Tonight I was on The Drum on ABC News 24 discussing the news of the day, including the Coalition's leaked plan for 100 dams across Australia, Wayne Swan's refusal to rule out an income tax rise, and how far does the British royal family's right to privacy extend?
I just read this story on The Atlantic:
It was a little like Apollo 13 -- if its mission to the moon had been saved by a tool of good oral hygiene, that is. Yesterday the International Space Station, having battled electrical malfunctions for over a week, was repaired by a combination that MacGyver himself would have been proud of: an allen wrench, a wire brush, a bolt ... and a toothbrush.
Read the rest here.
Does this remind anyone else of this episode of The Simpsons?:
SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein has written a fascinating piece on how the media covered the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
Inside G42, the press room staff hear the Chief Justice say over the speakers that the Court will have to confront the government’s arguments under both the commerce power and also the tax power. But none of the reporters hear him; they are all gone.
The CNN and Fox producers are scanning the syllabus. Eight lines from the bottom of page 2, they see the following language: “Chief Justice Roberts concluded in Part III-A that the individual mandate is not a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause.” They immediately and correctly recognize that sentence as fantastically important. The individual mandate is the heart of the statute, and it is clear that the Court has rejected the Administration’s principal theory – indeed the only theory that was discussed at great length in the oral arguments and debated by commentators.
Into his conference call, the CNN producer says (correctly) that the Court has held that the individual mandate cannot be sustained under the Commerce Clause, and (incorrectly) that it therefore “looks like” the mandate has been struck down. The control room asks whether they can “go with” it, and after a pause, he says yes.
The Fox producer reads the syllabus exactly the same way, and reports that the mandate has been invalidated. Asked to confirm that the mandate has been struck down, he responds: “100%.”
Read it here. It really is a must-read. Andrew Sullivan describes it as a "gripping second-by-second breakdown of how the media handled the Obamacare ruling", and Jason Kottke says it is "impeccably sourced, straighforward, and surprisingly compelling". I couldn't agree more. Again, read it here.
In the US, PBS will be showing shortly a documentary series called America in Primetime that will talk about the best shows created since the invention of television:
America in Primetime is structured around the most com-pelling shows on television today, unfolding over four hours and weaving between past and present. Each episode focuses on one character archetype that has remained a staple of primetime through the generations - the Independent Woman, the Man of the House, the Misfit, and the Crusader -- capturing both the continuity of the character, and the evolution. The finest television today has as its foundation the best television of yesterday.
The series has been getting great reviews - check out this one from NPR here.
Here's an eight-minute video introduction to the show:
I can't wait to watch this series.
Every Monday morning I appear on Andrew Bartlett's 4ZzZ breakfast radio show to discuss some of the current public and political issues of the week. This week we discussed the carbon tax, the News of the World controversy, Queensland state politics and the Dalai Lama:
Meet The Ministers is a new program from 31 Digital in Brisbane that delves into the many personalities that make up our State politicians:
We know about their political agenda, but what about what got them to where they are. This show will give the viewer a more personal insight into the person behind the job.
Hosted by Shaun Bindley, the first episode of this program features Deputy Premier Paul Lucas:
Meet The Ministers is a new program from 31 Digital in Brisbane that into the many personalities that make up our State politicians:
We know about their political agenda, but what about what got them to where they are. This show will give the viewer a more personal insight into the person behind the job.
Hosted by Shaun Bindley, the first episode of this program features Deputy Premier Paul Lucas:
I'm participating in a new weekly podcast with a few friends - Dan Barrett from Televised Revolution, Michael Meloni from Somebody Think of the Children, and Sarah Moran from @reviewbrisbane - called Digital Much. The eleventh episode of Digital Munch is now online for your listening pleasure:
Part 2 of our discussion on the things that people are doing wrong in the digital space continues. This week, it’s Sarah and Dans turn to cite organizations that they believe are straight out doing it wrong. Interestingly, both look at TV. Sarah takes aim at commercial broadcasters, while Dan takes his aim at community television.
