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Tag: Legal (1-10 of 22)

Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned about Aereo

Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

The high court heard arguments in a dispute between television broadcasters and Aereo Inc., which takes free television signals from the airwaves and charges subscribers to watch the programs on laptop computers, smartphones and even their large-screen televisions. The case has the potential to bring big changes to the television industry.

There was a good measure of skepticism about Aereo’s approach, sometimes leavened with humor. Chief Justice John Roberts declared at one point: “I’m just saying your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with, which is fine. I mean, you know, lawyers do that.” READ FULL STORY

'New Girl' sued for copyright infringement

Fox’s New Girl is being accused of plagiarism, EW has confirmed.

According to court papers filed Jan. 16, Stephanie Counts and Shari Gold are suing New Girl creator Elizabeth Meriwether, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, Peter Chernin, Jacob Kasdan, and Twenty-First Century Fox for copyright infringement.

In the lawsuit, which EW has obtained, Counts and Gold allege that prior to New Girl, they had a script for a pilot for their show hopeful Square One, which was met with favorable interest in the industry, but they weren’t able to make a deal. They worked on this from 2006-2011. Once New Girl aired, Counts and Gold hired a lawyer. Fox allegedly made the writers a $10,000 settlement offer, but they refused the money. (UPDATE: A rep for New Girl tells EW the network and studio have no comment.) READ FULL STORY

CBS settles legal dispute with 'Glass House' producers

CBS has settled a dispute with producers of ABC’s alleged Big Brother knock-off, Glass House, the network announced today.

The news comes a year after CBS tried but failed to gain traction on a suit brought against ABC and producers of Glass House, claiming copyright infringement. When that motion failed to get the courts to bar ABC from airing the program, CBS dropped the suit and instead pursued arbitration, which takes place out of the courts, against some of the show’s producers.

CBS’ statement reads in full:
READ FULL STORY

Time Warner Cable hit with class-action lawsuit over CBS blackout

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The dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS has prompted a class-action lawsuit by subscribers upset over paying for channels they don’t receive.

CBS and TWC are locked in a standoff over CBS’ request to increase carriage fees for its channels, a dispute that has resulted in CBS being pulled from Time Warner Cable customers’ TV packages (and CBS.com programming, if TWC is also someone’s Internet provider).

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, three customers charged that they subscribed to TWC service because of CBS-owned channels CBS, Showtime, Movie Channel, and Los Angeles station KCAL but have been unable to access them due to the two-week ongoing coverage blackout.
READ FULL STORY

Time Warner customers file class-action suit against cable provider

In addition to their standoff with CBS, Time Warner Cable will now have to deal with customer complaints in another public arena: court.

Time Warner customers in Wisconsin filed a class-action suit against the cable provider on Thursday, Aug. 8, for dropping WTMJ-TV from the cable lineup, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

WTMJ-TV is based in Milwaukee, Wis., and owned by the Journal Broadcast Group. The channel is also an NBC affiliate (though NBC declined to comment, since the station is not owned by NBCUniversal).

Time Warner Cable removed WTMJ-TV from their programming offerings on July 25. The cable provider dropped the channel from the lineup due to a contract dispute, reports the Journal Sentinel.

EW reached out to Time Warner Cable, but a spokesperson declined to comment.
READ FULL STORY

Plea change scheduled in Paula Deen extortion case

A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen is scheduled to appear before a federal judge to change his plea.

Thomas George Paculis was to appear Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Savannah, where he pleaded not guilty during his last hearing in July.

Court records filed last week say 62-year-old Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors. But details haven’t been released.

Prosecutors and Paculis’ defense attorney have declined to comment.

Authorities say Paculis contacted Deen’s attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after documents became public that showed Deen acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

'Big Brother' contestant investigated after child porn comments

It’s not like Big Brother contestants are typically known for their contributions to society, but the season 15 cast has set the moral bar at an all-time low. (Is there a basement in the BB house? Because the bar is buried beneath that.) Following a season of offhand racist and homophobic remarks, the latest attempt at a “joke” is Spencer Clawson’s riff on child porn.

While fellow contestant McCrae was in the shower, Spencer grabbed his microphone and, in an apparent attempt to make his housemate look bad, said into the mic, “I like to beat off to child porn. Did I ever tell y’all about that? I love it. … I love it when they’re around 3 or 4 years old. My favorite ones are when you can tell they’re in a basement.”

