Video

The Flipside of 1984: The Public Watching Big Brother

A recent post on Prawfs Blawg by Professor Howard Wasserman further explores some of the questions raised in my post, Searching for Both Sides of Body Slam Video, where I discuss some of the problems with videos that document forceful arrests. Prof.

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Congressman Wears Two Hats: Legislator and Citizen Journalist

Even elected officials can be citizen journalists.  The New York Times has an interesting report about Representative John Culberson (R) of Texas, who took on a role normally filled by CSPAN after the House had officially adjourned for its summer recess last Friday.

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Searching for Both Sides of the Bicyclist Body Slam Video

A tourist captured video of a New York City police officer body slamming a bicycle rider who was participating in a group ride through Times Square. The video posted on YouTube depicts the incident in a way that is inconsistent with the series of events described in the police officer's criminal complaint.

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Google Execs Face Charges in Italy Over Third Party Content

Does the European Union offer web hosts any protection from liability for the content of third parties, a la section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230) or the "safe-harbor" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?  This looks to be a key question for four current and former Google executives, as Italian prosecutors prepare to launch criminal charges against them over a video hosted by

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Max Mosley's S&M Party Not A Matter of Legitimate Public Concern, Says English Court

Admittedly, Max Mosley's lawsuit against an English tabloid is not the heartland of citizen media, but who can resist posting about a story that involves "sadomasochistic orgies, car racing, and Nazis," as Bill McGeveran puts it.  Mosley, the head of the governing body for Formula One racing, sued the News of the World for reporting in March 2008 that he organized a “sick Nazi orgy” with five prostitute

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Oregon v. Lewis

Date: 

07/01/2008

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Tim Lewis

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Oregon District Court, Lane County

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

Independent videographer Tim Lewis refused to comply with a Lane County, Oregon, grand jury subpoena for video he filmed of a May 30, 2008, incident where police tasered Ian Van Ornum, a student protester.  Lewis argued that Oregon's reporter shield law, Or. Rev. Stat. § 44.520,  protects him from compelled disclosure of his newsgathering materials.

The grand jury planned to examine the video to determine whether Van Ornum, or any other people attending the anti-pesticide protest he was attending, should face criminal charges.  Lewis, who edited and posted the video to YouTube, said the tape contained very little information that would be useful to the grand jury, as he didn't begin to record events until after Van Ornum had been tasered. Nonetheless, he refused to surrender the tape because he "can't set a precedent by giving it to them," according to The Register-Guard.

Update:

7/15/2008 - After Lewis, with aid from the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, filed documents in court invoking the shield law, the District Attorney's office withdrew the subpoena, reports The Register Guard.

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Citizen Journalist Invokes Oregon Shield Law to Fight Subpoena

Does Oregon's reporter shield law apply to an independent journalist who publishes online?  That question looks set to be answered, thanks to the refusal of Tim Lewis to comply with a grand jury subpoena for his video of a May 30, 2008, demonstration in Eugene, Oregon, where police tasered an 18-year-old protester.

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Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association v. SHARK

Date: 

12/11/2007

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Showing Animals Respect And Kindness

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Case Number: 

08-cv-3314

Legal Counsel: 

Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. (Mudd Law Offices)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

YouTube.com shut down the account of Showing Animals Respect And Kindness ("SHARK"), an animal rights activitist group, after the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association ("PRCA") filed DMCA takedown notices in December 2007 regarding SHARK videos that used recordings of PRCA events. The videos, which contained recordings of rodeos filmed by SHARK members, criticized the treatment of the animals involved in the rodeo.

On June 9, 2008, SHARK, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, filed a lawsuit against the PRCA in Illinois federal court asking for a declaratory judgment that the videos were not infringing and bringing claims against the PRCA by arguing that it violated section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512(f), by knowingly materially misrepresenting that the SHARK videos infringed PRCA’s copyrights and for interference with contract.

Update:

5/12/2009 - PRCA and SHARK settled the section 512(f) case.  PRCA agreed to (1) pay $25,000 to SHARK, (2) set up a private takedown system for SHARK videos outside the normal DMCA process, whereby PRCA will first send future copyright complaints directly to SHARK rather than to YouTube, and (3) not to selectively enforce a "no videotaping" stamp on its tickets against activists like SHARK.