Snack-wise, the panel opt for an old classic. Original French Fries. While kids have been snacking on these in school yards from the very first time a kid entered a schoolyard, it is revealed that two of our panelists have never had them. Shocking, I know.
I'm looking forward to when this documentary airs in Australia:
Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald’s coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America’s legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee.
Every Monday morning I appear on Andrew Bartlett's 4ZzZ breakfast radio show to discuss some of the current public and political issues of the week. This week we discussed Channel Ten's news revamp (including the hire of Andrew Bolt), how the US Government shutdown was avoided, and the week in federal politics:
The Criminal Justice Degrees Program has posted its 10 Best Legal Shows in TV History, along with YouTube clips from each show. Here are my favourites from the list:
1. Law & Order: Law & Order is the longest-running crime drama on American television since it premiered on NBC in 1990 and finished its 20th season on May 24, 2010. Law & Order is also tied with Gunsmoke as the longest-running American drama series of all time. The wildly popular criminal-legal series was set and filmed in New York City and many of the story lines were based on real cases that made headlines. Every episode begins with a criminal investigation and suspect arrest by NYPDs and the last half hour focuses on the prosecution of the defendant by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The show was praised and awarded for its talented cast, including Sam Waterston, Chris Noth, S. Epatha Merkerson and the late Jerry Orbach.
2. Boston Legal: Boston Legal was a popular legal drama-comedy that premiered in 2004 and came to an end in 2008. The show was a spinoff of the creator David E. Kelley’s other legal television series, The Practice, in which it followed former cast character Alan Shore, as he joins the firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Boston Legal had a star-studded cast, including Candice Bergen and funny guys William Shatner and James Spader. This award-winning show brought a great deal of humor and fun to the courtroom, while handling many serious cases.
6. Ally McBeal: The comedy-drama series, Ally McBeal, was quite the hit from 1997 to 2002. People loved tuning in to watch Ally McBeal, played by Calista Flockhart, a young, lovable attorney who worked at a Boston law firm, called Cage Fish with other young and eccentric lawyers like herself. Much of the show focused on romance, relationships and the personal lives of Ally and her fellow attorneys, but always maintained its lightheartedness with slapstick humor and surreal images like the dancing baby.
Read the full list here.
Every Monday morning I appear on Andrew Bartlett's 4ZzZ breakfast radio show to discuss some of the current public and political issues of the week. This week we discussed WikiLeaks, The Ashes, Tron: Legacy, the proposed R18+ rating for video games and change at the 7:30 Report:
Earlier this week a US judge issued an injunction forcing the file-sharing application LimeWire to disable "the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality" of its software. This ruling marked another victory for the entertainnment industry in its ongoing battle against copyright piracy.
To discuss what this may mean for the television industry and viewers like, yesterday I was interviewed about this ruling by Dan Barrett and Simon Band for the Televised Revolution podcast. You can listen and/or download this podcast here.
In one of the more bizarre pieces of political theatre you will ever see, Stephen Colbert last week testified in character before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and Border Security. Colbert was part of a United Farm Workers campaign calling on unemployed Americans to take jobs in the agriculture sector. As part of the program he spent a day laboring at a vegetable farm in New York in August 2010. You can watch his opening statement below:
Last night on Masterchef, Alvin Quah was sent home after he struggled with an eight-layered vanilla cake created by Sydney patissier Adriano Zumbo. Now that he is free to talk about his time on Masterchef he has launched his website, Cinnamon Pig:
The name ‘Cinnamon Pig’ hit us late one night like a bite from a Bhut Jolokia chilli (aka ‘ghost’ chilli). The two ingredients are almost universal and found in a range of diverse and colourful cultures. Cinnamon gives itself generously to both savoury and sweet dishes and really echoes the flexibility and generous worldwide appeal of the pig. It also brings a smile to my face and rolls off the tongue like a limerick.
