Tag Archives: shield law

Nudity, copyright and accusations, oh my!

It’s hard to resist choosing Tiger Woods’s British court injunction to stop publication of nude photos of him as the Media Law Case of the Week, but because of the proliferation of Tiger coverage, I will abstain.

I’m also tempted to focus on the interesting debate in the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee about who is — and is not — a journalist.You can watch it for yourself here. (Start at 135 minutes in to get to this particular focus.)

But instead a copyright infringement case that comes on the heels of strangulation accusations is the Media Law Case of the Week.

Shawne Merriman, who plays for the San Diego Chargers, has accused MTV reality show star Tila Tequila of copyright and trademark infringement. The lawsuit claims that Tequila is using his image and the trademark of his company on her web site without his permission.

Last month, Tequila filed a lawsuit against Merriman, whom she claims imprisoned and tried to strangle her. (Merriman was never charged, reportedly due to lack of evidence.)

Tequila hosted a show called “A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila” in which MTV says “16 luscious lesbians and 16 sexy straight guys” compete to be with Tila, a bisexual. Yes, it’s as horrible as it sounds.

And, yes, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Media Law Case of the Week

Before I get into the Media Law Case of the Week, I want to mention the great progress the federal shield law has made. It passed in the House.  (For more specifics of what’s in it, see here.) Now on to the Senate. Fingers crossed…

And now, the case of the week has to do with invasion of privacy, a college student and My Space, the popular social networking site.

A California appellate court ruled last week that thoughts posted on My Space are not private.

The ruling stems from the interesting case of a college student who professed her hatred of her hometown on her My Space page. Her rant ran in a local paper, and her family was allegedly bombarded with hate mail.

Claiming invasion of privacy, the student and her family sued the paper, its publishers and the person who pointed out the student’s My Space musings to the newspaper. They claimed invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

They lost.

For full details of the case, including a link to the court’s ruling, see the Wall Street Journal piece here.

Dear President Obama …

The Buffalo News features a nice editorial on why President-elect Obama should make a federal shield law a priority. (A shield law is a law that protects journalists from having to reveal confidential sources. Currently, some states have shield laws, but there is no federal shield law. Check here to see if your state has one.)

The Society of Professional Journalists has also recently called upon Obama to support a federal shield law as he indicated he would do during the campaign.

With the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s safe to say that gathering support for a federal shield law is not one of Obama’s top priorities. However, it should be. If we are going to get this country back on track, we need journalists to hold people in power accountable. To do that, they need to know they are not going to face prison for reporting an accurate story with an anonymous source whom they refuse to reveal. Journalists want “change we can believe in,” too.