Thursday, July 28, 2011

Christian Metal Rocker Rocks MSNBC's Rachel Maddow with $50m Suit

The Rachel Maddow Show (TV series)Image via WikipediaMinnesota-based Christian rocker and radio talk show host Bradlee Dean has filed a $50 million complaint alleging defamation and false light in the District of Columbia Superior Court against MSNBC gabber Rachel Maddow.

The case, Bradlee Dean & You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International v. NBC Universal et al. (Case No. 0006055-11) arises from an August 9, 2010, segment of Maddow's prime-time program that cited the following quote from Dean on his radio show:

"Muslims are calling for the execution of homosexuals in America. They themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible, the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than the American Christians do. Because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination. If America won't enforce the laws, God will raise up a foreign enemy to do just that."
According to an article in The Huffington Post, Dean alleges Maddow deliberately ignored Dean's disclaimer that he was not calling for the killing of gays. In fact, after broadcasting Dean's statement, Maddow read Dean's disclaimer: "[W]e have never and will never call for the execution of homosexuals."
The Rev. Bradlee Dean (Smith) is drummer for the Junkyard Prophet Christian metal rock band and  pastor of the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Christian youth ministry that allegedly includes among its beliefs that gay people were responsible for the Holocaust.  He claims the defendants, including Maddow, MSNBC and The Minnesota Independent, took his statements out of context.
Although the 10-page Complaint acknowledges Maddow read the disclaimer on air, it alleges she "did so in a manner that gave the impression to the audience that Dean's disclaimer was disingenuous, insincere, false and meaningless." The ever-humble "TUOL" legal team wouldn't be surprised if the court similarly describes the Complaint at some point down the line.
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Are You Ready to Share Some Football?

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 15: Green Bay Packers...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe Gannett Co.-owned Green Bay Press-Gazette and the Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal have found their own unique way to celebrate the end of the NFL lockout, according to The Milwaukee Business Journal.

The Journal reports that the Press-Gazette will share its coverage of the Green Bay Packers with the Wisconsin State Journal. In return, the Lee Enterprises-owned Journal will provide coverage of the Univ. of Wisconsin's Badgers sports teams.

Newspaper Industry Economics Reality, meet the Cheeseheads.

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Quick....It's Gone

Flag of Dallas, TexasImage via WikipediaQuick, the free tabloid launched by The Dallas Morning News ("DMN") in 2003 to reach "time-starved" professionals "always on the run," has run out of time, the Dallas Observer reports.

Nine staffers, including seven full-timers, have been axed. DMN Publisher James Moroney had envisioned the publication turning a profit by its third birthday, but, apparently, it's difficult to get those young professionals to stop running long enough to read.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walters' Memoirs Spawns Libel Suit from Daughter's Alleged Former Lover

Cover of "Audition: A Memoir"Cover of Audition: A MemoirIn Shay v. Walters (Case No. 1:2011-cv-10932) filed in May in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, a passage in Barbara Walters' 2008 autobiography, Audition: A Memoir, has sparked a libel suit from a woman who alleges she engaged in a lesbian relationship decades ago with Walters' adopted daughter Jackie Guber.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter's  THR, Esq. legal blog, Judge George A. O'Toole will preside over the case in which the plaintiff, Nancy Shay, claims she is the first-name only "Nancy" that Walters wrote about in her 579-page tome. Shay's complaint cites a passage in which Walters recounts a 1983 incident involving Guber and "Nancy," whom Walters describes as a teen "whom the school kicked out midterm for bad behavior," in which the two teenagers were "found in the nearby town, high on God-knows what."

Shay alleges she was defamed by Walters' recollection, and claims Walters pressured the school to expel her because she disapproved of an alleged consensual sexual relationship between Shay and Guber. Walters' attorneys have moved to dismiss the suit, alleging that it violates their client's First Amendment rights and asserts time-barred claims.
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'Substantial Truth' Doctrine Derails Inmate's Defamation Suit

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...Image via WikipediaIn Bustos v. A&E Television Networks (Case No. 10-1253), a three-member panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit this month upheld a trial court's ruling against an Hispanic Colorado inmate who sued A & Television Networks for airing a documentary alleging he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist group.

Gangland: Aryan Brotherhood aired nationally on A & E in November 1998, and included footage from a surveillance tape showing Bustos fighting with another inmate while voice-over narration discussed the white supremacist group and its tradition of violence. Bustos alleged he was subjected to death threats because of the false impression that he was a member of the group.