They’re both a part of my childhood and cultural identity, they represent my direction and desire for food. Generous, original, simple, sensory, and most importantly, shared. The social aspect of food is innate to my upbringing and I try to combine these elements in the dishes I create. Not always a success, and nope, it’s not supposed to be, it is experimentation, it is failure, but the crime of failure for me, is far outweighed by the crime of eating the same food for the rest of my life, so I’m caught…between a rock and a crispy maple middle rasher of bacon (thank you, Donna Hay!).
You’ll find some recipes; recommendations and referrals to places that really deliver (even it is only pizza). The best way to see what Cinnamon Pig has to offer is to take a tour, lets face it it’s just not that big.
Be inspired, be passionate, be brave!
Allure magazine has written a poem about the beauties on FoxNews, with this provocative headline, "Fox News's Hot Anchors: With its bevy of babes, the network should be called the Foxy News Channel":
Roger Ailes is such a whiz
At the infotainment biz.
His Fox News babes are always hot
(And health care is a Commie plot!).
But we digress; let's start anew
To look upon these happy few
With locks so blonde and legs so long,
We're tempted to break out in song.
You must admit they're kind of fun
With all their phasers set on "stun."
Those gleaming smiles belie the task
And take the edge off if they ask:
"Why, Mr. O, why do you hate
Puppies and kittens and all that's great?"
Their hair, it's clear, would hardly budge,
Nor would their makeup even smudge
If they were set upon a luge—
They'd laugh and cry: "We're going rouge!"
Sure, Rachel Maddow has the smarts
But can she work her giggly parts?
The obvious, let it be said:
Their favorite power suits are red.
Of course we know that it's not fair
To generalize, with nose in air.
There's no intention to deride:
We report and you decide.
I blogged last week about the difficulty real life Glee clubs might have in obtaining the necessary copyright licenses for a lot of the music that is used on the TV show Glee. Well, according to THR, Esq., even Glee the TV show had difficulty securing the necessary permissions for some of the music on the show:
As Fox's "Glee" became a breakout hit, bands lined up for a chance to have their music performed by the William McKinley High kids. Well, not every artist. Notably, Canadian power ballad master Bryan Adams and British soft-rockers Coldplay said no.
But writer-producer Ryan Murphy tells THR that not only has Coldplay changed its collective mind, the band's entire catalog has also been made available to the show.
"At the beginning," Murphy says on this year's Emmy Comedy Showrunners Roundtable, "a lot of people didn’t know what we were and asked to see pages (in advance), but I refused because I didn’t want to set precedent of them having any involvement. My favorite rejection was Bryan Adams. Coldplay and Bryan Adams were really the only rejections. But Coldplay called a week ago and said, 'We’re sorry, you can have our catalog.' "
THR, Esq. also spoke to several other TV executives about similar problems they had experienced in securing rights to music:
Doug Ellin ("Entourage"): Our first season, we tried to get an Usher song and his label actually said, “Send over a $300,000 Bentley and we can talk.” I’m not even kidding! Now it’s gotten much easier. But ... the first year was very difficult because no one knew what the show was. Now they come to me and want to break artists.
Chuck Lorre ("Two and a Half Men"): We had trouble clearing the cha-chunk from “Law & Order.” I had to call Dick Wolf. He actually said, “That’s not my call. I’ll try.” And we got it, but it was ridiculously expensive. It was $5,000 a note, and it’s only two notes!
Steve Levitan ("Modern Family"): We just paid a ridiculous amount of money for “Eye of the Tiger.”
Ellin: I guess Survivor needs the cash.
Ryan Murphy: Did you have to pay a lot for the “Lion King” stuff (in the “Modern Family” pilot)?
Levitan: Yes. It was (ABC head) Steve McPherson actually calling Elton John and making the personal plea. We never would have had a prayer had it not been ABC.
Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy"): We don’t even bother trying to clear Disney songs anymore. We just get the finger.
Read the full post here.
If even some of the best producers on the biggest TV shows in Hollywood struggle to obtain the necessary music rights at times, what hope does that leave for the rest of us?
You have to love it when reality meets TV: Christina Mulligan examines the concept of Glee, and how it would be completely impossible/illegal for an actual high school glee club to perform the songs we see on the show, thanks to copyright.
