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Court Cases

Aereo CEO to Katie Couric: Broadcasters Are Fairly Compensated

With just days to go before the Supreme Court takes up the Aereo case, CEO Chet Kanojia sat down with Yahoo! global anchor Katie Couric for a wide-ranging interview about the streaming TV service. Couric asked Kanojia to respond to comments from News Corp. COO Chase Carey, who said recently: “We need to be able to be fairly compensated for our content. We can’t sit idly by and let an entity steal our signal.”

“I think he’s absolutely right they have a right to be fairly compensated. And I think they are,” Kanojia responded. “The reason they are is because the deal between Congress and the broadcasters in exchange for free spectrum was to program in public interest and convenience. And they could make all the money they wanted in advertising. And in fact today, over 90% of the revenue does come from advertising, which is why they care about ratings. So they are fairly compensated.” Watch:

TVSpy has more on Couric’s interview with Kanojia.

We’ll be talking about all things Aereo at our TVNewser Show April 29. Click here for more information and to register.

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Barry Diller on Aereo: ‘If We Lose, We’re Finished’

barry diller aereo interviewIAC chairman Barry Diller says he “can’t see any path forward” for Aereo in the event the Supreme Court rules against the service.

“If we lose, we’re finished,” Diller told  Bloomberg TV’s Erik Schatzker. “It’s very possible that there’s some salvage. But Aereo would probably, as I say probably just because I can’t — I can’t see any path forward.” IAC is the major backer of the streaming service which takes the signals of local TV stations and distributes them to paying subscribers who watch via their internet service provider, not over the air. “It probably would not be able to continue in business,” Diller added.

The case goes before the Supreme Court on April 22. A week later, at the TVNewser Show, we’ll be discussing the future of Aereo. Among our panelists is Tom Taylor, the Assistant Managing Editor of Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week, who will be monitoring the arguments. Click here for more information and to register.

Video of Schatzker’s interview with Diller is after the jump. Read more

Judge Won’t Dismiss ‘Pink Slime’ Lawsuit

pink-slime-abc2A South Dakota judge has rejected ABC News’ bid to dismiss Beef Products Inc.’s “pink slime” defamation lawsuit, the Associated Press reports:

Attorneys for ABC say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deemed the product safe to eat. They say BPI might not like the phrase “pink slime,” but like all ground beef, it’s pink and has a slimy texture.

In her Thursday ruling, Judge Cheryle Gering dismissed some claims but allowed most to go forward. Gering ruled that ABC isn’t protected against liability by saying in its news reports that the product is beef, is safe and is nutritious.

Jeffrey W. Schneider, senior vice president of ABC News, noted that the ruling was on a preliminary motion to dismiss, not on the merits of the case. “We will defend our reporting vigorously on the merits,” Schneider said in a written statement.

BPI says the network’s coverage “led to the closure of three plants and roughly 700 layoffs by misleading consumers into believing the product is unsafe.” The company seeks $1.2 billion in damages. [h/t Huffington Post Media]

Geraldo Rivera Wins Suit, Rips ‘Under-Handed, Back-Stabbing, Bullying’ Agents

geraldo_rivera_mi_130201_mainA New York judge has thrown out a lawsuit William Morris Endeavor Entertainment had filed against Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera last September.

WME sued Rivera for 10% of the anchor’s Fox News salary, which it originally negotiated. Rivera stopped paying the agency in 2010 when his longtime agent, Jim Griffin, left WME. Rivera countered, claiming his contract was with Griffin, and not William Morris.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos agreed with Rivera, saying WME only had a verbal agreement with him which can’t be enforced. Rivera reacted to his victory via Twitter.

Rivera is surely happy to keep his money. With four ex-wives and five children, he recently said he’s addicted to paying his bills.

Justin Bieber Compares Deposition to Being Interviewed by Katie Couric, ’60 Minutes’

It has not been a good few days for Justin Bieber, who was deposed Thursday by an attorney representing the photographer who accused Bieber of ordering a bodyguard to attack him last summer. In the video of the deposition, which was obtained by TMZ, Bieber appears alternately combative and smug, sarcastically calling the attorney “Katie Couric” and comparing the deposition to a “60 Minute[sic] interview.” Watch:

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Jana Winter: ‘I Hope People Don’t Have to Google’ State Shield Law Before Reporting

Jana Winter with Shepard SmithTVNewser spoke with a relieved Jana Winter this afternoon about the New York court ruling that saved her from jail.