Concurring with the trial court that the program's impression that Bustos was an Aryan Brotherhood member was defamatory, the 10th Circuit said the defendant was protected because the statement was "substantially true." As the subject of the program involved a matter of public concern, the burden of proof was on Bustos to show the Aryan Brotherhood accusation was materially false, the 10th Circuit opinion said.

"Comparing the challenged defamatory statement(membership in the Aryan Brotherhood) to the truth (conspiring with and aiding and abetting the Aryan Brotherhood), we cannot see how any juror could find the difference to be a material one--that is, likely to cause a reasonable member of the general public to think significantly less favorably of Mr. Bustos," the appellate court concluded.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Local Newspaper Chain in Alaska Deep-Freezed

The offices of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ...Image via WikipediaThe toxic combination of low revenues and high distribution costs has led the Calista Corp. to pull the plug in August on its subsidiary Alaska Newspapers Inc. ("ANI"), The Alaska Dispatch reports.

ANI publications include The Arctic Sounder, The Bristol Bay Times, Tundra Drums, The Seward Phoenix LOG, The Cordova Times, The Dutch Harbor Fisherman and a statewide magazine, First Alaskans. Calista's loss of patience with ANI's unprofitability means Alaska will no longer have a locally owned newspaper chain. The Anchorage Daily News, the state's largest newspaper, is owned by the McClatchy Co. chain and The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner is part of the Denver-based MediaNews Group.

Talk about a chilling effect on the news...
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UPDATE: Bye, Bye Winklevi

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14:  Tyler Winklevoss and ...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeU.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge Douglas P. Woodlock last week dismissed the case of ConnectU v. Facebook (Case No. 07-10593), perhaps ending at last the 100 years' war involving Harvard alumni Mark Zuckerberg and Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss concerning the origins of Facebook.

The Winklevoss twins filed a Motion  July 1 for discovery to gain a peek at sealed and confidential files to determine whether Zuckerberg and his counsel "intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence," the absence of which, the Olympic rowing twins claimed, deceived them into accepting a settlement of their lawsuit in 2008. Judge Woodlock said the files at issue were irrelevant because the case at issue already was closed when the parties resolved their dispute in 2008. (See "TUOL" posts 6/24/11, 6/23/11, 5/17/11.)

As reported by, the Winklevoss brothers each received $20 million and Facebook stock valued at $65 million in 2008 in return for dismissing their claim that Zuckerberg stole the Facebook social media monster idea from them. The July 1 Motion sought access to 2004 instant messages purportedly sent by Zuckerberg while working with the twins on a related social media project.

Bad news for those craving a sequel to The Social Network.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

RIAA Burned by Reduction in Damages Against File-Sharer

United States Courthouse, MinneapolisImage via WikipediaIn his 43-page Memorandum of Law & Order last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota Michael Davis in Capitol Records, Inc. et al v. Jammie Thomas-Rassett (Case No. 06-cv-01497) slashed a $1.5 million jury verdict against a woman who illegally shared copyrighted songs on KaZaA  to $54,000, the Jurist Website reported.

Judge Davis granted Jammie Thomas-Rassett's Motion to Amend or Alter the Judgment in her epic struggle against the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") which has involved three trials dating back to 2007 over 24 songs that the 34-year-old Minnesota native shared in violation of the The Copyright Act (see "TUOL" posts on 1/26/10 & 1/29/10). Calling the $1.5 million damages award "appalling" and noting that Thomas-Rassett was a "first-time willful consumer infringer of limited means who committed illegal song file-sharing for her own personal use," Judge Davis reduced the damages to $54,000, or $2,250 for each of the 24 songs, equal to three times the statutory minimum.

The $1.5 million verdict awarded in November 2010, violated Thomas-Rassett's due process rights, Judge Davis held. In an earlier trial, a judge assessed RIAA's damages from copyright infringement at $80,000 a song.

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Harry Potter Boffo at the Box Office and in the Courtroom

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: **UK TABLOID ** L-R...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The copyright infringement suit in the U.K. against Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling (see "TUOL" post 2/18/10) has been derailed by the claimant's inability to post the court-ordered security, Reuters reports.

The estate of children's book author Adrian Jacobs could not raise the 1.6 million pounds ($2,605, 653) required by the court as security against the cost of the case were it to proceed to trial, missing the Friday deadline to come up with the initial 800,000 pounds ($1,384,337). Jacobs was the author of the 32-page The Adventures of Willy the Wizard--No. 1 Livid Land (1987), which his heirs claimed was copied by Rowling in her 734-page Children's Book Award-winning Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which has sold more than 400 million copies.