Similarly, NPR did a great piece on what an actual hospital visit portrayed on House might cost. (In real life...you'll just die.)
Let's do our best to keep reality out of tv, ok?
Do you agree? Should we keep reality out of TV?
Rugby League just seems to lurch from one scandal to another these days, but it was still very disappointing to see racism once again emerge as an issue in the game with the news that league legend Andrew Johns had said a racial slur that prompted Timana Tahu to walk out of the New South Wales State of Origin camp. Johns has already quit as the assistant coach to the New South Wales team but he will apparently keep working for Channel NIne:
Andrew Johns will not face disciplinary action from employer the Nine Network over the racial slur that prompted Timana Tahu to walk out of the New South Wales State of Origin camp.
Nine said in a statement it was satisfied with the public apology offered by rugby league great Johns, who works as a sideline reporter for NRL matches and also on the Footy Show.
"His comments were unacceptable, full stop," the network said.
"Andrew knows that, and is plainly remorseful about the incident."
It is understood that Tahu has been simmering over Andrew Johns' alleged racist remarks for years, and those close to him said he'd "had enough" when he left Origin camp.Andrew Johns quit the NSW Origin team after he admitted a racist sledge towards Queensland superstar Greg Inglis was behind Blues winger Timana Tahu walking out of the side.
After one of Origin's most dramatic days - with NSW team management at first trying to cover up the scandal - Johns said he had no choice but to resign as assistant coach after it emerged he had sledged Tahu's long-time friend at a bonding session at a Kingscliff hotel on Wednesday night.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Johns told Blues centre Beau Scott: "You must shut that black c... down", referring to Maroons' star Greg Inglis.
It seems to me that Andrew Johns needs to face some disciplinary action from Channel Nine. He is a role model in the game and it needs to be made clear that racism has no place in rugby league or in Australian society in general. It could be argued that because he did not make these comments in his capacity as a Channel Nine employee he should not be punished. However, that reasoning is spurious because his comments were made in a rugby league context. Even if he is not fired by Channel Nine, I maintain he must be punished for his racist remarks. What do you think?
In a recent guest post on the Balkinization blog, Christina Mulligan, described copyright law as the elephant in the middle of the Glee club:
The fictional high school chorus at the center of Fox’s Glee has a huge problem — nearly a million dollars in potential legal liability. For a show that regularly tackles thorny issues like teen pregnancy and alcohol abuse, it’s surprising that a million dollars worth of lawbreaking would go unmentioned. But it does, and week after week, those zany Glee kids rack up the potential to pay higher and higher fines.
In one recent episode, the AV Club helps cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester film a near-exact copy of Madonna’s Vogue music video (the real-life fine for copying Madonna’s original? up to $150,000). Just a few episodes later, a video of Sue dancing to Olivia Newton-John’s 1981 hit Physical is posted online (damages for recording the entirety of Physical on Sue’s camcorder: up to $300,000). And let’s not forget the glee club’s many mash-ups — songs created by mixing together two other musical pieces. Each mash-up is a “preparation of a derivative work” of the original two songs’ compositions – an action for which there is no compulsory license available, meaning (in plain English) that if the Glee kids were a real group of teenagers, they could not feasibly ask for — or hope to get — the copyright permissions they would need to make their songs, and their actions, legal under copyright law. Punishment for making each mash-up? Up to another $150,000 — times two.
The absence of any mention of copyright law in Glee illustrates a painful tension in American culture. While copyright holders assert that copyright violators are “stealing” their “property,” people everywhere are remixing and recreating artistic works for the very same reasons the Glee kids do — to learn about themselves, to become better musicians, to build relationships with friends, and to pay homage to the artists who came before them. Glee’s protagonists — and the writers who created them — see so little wrong with this behavior that the word ‘copyright’ is never even uttered.
