Viacom/Comedy Central retreats from some legal rumblings on behalf of a show itself known for its clever use of video clips from other sources. [Levy, CL&P]
A judge has ordered a satirical website to remove an article about a fictional attack by a giraffe at a Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana wildlife center. The center had argued that the article was not clearly labeled as satire and had been taken for real by some readers. A lawyer for the center says his client is asking “to have the story permanently removed from the site and to prevent Hammond Action News from ever distributing it.” Having handed down a temporary restraining order, the judge will consider the permanent removal request March 15. [The Advocate; Hammond Action News]
P.S. Commentary on the story from Ken at Popehat, who links another local story reporting that president of wildlife park threatened college-student satirist with “criminal charges, FCC charges, fraud charges, an IRS complaint, a governor’s office complaint, and a federal lawsuit” (h/t commenter Doug).
Peabody Energy, by way of St. Louis law firm Senniger Powers, has sent a nastygram (PDF) demanding the takedown of an enviro-activist website that critically mimics the “Consortium for ‘Clean Coal’ Utilization,” of which Peabody is a part. Along with trademark infringement claims, the letter advances a congeries of other legal theories (defamation, tortious interference with contracts) and insists on the total removal of the site. [Citizen Media Law, EFF, Riverfront Times]
- “Intellectual Easter egg hunt”: great Michael Kinsley column on Wyeth v. Levine and FDA drug preemption [Washington Post]
- Negligent for the Port Authority to let itself get bombed: “Jury Awards $5.46M to 1993 WTC Bomb Victim” [WINS, earlier]
- “How following hospital quality measures can kill patients” [KevinMD]
- Owner of Vancouver Sun suing over someone’s parody of the paper (though at least it drops the printer as a defendant) [Blog of Walker]
- Court dismisses some counts in Billy Wolfe bullying suit against Fayetteville, Ark. schools [NW Arkansas Times, court records, earlier here and here]
- Law bloggers were on this weeks ago, now Tenaha, Tex. cops’ use of forfeiture against motorists is developing into national story [Chicago Tribune, earlier here and here]
- Can hostile blog posts about a plaintiff’s case be the basis for venue change? [IBLS]
- Calls 911 because McDonald’s has run out of chicken nuggets [Lowering the Bar]
Turns out it was a prank by frequent contributor Patrick/SSFC of Popehat. And who do you think fell for it?
Another indication that British courts may be steering defamation law away from its highly pro-plaintiff posture of the past: “In a groundbreaking libel decision, the judge said that ‘irony’ and ‘teasing’ do not amount to defamation.” The entertainer Elton John had sued over a spoof “diary” that depicted his involvement in a major AIDS charity as insincere and self-serving.
“It’s significant,” said media law expert Mark Stephens of the ruling. “What [Mr. Justice] Tugendhat has done is move us closer to the US system where you can’t get damages for satire and humour, except in the most exceptional cases.”
(Duncan Campbell, The Guardian, Dec. 13).
A spoof TV lawyer ad; Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode II. (Meredith Woerner, io9, Nov. 13).
If only we could all resolve threatening letters from lawyers as neatly as the editors at MAD magazine were once able to do:
The book [MAD About Star Wars] is liberally sprinkled with sidebar anecdotes telling stories of MAD and Lucas’s relationship to each other (for example, the Lucasfilm legal department sent a threatening letter to MAD about one of their parodies; the same parody generated a personal fan-letter from George Lucas — MAD simply sent copies of each letter to the other sender and the problem went away)…