Archive for the ‘Movies & Television’ Category
posted by Lea Shaver
As Zahr Said points out, Madhavi Sunder is by no means the first to critique intellectual property from the perspectives of distributive justice or liberty. Indeed, the author of From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice not only gives due credit to the IP scholars who have written in this vein before her, but provides a compelling intellectual history of the field. What is striking about this particular book project is not so much its break with past approaches, but its breathtaking ambition in positioning the future of the field.
posted by David Orentlicher
In FCC v. Fox, the Supreme Court once again took a pass on the first amendment questions raised by the regulation of indecent images or speech on broadcast television. It is a good thing that the justices want to take their time to get it right on the constitutional issues, but ten years have passed since the case was first triggered by Cher’s use of the F-word at the Billboard Music Awards. And the Court’s decision today suggests it hopes the matter will just go away. As Justice Kennedy concluded for the majority, “this opinion leaves the [FCC] free to modify its current indecency policy.”
The Court’s discomfort with indecency is not surprising. The justices’ discomfort reflects that of much of society. Indeed, they could not bring themselves to actually say the F-word at oral argument.
But once again, it leaves us to wonder why our society seems to worry more about exposing children to even brief uses of profanity or depictions of nudity than it does about exposing kids to prolonged violence. The FCC does not restrict violence the way it does indecency on television, movie ratings are tougher on indecency than on violence, and the Court has a lower threshold for government regulation of violence than of indecency. Recall, for example, that last year, the Court invoked the first amendment to override California’s ban on the sale of violent video games to minors, and two years ago, the Court rejected on first amendment grounds a federal statute that outlawed “crush” videos depicting the torture and killing of animals.
It may be correct to be as careful as we are about the harms to children from the media’s use of nudity and vulgar language. But we also should take more seriously the harm from the media’s depictions of violence.
posted by Derek Bambauer
Lifehacker‘s Adam Dachis has a great article on how users can deal with a world in which they infringe copyright constantly, both deliberately and inadvertently. (Disclaimer alert: I talked with Adam about the piece.) It’s a practical guide to a strict liability regime – no intent / knowledge requirement for direct infringement – that operates not as a coherent body of law, but as a series of reified bargains among stakeholders. And props to Adam for the Downfall reference! I couldn’t get by without the mockery of the iPhone or SOPA that it makes possible…
Cross-posted to Info/Law.
February 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm Posted in: Anonymity, Architecture, Culture, Current Events, Cyberlaw, DRM, Education, Google and Search Engines, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Interviews, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Social Network Websites, Technology, Web 2.0 Print This Post 3 Comments
posted by Derek Bambauer
Ever-brilliant Web comic The Oatmeal has a great piece about piracy and its alternatives. (The language at the end is a bit much, but it is the character’s evil Jiminy Cricket talking.) It mirrors my opinion about Major League Baseball’s unwillingness to offer any Internet access to the postseason, which is hard on those of us who don’t own TVs (or subscribe to cable). Even if you don’t agree with my moral claims, it’s obvious that as the price of lawful access diverges from the price of unlawful access (which is either zero, or the expected present value of a copyright suit, which is darn near zero), infringement goes up.
So, if you want to see Game of Thrones (and I do), your options are: subscribe to cable plus HBO, or pirate. I think the series rocks, but I’m not paying $100 a month for it. If HBO expects me to do so, it weakens their moral claim against piracy.
Unconvinced? Imagine instead that HBO offers to let you watch Game of Thrones for free – but the only place on Earth you can view the series is in the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. You’re located in rural Iowa? Well, you’ve no cause for complaint! Fly to LA! I suspect that translating costs into physical costs makes the argument clearer: HBO charges not only for the content, but bundles it with one particular delivery medium. If that medium is unavailable to you, or unaffordable, you’re out of luck.
Unless, of course, you have broadband, and can BitTorrent.
As a minimum, I plan not to support any SOPA-like legislation until the content industries begin to offer viable Internet-based delivery mechanisms that at least begin to compete with piracy…
Cross-posted at Info/Law.