You might be tempted to assume that this tension isn’t a big deal because copyright holders won’t go after creative kids or amateurs. But they do: In the 1990s, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) asked members of the American Camping Association, including Girl Scout troops,to pay royalties for singing copyrighted songs at camp. In 2004, the Beatles’ copyright holders tried to prevent the release of The Grey Album – a mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album — and only gave up after massive civil disobedience resulted in the album’s widespread distribution. Copyright holders even routinely demand that YouTube remove videos of kids dancing to popular music. While few copyright cases go to trial, copyright holders like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) don’t hesitate to seek stratospheric damage awards when they do, as in the Jammie Thomas-Rasset filesharing case.
These worlds don’t match. Both Glee and the RIAA can’t be right. It’s hard to imagine glee club coach Will Schuester giving his students a tough speech on how they can’t do mash-ups anymore because of copyright law (but if he did, it might make people rethink the law). Instead, copyright violations are rewarded in Glee — after Sue’s Physical video goes viral, Olivia Newton-John contacts Sue so they can film a new, improved video together.
So what should you do in real life if you and your friends, inspired by Glee, want to make a mash-up, or a new music video for a popular song? Should you just leave this creativity to the professionals, or should you become dirty, rotten copyright violators
Current law favors copyright holders. But morally, there’s nothing wrong with singing your heart out. Remixing isn’t stealing, and copyright isn’t property. Copyright is a privilege — actually six specific privileges — granted by the government. Back in 1834, the Supreme Court decided in Wheaton v. Peters that copyrights weren’t “property” in the traditional sense of the word, but rather entitlements the government chose to create for instrumental reasons. The scope and nature of copyright protection are policy choices — choices that have grown to favor the interests of established, rent-seeking businesses instead of the public in general.
The Constitution allows Congress to pass copyright laws to “promote the progress of science” — a word often used in the 18th century to mean “knowledge”. The stated purpose of the original 1790 copyright statute was to encourage learning. So you tell me — what promotes knowledge and learning: letting people rearrange music and learn to use a video camera, or threatening new artists with $150,000 fines?
Defenders of modern copyright law will argue Congress has struck “the right balance” between copyright holders’ interests and the public good. They’ll suggest the current law is an appropriate compromise among interest groups. But by claiming the law strikes “the right balance,” what they’re really saying is that the Glee kids deserve to be on the losing side of a lawsuit. Does that sound like the right balance to you?
Mulligan is quite right, of course. The TV show Glee makes no reference whatsoever to the complex copyright issues that would beset any real life Glee club. Indeed, if Glee actually highlighted some of these issues, it would go a long to convincing the public that real copyright reform is in fact needed. Most of the public simply wouldn't even begin to understand how restrictive copyright law can be, and how ruthlessly the entertainment industry will be at times in enforcing their legal rights.
But there is another perspective to copyright and Glee that Mulligan doesn't write about; namely that Glee represents a new business model for the entertainment industry. In a post on Salon, Andrew Leonard explains:
Mulligan is missing an essential point. "Glee" is itself an example of a new business model for generating revenue from popular music in an era where old business models, based on now-unenforceable copyright laws, have crumbled under the pressures of the digital era.
Glee is a music business revenue machine. The cast spawned 25 Billboard top 100 singles in 2009. According to an Advertising Age story, published in February, "the show has spawned more than 4.2 million downloads of songs featured in its episodes, as well as two gold albums."
"Glee" produces its own music, which can then be sold for revenue. Twentieth Century Fox and the record label that distributes and markets the music, Sony Music's Columbia, share in the revenue and the studio puts the money back into the cost of producing the show at present.
"Glee," the show, is an example of how the entertainment industry will find ways to survive in an environment in which the traditional enforcement of copyright laws has become, for all practical purposes, impossible. Spend a few minutes on YouTube and you can find a practically infinite number of glee clubs performing copyrighted tunes. If anything, the success of "Glee" is feeding an amateur frenzy of performance, even as it mints money from its own performances.
We're going to see more such hybrid beasties, as "Glee's" model gets copied, or tweaked or ripped off by imitators. And I'm betting that in the not too distant future, we'll look back at those crazy days of the early 21st century, when the producers of entertainment actually attempted to criminalize the behavior of those most likely to consume their product, as wackier and more unrealistic than anything that ever happened on the show "Glee."
