THR, Esq.
    Ryan Gajewski
    29 Aug 2014 | 6:29 pm
    A partygoer alleges that the director didn't want to call 911 about her torn Achilles tendon to avoid "bad publicity"read more
 
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    Seller Beware Blog

  • California Supreme Court Limits Franchisor Liability

    Neil Rosenbaum
    30 Aug 2014 | 8:58 pm
    In a closely watched case, the California Supreme Court provided significant protection to franchisors from liability for lawsuits based on the actions of their franchisees. In clarifying the standard for franchisor liability -- an issue that has been increasingly troubling for franchisors -- the Court ruled in Patterson v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC that a franchisor was not liable for the acts of a franchisee’s employees where the franchisor did not have day-to-day control over the operations leading to the claim. In Domino’s, the Court determined that the franchisor was not liable for…
  • FTC to App Developers: More Disclosure Needed

    Neil Rosenbaum
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:54 am
    For some time the FTC has been focused on mobile shopping apps and whether businesses have been providing consumers with enough information about those apps. We have previously blogged about the FTC’s concerns about mobile payment technologies here. Earlier this month, the FTC continued its efforts in this area and issued a staff report on mobile shopping apps, complete with recommendations for the companies that provide these apps. The gist of the recommendations? Provide consumers with clear and accurate information -- available before they download the apps -- about privacy,…
  • Red Bull Settles False Advertising Suit

    Neil Rosenbaum
    13 Aug 2014 | 6:38 am
    We know what you’re thinking, and no, this has nothing to do with Red Bull giving you wings. Last week, Red Bull reached a proposed settlement of a suit alleging that the company falsely claimed in its advertisements that Red Bull’s energy drink provided more benefits to consumers than a cup of coffee or a caffeine pill. The plaintiffs argued that these advertisements amounted to a breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of over thirty state consumer protection acts, including New York’s Deceptive Acts and Practices Act (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law §§ 349 and 350) and…
  • FTC: Made in USA Certifier Must Actually Certify (or Disclose Self-Certification)

    Neil Rosenbaum
    29 Jul 2014 | 1:57 pm
    As we have discussed in several posts (for example, here, here, here, and here), the FTC has stringent standards for “Made in U.S.A.” claims.  On July 22, 2014, the FTC reached a settlement with Made in the USA Brand, LLC, which charges companies to use its “Made in USA” certification mark and to be listed on its website as a company whose products are made in the United States.  Made in the USA Brand says that it uses the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement for U.S. Origin Claims as its accreditation standard to determine whether a company can license its certification…
  • Bundled & Loyalty Discounts Under the Microscope at DOJ/FTC Workshop

    Neil Rosenbaum
    12 Jul 2014 | 10:06 am
    On June 24, leading antitrust economists and attorneys participated in a workshop held by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division on conditional pricing practices, including loyalty and bundled discounts.  The agencies’ objective for the workshop was to advance the economic understanding of the potential harms and benefits of these types of discounts, and to reexamine their treatment under the antitrust laws. Antitrust plaintiffs sometimes claim that discounting by dominant sellers (i.e., sellers with market power), facilitates…
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    Media & Communications Policy

  • ProPublica and the Problem With Journalism

    Patrick Maines
    21 Aug 2014 | 12:34 pm
    It’s symptomatic of the syndrome: So many people who presume to speak for and about journalism’s shortcomings misdiagnose both the problem and its solutions.  So it is that individuals of a certain mindset promote the idea that “corporate influence” is a problem, and nonprofit media are an answer. One of the most prominent purveyors of the wrong stuff is the Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica, the nonprofit “newsroom” that produces investigative journalism “in the public interest.” ProPublica has received funding from such birds of a feather as George Soros and the Knight…
  • The Udall Amendment: When Politics Mean More Than the Constitution

    Patrick Maines
    14 Jul 2014 | 6:22 am
    It came as no surprise when, in June, Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and 41 other U.S. senators, Democrats all, proposed a campaign finance amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, Democrats and their surrogates in the media and allied advocacy groups, worried that the case would work to their political disadvantage, have been on a mission to find some way around it. So what’s the amendment all about?  S.J. Resolution 19, as it’s called, proposes to allow Congress to regulate contributions to candidates for federal office, and to extend…
  • Dropping George Will Is a Bad Way To Arrest That Subscriber Decline, Post-Dispatch

