Month: July 2012

In end-of-term rulings, justices bang up media

Now that the dust has settled on a much-discussed U.S. Supreme Court term, this much can be said in entertainment law terms:  For legacy media looking to dodge regulation and leap forward to keep up with newer, more nimble peers and competitors, three of the high court’s end-of-term decisions appear to have taken a truly retro course, reinforcing a regulatory landscape as it existed in 1978 and 1969, a paleozoic era by modern media standards. While broadcast networks like Fox and CBS dodged indecency fines in the short term (See FCC v. Fox and FCC v. CBS Corp.), the sting of unique high court-approved second-class status for these operators bodes poorly for their future, especially in comparison to a few million dollars in since-retracted fines. In upholding cross-ownership rules — corporate prohibitions on owning a broadcast network and a newspaper in the same market –the restricted ownership in the embattled newspaper industry will continue. Let’s see these decisions as two steps sideways and one step back. FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. Peter Suderman does a great job of synthesizing the indecency issue:  First, singer Cher saying “So fuck ‘em” in an unscripted acceptance speech during an awards show broadcast by Fox; second, “a person named Nicole Richie” (as the ruling describes it) saying “Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It’s not so fucking simple”...

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Even in summer, positive signs of legal stirrings

Dean Austen Parrish recently provided a few bullet points to the Southwestern community about nifty things going on at the institution and we pass these along to those in entertainment law who might not have caught up with these, plus one more item regarding a fine online project launched by a onetime editor of this blog — go Sheba … : From Dean Parrish, recent media highlights — ·         Ranked as One of the Top 10 Law Schools in the Country for Entertainment Law: The school was featured in The Hollywood Reporter, which “evaluated course offerings, practical training, and the esteemed alumni of the nation’s more than 200 law schools to create [a] first-ever list of the best spots for a stellar showbiz education.”  Southwestern ranked fourth in the country, just behind Harvard (#3) and above Columbia (#5), U.C. Berkeley (#6), and Loyola (#7).  The magazine also highlighted several of our alumni, such as Shawn Holley, Daniel Petrocelli, and Neville Johnson, among others, in their list of the top 100 entertainment lawyers in the country. ·         Leading the Pack in Curricular Innovation:  Southwestern also has received recognition by the National Jurist and PreLaw magazine as one of the most innovative law schools in the nation.  And Professor Catherine Carpenter – who is among the top experts in the country on law school curricula and accreditation – has been in the...

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In Europe, a new overture on music rights

Songwriters across Europe may soon get paid quicker, as the European Union has issued a proposal to change how copyright collecting societies work across the 27 nations in the union. The plan will be music to the ears of starving artists waiting for cross-border digital licensing royalties to arrive, and, perhaps this proposal (COM(2012)372/F) deserves a more mellifluous name than its current title as the “Collective Directive.” What’s the drum beat for this change? The big players in providing online music — Spotify, Google Play, iTunes and the recently sold  MOG — all aim to offer the most service in the most places. Because Europeans nation-hop on EasyJet the way Angelenos day-trip to Vegas, the provider with the greatest reach wins, and, as the British news agency Reuters notes,  iTtunes is the only service available in all 27 states. Still, as each music service strives for that big Continental span, they all need the economies of a single, multiterritorial license in much the same way as label accountants want a streamlining of their firms’ means of revenue collection. Enter the “Collective Directive.” It’s part of the union’s larger strategy to harmonize intellectual property rights across the Continent, and getting those in the music business to sing off the same page would be key to realizing the grand vision of a “genuine Single Market in Europe.” But unlike the U.S., where...

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A shout-out for Prof. Mason’s Jay-Z critique

 Michael J. Glazer, a writer on the entertainment scene who has worked in the industry and is on track to earn his Southwestern J.D. in Spring, 2013, joins the blog for the summer as a guest editor. While many legal scholars in the law school and young associate demographic have chanted along to Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” lyrics in civilian life for years, the competency of the artist’s legal analysis lurking beneath the anthem has not charted as high in the realm of public curiosity. Until now. The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, BET, and a slew of major mainstream media outlets are championing Southwestern professor Caleb Mason’s expert tear down on the criminal procedure issues underlying Shawn Carter’s shout-along anthem . It’s all described in his article, “Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, Verse 2: A Close Reading with Fourth Amendment Guidance for Cops and Perps”.  56 St. Louis University  Law Journal  567. Because many of you will want to listen to the tune at issue, but the contemporary nature of the entertainment may not thrill your more buttoned-up colleagues, read on:Here’s the NSFW key verse here: (This video cues right to the key verse ) Mason dissects Jay’s 12-bar second verse — the iconic traffic stop, beginning when Jay is pulled over for “doing 55 in a 54” -– pouring a pop culture smoothie from a legal blender, creating the apotheosis of this...

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‘Oh, Really?’ An un-fare bust by ‘Campus PD’

 In ‘Oh, Really?’ the Biederman Blog’s editors — voracious consumers of all matters pop culture — cast a curious, skeptical, fun and smart end-of-the-week eye on popular productions, sharing their keen observations about legal matters these raise. What happens when you don’t pay your taxi driver? According to cable network G4 and the producers’ edit of its hit reality show Campus PD, you automatically waive several constitutional  criminal protections. Hmm, this situation’s worth some sober legal consideration:. Campus PD features college-town police busting parties, breaking up crowds or fights, performing D.U.I. traffic stops, and arresting college-aged students for (predominantly) alcohol related misdemeanors. It is a direct port of Fox’s COPS franchise, but limited to a narrow demographic of suspects. While many reality shows are inherently competitive, enough that “Reality-Competition” is its own distinct category  at the Emmy Awards, Campus PD offers no prize other than the suspects escaping serious consequences.  But the officers  — as edited in this clip — may be playing a round of  “How many ways can we smudge the Fourth Amendment in 2 minutes and 14 seconds?” The errant youth is portrayed as perhaps a prototypical college stoner.  A taxi driver brings in the police because the student, the cabbie says, failed to pay a $20 fare for delivering him home. When there’s a knock on his door and the youth answers, suddenly the lawmen...

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