First Amendment v. Copyright – Who Wins?

google_copyrightEarlier this year, the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, reversed a decision by a three-member panel of the same court and found that a mandatory injunction against Google was unjustified. Garcia v. Google, Inc., No. 12-57302 (May 18, 2015). The appellate court explained that, “a weak copyright claim cannot justify censorship in the guise of authorship.”

In Garcia, actress Cindy Lee Garcia was paid $500 to make a guest appearance in a film titled “Desert Warrior.” Garcia’s five-second (two-sentence) performance was “transformed . . . into part of a blasphemous video proclamation against the Prophet Mohammed.” The writer-director of the film dubbed over Garcia’s lines and replaced them with a voice asking, “Is your Mohammed a child molester?” The trailer for the film, now titled “Innocence of Muslims,” was uploaded to YouTube. The video received millions of hits and, not surprisingly, caused Garcia to receive several death threats. In an effort to protect herself, Garcia argued that she has a copyright interest in her performance, a right that was infringed by the posting of the video without her consent. Garcia filed for an injunction requiring Google (the owner of YouTube) to take down the video. The district court denied her request and a divided panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed, despite characterizing her copyright claim as “fairly debatable.” The three-judge panel did not substantively address the First Amendment implications of its decision.

»» Read More

Posted by Erin Rhinehart
Advertising and Media
July 27, 2015

Sweet Tweets: Legislation Expands Social Media Privacy Protections

social media_networkingLet’s face it: social networking has us “all atwitter.”  At any given moment, whether we’re on the subway or in our cubicle, we can like, post, poke, share, tweet, DM, pin, snap, yik yak, link, yo, and instagram with just about anyone with access to the internet.  A recent global survey shows that the average person has five social media accounts and spends approximately one hour and forty minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for twenty-eight percent of the total time spent on the internet.  That’s a lot of tweeting.  Accordingly, many employers are curious as to what we are posting and when we are posting.  Other employers want to take advantage of social media marketing opportunities by requiring their employees to use personal social media accounts as billboards for the business.  In response, some states have passed legislation to protect individual privacy and curb an employer’s access to employee and job applicant social media information.

In 2012, Maryland became the first state to prohibit employers from requiring workers and prospective employees to disclose their user names and passwords to Facebook, Twitter, and other personal social media accounts.  Maryland’s law started a trend.

»» Read More

Posted by Zach Heck
Advertising and Media
July 23, 2015

As Police Begin to Wear Body Cameras, Can They Deny Access to Footage?

bodycamLast summer a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. The incident sparked a nationwide debate over the relationship between police and the communities they serve, and whether the shooting itself was justified. Fueling the controversy were widely-divergent accounts of the incident, which was not recorded on video. By contrast, when a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina later shot and killed Walter Scott – who also was black and unarmed – the officer faced widespread condemnation. That time a bystander happened to record the shooting on his cell phone. The video provided indisputable evidence that Scott was shot in the back while running away.

In the wake of those and other high-profile police-involved shootings, there have been increasing calls for officers to record their interactions with the public on body cameras. Indeed, a recent YouGov poll indicated that 88% of Americans support the use of body cams by police. Several Ohio cities have implemented the technology, and others – including Dayton and Cincinnati – are considering their use. Supporters argue that body cams will build public trust in police by increasing professionalism, ensuring accountability, and promoting transparency.

»» Read More

Posted by Christopher Hollon
Advertising and Media
July 10, 2015

Next Page »