In January of this year, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Shira Sheindlin found "no overlap" in dismissing the Jacobs' estate copyright infringement claim in Paul Gregory Allen, Trustee of the Estate of Adrian Jacobs v. Scholastic, Inc. (Case No. 10-CV-5335) (See "TUOL" post 1/11/11).

Meanwhile, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 2 has thus far grossed more than $48 million domestically at the box office, thank you very much, so it's been a good month for Rowling.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keeping Up With Kardashian Litigation: Kim Sues Over Ad Look-alike

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  Television per...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeIn Kim Kardashian v. The Gap, Inc., Old Navy, LLC et al (Case No. 2:2011cv05960) filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, reality tv star and model Kim Kardashian alleges the defendants violated her right of publicity with its Super C-U-T-E ad blitz launched last February featuring Canadian singer/actress Melissa Molinaro, who resembles Kardashian.

Kardashian is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the $15 million to $20 million range, according to accounts by, The Idaho Statesman and elsewhere, over the multimedia Super C-U-T-E campaign that allegedly has been viewed more than two million times on Old Navy's YouTube channel. The 31-year-old Kardashian, described in her complaint as an "internationally known celebrity, model, television personality, actress, entrepreneur and pop culture icon," claims the defendants' use of purported look-alike Molinaro may confuse consumers regarding Kardashian's actual endorsements, which include a shoe line and clothing store. She claims the ads infringe on her identity and persona.

The complaint alleges the plaintiff "has invested substantial time, energy, finances and entrepreneurial effort in developing her considerable professional and commercial achievements and success, as well as in developing her popularity, fame, and prominence in the public eye." A lofty description for the E! series Keeping Up With the Kardashians co-star whose initial claim to fame included friendship with Paris Hilton and her own sex tape.

Molinaro, 29, is not a defendant in the suit. Ironically, reports that Molinaro has been romantically linked to New Orleans Saints star Reggie Bush, the plaintiff's former flame, so look-alike may only be the half of it.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 'Front Page' Becomes the Same Page

CHICAGO - APRIL 02:  Chicago Sun Times newspap...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThe rough-and-tumble journalism wars that made Chicago a great newspaper town and that were immortalized on Broadway and in Hollywood by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur in The Front Page (1928), lost a little more luster today with the announcement that beginning in September, The Chicago Tribune will print its rival Chicago Sun-Times and seven of the Sun-Times' suburban newspapers, the two papers reported.

The Sun-Times shuttering its $100 million printing center opened in 1999 on South Ashland Ave. will save the struggling daily $10 million, according to its Media Chair Jeremy Halbreich, but also means pink slips for more than 400 employees, most of whom are union members who are receiving state-mandated 60-day notices of termination.

Besides the Sun-Times, the Tribune will print and distribute from its downtown Freedom Center plant the Elgin Courier-News, the Naperville Sun, the Southtown Star, the Merrillville Post-Tribune, the Joliet Herald-News, the Aurora Beacon-News and the Lake County News-Sun.

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UPDATE: Unwilling to Protect Our Borders

Borders' current flagship store in Downtown An...Image via WikipediaAnn Arbor, Michigan-based Borders Group, Inc. will shutter its remaining 399 Borders book stores nationwide, pink-slipping roughly 11,000 employees, threatening the sales of electronic books, and creating gaping holes of empty space in shopping malls around the country.

Earlier this year, Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy re-organization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Docket No. 11-10614) (see "TUOL" post 2/16/11). Creditors wouldn't bite on the offered bid from Najafi Cos. to keep the bookstore chain afloat, so at the scheduled court hearing on July 21, the company will seek bankruptcy court approval of liquidation of its assets by Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners, according to an article in USA Today and a blog post by The liquidation will put money in vendors' pockets, but shopping malls and  urban store locations that drew browsers, if not buyers, aplenty, will go dark.

It's hard to remember that Borders was once the  leviathan "bad guy" that threatened small, independent bookstores, only to be undone itself by Amazon and WalMart.  The demise of Borders means further isolation in our society as people will order their books online, instead of recommending books to each other over a latte in the Borders' cafe.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NSA Deflects FOIA Challenge About Possible Google Ties

President George W. Bush addresses the media d...Image via WikipediaWhether the National Security Agency has forged a relationship with Internet search engine colossus Google will remain under wraps for now as the NSA successfully rebuffed a document request by public interest watchdog group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC") under the Freedom of Information Act [5 U.S.C. sec. 552 et seq.].

