Justices Reject COPA Case

The New York Times reports, Justices Reject Pornography Law: “Without comment, the court handed down an order declining to take the case of Mukasey v. A.C.L.U., No. 08-565. The administration of former President George W. Bush, through Attorney General Michael Mukasey, had asked the justices to review the law. The American Civil Liberties Union has been a leading foe of the statute.”
In ACLU v. Mukasey (2008) the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court opinion that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) violates the First and Fifth Amendments because it is not narrowly tailored to advance the Government’s compelling interest in protecting children from harmful material on the internet, there are less restrictive and equally effective alternatives (filtering technology) and the statute is impermissibly overbroad and vague.
Previously: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children (June 2008)
Pennsylvania Porn Prohibition Pronounced Unconstituional (2004)
Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004)
Ashcroft v. ACLU link roundup (2004)

Isle of Man Proposes ISP Blanket LIcenses

Is the Isle of Man, which eschews many of the taxes found in other European states, set to become a leader in levying a compulsory tax on internet use to compensate copyright holders for P2P file sharing?
The New York Times reports, Music Industry Imitates Digital Pirates to Turn a Profit, “The government of the Isle of Man announced plans for a system under which consumers with broadband subscriptions would be required to pay a nominal monthly license fee. They could then legally download music from any source, even peer-to-peer services that are outlawed currently.”
MusicAlly live blogged the session at MidemNet where Rob Berry, from the Isle of Man’s government, announced that the Isle of Man would be launching a porposal for a blanket fee for ISP-based music licensing. MidemNet 2009 Liveblog: Music and ISPs debate
Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson reports, Isle of Man gets unlimited music downloads with blanket fee“Few details are available beyond the news that a single blanket fee will cover unlimited download activity for all 80,000 or so Manx residents, with money to then be shared with the music industry. This raises all the obvious questions that compulsory licenses generate, including the fairness of forcing everyone to pay, whether they want to download files or not.”
Update, Jan. 20. Coolfer analyzes the BPI response, Isle of Man Proposes Blanket License for Unlimited Downloading. Not What Industry Wants: “What the BPI wants are label-sanctioned services to be bundled with ISP services and hardware. That means more control on the part of the major copyright owners. The Isle of Man’s proposal, I imagine, is too ‘wild west’ for much of the industry.”


WB and Fox Settle Watchmen Dispute. Variety reports, WB, Fox make deal for ‘Watchmen’: “Warner Bros. gets the right to open its superhero pic on March 6 as planned, and Fox’s logo will not be on the film, sources said. Fox, on the other hand, will emerge with an upfront cash payment that sources pegged between $5 million and $10 million, covering reimbursement of $1.4 million the studio invested in development fees, and also millions of dollars in legal fees incurred during the case. More importantly, Fox will get a gross participation in ‘Watchmen’ that scales between 5% and 8.5%, depending on the film’s worldwide revenues. Fox also participates as a gross player in any sequels and spinoffs, sources said.”
Can the music industry recover? Stephen Masur has some suggestions for the music industry on how to make money in today’s world. Good Music, Conveniently Delivered; The Value Prop Still Ain’t There: “Even for lawyers the deals are too complicated and full of cheap tricks. We might be stuck with that for the older artists, but let’s throw it all away for the kids. Ian MacKaye had it right 20 years ago. Pay the artist a straight percentage rate across everything. It’s easy to understand, easy to account, easy to collect. Stop hiding things from artists. Stop lying to your own team. Instead, become their trusted partners in business.”
Stadium Naming Trends
In The New York Times, William Rhoden notes that online educator The University of Phoenix– which bought the naming rights for the Arizona Cardinals’ new stadium for $154 million over 20 years– doesn’t have a sports program of its own, or a campus. Which could be confusing. Sports of The Times – No Football Team, but What a Stadium!: “Exactly where is the University of Phoenix? This is what puzzled me two and a half years ago when I stepped inside the fabulous University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Was the university a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics? Did it play in Division I, II or III?”
Los Angeles Times, Anaheim ends legal battle over renaming of Angels: “The city had sued after owner Arte Moreno changed that name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but lost rounds in Superior Court and state appellate court. The fight cost the city $4 million.”

[Headline Redacted]

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Appeals released a redacted version of its ruling from August 2008 upholding the constitutionality of a statute authorizing an intelligence program to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a specific court order.
In re: Directives [redacted text]* Pursuant to Section 105B of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (No. 08-01)
The court holds that “a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists when surveillance is conducted to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.”
The New York Times, Intelligence Court Rules Wiretapping Power Legal, “The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers. In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has the power to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping that may involve Americans.”
Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog, Intelligence wiretap power upheld: “In a case that potentially could go to the Supreme Court, a special federal appeals court that operates almost entirely in secret has ruled that Congress did not act unconstitutionally in giving the government power to order telecommunications companies to aid in warrant-less national security wiretapping — eavesdropping mainly aimed overseas, but possibly reaching inside the U.S. and American citizens.”
David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, Court calls warrantless wiretapping legal: “The decision confirms what Bush administration officials and some legal experts have long argued. Although the Constitution protects the privacy rights of Americans against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures,’ this principle does not bar U.S. spy agencies from conducting surveillance aimed at foreign targets abroad.”
The Washington Post, Intelligence Court Releases Ruling in Favor of Warrantless Wiretapping: “The opinion, written by the court’s chief judge, Bruce M. Selya, was extraordinary in several respects: It was partly redacted, and it referred to court pleadings that remain sealed. The ruling also hinged partly on a detailed, secret account by the government to the court of its surveillance procedures in 2007.”

Who’s Who in Internet and Communications Regulation, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that President-Elect Obama plans to nominate his technology adviser, Julius Genachowski, to chair the FCC. Genachowski Picked to Head FCC – WSJ.com: “During the campaign, Mr. Genachowski served as the top technology adviser to Mr. Obama, putting together a detailed technology and innovation plan that expressed support for open Internet or ‘net neutrality’ protections; media-ownership rules that encourage more diversity; and expansion of affordable broadband access across the country.”
Over in Congress, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) will chair the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet. In the 111th Congress, Rep. Boucher “will oversee the digital television transition and work toward reform of the federal universal service fund, promote broadband deployment and work to enable local governments to offer broadband in communities not fully served by commercial carriers.”