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Source: EFF (via RSS)

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Paparazzi Need Better Manners, Not More Laws

In Malibu City, an ocean-side enclave of Los Angeles, local government officials are considering regulations that aim to protect the privacy and safety interests of both celebrities hounded by the paparazzi and local residents, after local surfers went to fisticuffs with photographers trying to capture Matthew McConaughey surfing at Malibu's Little Dume Beach.

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Center for Social Media Launches Its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Today, the Center for Social Media at American University released its Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video, a publication meant to help online video creators, service providers, and copyright holders to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use.

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Privacy Falls into YouTube's Data Tar Pit

As a big lawsuit grinds forward, its parties engage in discovery, a wide-ranging search for information "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." (FRCP Rule 26(b)) And so Viacom has calculated that scouring YouTube's data dumps would help provide evidence in Viacom's copyright lawsuit.

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NY Law Would Allow Citizens to Record and Broadcast Government Meetings

A bill pending in the New York Legislature would allow the public to photograph, videotape, and audio record public meetings in New York, providing better access to government deliberations and information. It would impose two minor conditions: the photographing or recording activity must not be disruptive, and the public body holding the meeting can regulate where equipment and personnel are located in the room.

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Holding Government Accountable One Click at a Time

“Laws are like sausages. You should never watch them being made.” This adage, generally attributed to Otto von Bismarck, rings true to anyone who has had the opportunity to watch Congress make public policy. Just tune into C-SPAN sometime for a taste.

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Quixtar, Inc. v. Does 1-30

Date: 

10/08/2007

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Does 1-30

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Michigan Circuit Court, Ottawa County

Case Number: 

07-59739-CZ

Legal Counsel: 

Daniel A. O’Brien (for John Does 1-5, 8, 9, 12-18, & 21)

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Website

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Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On October 8th, 2007, Quixtar Inc., a sister company of Amway Corp., sued thirty “John Does” for anonymous posts they made on blogs focused on Quixtar including freetheibo.com, theiborebellion.blogspot.com, and quixtarlostmycents.blogspot.com, and for anonymous videos posted on YouTube that the company considers disparaging and malicious. Quixtar seeks an injunction and damages of more than $25,000.

Quixtar claims two counts of tortious interference and one count of unfair competition. The complaint alleges the defendants have caused proprietary information to be disclosed and encouraged Quixtar’s distributors, known as “Independent Business Operators” (IBOs) not to buy certain products, to stop building their businesses, and to resign from the Quixtar business. Quixtar also claims unfair competition alleging the defendants misled current and prospective IBOs into believing Quixtar’s business practices are unethical, its products are not competitively priced, and it is operating contrary to law.

According to Quixtar’s official news blog called “Alticor Media Blog,” the lawsuit was filed in order to discover the identities of the bloggers and discern whether they are working in concert with Orrin Woodward, the subject of a separate Quixtar legal action Quixtar, Inc. v. Woodward, No. 07-08413-CK, slip op. (Mich. Cir. Ct. Aug. 10, 2007). An October 12th, 2007, blog post reflects this motivation:

We filed suit this week in Ottawa County, Michigan seeking to learn more about a number of “John Does” who have cropped up online since our dispute with Orrin Woodward and TEAM began.

Because we believe we can prove that some of their sites and posts were engineered or directed by Woodward, TEAM, their lawyers or their PR agency. And that those sites were purposely used to post material that violates a court order.


…So we are seeking to support the legal system – and not attack First Amendment speech. Tough line to walk, but we’ll walk it. Because we believe in both principles.

Some of the John Does filed a motion to dismiss the suit on October 15, 2007, arguing collateral estoppel in connection with the pending Quixtar v. Woodward case where Quixtar also seeks to discover the identities of the John Does and that Quixtar’s complaint violates the defendants' freedom of speech rights under the U.S. Constitution and article I of the Michigan Constitution.

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CMLP Notes: 

May need to have "Injunction Denied" added to the disposition field.  Check with lawyer.

Updated 6/25/2008 (JMC)

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DMCA "Repeat Infringers": Scientology Critic’s Account Reinstated after Counter-Notification

The Scientology critic known as “Wise Beard Man” returned to YouTube this week after successfully filing counter-notifications to copyright claims that had earlier been made against his account. The takedown and delayed return illuminate another of the lesser-known shoals of the DMCA safe harbor, the 512(i)(1)(A) “repeat infringers” consideration.