As reported by Suits & Sentences, a blog published by The McClatchy Co. media conglomerate, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Richard J. Leon denied EPIC's FOIA document request, relying on Exemption 3 of the sunshine law. The restriction holds that material does not have to be produced that is otherwise protected from disclosure by another statute; in this case, one that guards "the organization or any function of the National Security Agency, [or] any information with respect to the activities thereof," the Suits & Sentences post noted.

The NSA ain't talkin' about whether it has worked with Google.  EPIC initially filed its FOIA request after stories emerged concerning a possible connection between the NSA and Google regarding a cyber attack by hackers in China.

The case is Electronic Privacy Information Center v. National Security Agency (Case No. 1:2010-cv-01533).

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Reader's Digest Being Swallowed Up by Buyer?

PNG VersionImage via WikipediaReader's Digest Association ("RDA") is offering itself for sale, in its entirety or piecemeal, and hopes to fetch $1 billion, according to reports in Folio magazine and The Wall St. Journal.

The Pleasantville, N.Y.-based publisher entered a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2009 (see "TUOL" post 8/17/09), from which it emerged in February 2010. RDA endured a brutal First Quarter in 2011, as revenues sank 21.2 percent to $326 million, Folio reported.

The media company publishes 90 magazines internationally, including Taste of Home, Family Handyman and Every Day With Rachael Ray (a frightening prospect). The Wall St. Journal reports that one of RDA's most prized possessions is, for which digital media companies may pony up $100 million to $200 million.  

Reader's Digest, which Lila Bell and DeWitt Wallace founded in 1922, has registered nearly an 8 percent hike in ad pages through August, according to Folio. RDA was acquired for $66 million in 2006.

The intrepid "TUOL" staff's editor will be tracking this story closely as he grew up in a family who subscribed to the uniquely sized Reader's Digest and  has fond childhood memories of the magazine being delivered directly to his father's bathroom door.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Canadian Media Conglomerate Withdraws from Ontario Press Council

The Sun cover from June 27, 2010.Image via WikipediaSun Media, parent company of Quebecor Media Inc., has pulled out of the Ontario Press Council ("OPC"), according to an article in The Vancouver Sun.

Sun Media head Glenn Garnett attributed the move to his chain's editorial direction being at odds with the OPC's being "politically correct." OPC Chair Dr. Robert Elgie pointed out that Quebecor previously had withdrawn from a Quebec-based media watchdog group. The Toronto Sun, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Sun and Winnipeg Sun are part of the Sun Media Group.

The OPC, which was established in 1972, oversees more than 200 newspapers. Sun Media's dailies make up 27 of the 37 in OPC's jurisdiction, the article noted.
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O'Neal Sues Fawcett Assistant for Defamation in Spat Over Warhol Silkscreen

1975:  (FILE PHOTO) Studio headshot portrait o...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeActor and gossip tabloid favorite Ryan O'Neal last week filed a defamation suit in Los Angeless County Superior Court against Craig Nevius, personal assistant to O'Neal's late partner, actress Farrah Fawcett.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter's THR, Esq. blog, O'Neal's complaint seeks more than $1 million in damages and includes counts alleging defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. O'Neal blames Nevius' comments to Star Magazine and on Good Morning America for prompting the University of Texas to sue O'Neal on July 8 for the return of a silkscreen portrait of Fawcett done by Andy Warhol reportedly valued at $30 million.

Fawcett left her art collection to her alma mater when she died of anal cancer in 2009, but O'Neal claims the artwork is his. O'Neal's complaint alleges the school's complaint against him is based on false statements by Nevius. The actor, currently appearing in a reality tv show with his actress daughter Tatum O'Neal, has accused Nevius of being "obsessed" with Fawcett and blamed him for leaking her medical records to supermarket tabloids.

Given the gossip-rich path his off-screen life has followed, in retrospect it was probably a bad idea for O'Neal to make his show business splash in TV's adaption of soap opera Peyton Place.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

BBC Journos Stage 1-Day Walkout to Protest Job Cuts

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05:  BBC news staff...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeRoughly 3,000 members of the National Union of Journalists struck the British Broadcasting Corp. for one day, in protest of reduced government funding and job cuts, The New York Times reported today.