February 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm Posted in: Architecture, Culture, Current Events, Cyber Civil Rights, Cyberlaw, DRM, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Legal Ethics, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Technology, Web 2.0 Print This Post 55 Comments
posted by Derek Bambauer
The American Bar Association is kicking off its 2012 tech show with an address by… Ben Stein. Yes, who better to celebrate the march of technological progress and innovation than a leading defender of intelligent design? Who better to celebrate rigorous intellectual discourse than a man who misquotes Darwin and fakes speeches to college audiences?
This is a pretty embarrassing misstep. The ABA is irrelevant in the IP / tech world, and this facepalm is a nice microcosm of why. (Wait, what is the ABA relevant to? Now that’s a hard question.) We geeks don’t like it when you dis science. Thanks anyway, ABA – maybe you should stick to having your judicial recommendations ignored.
Hat tip: health law expert Margo Kaplan.
Update: I found the perfect keynote speaker for ABA’s 2013 TechShow: Marshall Hall!
Cross-posted at Info/Law.
February 20, 2012 at 11:27 am Posted in: Blogging, Bright Ideas, Conferences, Culture, Current Events, Cyberlaw, Education, Humor, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Science Fiction, Technology Print This Post 8 Comments
posted by Derek Bambauer
SOPA and PROTECT IP are dead… for now. (They’ll be back. COICA is like a wraith inhabiting PROTECT IP.) Until then, Michelle Schusterman has a terrific graphic about the movie industry’s predictions of doom with each new technological revolution. (Ditto the music industry: the player piano, radio, CDs, the MP3 player, etc., etc.) One reason for this is that it’s difficult to predict the effects of a new communications technology. People thought we’d use the telephone to listen to concerts from afar. But another reason is that content industries see advances not as an opportunity but as a threat – a threat that they deploy IP law to combat, or at least control. And in a policy space where lawmakers don’t demand actual data on threats before acting, trumped-up assertions of job loss and revenue loss can carry the day. This puts the lie to the theory that IP owners will move to exploit new communications media, if only they are protected against infringement. We didn’t get viable Internet-based music sales until iTunes in 2003, and Spotify is the first serious streaming app (the “celestial jukebox“). Think about prior efforts like Pressplay and MusicNow, and how terrible they were. Letting the content industry design delivery models is like letting Matt Millen draft your football team.
This is why piracy is a helpful pointer: it tells us what channels consumers want to use to access content. Sometimes this is just displacement of lawful consumption, as when college students with copious disposable income download songs via BitTorrent, but sometimes it indicates an unaddressed market niche (as with me and the baseball playoffs). To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, I think a little bit of infringement now and again is a good thing. It is only when there is a viable threat in a new medium that existing players innovate – or cut deals with those who do. In that regard, even if SOPA and PROTECT IP are effective at reducing infringement, we might not want them.
Cross-posted at Info/Law.
January 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm Posted in: Architecture, Culture, Cyberlaw, DRM, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Technology, Web 2.0 Print This Post 2 Comments
posted by Derek Bambauer
Today, you can’t get to The Oatmeal, or Dinosaur Comics, or XKCD, or (less importantly) Wikipedia. The sites have gone dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act, America’s attempt to censor the Internet to reduce copyright infringement. This is part of a remarkable, distributed, coordinated protest effort, both online and in realspace (I saw my colleague and friend Jonathan Askin headed to protest outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand). Many of the protesters argue that America is headed in the direction of authoritarian states such as China, Iran, and Bahrain in censoring the Net. The problem, though, is that America is not alone: most Western democracies are censoring the Internet. Britain does it for child pornography. France: hate speech. The EU is debating a proposal to allow “flagging” of objectionable content for ISPs to ban. Australia’s ISPs are engaging in pre-emptive censorship to prevent even worse legislation from passing. India wants Facebook, Google, and other online platforms to remove any content the government finds problematic.
Censorship is on the march, in democracies as well as dictatorships. With this movement we see, finally, the death of the American myth of free speech exceptionalism. We have viewed ourselves as qualitatively different – as defenders of unfettered expression. We are not. Even without SOPA and PROTECT IP, we are seizing domain names, filtering municipal wi-fi, and using funding to leverage colleges and universities to filter P2P. The reasons for American Internet censorship differ from those of France, South Korea, or China. The mechanism of restriction does not. It is time for us to be honest: America, too, censors. I think we can, and should, defend the legitimacy of our restrictions – the fight on-line and in Congress and in the media shows how we differ from China – but we need to stop pretending there is an easy line to be drawn between blocking human rights sites and blocking Rojadirecta or Dajaz1.
