Media Law

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  • Privacy and Intellectual Freedom

    Media Law Prof Blog
    Media Law Prof
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:42 am
    Neil M. Richards and Joanna F. Cornwell, both of Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law, have published Privacy and Intellectual Freedom in The Handbook of Intellectual Freedom (Mark Alfino, ed., Unwin, 2014). Here is the abstract. This essay...
  • FTC Alleges Bitcoin-Mining Ads Were More Than a Bit Misleading

    Seller Beware Blog
    Neil Rosenbaum
    15 Oct 2014 | 12:57 pm
    On September 23, a federal court in Missouri granted a Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) request to freeze the assets of Butterfly Labs, a company specializing in Bitcoin-mining computers.  “Bitcoin mining” is the use of a particular type of computer software to solve difficult math problems that require significant processing power, which results in issuance of “Bitcoins” or virtual, software-based currency.   According to the FTC, Butterfly Labs marketed its products and services mainly through online advertising, touting the power of its computer equipment and the…
  • Free Speech Week: Not a Moment Too Soon

    Media & Communications Policy
    Patrick Maines
    18 Oct 2014 | 7:25 am
    With two and a half months still to go, 2014 has been one of the toughest years on record for freedom of speech in the USA. In February, for instance, two “climate change” groups collected 110,000 names on a petition they then sent to the Washington Post.  The petition demanded that the Post stop publishing “editorial content denying climate change.”  In a press release issued by one of the groups, columnists George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and the Volokh Conspiracy blog were singled out by name as “climate change deniers.” Happily, the petition went nowhere, though the Los…
  • Regal Entertainment Beats Antitrust Lawsuit Over Exclusivity Pacts With Big Studios (Exclusive)

    Hollywood Reporter - THR, Esq.
    Eriq Gardner
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:01 am
    A judge doesn't see conspiracy in preferential treatment gained by one movie exhibition giantread more
  • 'Citizenfour' Review: Quiet Moments in a Hong Kong Hotel Room as Edward Snowden, Journalists Fight to Save Democracy

    Digital Media Law
    24 Oct 2014 | 1:44 pm
    Hong Kong has been ground zero this year in the fight for freedom, with students and Occupy leaders battling police for control of the streets in a desperate campaign to maintain the Chinese territory’s relative autonomy from erosion by the central Beijing government.But the city hosted much quieter freedom fighters a year earlier, not on the streets but in the confines of an international hotel room. When journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary film maker / journalist Laura Poitras responded to emails from an intelligence community member who identified himself at first only as…
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    Media Law Prof Blog

  • Privacy and Intellectual Freedom

    Media Law Prof
    24 Oct 2014 | 11:42 am
    Neil M. Richards and Joanna F. Cornwell, both of Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law, have published Privacy and Intellectual Freedom in The Handbook of Intellectual Freedom (Mark Alfino, ed., Unwin, 2014). Here is the abstract. This essay...
  • Washington Post's Ben Bradlee Passes From the Scene

    Media Law Prof
    22 Oct 2014 | 10:38 am
    Ben C. Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, has died at the age of 93. Mr. Bradlee joined the paper in 1965, brought on board by legendary owner Katharine Graham, and oversaw its growth into one of the...
  • Political Advertising on TV in the UK Legal Regime and the European Convention on Human Rights

    Media Law Prof
    22 Oct 2014 | 7:11 am
    Ronan Ó Fathaigh, University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law, is publishing Political Advertising Bans and Freedom of Expression in volume 27 of the Greek Public Law Journal in volume 27 (2014). Here is the abstract. In Animal Defenders International...
  • UK Politician Supports More Protections For Media Who Seek Out Stories In the Public Interest

    Media Law Prof
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:53 am
    Nick Clegg, head of the UK's Liberal Democratic party, advocates a "public interest" defense for the media, which would include allowing journalists to pursue stories even if they broke laws such as those prohibiting bribery or misue of data. Mr....
  • The First Amendment and Frozen Categories

    Media Law Prof
    21 Oct 2014 | 8:13 am
    Steven Shiffrin, Cornell Law School, is publishing The Dark Side of the First Amendment in volume 61 of the UCLA Law Review (2014). Here is the abstract. Each year, the UCLA School of Law hosts the Melville B. Nimmer Memorial...
 
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    Seller Beware Blog

  • FTC Alleges Bitcoin-Mining Ads Were More Than a Bit Misleading

    Neil Rosenbaum
    15 Oct 2014 | 12:57 pm
    On September 23, a federal court in Missouri granted a Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) request to freeze the assets of Butterfly Labs, a company specializing in Bitcoin-mining computers.  “Bitcoin mining” is the use of a particular type of computer software to solve difficult math problems that require significant processing power, which results in issuance of “Bitcoins” or virtual, software-based currency.   According to the FTC, Butterfly Labs marketed its products and services mainly through online advertising, touting the power of its computer equipment and the…
  • Fashion Faux Pas? Lawsuits Challenge Pricing and Practices at Outlet Stores

    Neil Rosenbaum
    8 Oct 2014 | 10:21 am
    Even in the age of online shopping, outlet malls and brick-and-mortar factory stores have remained hot shopping destinations and successful options for luxury and mainstream designers alike.  But several major retailers—including Nordstrom, Michael Kors, and The Gap—have recently been hit with class action lawsuits alleging that they employ deceptive and misleading practices at their retail outlet and factory store locations.  We’ve counted eleven such class action lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts in California and New York since July of this year. The…
  • FTC's Robinson-Patman Act Guidance: Updated but Mostly Unchanged

    Neil Rosenbaum
    6 Oct 2014 | 8:23 am
    On September 29, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission published updates to its “Guides for Advertising Allowances and Other Merchandising Payments and Services” (also known as the Fred Meyer Guides, in honor of the Supreme Court case that prompted the Commission to issue them).  The Guides are non-binding guidelines designed to help businesses comply with Sections 2(d) and 2(e) of the Robinson-Patman Act, which prohibit businesses from discriminating among competing retailers when offering payments or services to promote the resale of products.  Although the Commission has not…
  • FTC Operation Full Disclosure: Mission Possible

    Neil Rosenbaum
    2 Oct 2014 | 6:44 am
    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives information about consumer protection issues from various sources, from consumer and competitor complaints, to referrals from states and self-regulatory bodies, to the agency’s own monitoring initiatives.  It was the latter -- named Operation Full Disclosure -- that resulted in the FTC sending warning letters to over 60 companies about their advertising disclosure practices.  Although the FTC didn’t name names, it did say that among the recipients were 20 of the top 100 advertisers and advertisers of a wide range of products and…
  • Shipping Goods On Time: Does Your Company Have Everything In Order?

    Neil Rosenbaum
    1 Oct 2014 | 7:48 am
    If your company takes orders over the Internet, by phone, or by mail, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (f/k/a the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule), imposes certain obligations if the merchandise cannot be shipped in time.  In short, your company must have a reasonable basis for any promises made to consumers that goods will be shipped within a certain time, or within 30 days if no representation is made.  If shipping will be delayed, your company must ask the consumer if he or she agrees to the delayed shipment…
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    Media & Communications Policy

  • Free Speech Week: Not a Moment Too Soon

    Patrick Maines
    18 Oct 2014 | 7:25 am
    With two and a half months still to go, 2014 has been one of the toughest years on record for freedom of speech in the USA. In February, for instance, two “climate change” groups collected 110,000 names on a petition they then sent to the Washington Post.  The petition demanded that the Post stop publishing “editorial content denying climate change.”  In a press release issued by one of the groups, columnists George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and the Volokh Conspiracy blog were singled out by name as “climate change deniers.” Happily, the petition went nowhere, though the Los…
  • ‘Freedom From Speech’

    Patrick Maines
    22 Sep 2014 | 12:48 pm
    Evidence that the human race is not yet won, as a former colleague used to say, is coming in the windows.  From murder in the name of religion, to widespread crime, greed, and violence, to the bottoming of popular culture, it’s pretty clear that this is not mankind’s finest hour.  But enough about mankind, generally speaking. The subject of today’s tutorial is that little slice of homo erectus living in the USA, and practicing the politics of proto-fascism.  And who are such people, you wonder?  Well, they’re to be found among  activists, journalists, college professors;…
  • 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…
 
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    Digital Media Law

  • 'Citizenfour' Review: Quiet Moments in a Hong Kong Hotel Room as Edward Snowden, Journalists Fight to Save Democracy

    24 Oct 2014 | 1:44 pm
    Hong Kong has been ground zero this year in the fight for freedom, with students and Occupy leaders battling police for control of the streets in a desperate campaign to maintain the Chinese territory’s relative autonomy from erosion by the central Beijing government.But the city hosted much quieter freedom fighters a year earlier, not on the streets but in the confines of an international hotel room. When journalist Glenn Greenwald and documentary film maker / journalist Laura Poitras responded to emails from an intelligence community member who identified himself at first only as…
  • 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…
 
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    Laurence Kaye on Digital Media Law

  • 10 Principles of Digital Media

    LaurenceKaye
    8 Oct 2014 | 10:07 am
    Dear reader Occasionally, it's good to stand back and try and identify recurring themes amidst the flux and change taking place in the media and creative industries. With that in mind, I'd like to share what I've grandiosely called my '10 Principles of Digital Media'. Here they are. 1. Re-think, not re-invent, the wheel: The core principles and values on which the creative industries are built remain valid in the digital age. But they need to be re-interpreted and applied to meet the demands of an 'always on' world. 2.Design for loss of control: This phrase…
  • Has Copyright Any Future Role in a World of Disruptive Publishing?

    LaurenceKaye
    29 Sep 2014 | 12:32 pm
     Dear reader I remember taking part in a debate at 'Cyberia', one of the first Internet cafes - remember them? - in 1994 about whether the Internet was killing copyright or making it redundant. As I recall, the score was one all. Votes for copyright disappearing down a black hole in Cyberspace were balanced by those in support of a photographer who saw the new medium as an exciting way to market his photographs to a global audience and get paid for it and that copyright was integral to those transactions. Fast forward 20 years and I'm looking forward to taking part in a…
  • Innovation, copyright and the role of policy

    LaurenceKaye
    28 Jul 2014 | 8:06 am
    Dear reader Thanks to my friend the 'IPKat', I was alerted to the fact that the Directorate General for Internal Market and Services of the European Commission released its Report on the 9,500 responses to the its Public Consultation on the Review of EU Copyright Rules. You'll find all your favourite topics, including copyright exceptions and harmonisation, territoriality, the workings of the 'making available' right amongst many others. In my next post, I am going to comment on the debate about whether the 'exhaustion' principle and whether it should…
  • The '3 Digital Elements' - a balanced future for copyright

    LaurenceKaye
    24 Jun 2014 | 10:44 pm
     Dear reader Things will be hotting up soon on the copyright front, with the European Commission's white paper on Copyright due at the beginning of July. In the meanwhile, I'm really pleased to welcome publication by the European Publishers Council (EPC) of its new vision paper on copyright, entitled "From Vision to Reality: Copyright Enabled on the Network" to which I was a contributor as EPC's copyright advisor. You can find a link to the Press Release, the Paper itself and an Executive Summary here. The paper has been presented to EC Vice President Michel…
  • Copyright, private copying and unlawful users - are we clear?

    LaurenceKaye
    15 Apr 2014 | 9:48 am
    Dear reader The "lawful user" is a really important person in the world of private copying. Put another way, if I am not a "lawful user", can I make private copies of copyright works under a private copying exception? This is really significant for content businesses built on online distribution. It's a pertinent question, especially as  The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Personal Copies for Private Use) Regulations 2014 are due to come into force very soon - June? - as one of the key changes to UK copyright law following the Hargreaves Review. A long running…
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    Media Law Journal

  • Broadcasting Standards issue

    Steven
    2 Oct 2014 | 7:34 pm
    I wonder when the Broadcasting Standards Authority are going to tell us that one of the BSA board members quit a couple of weeks ago. That hasn’t come out yet, has it? A member of the BSA has up and walked. They haven’t mentioned that one yet, have they? (Some might say that I have just made an unqualified factual assertion that a member of the BSA resigned. Not the BSA, though! They said a statement just like this one, by Martin Devlin on Radio Sport, was pure speculation and gossip, and therefore not subject to the accuracy standard. So even though it turned out to be…
  • Web hosts’ defamation liability restricted

    Steven
    18 Sep 2014 | 10:03 pm
    In a significant Court of Appeal decision (see Murray v Wishart), hot off the press, the judges have unanimously ruled that a third party publisher (the owner of a Facebook page that contained comments by others) was not liable for other people’s comments simply because he “ought to have known” that they contain defamatory material (even if he didn’t actually know of the content of the comments). So hosts of Facebook pages will only be liable for defamation of posters’ comments if (a) they actually knew about the comments and (b) failed to remove them in a…
  • Some questions for the PM

    Steven
    14 Sep 2014 | 2:35 pm
    I’m struggling to find the provisions in NZ’s policy about the classification of documents that allow the PM to declassify documents for the purpose of protecting his reputation (his word, not mine, on Morning Report this morning). Perhaps the PM could help me out here. The PM has said he would declassify documents to prove he stopped a mass surveillance proposal, in response to criticisms by journalist Glenn Greenwald (and, it seems, whistleblower Edward Snowden). A few other questions spring to mind: Why were these documents classified in the first place, and who by? What was…
  • Is Whale Oil a journalist (3)?

    Steven
    13 Sep 2014 | 11:26 pm
    Yes. Yes, he is. The High Court says so, as Whale Oil points out triumphantly. Like the good journalist he is, he even shows us the evidence: para 145 of Justice Asher’s judgment. Mr Slater then goes on to demonstrate his journalistic chops by entirely failing to report the rest of the judgment. That includes the part where the judge says the material in his posts was “extreme and vindictive” and bore “the hallmarks of a private feud”, was not of any public interest , and was probably unlawfully obtained. He also omits the judge’s conclusion that he…
  • 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.
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    Shear on Social Media Law

  • TV Show Scandal Sex Tape Episode and Sextortion

    17 Oct 2014 | 6:52 am
    The TV show Scandal contains the type of story lines needed for a successful television program:  sex, scandals, beautiful people, politics, power, money, etc....  According to Wikipedia, the plot centers around, "Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) [who] is a former White House Communications Director for the President of the United States who has left to start her own crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. Olivia has decided to dedicate her life to protecting the public images of the nation's elite but is finding that no matter how hard she tries, she cannot…
  • Will The FTC Soon Investigate Whisper For Deceptive Privacy Promises?

    16 Oct 2014 | 6:47 pm
    Will the Federal Trade Commission soon investigate the app Whisper for false and misleading privacy promises?  The Guardian recently reported some very troubling allegations about Whisper that if true lead me to believe that the app may soon be contacted by the Federal Trade Commission to fully explain the matter.According to The Guardian, Whisper "is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed."  This may be a violation of Article 5 of the FTC Act regarding unfair and deceptive trade…
  • United Kingdom To Criminalize Revenge Porn

    13 Oct 2014 | 6:45 am
    Revenge porn has been universally described as the distribution of private sexual images of a person without their consent with the intention of causing harm.  Holding those accountable who are behind revenge porn has picked up steam over the past several years.  For example, earlier this year the person referred to as the Revenge Porn King was indicted on federal charges stemming from his now defunct website, isanyoneup.com.  In addition, multiple states across the U.S. such as Maryland have enacted laws to punish those behind this troubling behavior.While posting naked photos…
  • Significant Tech Players Absent from Student Privacy Pledge

    7 Oct 2014 | 11:22 am
    According to The New York Times, the enactment of a new California student privacy law  (SB 1177) that restricts how "education technology companies can use the information they collect about elementary through high school students" has led "a group of leading industry players...[to] pledg[e] to adopt similar data protections nationwide."  Some of the companies that have agreed to sign the pledge include: Amplify, Edmodo, Houghton Miflin Harcourt, and Microsoft.The Pledge is a positive step in the right direction.  Representatives Jared Polis of Colorado and Luke Messer of…
  • Titan has installed hundreds of advertising beacons around NYC

    6 Oct 2014 | 7:11 am
    Buzzfeed is reporting that the New York City government has allowed outdoor media company Titan to install hundreds of advertising beacons (small radio transmitters that may be used to track  people's movements) in pay phones around the city.  Beacons may be utilized to track your movements via cell phone for not just behavioral advertising, but also for nefarious spying purposes that may put cell phone users in harms way.  Interestingly, there has been no public notice about this program so all the facts are hard to come by.   When this type of technology is deployed…
 
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