Recently in Summer 2003 Category

Silha Fellows Doug Peters and Elaine Hargrove-Simon presented sessions at the 2003 Minnesota State High School Journalism Convention on Wednesday, September 24.

Weinberger v. Maplewood Review

A Maplewood, Minn. newspaper reporter must divulge the names of anonymous sources used in a story about a fired high-school football coach, the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-2 decision. The case is Weinberger v. Maplewood Review, No. C7-01-2021 (Minn. Sept. 11, 2003).

Dastar v. Fox

The Supreme Court ruled this summer that the Lanham Act does not prevent the uncredited copying of an uncopyrighted work (see Dastar v. Fox, 123 S. Ct. 2041(2003)). In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court ruled that Dastar's copying, editing and redistribution of tapes of a television documentary first aired in 1949 did not constitute an infringement under the Lanham Act. The Court's rationale was based on the fact that Dastar was the originator of the actual materials it sold, and used tapes in the public domain to create its product. Fox's copyright on the original materials had expired in 1977, placing the documentary in the public domain. Fox reacquired the television rights in 1988.

Humorist Sued for Trademark Infringement

ETW Corporation v. Jireh Publishing, Inc.

Rick Rush's painting commemorating Tiger Woods' first Masters victory at Augusta did not violate the athlete's trademark rights under the Lanham Act, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Cir.). Two of the three judges on the panel issued their opinion in September 2003. The court further ruled that Woods' right of publicity was not compromised by the creation and distribution of the painting. Woods' ETW Corporation had filed suit against Jireh Publishing, Inc. for using the golfer's image without permission in a painting featuring other professional golfers and the two caddies from his first Masters win, which Jireh reproduced and sold to the public.

Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue Inc.

The U. S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in March that a Kentucky sex shop once called "Victor's Little Secret" did not infringe upon the trademark of lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, reversing an earlier ruling by the Sixth Circuit. See Moseley v. V Secret Catalogue Inc., 537 U.S. 418 (2003). Victor and Cathy Moseley named their Elizabethtown, Ky., retail store "Victor's Secret" in 1998. In an advertisement for its grand opening, the store promoted "Intimate Lingerie for every woman;" "Romantic Lighting;" "Lycra Dresses;" "Pagers;" and "Adult Novelties/Gifts." An individual who saw the ad believed that the store's name used a well-known company's trademark to sell "unwholesome, tawdry merchandise" and notified Victoria's Secret of the existence of the Elizabethtown store. In response to a request from Victoria's Secret that the owners refrain from using the similar-sounding name, the Moseleys then changed the store name to "Victor's Little Secret." Victoria's Secret was not satisfied with the change, however, and filed a complaint with the federal District Court in Kentucky.

Nike v. Kasky

Nike will pay $1.5 million to the Fair Labor Association, a workers' rights group, after settling a five-year-old case regarding the truth of the shoe company's advertisements and statements regarding its overseas manufacturing plants. The case raised issues about the extent of protection the Constitution provides to political statements made as a part of commercial speech.

Virginia v. Black

Eleven years after its landmark hate-speech decision in R.A.V. v. St. Paul, 112 S.Ct. 2538 (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court last spring upheld a Virginia law criminalizing the burning of crosses with the intent to intimidate. The case, Virginia v. Black, 123 S.Ct. 1536 (2003), was decided April 7, 2003, in a plurality opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

California Governor Gray Davis Signs Anti-Spam Bill

Intel v. Hamidi

Intel v. Hamidi, 30 Cal. 4th 1342 (2003), arose from actions taken by on Kourosh Kenneth Hamidi, who had worked for Intel as an engineer until 1995, when he was fired. Hamidi then created an organization called FACE-Intel (Former and Current Employees of Intel) and posted a Web site posting claims of Intel's alleged mistreatment of its employees. In addition, Hamidi sent six mass e-mails using Intel's electronic mail system, reaching as many as 35,000 employees with each mailing. The e-mails were critical of Intel, and of the company's business practices, and warned current employees that these practices could harm their careers, urging them to leave Intel and work elsewhere. Hamidi offered to remove from his mailing list any employee who asked him to, and complied with any requests he received.

Batzel v. Smith

The U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.) in June ruled that a provision in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) may shield moderators of Internet listservs and operators of websites from liability for disseminating defamatory postings created by others. (See Batzel v. Smith, 333 F.3d 1018 (9th Cir. 2003)).

Putnam Pit v. City of Cookeville

On August 20, 2003, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Guy Cole, Jr. ruled in Putnam Pit v. City of Cookeville, No. 01-6599 (2003) that Geoffrey Davidian's First Amendment rights have not been violated by the City of Cookeville, affirming the earlier judgment of a federal district court jury.

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