Cross-posted at Info/Law.
January 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm Posted in: Advertising, Architecture, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Culture, Current Events, Cyberlaw, First Amendment, Google & Search Engines, Google and Search Engines, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Technology, Web 2.0, Wiki Print This Post No Comments
posted by Derek Bambauer
Thanks to Danielle and the CoOp crew for having me! I’m excited.
Speaking of exciting developments, it appears that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is dead, at least for now. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has said that the bill will not move forward until there is a consensus position on it, which is to say, never. Media sources credit the Obama administration’s opposition to some of the more noxious parts of SOPA, such as its DNSSEC-killing filtering provisions, and also the tech community’s efforts to raise awareness. (Techdirt’s Mike Masnick has been working overtime in reporting on SOPA; Wikipedia and Reddit are adopting a blackout to draw attention; even the New York City techies are holding a demonstration in front of the offices of Senators Kirstin Gillibrand and Charles Schumer. Schumer has been bailing water on the SOPA front after one of his staffers told a local entrepreneur that the senator supports Internet censorship. Props for candor.) I think the Obama administration’s lack of enthusiasm for the bill is important, but I suspect that a crowded legislative calendar is also playing a significant role.
Of course, the PROTECT IP Act is still floating around the Senate. It’s less worse than SOPA, in the same way that Transformers 2 is less worse than Transformers 3. (You still might want to see what else Netflix has available.) And sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy has suggested that the DNS filtering provisions of the bill be studied – after the legislation is passed. It’s much more efficient, legislatively, to regulate first and then see if it will be effective. A more cynical view is that Senator Leahy’s move is a public relations tactic designed to undercut the opposition, but no one wants to say so to his face.
I am not opposed to Internet censorship in all situations, which means I am often lonely at tech-related events. But these bills have significant flaws. They threaten to badly weaken cybersecurity, an area that is purportedly a national priority (and has been for 15 years). They claim to address a major threat to IP rightsholders despite the complete lack of data that the threat is anything other than chimerical. They provide scant procedural protections for accused infringers, and confer extraordinary power on private rightsholders – power that will, inevitably, be abused. And they reflect a significant public choice imbalance in how IP and Internet policy is made in the United States.
Surprisingly, the Obama administration has it about right: we shouldn’t reject Internet censorship as a regulatory mechanism out of hand, but we should be wary of it. This isn’t the last stage of this debate – like Wesley in The Princess Bride, SOPA-like legislation is only mostly dead. (And, if you don’t like the Obama administration’s position today, just wait a day or two.)
Cross-posted at Info/Law.
January 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm Posted in: Architecture, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Culture, Cyber Civil Rights, Cyberlaw, First Amendment, Google & Search Engines, Google and Search Engines, Intellectual Property, Media Law, Movies & Television, Politics, Technology, Web 2.0 Print This Post One Comment
posted by Stanford Law Review
The Stanford Law Review Online has just published a piece by Mark Lemley, David S. Levine, and David G. Post on the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. In Don’t Break the Internet, they argue that the two bills — intended to counter online copyright and trademark infringement — “share an underlying approach and an enforcement philosophy that pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet’s extraordinary growth, and for free expression.”
These bills, and the enforcement philosophy that underlies them, represent a dramatic retreat from this country’s tradition of leadership in supporting the free exchange of information and ideas on the Internet. At a time when many foreign governments have dramatically stepped up their efforts to censor Internet communications, these bills would incorporate into U.S. law a principle more closely associated with those repressive regimes: a right to insist on the removal of content from the global Internet, regardless of where it may have originated or be located, in service of the exigencies of domestic law.
Note: Corrected typo in first paragraph.
