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Monthly Archives: June 2007

First Amendment protection for online posting of video/audio obtained unlawfully.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals today decided an interesting case concerning first amendment protection for the publisher of materials obtained unlawfully. In the case, Jean v. Massachusetts State Police video footage was recorded by a nanny-cam during an arrest and warrantless search of the arrestee's private residence.

After the arrest, the arrestee gave the tape to the Plaintiff, Mary T. Jean, a political activist, who then posted the video on her website.

Shortly thereafter, the police wrote to Jean to demand that the footage be taken down on grounds that it was illegal, and threatened Ms. Jean with prosecution if she failed to comply. The police later “clarified” their demand, restricting it only to the audio portion of the recording. (Under Massachusetts Law, it is unlawful ( a misdemeanor) to intercept or surreptitiously record a person or persons without consent Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 272, Section 99)

Ms. Jean sought and obtained a TRO, and later, an injunction against the police and attorney general. The police appealed. Continue Reading

No Right of Publicity for Marilyn Monroe

Sam Shaw was a photographer whose photographs of Marilyn Monroe have come to be known worldwide. The Shaw Family Archive makes these photos available for purchase on its website.

CMG Worldwide, Inc. is a licensing company that administers the rights to use of celebrity likenesses, and which has contracted with Monroe's estate regarding her likeness.

CMG sued Shaw Family Archives and Bradford Licensing Inc. in 2005 in Indiana alleging violations of the superstar's right of publicity by using her name, image and likeness for commercial purposes without consent. Continue Reading

Do I Need a Liquor License for my theatre?

In recent months, I’ve been asked variations of this question a number of times. As a general rule, in California, it is unlawful to serve alcohol at a public place without a proper license. There is, in fact, a special category of licenses for theatres. The California Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control takes the position… Continue Reading

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