    Patrick Maines
    10 Jul 2014 | 11:01 am
    Even as such things are becoming commonplace, the sacking of George Will’s syndicated column by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sets a new low in mainstream journalism’s race to the bottom. In case you’re unfamiliar with the situation, Will wrote a piece (“Colleges become the victims of progressivism”) in which he ridiculed, in the context of a new Education Department mandate, some phony math and dubious cases being cited to demonstrate that America suffers from a rape epidemic. Will’s larger point was that the DOE mandate threatens the loss of federal funding to colleges that do not…
  • The Human Element of War

    Patrick Maines
    24 Jun 2014 | 9:27 am
    If you like your politics unencumbered by doubt, you shouldn’t read Lone Survivor just as the ISIS is retaking parts of Iraq for which Americans once died.  You might have a hard time getting your moral and intellectual bearings at the contrast between the kind of selfless heroism shown by Marcus Luttrell and the Seals who fought and died in Afghanistan, with the seeming futility of the American campaign in Iraq. Among the troublesome thoughts: Why did we invade Iraq?  Was it worth the loss of so many lives on both sides in a region of the world where the historical, religious, and…
  • Free Speech and the Academy

    Patrick Maines
    19 May 2014 | 10:42 am
    So here we are as a nation, at the intersection of fear and despair, and what do we get?  A blessing on the activities of the latter-day Hitler Youth among the nations “progressive” collegians!  This, courtesy of a piece written by one Lucia Graves, as published in National Journal. Under the title “The Case for Protesting Your Commencement Speaker,” Graves manages to assemble, in the fewest number of words, more non sequiturs, straw men, and fallacies than should be permitted any professional journalist. Of course some might argue that Graves is neither professional nor a…
 
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    Student Press Law Center

  • Canned “Spamalot”: School censors pull the curtain on “offensive” productions

    Frank LoMonte
    31 Aug 2014 | 12:35 pm
    The Tony Award-winning Monty Python musical, “Spamalot,” is two hours of goofy, over-the-top fun with an ending that, for a few fleeting seconds, includes the wedding of two men — the show’s theme song, “Find Your Grail,” momentarily becomes instead, “Find Your Male.” That scene in an otherwise silly-but-inoffensive script was enough for the principal of […]
  • University police should release the names of officers involved in controversial pepper-spraying, California Supreme Court says

    Ben Tobin
    22 Aug 2014 | 2:27 pm
    Officials at the University of California, Davis should release the names of all the campus police officers involved in the pepper-spraying of student protesters in 2011, the California Supreme Court affirmed this week. The court’s ruling dismisses an effort by a university police union to overturn a June 2013 ruling by a state appellate court, […]
  • Want civically aware adults? Start with civically active young readers.

    Frank LoMonte
    17 Aug 2014 | 7:15 am
    What does a well-rounded civic education look like? One California group has an answer that looks remarkably like the curriculum for high school journalism. The California Task Force for K-12 Civic Learning, in a report issued Aug. 6 at the conclusion of a year-long study, declared a “crisis” in civic knowledge and participation, as measured by indicators […]
  • Defending your digital turf: What to do if a media outlet broadcasts your video without permission

    Frank LoMonte
    16 Aug 2014 | 12:26 pm
    The drop-and-drag availability of online material makes it oh-so-tempting to “borrow” a photo, video or article from the Web — even for professional media outlets that ought to be especially protective of copyright. Idaho college journalist Farzan Faramarzi understandably felt violated when, without asking, a local FOX affiliate rebroadcast a clip from his YouTube-posted video. Faramarzi […]
  • Nightly purge of Pennsylvania Department of Education emails condemned

    Dani Kass
    7 Aug 2014 | 12:34 pm
    Staff members of the Pennsylvania Department of Education “delete and cleanse” their emails each night, a policy which the state’s Office of Open Records and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association have condemned. Acting state Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq told ABC27 WHTM in Harrisburg about the policy in a story about former Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis, according to Pittsburgh’s […]
 