December 19, 2011 at 3:14 am Tags: banks, credit card companies, DNS, DNS filtering, domain name seizures, domain name servers, domain names, financial institutions, Intellectual Property, Internet, internet security, internet stability, IP, IP addresses, IP rights, online advertisers, PROTECT IP Act, search engine censorship, search engines, SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, World Wide Web Posted in: Current Events, Cyberlaw, First Amendment, Google & Search Engines, Google and Search Engines, Innovation, Intellectual Property, International & Comparative Law, Law Rev (Stanford), Law School (Law Reviews), Movies & Television, Property Law, Social Network Websites Print This Post One Comment
posted by Taunya Banks
Two things happened over the past few days that caused me to think more seriously about health care reform. First, my daughter, a physician, brought me a copy of a documentary film, Vanishing Oath, by physician-filmmaker Ryan Flesher. The film looks at the lives of health care providers under the current health care system and documents the abandonment of the profession by seemingly good and dedicated physicians. The film is well-balanced but offers no suggestions about change, focusing only on the likely doctor shortage. I recommend it to anyone teaching a law and health care policy course.
Second, today I spent almost an hour on the telephone with Social Security and the Medicare Coordinator of Benefits trying to determine why I had been enrolled in both Medicare part A and B since I am still working and covered by my University’s health care plan. I did not want to be charged the $115.40 monthly premium for Medicare part B. Even though it was their mistake I still had to send a written request to Social Security asking to be dropped from Medicare part B.
Although I support universal health care provided by a single payer, this experience gives me pause. Do I really want to government in control of health care access? An Associated Press-GfK poll found that public support for comprehensive health is dropping. My concern is timely given the ongoing and fractious debate in Congress about the budget, including discussions about reform of Medicare. Further, on Wednesday President Obama is expected to propose modest changes in Medicare and Medicaid. (Please comment on his proposal.)
I agree with Princeton economist Paul Krugman that privatizing Medicare is problematic. I prefer to spend that hour on the telephone talking with a kind public servant. But I also realize that cost controls are necessary if the program in some form is to be preserved.
I a relatively affluent educated American am fearful about my access to health care and physicians in retirement and the future of Medicare. Barring some health catastrophe, I will survive, but I cannot image what the majority of Americans will do if needed reform substantially undercuts these benefits.
posted by Jonathan Lipson
I don’t watch much TV. So, I am hardly the person to make strong claims about its quality or trends. That said, I find it fascinating that three of the best shows of the past few years—Battlestar Galactica, Madmen, and Glee—share a really odd structural feature: They have all taken ridiculously bad ideas from cringe-able eras and turned them around completely, made them not only fresh, but evocative, disturbing, intriguing.
They are, in short, evidence of the virtues of extreme recycling.
Just imagine the pitch meeting for Galactica: We’ll take what has to have been one of the dumbest pop-culture packing peanuts ever and make it stronger, faster, better: How about an allegory about civil liberties and faith after 9/11 using Cylons and vats of goo?
Or what about Madmen: Let’s explore the most virulent cancers on our culture with lovingly pornographic attention to detail, to demonstrate the complex symbiosis among banality, beauty, evil and exculpation. Madmen is the money shot of commodity fetishism, proving once again the truth of Chomsky’s admonition that if you want to learn what’s wrong with capitalism, don’t read The Nation, read the Wall Street Journal.
And Glee? Well, all I can say is: Don’t Stop Believing.
Which may lead you to this question: No one really takes the “and everything else” part of CoOps’s desktop mantra seriously, so what the frak does this have to do with law? Read the rest of this post »
November 2, 2010 at 10:25 am Tags: Bankruptcy, battlestar galactica, Corporate Finance, Corporate Law, dodd-frank, glee, good faith, lender liability, madmen, shadow bankruptcy Posted in: Bankruptcy, Contract Law & Beyond, Corporate Finance, Just for Fun, Movies & Television Print This Post One Comment
posted by Adam Steinman
In the coming weeks and months, law school admissions committees will be making decisions on the Class of 2013. And they’ll be watching the numbers carefully, trying to make sure their inputs look good in the next U.S. News rankings. If your school needs help with GPA numbers but has some cushion on the LSAT, this star of MTV’s Jersey Shore could be just the ticket. As covered here, here, and here, Vinny Guadagnino boasts a 3.9 undergraduate GPA, although he calls his LSAT score “mediocre.” He says that law school’s “on the back burner,” but maybe now that his stint on the show is over he’ll be willing to entertain offers.