Spencer’s idea of humor took a serious turn, however, when his hometown police department in Conway, Arkansas, was informed of the remarks.
READ FULL STORY

Keith Olbermann and Current TV reach settlement -- Report

Our long national nightmare is over: Nearly one year after filing a blistering, $70 million lawsuit against Current TV, Keith Olbermann and his former employer have reportedly reached a settlement. Specifics of the deal are confidential — and Current TV has declined to comment, while Olbermann has not yet responded to EW’s requests for comment — but according to Deadline, the ousted host was awarded “a significant payout.” READ FULL STORY

Federal court hears 'Sister Wives' lawsuit

A federal judge heard arguments on whether Utah can prohibit plural marriage but issued no immediate ruling in a lawsuit by the stars of the reality show Sister Wives.

Kody Brown and his four wives claim the law is unconstitutional. The family fled Utah for Las Vegas last year under the threat of prosecution. They did not attend Thursday’s hearing in Salt Lake City, leaving arguments to a constitutional law professor. READ FULL STORY

Lena Dunham threatens legal action, Gawker removes leaked book proposal

Didn’t get a chance to read Girls creator Lena Dunham’s $3.7 million book proposal when it leaked online last Friday? Too bad — Gawker, the site that originally published the proposal, has removed it after being contacted by Charles Harder, the 26-year-old multihyphenate’s lawyer. Buzzfeed has taken down every image from a post titled “9 Passages From Lena Dunham’s Book Proposal Illustrated By Her Instagrams” as well.

But while Gawker writer John Cook got rid of the proposal itself — though it’s probably still floating around on the Internet, since Cook posted it as a downloadable Scribd file — he neglected to scrub several of its quotes from his original blog post despite Harder’s cease and desist. Instead, Cook has added snide commentary meant “to clarify our intent in quoting the above matter from Dunham’s proposal” to each excerpt. Example: “The quoted sentence demonstrates that Dunham is incapable of conceiving a rationale for writing that doesn’t serve the goal of drawing attention to herself.”

Girls returns to HBO Jan. 13.

Read  more:
Lena Dunham faces her critics in new ‘Girls’ season 2 poster
Lena Dunham’s $3.7M book proposal leaks online
‘Girls’: The Maxim photo-shoot scene you never saw — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Disney loses $319 million 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' verdict... final answer

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a $319 million verdict over profits from the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and rejected Walt Disney Co.’s request for a new trial.

A jury decided in 2010 that Disney hid the show’s profits from its creators, London-based Celador International. The ruling Monday by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found no issues with the verdict or with a judge’s rulings in the case.

“I am pleased that justice has been done,” Celador Chairman Paul Smith said in a statement.

Disney did not immediately comment on the decision. READ FULL STORY

Third man comes forward, accuses Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash of sexual abuse

A third accuser has come forward against Kevin Clash, the Elmo puppeteer who resigned from Sesame Street last week after a second accusation of having a sexual relationship with a minor.

This new accuser, known currently as “John,” 28, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan today, per TMZ. John accuses Clash of having a sexual relationship with him when he was still 16. John is represented by Jeff Herman, the same lawyer who represents Cecil Singleton, who last week also accused Clash of an underage sexual relationship.

EW reached out to a rep for Clash, who said, “Mr. Clash believes this lawsuit has no merit.”

UPDATE: Michael Berger, Clash’s attorney, told EW: “The federal cases filed against Kevin Clash are without merit. The cases and Mr. Clash’s reputation will be defended vigorously.”

Read more:
Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash resigns from ‘Sesame Street’
Elmo accuser recants statement against puppeteer
Elmo puppeteer accused of underage relationship

Supreme Court ignores FCC's appeal in 'wardrobe malfunction' case

The Supreme Court decided Friday not to consider reinstating the government’s $550,000 fine on CBS for Janet Jackson’s infamous breast-bearing “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. The high court refused to hear an appeal from the Federal Communications Commission over the penalty.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals twice had thrown out the fine. The second time came after the Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s policy threatening fines against even one-time uses of curse words on live television.

The appeals court said FCC’s policy of excusing fleeting instances of indecent words and images appeared to change without notice in March 2004, a month after Jackson’s halftime act. The judges said that made the agency’s action against CBS “arbitrary and capricious.” But now, the FCC clearly has abandoned its exception for fleeting expletives, Chief Justice John Roberts said. “It is now clear that the brevity of an indecent broadcast — be it word or image — cannot immunize it from FCC censure,” he said. “Any future ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ will not be protected on the ground relied on by the court below.”

Read more:
Supreme Court throws out FCC fines for f-bombs
FCC appeals to Supreme Court in Janet Jackson case
EW Looks Back: Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Shocker

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