Month: July 2011

High court takes on FCC ‘indecency’ rules

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed this fall to hear arguments as to whether Federal Communications Commission enforcement policies on “indecent” content ( nudity and explicit words) violate constitutional rights. A key issue is whether the FCC should continue to wield broad enforcement powers over the broadcasting of such material from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. or whether the current expansion of available media platforms have made enforcement of old standards an archaic, useless task. The high court specifically will evaluate the Second Circuit’s decisions on two live Fox broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards involving blue language employed by Cher and Nicole Richie and an ABC broadcast of “NYPD Blue” that showed a woman’s backside. The New York Times examines the issue and summarizes arguments here. Because the Roberts court has set down a path arguing for the preeminence of First Amendment liberties (see its recent rulings on regulating for children video games deemed violent and on campaign finance), some analysts look for the justices to revisit their key 1978 ruling in Pacifica and to look to whether the FCC regulation is constitutional at all or to send regulators back to the drawing boards. Broadcasters, both on the television and radio sides, say that some kind of consistency needs to be achieved so that indecency complaints — many filed en masse by interest groups — don’t keep regulators...

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What isn’t covered by copyright, eh?

Ignore it and it just may go away. Try though we might, it may have been the arguments over the monkey photographs that, of course, pushed the point: This truly has become a stretch, maybe even a silly season for copyright and its extension into popular, creative endeavors and entertainments. Or is it just that too much is expected of statutes that so many think will protect originality, creativity and the unique? In the late spring, for example, a legal fracas erupted over the facial markings (tattoos) of boxer Mike Tyson, as depicted in the raunchy comedy flick, “The Hangover Part II.” That prompted some Serious People, legal profs, no less, to speculate as to whether a nose job, such as purportedly undergone by Bristol Palin, the notorious daughter of politico Sarah Palin, could be copyrighted. In short order, crooner Rhianna found herself embroiled in not one but two legal disputes over the look and her attire (a big dress) in a music video. As the summer has worn on, a tribute to jazz icon Miles Davis turned into a nasty online spat with blogger Andy Baio and legendary photographer Jay Maisel in its midst. If that didn’t leave a sting, well, Muhammad Ali Enterprises has taken a swing at a book publisher Kobo over its use in a New York Times ad of the legendary boxer’s “Float like...

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Poof! And there were a myriad Potter suits …

The best known Potter who will go down in the books for his influence on the law and entertainment law, of course, came from the pragmatic, I-know-it-when-I-see-it Stewart clan. But in honor of the Boy Wizard, who is making folks, of course, on the Westside go “Wow!” for at least 168 million more reasons beyond Carmageddon, let’s take note of a nifty post from the bloggers over at Legally Easy as they recap lots of the litigation that popped up like bad spells for J.K. Rowling and the moviemakers who made her magical books into a generational...

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Views abound on high court video game ruling

The  clamor hasn’t died down even after the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down a California law barring the sale to minors of video games deemed excessively violent. News reporting on the justices’ 7-2 decision focused heavily on the high court’s espousal of First Amendment issues in the case, with both the Times on the East and West Coast featuring this angle in their stories. The online sources have broken down the matter well, for example with Scotusblog providing the briefs, documents and other relevant files and Gamasutra examining the dissenters and the wavering Justice Samuel Alito. Since the decision’s announcement, of course, the analysis, discussion and commentary has flowed — including from some of the seeming victors in the case (the Entertainment Software Association) and those on the losing side (law sponsor Leland Yee) — and GamePolitics has kept pace with some of it with a roundup post. While First Amendment advocates have celebrated the ruling, particularly as it applies to emerging technologies and entertainment, commentators have noted the case was not as cleanly decided as the vote suggests; besides the two justices who did not support the majority decision, both Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Alito concurred in the ruling but their dissents indicated they thought the California law simply too vague. Clearly, though the high court has ruled, key matters in the case won’t rest,...

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3 wry, provocative takes on video game case

Besides the much-anticipated, heavy-duty reporting, analysis and discussion, the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a California ban on sales to young people of video games deemed violent prompted some very different collateral commentary of note. And since the summer season perhaps permits more than the usual distractions, here are a trio. Comedian Jon Stewart, as usual, provides some cutting, incisive thoughts on the case, sprinkled amidst the hyperbole and guffaws:   The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Moral Kombat Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook Writer Nick Summers over at The Daily Beast pondered whether the publicly proclaimed Luddite proclivities of the “geriatric and hidebound” Supreme Court justices might bollix up their ruling in this and other technology cases. And then there was the “Critic’s Notebook,” penned at the NY Times by Seth Schiesel (a self-proclaimed proud Yale Law School drop-out and video game reviewer for the news organization’s “Culture” section), arguing the artistic implications and responsibilities that flow from the ruling....

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The Biederman Blog is now ranked NUMBER ONE on Feedspot's Top 20 Entertainment Law blogs (May 2018). It is very exciting to top this list. We are extra proud of number six - Entertainment Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark. Mr. Firemark graduated from Southwestern in 1992, and is a top entertainment blogger and webinar presenter in addition to being a world class entertainment attorney!

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