Read more here. Like Mulligan, Leonard is also quite right. But I also think he paints a far too optimistic picture. First, I'm not sure that the success of Glee will be easily replicated in such a manner that it will allow the entertainment industry to survive. Second, I don't think there is any evidence to support his assertion that the entertainment industry has acknowledged that, as he puts it, "the traditional enforcement of copyright laws has become, for all practical purposes, impossible". While I admire Leonard's optimism, I do not think his perspective is enough to negate the very real need for copyright reform.
(Finally, if you are an Australian teacher reading this post and you are suddenly spooked out by the potential copyright issues surrounding your use of music or other copyrighted materials in your classroom, the Australian Copyright Council has some very good facts sheets for educators that explain the law and the relevant exceptions and licenses that may be relevant if you want to set up your Glee style club at your school.)
Tina Fey reprised her role as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live over the weekend with a funny sketch about the "Sarah Palin Network."
Fans of the famous 90‘s sitcom, Seinfeld, may not have realized it, but they were watching a show rife with complex legal issues. Not only were there numerous lawsuits and potential lawsuits within the storyline of the show, but one episode even sparked a real-world suit against the network. In this unique seminar, Robert Rushing uses the milieu of Seinfeld to discuss a wide range of legal concepts. Don‘t miss this chance to brush up your legal knowledge in a unique and entertaining way.
The following is a list of each episode mentioned and the related legal issues:
“The Puffy Shirt” — Contract law, meeting of the minds, the Mirror Image Rule, damages
“The Wink” — Real property conveyances, contract law, actionable conversions
“The Old Man” — Elder law, conservatorship, competency, informal agreements
“The Seven” — Contract law, promises, rhetoricals, warranties, ADR, quantum meruit
“The Soup” — Real property
“The Soup Nazi”- Libel, false light cases, intellectual property (real-world lawsuit)
“The Serenity Now” — Products liability, disclaimers, causation
“The Alternate Side” — Tort law, proximate cause, liability and agency
“The Pie” — Tort law, intellectual property
“The Sniffing Accountant”- Libel, slander per se (in-show lawsuit)
“Newman‘s Speeding Ticket” — Ethics, perjury, Rule 303
“The Marlborough Man” — Ethics, ex parte communication, Rule 7–104 (in-show lawsuit)
“The Finale” — Character evidence, modus operandi, relevancy (in-show criminal trial)
I've often thought it would be fun to run a Law and Popular Culture elective, but I wonder if enough students would be interested in studying something like that in Australia.
I've posted a quick Audioboo review of the main Sunday morning political talk shows in the US from the perspective of an US political junkie based in Australia:
Yesterday the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Ice TV Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd, bringing to an end legal proceedings that have been going on for the past three years. (I first blogged about the case in October 2006 here.) I had hoped to post a summary of the decision as well as some comments by this morning but unfortunately it now appears that I'm unlikely to get the time to write anything until the weekend. However, a few other Australian blawgers have posted their thoughts on the decision:
I'll continue to update this list as more people post their thoughts on this decision ...
One aspect of the decision that hasn't really been commented on yet was the nature of the divide on the Court. Although all six justices agreed that the appeal should be allowed, the court divided into two groups of three justices each. One judgment was authored by French CJ, Crennan and Kiefel JJ, and the other was authored by Gummow, Hayne and Heydon JJ. This seems to be part of ongoing trend that suggests that maybe there is a divide on the Court emerging between the more established justices (Gummow, Hayne and Heydon JJ) and the more recent appointees (French CJ, Crennan and Kiefel JJ). In particular, I can't help but wonder if there is minor battle taking place behind the scenes of the High Court between the new Chief Justice and the longest serving member of the Court, Gummow J, for the intellectual leadership of the Court. If my suspicisions are correct, it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.
Update: link fixed. Judgment also now available on AustLII here.