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Prince, Radiohead, and the Bootlegging Provision of the Copyright Act

Prince is at it again. We've covered his legal antics before -- his lawyers went after a number of fan sites last November, and Universal Music sent a takedown notice to YouTube last June over a video of a toddler dancing with "Let's Go Crazy" playing in the background.

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Warner Bros. Records v. Music2Nite

Date: 

10/20/2007

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Music2Nite; Google Inc. (Blogger)

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

Warner Bros. Records sent a cease and desist letter (via Blogger) to Music2Nite, a music blog that had posted materials related to recording artist Madonna. The demand letter not only specified that the blog owner remove a specific post -- Music2Nite primarily posts YouTube videos and links to MP3s of current artists' work or live performances -- it also required Music2Nite to remove all "links, references, and/or artwork associated with Madonna."

The offending post seems to have been removed from the Music2Nite site, but other posts and links to materials related to Madonna remain on the site (see here and here).

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Source: Chilling Effects via RSS

 

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Sungenis v. Tarsax

Date: 

09/27/2007

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Paul Tarsax

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Publication Medium: 

Website

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Description: 

Paul Tarsax, who blogs on a site called Catholic Anti-Defamation League, created and posted a video on YouTube that contained edited footage of Robert Sungenis, the founder of Catholic Apologists International (CAI), making controversial statements about Jews together with images from the holocaust.

On September 22, 2007, Tarsax received a cease-and-desist demand from Colin Andrews, Esq., purportedly a lawyer for CAI, which Tarsax posted on his blog. The demand states that the video is libelous and unless it is removed, CAI would "register a legal complaint with Youtube authorities as well as file a lawsuit against you."

Tarsax ignored the demand, but YouTube later removed the video. Tarsax says this was because Sungenis's statements were too graphic and upsetting, while Sungenis states it was because he had complained to YouTube that the video was libelous. Tarsax reposted the video, this time on Google Video and on his blog, where it remains as of May 22, 2008.

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YouTube Announces New Citizen News Channel


Earlier this week, YouTube announced that it had designated a news manager for the site and created a Citizen News channel. Olivia Ma, YouTube's new News Manager, announced the initiative on YouTube's blog:

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Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. v. NBC 10

Date: 

09/26/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

NBC-Subsidiary (WCAU-TV) (a.k.a. NBC 10); NBC Stations Management II, Inc.; NBC Stations Management, Inc.; NBC Universal, Inc.; Lu Ann Cahn; Dr. Louis Bucky; John Doe 1 and 2

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Large Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

Case Number: 

2:06-cv-14312

Legal Counsel: 

Julie Rikelman

Publication Medium: 

Broadcast
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. and LL NJ, Inc. are in the business of performing facelifts and other cosmetic surgery. In September 2006, they sued NBC-Subsidiary (WCAU-TV) (a.k.a. NBC 10), NBC Universal and certain of its affiliates, NBC reporter Lu Ann Cahn, and Dr. Louis Bucky over a television news report about the "Lifestyle Lift" cosmetic surgery procedure that appeared on NBC 10 in Philadelphia. In preparing the news report, the NBC defendants allegedly sent two individuals in an undercover capacity to LL NJ's offices to gather information and secretly videotape events on the premises. The news report itself was critical of the Lifestyle Lift procedure and included negative statements by former patients and Dr. Bucky, NBC10's hired expert. A copy of the news program was posted on the NBC10's website, but later removed, and a nearly verbatim transcript of the broadcast was originally posted on various local NBC websites.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Michigan, included claims for violation of the New Jersey wiretapping statute, trespass to land, false advertising under the Lanham Act, and defamation. In November 2006, the defendants moved to dismiss the case, and the court dismissed the false advertising and wiretapping claims, and dismissed Dr. Bucky from the suit altogether for lack of personal jurisdiction over him. Later, the remaining defendants moved for summary judgment on the trespass and defamation claims. On April 28, 2008, the court denied the motion, holding that the defamation claim could go to trial. The court dismissed the trespass claim without prejudice, holding that a New Jersey court should decide that claim.

UPDATE:

On 7/14/2008 the court issued an order of referral to facilitative mediation. On 8/21/08, the court issued an order dimissing the case.

 

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avm -6-15-09 update on mediation and dismissal

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