Speaking of stints being over, I wanted to thank Dan, Jaya, and the rest of the Concurring Opinions crew for the opportunity to guest blog here these last few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed it.
posted by Jon Siegel
I don’t watch much TV, but I will admit to enjoying “House.” “Polite Dissent,” an engaging blog by someone with medical knowledge, publishes a useful medical review of each House episode, which runs down the medicine in each show and notes the medical errors committed each week. But what House really needs is a legal review. Because really, whatever medical errors they commit, House and his team also commit almost unbelievable torts and crimes on a regular basis.
CAUTION: Many spoilers ahead.
posted by Michael Kang
It’s not often that I hear about a new Hollywood movie based on the facts of a case that I first encountered while clerking, but The Informant!, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon, is just such a film. It tells the story of Mark Whitacre, a central actor in a case decided while I was clerking for my judge on the Seventh Circuit. Whitacre served as the key informant in a successful FBI investigation into price-fixing charges against Archer Daniels Midland Co. that sent top executives to prison. As my co-clerk Kevin Metz observed, the case featured the type of direct evidence of an agreement to fix prices that antitrust professors explain is almost never available in antitrust prosecution. Whitacre secretly recorded many hours of conversations with co-conspirators in the lysine industry over three years, all while bragging carelessly to others about his role as an FBI informant and embezzling millions from ADM under the FBI’s nose. During my clerkship year, we worked on a number of memorable cases, but United States v. Andreas probably featured the most colorful facts. Whitacre was a very odd and unpredictable personality who suffered from bipolar disorder, which Matt Damon plays up for comic effect in the movie.
posted by Alice Ristroph
Sometime in the past few days, just in time for the President’s birthday, posters of Obama in Joker-style makeup appeared on a Los Angeles overpass. The images quickly spread across the internet and have sparked predictable praise from the right or criticism from the left. Whether or not the posters are unduly offensive to President Obama, they are a serious insult to Heath Ledger’s Joker and his gleeful nihilism. What strikes and fascinates me is the poster’s angry incoherence: under the image of Obama is the word “socialism.” Did this artist even see The Dark Knight? Or perhaps I should ask, what does this artist think socialism is, anyway?
Consider that socialism is associated with the concepts of “central planning” or a “planned economy,” in which a centralized authority manages everything (or at least the economy) according to plan. Now, thanks to a conversation with Brooklyn Law prof Nelson Tebbe, who offered a profound analysis of The Dark Knight, I watched that film with the close attention of a serious academic, ready to learn what it could teach me about violence. I even read the script. And the Joker’s worldview seems pretty antithetical to socialism. Here’s what the Joker has to say about planning:
posted by Darian Ibrahim
I caught a few minutes of HBO’s new documentary Death on a Factory Farm the other night. It focuses on an undercover investigation of a hog farm in Ohio, the graphic footage of abuse it revealed, and the legal case that followed. It was so disturbing that I actually had to turn it off, but then again I’m a vegetarian – it’s those who are not that need to watch.
posted by Scott Moss
Thanks to Dan & the gang for inviting me back. For my first post, I’m keeping it light: to help me make sense of the election returns, I’ve tooled around the web to gather state poll closing times, which I’m listing below along with each state’s recent polling average (from Pollster.com) and number of electoral votes; below that I’ve posted lists of which Senate races have a decent chance of yielding a party switch. Basically, you can make this the home version of the red/blue map game that Chuck Todd, John King, et al., will be playing all night; see if Obama is or isn’t picking up the electoral votes (EV) he needs in the first hour or two or three of poll closures. (Disclaimer: Because I’m not a profrssional at this, I may well have gotten some of the below wrong; please post any corrections in the comments, and I’ll try to get on it — though I’ll be pretty swamped all Election Day, so I can’t promise a promt fix to any errors, sorry.)