The BBC aired repeats on the World Service and in the U.K. because of the walkout. Last November, 4,100 BBC journalists staged a two-day strike, objecting to proposed pension reductions. The BBC is pink-slipping 480 staffers at BBC World Service and slashing 360 jobs online (see "TUOL" post 1/24/11).

Instead of "Bad Show," it was "No Show."

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Is All-News FM Radio War in the Offing in Chicago?

WCFS-FMImage via WikipediaCBS Radio-owned WBBM-AM 780 all-news radio, Chicago's top-ranked station, will begin simulcasting on WCFS-FM 105.9, heretofore a contemporary music station, as of August 1,  in a strategic maneuver to offset possible higher fidelity competition, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Merlin Media, which is led by a former Tribune executive, recently purchased WKQX-FM Q101 from Emmis Communications and is expected to convert the alternative rock station to a news-talk format. WBBM-AM, which has been an all-news radio station since 1968, also will take advantage of its FM doppelganger to broadcast Chicago Bears games in stereo if the NFL lockout ends and "da Bears" resume play. (Full disclosure: "TUOL"'s devoted staff used to reside in Chicago and regularly tuned in to WBBM NewsRadio, when not swinging to the jazz selections of the late Dick Buckley on WBEZ-FM.)

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UPDATE: 'Twittersquatting' Plaintiff Drops Suit

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseLife settlement company Coventry First has withdrawn its subpoena to Twitter and voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against anonymous tweeters (see "TUOL" 6/15/11), the ABA Journal Law News Now blog reports.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case,  Coventry First, LLC v. John Does 1-10 (Case No. 2:11-cv-03700) alleged violations of the Lanham Act and the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, along with common law claims of unjust enrichment and unfair competition, arising from sarcastic false tweets under the tag @coventryfirst.  Coventry First said it decided to drop the case after counsel for Public Citizen, which had sought to quash the subpoena to Twitter, revealed the pseudonymous tweeter was not an industry competitor. Public Citizen argued the plaintiff erred procedurally by serving Twitter with a subpoena before seeking court permission via motion to conduct early discovery.

More likely, dismissing the case without prejudice  is a face-saving measure by Coventry First, which faced an uphill battle supporting its claim that the fake tweets amounted to trademark infringement that might confuse consumers.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kansas City Star Cans Columnist for Plagiarism

The Kansas City StarImage via WikipediaThe McClatchy Company-owned Kansas City Star has fired 31-year veteran employee Steve Penn for plagiarism.

The 53-year-old Penn, who has been a Star metro columnist since 2000, was found to have copied verbatim material contained in press releases without attribution in his columns on more than a dozen occasions dating back to 2008, according to Star Editor Mike Fannin. Penn, whose forte was human interest pieces, purportedly duplicated in one column the contents of a press release about the alliance between  Alaadeen Enterprises, Inc. and the family of the late jazz great Duke Ellington to help U.S. Veterans. Similarly, in a tribute column to restaurateur Maxine Virginia Byrd, Penn purloined descriptive phrases and a significant portion of a press release about Byrd written by a funeral home.

Trolling press releases for column content proves the old adage: the Penn is not mightier than the flack.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ESPN Sues OSU Over Public Records Request in NCAA Probe

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 9:  Quarterback Terrell...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeIn State ex rel. ESPN, Inc. v. The Ohio State University (Case No. 11-1177), a complaint for writ of mandamus filed this week in the Supreme Court of Ohio, the sports broadcaster is seeking records from the football powerhouse concerning an NCAA probe into alleged sales by OSU players of game memorabilia that caused Coach Jim Tressel and star QB Terrelle Pryor to leave the university.

ESPN sued under the Buckeye State's public records law [Ohio Rev. Code sec. 149.43], after producer Justine Gubar's April 20, 2011, requests for documents concerning the alleged NCAA violations were rejected by OSU on May 27, on the grounds that producing the information would violate students' privacy rights set forth in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") [20 U.S.C. sec. 1232g].

ESPN was turned away by OSU after it asked for Email correspondence and other internal and external documents regarding the NCAA's inquiry into alleged actions by Tressel, Pryor, and other team members, including Devier Posey, Daniel Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas. According to an article in The Columbus Dispatch, ESPN also has its eye on correspondence from Tressel to Jeannette, Pennsylvania-based Ted Sarniak, purportedly Pryor's mentor.