The High Court of Australian has handed down this morning its decision in Ice TV Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd. I've been following this case since October 2006 (see my first post here) so it is interesting to note that Ice TV has ultimately been successful. The judgment is not yet available on AustLII but I have posted a copy of the judgment for you to read here. This is also what Ice TV has posted to their website:
Six months after the appeal was heard by the High Court and 3 years since the case originally began the High Court has today in Canberra, allowed IceTV’s appeal from the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court. A comment as to the High Court findings will follow shortly.
In an official statement made immediately following today’s judgment, IceTV’s Chairman and major investor, Mr. Colin O’Brien said the following;
“I would like to thank all our shareholders, our staff, our customers and our business partners. Without their support during the last three years IceTV would not have survived. IceTV now looks forward to a successful future bringing both Free-To-Air TV and content via various partners to viewers in a way that satisfies viewer demand, whilst embracing the future of digital Free-To-Air television in Australia.”
Since it’s incorporation in 2005 IceTV has had one aim: To give TV viewers the freedom to record and manage their TV shows as they choose. To record what they want, skip what they want and watch it at a time that suits them. No longer do viewers have to watch their chosen shows when the Networks tell them or to watch content they would rather skip through. IceTV gives them this choice.
This win today is also a win for our many subscribers who enjoy the benefits of simpler, smarter TV viewing.
IceTV’s General Manager, Mr. Matt Kossatz made the following comment after the High Court’s decision;
“Today’s decision is the news that we (IceTV), our staff and our loyal users have waited 3 long years and worked very hard for. With everything happening with digital television in Australia at the moment, the timing is ripe and almost worth the wait. We are seeing more and more content coming to both free-to-air TV and via the web and as an independent company (not a TV Network), we will always have the ability to put the interest’s of the consumer first in terms of features we offer”.
A copy of the High Court’s Judgment is expected to be made publicly available later this week. A copy of the High Court’s Summary of Findings will be made available via IceTV’s website as soon as possible.
I'll try to post a summary of the judgment later today.
One of the tragedies of ridiculous music licensing practices has been that TV shows that involved great music can no longer be seen -- because when they were first aired, there was no aftermarket, and so no rights were cleared with the music owners. The famous case is the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati, which tried to get around the issue by replacing all the great classic rock in the original, with crappy new music -- really harming the quality of the show. Tom sent in a note pointing out that the classic 80s TV show The Wonder Years is actually facing a similar issue, and because of it, the show is not available on DVD. The show was famous for integrating great music into the overall show -- clearing all that music for a DVD release is apparently too difficult, leading to an overall loss to society and culture.
Read it here.
Australia's answer to C-SPAN, now called A-PAC, will launch on 20 January. The website is online here, where you can watch a promotional (propaganda?) video that gives the impression that this channel was the most important outcome of Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit and that it has come "more than a decade ahead of that vision".
On AMC's hit show Mad Men, character Peggy Olson is the ambitious secretary-turned-copywriter at fictional Manhattan advertising agency Sterling Cooper. On the show, which is set in 1962, she's excellent at keeping secrets—such as how she bore a child out of wedlock. Off the show, she's more forthcoming. Olson—or rather, a person posing as her—uses the microblogging service Twitter to give fans a peek into her inner thoughts: "The men in the office are headed to the Oyster Bar. I'm going to the library. It doesn't seem quite fair," she wrote on Aug. 25.
Olson isn't the only Mad Men character on Twitter. Sterling Cooper creative director Don Draper began it all by issuing his first status update on Aug. 12. A few days later, seductive secretary Joan Holloway joined the fray, writing on Aug. 19, for instance: "Hoping @don_draper will be eating lunch outside of office again today, as he usually does. There's a sale on intimates at Macy's." That was the day Peggy Olson popped up.
In all, more than 15 Mad Men characters are Twittering, and more appear every week. All are posted by individual fans of the show and to date, none are known to be associated with the series. At least one blogger has speculated that Don Draper, Peggy Olson, and the others are actors hired by AMC interactive marketing agency Deep Focus, but AMC spokeswoman Theano Apostolou emphatically denies it. Several of the Mad Men Twitterers also said in interviews that they're independent fans, unaffiliated with Mad Men or AMC.