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    Digital Media Law

  • An Actor's Cautionary Tale: Cancer Diagnosis and a Drawn-Out Battle Over Residuals

    14 Aug 2014 | 12:58 pm
    Actors often complain about late residuals checks, although SAG-AFTRA has cut processing delays lately. But few stories compare to the battle waged by Alex Doe (a pseudonym), a voice actor who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and endured a 3-1/2-year residuals runaround from Warner Bros. and SAG-AFTRA that ultimately  threatened Doe's health insurance.(Residuals are royalties that are paid to actors, writers, directors and musicians when movies and TV shows are rerun or are released in other media such as DVD or the Internet. They're not small potatoes: residuals can amount to 40…
  • Review: NudeAudio Super-M and aiia SSSSSpeaker on Kickstarter

    7 Aug 2014 | 8:28 am
    Two new Bluetooth speakers offer a great reason to jet on over to Kickstarter.The NudeAudio Super-M ($99, campaign ending on August 15) offers great sound in a package thin enough to slip in a back jeans pocket. During my recent visit to the company’s South of Market offices, a head-to-head comparison showed that the unit delivered deeper bass and higher volumes without loss of fidelity than the Jambox Mini and was more rugged.NudeAudio is the same company that offers the delightful Move S, Move M (which I reviewed last year) and Move L speakers and the Studio 5 Lightning Dock with…
  • How Do We Know Driverless Cars Are Safe? Google Says ‘Trust Us’

    1 Jul 2014 | 4:19 pm
    Driverless cars are on the road now – Google’s fleet has logged about 700,000 miles of autonomous driving – and the California DMV will be issuing regulations in a matter of weeks allowing self-driving cars to be sold to the public, possibly setting the regulatory pattern for the rest of the country (video). Google has predicted 2017 for first commercial availability, while Nissan and Mercedes say it will be 2020. The cars are highly complex systems whose sheer quantity of software surely exceeds the hundred million lines of source code in today’s non-autonomous vehicles. They weigh…
  • 2030 May Be The Year They’ll Take Your Driver's License Away

    18 Jun 2014 | 6:34 pm
    I was stuck in traffic yesterday, which I didn’t really mind because I have a fun little yellow convertible, and I was thinking about Uber ($17 billion! – that’s the company’s valuation, not the price of a ride) and Google’s driverless cars (development cost unknown), and I decided it was time to connect the dots: once a car learns to drive, there’s no need to own it and there’s no need for a driver. That’s because the car can come when called, take you to your destination, then go off and pick up someone else. That sounds great and I’m hardly the first to connect those…
  • New Website -- jhandel.com

    20 Apr 2014 | 11:13 am
    My new website is up at jhandel.com. It tells everything you always wanted to know (and more!) about my background and entertainment/technology law practice. Give it a look!Check out “The New Zealand Hobbit Crisis,” available on Amazon in paperback, Kindle and audiobook. Visit my website (jhandel.com), follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you work in tech, take a look at my book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets. 
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    Media Law Journal

  • Is Whale Oil a journalist (2)?

    Steven
    21 Aug 2014 | 10:07 pm
    Some time ago, I wrote about Cameron Slater’s claim to be a journalist, which he is invoking for the purposes of protecting his confidential sources. The District Court ordered him to turn over his sources in a defamation case brought against him by Matt Blomfield. The court said Slater didn’t qualify for source protection under the Evidence Act. I argued that the judge’s reasoning was very poor, and that there were good arguments that he should be treated a journalist. Nevertheless, I noted that the court still had a discretion to order  him to turn over his source.
  • Did Nicky Hager “make stuff up”?

    Steven
    17 Aug 2014 | 9:13 pm
    As many of you know, I act for Nicky Hager. I vetted his book, Dirty Politics, and the three before that. It is a surreal experience watching what happens to Nicky’s books in the days after their publication. It often seems as if the book that’s being discussed by politicians and in the media is entirely different from the one I’ve just spent weeks vetting. What’s more amazing is that politicians who admit they haven’t read the book and don’t intend to are given free rein to speak authoritatively about its content. Often they say things that are completely…
  • New book by Nicky Hager

    Steven
    10 Aug 2014 | 2:53 pm
    For those who haven’t heard, Nicky Hager has a new book coming out this week. It will be launched at Unity Books (57 Willis St) at 5pm on Wednesday. Nicky and others will start speaking at 5:15pm and the book will be made available for sale after that. All are welcome to attend.
  • I am not a bully, says Nick Smith. And if you call me one, I’ll sue you.

