The May 2, 2015 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” It broke many records, including the record for pay-per-view viewership in the United States with 4.4 million purchases and over $410 million in pay-per-view revenue. The cost to order the fight on television was $89.95, plus an additional $10 for high definition. Given that steep price and the high level of interest in the bout, the “Fight of the Century” may also have broken the record for most pirated live sporting event ever.
Federal law prohibits the unauthorized publication, use, interception, or reception of certain televised events, through the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 605, et seq.) (“Communications Act”) and the Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (47 U.S.C. § 553, et seq.) (“Cable Act”). Both statutes allow for a private right of action, i.e., any person harmed by a violation may bring a lawsuit to enforce the statute, not only the government.
Late last year, Illinois’ then-governor, Pat Quinn, passed a new eavesdropping law, Public Act 098-1142 (formerly S.B. 1342). The new law filled a void left by two Illinois Supreme Court decisions that struck down the old eavesdropping law as unconstitutional. People v. Clark, 2014 IL 115779 (Mar. 20, 2014); People v. Melongo, 2014 IL 114852 (Mar. 20, 2014). The state’s highest court found that the old eavesdropping law violated the First Amendment by criminalizing the recording of public conversations. The new law, however, comes with issues of its own.
Illinois’ new eavesdropping law makes it illegal to record surreptitiously any communication where one or more of the parties to the communication has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The statute is, not surprisingly, silent on what constitutes a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” Though, if you’re on the phone with someone, it seems pretty clear that you should get their permission before recording the conversation.
Advertising and Media
May 26, 2015
Petition Filed with SCOTUS to Consider Whether the First Amendment Permits Claims for Retroactive Defamation in the Internet Age
If you practice media law, then it comes as no surprise that individuals who have had their criminal records sealed also want to wipe the Internet clean of any reporting on those records. What may be a “legal truth,” however, is not necessarily true under defamation law. It is at this intersection of fairness and truth that the Supreme Court is being asked to find itself. Martin v. Hearst Corp., et al., Case No. 14-1301 (Apr. 28, 2015) (“Petition”). Specifically, Lorraine Martin, petitioner, seeks to clarify whether traditional First Amendment law should be altered when it comes to digital defamation claims. While it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will accept certiorari (as discussed below), the issue of whether a publisher is required to takedown an article referring to a criminal act that was accurate when published but has since been expunged, sealed, or erased under applicable state statutes is one of importance to online media.
Martin v. Hearst Corporation Makes Its Way Through the Second Circuit
In 2010, Lorraine Martin, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, was arrested on various drug charges. Hearst Corporation, and its local news outlets, published reports of Martin’s arrest. There is no dispute that the original publications were accurate at the time they were published. In 2012, pursuant to Connecticut’s “Erasure Statute” (General Statute §54-142a), the charges against Martin were dismissed. Under the Erasure Statute, all records of the arrest are “erased,” Martin is deemed to “have never been arrested,” and Martin may swear under oath that she was never arrested.
Advertising and Media
May 18, 2015