The unofficial Mad Men are using Twitter to push fictional characters into a new digital frontier—at the same time blurring the lines between brand infringement and brand extension. While a show's creators and distributors might ordinarily welcome the publicity that comes with seeing it depicted in a positive light beyond normal viewing times, they're also on alert for signs that their brand is being misused in some manner. Content owners are especially vigilant in an age when users can spread content quickly by means of social media, such as Facebook or Google (GOOG)'s YouTube. In July, Hasbro (HAS) sued the creators of an unauthorized version of its Scrabble word game (BusinessWeek.com, 7/24/08) that had become wildly famous on Facebook. For a time, Twitter disabled Mad Men accounts amid inquiries from AMC as to their origin—though AMC denies having asked for the accounts to be blocked.
Read more here.
When Larry Lessig appeared on The Colbert Report during the week to talk about this latest book, Remix, he basically invited people to remix the interview (see here). Here are two audio remixes: one from Sam and another from Jim Vanaria. Here are two video remixes:
And the audio to the show is available to be remixed on ccMixter here.
In the US, a Colorado judge recently approved the use of Twitter, as well as live-blogging, inside the courtroom to cover an infant-abuse trial:
Prosecutors and defense attorneys wanted bloggers silenced in the courtroom next week, but a Boulder judge ordered Monday that cell phones and computers won’t be banned from the child-abuse trial of Alex Midyette, the Boulder Daily Camera reports. The attorneys argued that live-blogging and Tweeting the sensational case could tip witnesses to proceedings before they testified, thus impeding a fair trial. “I think there are other manageable options and less restrictive options than shutting down the flow of information during the trial,” Boulder District Judge Lael Montgomery said.
Last week, when the attorneys filed the joint motion to keep bloggers out of the courtroom, a Kansas journalist who has pioneered new media trial coverage cried foul. “Courts are supposed to be public and this is just another way of creating public access,” Wichita Eagle reporter Ron Sylvester wrote in an e-mail to the Colorado Independent. In addition to a Tweeting trial coverage, Sylvester maintains a blog, What the Judge Ate for Breakfast, with further insight into the local courts.
“[R]eporting through live blogging is simply text descriptions, just as newspapers have been reporting on the courts for ages,” Sylvester wrote. “When I use Twitter to cover trials, there’s really very little difference in what I do with social media than what I write for the next day’s newspaper.”
Montgomery agreed in her ruling Monday, ordering witnesses to refrain from reading about the testimony of other witnesses. “The court believes that is a more appropriate way to proceed than shutting off the reporting at the front end,” the Longmont Times-Call reported.
Before my Australian readers get too excited about this ruling, I cannot see this ruling taking place in Australia. The principle of open justice in Australia is very different from the US, and my feeling is that the courts here would be more likely to grant TV or radio access than Twitter or live-blogging in Australian courts - and I can't see TV cameras or microphones being regularly allowed into Australian courts any time soon.
Here are what I consider to be some of the "best" media and entertainment themed posts from 2008. Again, some of these posts are academic, some are trivial, some just link to what other people say, and some are a little random, but they do represent what interests me and what I have posted on this blog in 2008. Also, due to a deliberate decision to change the mix of posts on this blog during the year, there were not as many media or entertainment themed posts as in previous years.
Freedom to Dither
Best Australian TV Shows:
Best Overseas TV Shows (that aired in Australia in 2008):
Honourable Mention: Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - Although this wasn't strictly a TV show (not that that stopped Time from including it in its list of the top TV series of 2008), Joss Whedon's musical about a would-be supervillain applying for membership in the exclusive Evil League of Evil deserves to be mentioned as arguably the most original program of the year, even if it was broadcast on the internet instead of on television.
(Note there are a lot of shows I have not yet seen, including In Treatment, John Adams, Mad Men and Battlestar Galactacia.)
During the week Keith Olbermann attacked the late night FoxNews Channel show Red Eye, sparking this priceless response from Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld: