Blogs

A UNC Student’s Summer Experience in Media Law

Today we are pleased to republish a piece from Tabitha Messick about her experiences as a 2012 Digital Media Law Project Summer Intern; this post was originally published by the DMLP's founder, David Ardia, on his blog at the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy. Thanks to both David and Tabitha for allowing us to run this post!

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Amici Line Up In Appeal of "Blogger Not a Journalist" Ruling

A federal judge's ruling that a blogger was not covered by Oregon's reporters' shield law is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and is getting some amicus support from media organizations. But the appeal -- and the amici -- are not addressing the main issue that led to an online uproar over the trial judge's initial decision.

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Ballot Disclosure Laws: A First Amendment Anomaly

Today, the Digital Media Law Project is launching a new guide to photography and filming at this year’s presidential election, Documenting the Vote 2012. This resource provides a wide range of information for all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, regarding laws that restrict the use of cameras in and around polling places (as well as other journalistic activities).

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Twitter, France, and Group Libel

On October 16, the Union des Étudiants Juifs Français (Union of French Jewish Students, UEJF) asked Twitter to remove several racist and anti-Semitic tweets. Using the hashtags #unbonjuif and #unbonmusulman ("agoodjew" and "agoodmuslim," respectively), some Twitter users were posting derogatory comments about Jews and Muslims, some allegedly meant to be 'jokes.'

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Study Finds Significant Juror Interest In Internet, But No Use -- Yet

A survey of jurors from 15 trials has found that jurors generally understand instructions not to use the Internet or social media to research or communicate about trials, but also that many jurors wish they could use technology to do some sort of research about

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Pinterest: Fair Use of Images, Building Communities, Fan Pages, Copyright

When using Pinterest (and Flickr and YouTube and Facebook and on and on), what copyright, fair use, trademark and other issues weigh on building communities and corporate use of fan pages and social media generally?  A hypothetical “Company” has plans for its Pinterest “community”, and in particular, wonders about these situations:

  • Using Images of Identifiable People
  • Fair Use and Images
  • Trademarks: When is a “Fair Use” Argument Strongest?
  • Why Attribution and Linking to Original Sources is Important

3 introductory questions:

Question #1: Someone used to be a paid Company sponsor or spokesperson.  They are no longer.  Can the Company continue to post a photo of the old sponsor to Pinterest? Short Answer: If the contract with the sponsor expressly permits it, yes.  Ordinarily, the contract would specify engagement for limited time, and that would prohibit rights to use images beyond the contract period.  But it really depends on what the contract says.

Question #2: Can the Company post a photo of a fan of the Company? Short Answer: Express consent is required, either through a release or the fan’s agreement (whenever the photo is submitted) to terms of service.  Exceptions are discussed below.

Question #3: Can the Company post a photo of a Coca-Cola bottle on its Pinterest page? Short Answer: If the use of the image does not suggest (implicitly or explicitly) endorsement or association, then yes.

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DMLP Victory! Mass. Appeals Court Finds No Trademark Infringement in Critical Website

 (This piece is co-authored by Jeff Hermes and Andy Sellars)

The DMLP is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled in favor of the result we advocated in an amicus brief in Jenzabar v. Long Bow Group, Inc

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Honni Soit… French Republic Protects the Privacy of Commoners and of Kings

On September 14, French weekly gossip magazine Closer published several pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge taken without their consent while they were spending a weekend at a private villa in the South of France. Some of the pictures showed the Duchess wearing only the bottom of a bikini suit.

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No, No, Nutella! A Trademark Dispute Over a Hazelnut Milkshake

In the Tip O'Neill spirit of all politics being local, here's an interesting trademark story from right down the road from our office:

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Lawsuits by Doctor, Dentist Over Patients' Reviews Dismissed

A doctor in New York and a dentist in Oregon have both found out that it may not be easy to sue for libel over online reviews of their services, after their separate lawsuits were both dismissed. And it turns out that most of the dentists and doctors who have sued over online reviews have reached similar results.

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Defamation, Italian Style

Being a journalist in Italy may have occupational hazards, but having to go to prison in your own country because of an article you wrote should not be one of them. However, Italy, a founding Member of both the Council of Europe and the European Union, still punishes defamation through the medium of the press (diffamazione a mezzo stampa) by a prison term.

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Defamation Case Attacks Google Autocomplete Results

Google searches employ two features: autocomplete and Google instant. These work together to complete your search terms and to automatically load search results while you're typing.

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Warrantless Text Message Search Threatens to Scuttle Murder Case

Cell phones allow us not only to communicate with one another, but also to take and store pictures, “check in” from a location, balance our checking account, and even update our blogs. When the content of a cell phone may help the police to solve a crime, the legality of the search of both the phone and its content is of crucial importance. However, the law of warrantless searches of cell phones is not yet settled.

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A Camera Records in Boca, Part Two

Today's post is a continuation of my analysis of the laws implicated by the recording of Mitt Romney's remarks at a fundraiser held at a private home in Boca Raton, Florida, on May 17, 2012. Part One identified these laws, including the Federal Wiretap Act, Florida's own wiretap law, and Florida's common law protection against "intrusion upon seclusion," and discussed the issue of consent under each law.

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A Camera Records in Boca, Part One

As is now commonly known, on May 17, 2012, presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a series of very candid comments at a private fundraiser held in the Boca Raton home of private equity manager Marc Leder.

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The IRS Comes Through for San Francisco Public Press

I am very pleased to be able to share the news that, after more than two and a half years, the nonprofit San Francisco Public Press has finally received recognition of its tax exempt status from the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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No More Art Cops in Los Angeles?

You might recall the Los Angeles Police Department's infamous Special Order No. 11, which directed officers to document in a so-called Suspicious Activity Report ("SAR"):

[A]ny reported or observed activity, or any criminal act or attempted criminal act, which an officer believes may reveal a nexus to foreign or domestic terrorism

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The Feds Try Again, But Just Won't Say Why

The federal courts have revised the jury instructions released in 2010 to address jurors' use of the internet and social media. But while the revised version is more specific about what activities jurors should avoid, they are still inadequate.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: The DMLP Wishes Arthur Bright Luck in His New Position!

It is with mixed emotions that the Digital (nee Citizen) Media Law Project has to announce that Arthur Bright, our Research Attorney and Editor, will be leaving us for a new venture.  Arthur has been working with us for more than a year in his current position; prior to that, he worked with our project as a student intern.  We will miss his presence and his contributions to our project, in particular his journalistic skills and his careful attention to international freedom of speech issues. 

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