Posts Tagged ‘movies film and videos’

AT&T Time Warner merger

My new piece at CNN begins by noting that antitrust law has moved on since the Truman era, even if the U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t quite:

In 1948 the US Supreme Court ordered Hollywood studios to sell their movie theaters, following the then-popular idea that the government should police marketplace competition by restraining businesses’ vertical integration — or as we might put it these days, by ordering content kept separate from distribution.

The surprise in 2018 is not so much that US District Judge Richard Leon rejected the government’s challenge to the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner merger. That much was expected by most antitrust watchers. The shock came from the stinging way he rejected the government’s evidence — using language such as “gossamer thin” and “poppycock.”

CNN, of course, is owned by merger participant Time Warner. The question is not whether vertical integration will happen in video delivery, but whether older companies will be allowed to catch up. For Washington to block a merger like this, I suggest, “would be as futile as attempting to separate Net from Flix or You from Tube.”

May 30 roundup

  • “Leave your 13-year-old home alone? Police can take her into custody under Illinois law” [Jeffrey Schwab, Illinois Policy]
  • So many stars to sue: Huang v. leading Hollywood names [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
  • Morgan Spurlock’s claim in 2004’s Super Size Me of eating only McDonald’s food for a month and coming out as a physical wreck with liver damage was one that later researchers failed to replicate; now confessional memoir sheds further doubt on baseline assertions essential to the famous documentary [Phelim McAleer, WSJ]
  • If you’ve seen those “1500 missing immigrant kids” stories — and especially if you’ve helped spread them — you might want to check out some of these threads and links [Josie Duffy Rice, Dara Lind, Rich Lowry]
  • “Antitrust Enforcement by State Attorney Generals,” Federalist Society podcast with Adam Biegel, Vic Domen, Jennifer Thomson, Jeffrey Oliver, and Ian Conner]
  • “The lopsided House vote for treating assaults on cops as federal crimes is a bipartisan portrait in cowardice.” [Jacob Sullum, more, Scott Greenfield, earlier on hate crimes model for “Protect and Serve Act”]

May 2 roundup

“Media Beware: ‘Shakedown’ Lawyer Suing The Industry Over Videos Without Closed Captioning”

“A lawyer accused by his opponents of exploiting the blind to recover millions of dollars from shakedown lawsuits is now representing a deaf man who has sued a dozen media outlets….including Barstool Sports, BET Interactive and Gannett Satellite Information Network.” Attorney C.K. Lee, “has used a blind man named Derrick Anderson in 24 lawsuits,” per reporting by Julia Marsh in the New York Post, and is now teaming up with a deaf client named Phillip Sullivan Jr. to file closed captioning suits. [John O’Brien, Legal Newsline/Forbes]

Weinstein’s investigations — and settlements

Harvey Weinstein, assisted by the law firm of celebrated attorney David Boies, “hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.” At least one agent used false names and identities to insinuate herself into accusers’ and journalists’ circles. “Techniques like the ones used by the agencies on Weinstein’s behalf are almost always kept secret, and, because such relationships are often run through law firms, the investigations are theoretically protected by attorney-client privilege, which could prevent them from being disclosed in court.” [Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker]

Would it help to abolish confidentiality in settlements, as some urge? “California State Sen. Connie Leyva… said she plans to introduce a bill next year to prohibit nondisclosure agreements in financial settlements that arise from sexual harassment, assault and discrimination cases. The rule would apply to public and private employers, she said.” [Danielle Paquette, Washington Post “WonkBlog”] “Getting rid of NDAs reduces accusers’ bargaining power so they end up with lower money settlements or perhaps no settlements,” notes HLS Prof. Jeannie Suk Gersen on Twitter and at more length in The New Yorker. Might that impair their chance of getting a private lawyer interested in their case in the first place? “[We would be choosing] to impair the ability of private parties to resolve a dispute in favor of the public interest.” [Scott Greenfield]

Third Circuit OKs ADA suit demanding tactile interpreter for deaf/blind movie patron

Reversing a trial court, the Third Circuit has ruled that a deaf/blind man can sue Cinemark under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) demanding that it provide a “tactile interpreter” so that he could experience the movie Gone Girl. Each interpreter — two would be required because of the movie’s feature length — would narrate the film in American Sign Language (ASL) while McGann placed his hand in contact with theirs to read the signs. The appellate judges rejected the argument that because of the need for subjective stylistic judgments about how to describe the movie’s action, on-the-fly translation would “fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered,” an exception recognized by the law to its accommodation requirement. It sent the case back for further proceedings on whether the theater could plead “undue hardship,” a narrow defense that is often unavailable to large businesses which (it is argued) can cover even very high costs of accommodation by using revenues earned from other patrons [McGann v. Cinemark]

September 20 roundup

  • Relatively funny, clever, and pleasant nastygram, as nastygrams go, on Netflix “Stranger Things” pop-up [BGR]
  • “Taser: Can’t say our weapons killed somebody unless the autopsy says so. Also Taser: If the autopsy blames our weapon, we might sue you.” [@bradheath on Jason Szep, Tim Reid, and Peter Eisler Reuters investigation]
  • Fourth Circuit asked to overturn forfeiture of antiquarian coins seized under “cultural patrimony” law [Peter Tompa, Antique Coin Collectors Guild]
  • Videos from April conference at Scalia/George Mason on due process and the administrative state: Neomi Rao, Philip Hamburger, Gary Lawson, Ronald Cass, Jonathan Adler, Hon. Doug Ginsburg, and many other stars;
  • Nice try, censorship fans: study from Stanton Glantz et al. tries to link teen smoking to movie depictions of smoking, resulting in epic fail [Brad Rodu]
  • Facebook weeds out a million accounts a day, some in error. Takedown laws will lift false positive rate [Mike Masnick]