Electoral Vote Counts:
• Obama’s EV from the Kerry ’04 states: 252 (includes PA but not Bush ’04 states Obama may win)
• Obama’s EV from the Kerry ’04 states plus IA+NM (the Bush ’04 states Pollster is listing as “solid blue” for Obama): 264
• 11 possible “Bush ’04 swing states,” ones Obama has a shot at picking up: CO,FL,GA,IN,MO,MT,NC,ND,NV,OH,VA
• Obama needs 6 more EV from the 11 possible Bush ’04 swing states (above), or 27 more EV if McCain wins PA
Poll Closing Times for the key Bush ’04 states and PA:
(all times Eastern)
• Indiana (M +0.5): 11 EV
• Virginia (O +5.7): 13 EV
• Georgia (M +2.9): 15 EV
• North Carolina (tied): 15 EV
• Ohio (O +3.8): 20 EV
• Pennsylvania (O +7.7): 21 EV
• Florida (O +1.8): 27 EV
• Missouri (O +1.4): 11 EV
• Colorado (O +6.7): 9 EV
• Nebraska (?): divides its 3 EV by Congressional district; Obama may have a shot at the 1 EV in the Omaha district (no recent polling I know of that district)
• Nevada (O +6.8): 5 EV (may count quickly b/c over 70% of state already voted)
• Montana (M +1.9): 3 EV
Senate Races: Possible D Pickups, with recent poll data in parentheses (all are R seats that could switch to D; there are no D seats in which the R is within 10 points in the polls)
• Almost Certain Switches: VA (D+28.2), NM (D+16.4)
• Very Likely Switches: AK (D+4.9), NH (D+7.7), CO (D+10.4), OR (D+5.9)
• Possible Switches (slightly better than 50/50 shot): NC (D+4.1), MN (D+1.9)
• Iffy (slightly worse than 50/50 shot): MS (R+5.0), KY(R+3.1), GA (R+3.8)
posted by Sarah Lawsky
In Mamma Mia!, Sophie invites three men she has never met to her wedding. She knows that one of these three men is her father, but she does not know which one. The movie is notable for a number of reasons. It is notable, first, because it is the second movie this summer (after Sex and the City) apparently made for, and featuring, women over 40. It is also notable for its relationship to tort law (I mean, aside from the obvious link related to Pierce Brosnan’s singing). The explanation is after the jump (to avoid revealing a key plot point, to the extent there is a plot). (Translation: there is a spoiler after the jump–though really, if you are going to Mamma Mia! for the gripping story line, you have much larger problems.)
posted by Sarah Lawsky
Frank Knight wrote the great book Risk, Uncertainty and Profit, in which he described the distinction between risk and uncertainty. (The book won second prize in a 1917 competition, sponsored by Hart, Schaffner and Marx, intended to “draw the attention of American youth to the study of economic and commercial subjects.” First prize was awarded to E.E. Lincoln, The Results of Municipal Electric Lighting in Massachusetts.) We are operating under risk if an event may or may not happen in the future, and we know the chances that it will happen. For example, flipping a fair coin is a game of risk. We do not know whether the coin will come up heads, but we know that the probability of this event is 1 out of 2, or 50%. An event is uncertain if it may or may not happen in the future, and we do not know the chances that it will happen. (Knight would require that we “cannot” know this chances that it will happen, though this is perhaps too strong; I have an excellent discussion of the do not know/cannot know issue, but this blog post is too small to contain it.) For example, I do not know whether McCain will win the next presidential election, and, unlike the situation with the coin, I also do not, and cannot, know the probability that he will win, because this election is a one-off event.
So what does this have to do with the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight? I have put the explanation after the jump, because it contains minor spoilers. (Or major spoilers, if you are totally unfamiliar with the Batman story.) Repeat: there are spoilers after the jump. Do not read the rest of this post if you do not want a few Dark Knight spoilers. Don’t! Seriously!
posted by Frank Pasquale
At 25, you have the face heredity gave you; at 50, you have the face you deserve; and at Fox News, your features depend on whether you’re a friend or enemy of the network. Or at least that’s how Jacques Steinberg and Edward Reddicliffe must feel after Fox aired doctored photos of them on its news show.
Note that the normal photo was not shown on Fox News; the distorted image was presented as the face of Steinberg. (I’ve embedded the full clip below the fold.)
Can such a distorted depiction give rise to a defamation action? Obviously if the picture were a cartoon, and/or the program a satire or non-news program, creative license lets just about anything go (though some particularly egregious images have sparked resistance). But does a news program have a special obligation to “objectively” present images? And, returning to defamation, is it possible to argue a) that the distorted image is a “lie” about the person it depicts and b) that ugliness (that which distortion seeks to convey) is actionable as something damaging to the person whose image is distorted?