OSU has 21 days to respond to the Complaint once it is served.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Online Shop Sites Liable for 'Active' Promoting of Fake Goods, Euro High Court Warns

Official insignia of the European Court of JusticeImage via WikipediaeBay and other online shopping sites can't skirt trademark infringement claims if they have an "active role" in hawking counterfeit products, a full panel of the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") in Luxembourg has ruled.

Since 2007, cosmetics and beauty giant L'Oreal has locked horns with eBay, the world's largest online auction site, when the Paris-based company turned to the ECJ by linking lawsuits filed in France, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom, according to articles in The Independent and The Guardian. L'Oreal blames eBay for the sale of counterfeit goods on its Website as well as the sale of "parallel imports" (imported L'Oreal products not aimed at the European market). eBay argues that it should not be accountable unless it fails to act after a trademark holder notifies it of an infringement.

In a ruling that resonates in the world of e-commerce, the ECJ said national courts may order eBay and such companies "to take measures intended not only to bring to an end infringements of intellectual property sites, but also to prevent further infringments of that kind,"  The Guardian reports. The ECJ said European Union trademark rules are applicable to sales offers and advertisements involving trademarked goods outside EU countries once "it is clear that those offers are targeted at consumers in the EU."

L'Oreal complained that by paying for keywords from Internet referencing services, such as Google's AdWords, that correspond to the cosmetics company's trademarks, eBay was directing users "toward goods that infringe trademark law, which are offered for sale on its Website."  Although the ECJ said liability may attach if the online shopping site takes an "active role" in promoting sham goods or fails to remove goods upon notice that the sales are unlawful, eBay and its competitors are not liable merely for permiting its customers to display signs corresponding to trademarks.

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AP 'Dusts' Freelance Photog for Altering Soccer Photo

Image representing Associated Press as depicte...Image via CrunchBaseThe Associated Press has pulled all the images of freelance photographer Miguel Tovar from its Website and AP Images photo licensing division after determining the photographer altered a picture he took at the Copa America soccer tournament in Argentina.

Santiago Lyon, AP Director of Photography, informed the wire service staffers in a letter that Tovar purportedly cloned dust from a portion of one feature photo to conceal his own shadow in another image of kids playing soccer. An array of Tovar's photos of the tournament appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Lyon condemned Tovar's alleged action as a "deliberate and misleading photo manipulation." As stated in AP's ethics code concerning images: "We do not alter or digitally manipulate the content of a photograph in any way." The ethics code proscribes the use of Photoshop, the adding or removal of an element of an image or the deliberate obscuring of faces.  Ironically, the ethics code permits retouching images "to eliminate dust on camera sensors," but apparently doesn't allow a shutterbug to add dust to a photo.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Philly Papers to Hawk Digital Version/Android Combo

PHILADELPHIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Copies of the Phi...Image by Getty Images via @daylifePhiladelphia Media Network ("PMN"), owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, plans to sell discounted Android tablets on which digital versions of the dailies already will be built in, according to an article in AdWeek.

Beginning in late August, 2,000 tablets will be pedaled that boast icons of digital replicas of the dailies and separate applications for the papers' online versions. No price has been set, the AdWeek article noted, but the tablets housing the newspapers' content is expected to be offered for half-off their combined retail price. The dailies would receive all the revenues and data that will reflect consumer use of digital newspaper content.

PMN purchased the dailies from Philadelphia Media Holdings out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Spanish Court Tells ISPs to Shut Off the Limelight

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 26:  Bullfighter Seraf...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeAn interesting post by the reports on a case in Spain that highlights the different approach European courts take to defamation and privacy cases than their American counterparts.

Google was ordered by a court in Spain to remove from its index information about a private individual. Specifically, in 1991, an article critical of plastic surgeon Dr. Hugo Guidotti Russo was published by a Spanish newspaper concerning a dispute with a patient. The article in question did not assess the merits of the patient's complaint or address the resolution of the claim.

Dr. Russo, backed by the Spanish Data Protection Agency("SDPA") and a Spanish court, sought the removal of the decade-old article by Google, which he claimed detracted from his on-going medical practice when it surfaced in Google searches. Google screamed censorship and refused to do so. Whereas in the U.S., there is no expiration date once an individual is in the limelight as a public figure, Spain, as do many of its European Union compadres, abide by a doctrine known as "the right to be forgotten."

Interestingly, the SDPA previously has exempted Internet Service Providers from coverage by Spain's freedom of expression laws that protect newspapers and other publications. Google contends the onus should be on publications that provide Internet content to embed coding alerting ISPs not to index the data.
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