    Steven
    27 Jul 2014 | 8:44 pm
    Conservation Minister Nick Smith is being accused of political interference for trying to discourage NZ Fish and Game from publicly advocating for cleaner lakes and rivers. Now he’s threatening to sue those who made the claim. Now, I don’t know what happened at the meeting, and it’s clear there are different recollections of exactly what went on. But on the basis of what’s been reported, I very much doubt Nick Smith will sue. Why not? There are three main defences to a defamation action. The first is truth. Radio NZ is reporting that there are four people who were at…
  • Throwing the book at the Chief Judge II

    Steven
    9 Jul 2014 | 9:31 pm
    Former Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane also criticises the High Court order requiring Kim Dotcom to seek documents from author David Fisher under the Privacy Act so that he can turn them over to the Crown. But he takes a different tack to mine. He argues (very persuasively, I think) that these documents are not really under the power of Dotcom, even though he can request access to them, since that access is subject to a number of conditions and processes. This is pretty similar to the point Ewan Morris makes in the comments in my previous post. The proper process here would have been for…
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    Shear on Social Media Law

  • California Passes Non-Disparagement Consumer Contract Clause Ban

    30 Aug 2014 | 12:58 pm
    California's AB 2365 which prohibits businesses and service professionals from contractually silencing customers who may want to complain about their experiences has been passed by California's legislature and is awaiting the approval of Gov. Brown.  In layman's terms, the legislation generally prohibits a business from inserting into its adhesion contracts and terms of service language that requires a consumer to waive their right to publicly comment about their customer experience on websites such as Yelp, Ripoff Report, etc...At first glance, this bill…
  • California Bill To Regulate Student Social Media Monitoring Services

    29 Aug 2014 | 8:12 am
    California's legislation that would regulate social media monitoring of secondary students is one step away from becoming law.  AB-1442 is now on the governor's desk and awaiting his signature or veto.  The bill appears to compliment SB 1349 that protects the social media privacy of students.  While I believe this bill is a good first step, it should be expanded to include post-secondary students. AB-1442 is greatly needed because companies are approaching secondary and post-secondary schools to social media monitor students.  In secondary schools, these companies…
  • Google's Plan To Offer Accounts to Kids Under 13 May Harm Their Privacy

    25 Aug 2014 | 8:32 am
    Recently, multiple media outlets reported that Google plans to offer accounts for their wide array of services to children under 13 years of age.  While the details regarding this alleged plan have not been publicized, it has already created a lot of concern with multiple privacy advocates.  In response to these reports, the Center For Digital Democracystated, " [a]nyone who knows how Google really conducts its business should be alarmed about its plans to make money off of kids."There are many unanswered questions about this proposal.  For example, how does Google plan on…
  • Online Bullies Target Robin Williams Daugther

    16 Aug 2014 | 11:31 am
    I grew up watching Robin Williams and loved his work.  When I ran into him in New York City late one night with a friend of mine about 11 years ago he was gracious and funny and even said, "nano nano".  My condolences go out to his family.  It saddened me to read in the New York Daily News that Robin Williams daughter Zelda Williams was tormented and harassed online for the sole reason she is Robin Williams daughter.  Due to disgusting and hateful things people said about her and/or her father, she stated that she will not utilize her public digital accounts…
  • Foursquare App Update Harms User Privacy

    6 Aug 2014 | 8:43 pm
    According to the Wall Street Journal, as of 8/6/2014, "users who download or update the Foursquare app will automatically let the company track their GPS coordinates any time their phone is powered on. Foursquare previously required users to give the app permission to turn on location-tracking.....Foursquare’s app goes beyond location-tracking features offered by competitors. Social apps like Twitter collect GPS coordinates to give users the option of sharing their location with friends, but don’t collect this data when the app is off."To justify Foursquare's privacy changes, founder…
 
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