Following the court’s 4-3 ruling, the FoxNews.com reporter is grateful her rights as a journalist—and journalism as a whole—was protected by the court.

“I hope that this will really change the way that reporters work,” Winter said. “I hope that people can go to another state and report on something and promise a source that they will remain confidential, and mean it, and not have to go through what I went through.”

Winter also has a new appreciation for New York Civil Rights Law 79-h, the shield law that protected her from testifying in Colorado.

“If I hadn’t gone through this, I wouldn’t understand how important that is,” Winter said, hoping that in the future “people don’t have to Google specific state shield law” while crossing state lines during their reporting, which she’s gotten into the habit of doing for the last 18 months.

Read more

Fox News Reporter Won’t Have to Testify in Colorado

WinterBreaking: FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter cannot be forced to testify in a Colorado court.

New York State’s highest court has ruled Winter cannot be compelled to testify about her reporting in the case of Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes.

Winter’s story revealed the existence of Holmes’ diary that he reportedly gave to his psychiatrist before he went on his shooting spree.

Winter and her lawyers argued their case before the New York Court of Appeals November 11. The court let a lower court ruling stand, which protected Winter from having to reveal her sources. Had the court ruled the other way, she could have faced jail time for not giving up the information, which she declared she never would.

Developing…

More: From Fox News CEO Roger Ailes: “Today’s ruling is a major win for all journalists. The protection of Jana Winter’s confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position.”

Cable Networks Cover George Zimmerman’s Return to Court

George Zimmerman is in a Florida court again this afternoon, facing charges of felony aggravated assault after he allegedly pointed a gun at his girlfriend. The cable networks all took the short court appearance live.

Fox News has Phil Keating outside the courtroom and brought Geraldo Rivera in for analysis after the hearing wrapped. Kerry Sanders reported from Sanford for MSNBC. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer talked with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. And on HLN, which saw a major boost in ratings during Zimmerman’s trial for the death of Trayvon Martin, Susan Hendricks talked with Vinnie Politan and Tiffanie Henry.

Fox News Reporter Jana Winter Back to Court

WinterFoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter will be back in court tomorrow asking New York State’s highest court to quash a subpoena filed by the lawyers for James Holmes, the Colorado man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 50 others at a movie theater last year.

Winter will ask the Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court ruling that says she can be compelled to testify about her sources.

Winter’s story revealed the existence of Holmes’ notebook that he reportedly gave to his psychiatrist before he went on his shooting spree.

The Albany Times-Union’s legal affairs reporter Robert Gavin writes, “The high court’s ultimate decision could have drastic implications not only for Winter, but the rights of the news media to safeguard the identity of its sources. That right is protected in New York state, where the Shield Law protects reporters from revealing their sources regardless of how vital the information could be to an investigation.”

If the Court of Appeals lets the lower court ruling stand, and Winter does not reveal her sources, she could go to jail until she does. Fox News’s Judge Andrew Napolitano went on “Fox & Friends” this morning and talked about the case. “She has said to me she will simply never reveal who her sources are,” said Napolitano.

Missouri Man’s Murder Sentence Vacated Following ’48 Hours’ Reports

MoriarityFergusonA Missouri man who has been in prison for the last 10 years had his murder conviction vacated this morning, due, in part, to aggressive reporting by CBS’s “48 Hours.”

Ryan Ferguson was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the 2001 murder of newspaper sports editor Kent Heitholt. Ferguson’s case was first featured on the CBS News magazine eight years ago. Correspondent Erin Moriarty has updated the story twice since then.

Moriarty reported that hair, fingerprints and bloody footprints found at the scene were not linked to Ferguson. After that report new witnesses came forward and Ferguson got a new attorney — who joined pro bono after seeing his story on CBS.

“I almost know, almost certainly, that if you had not covered the trial a lot of the facts would remain probably hidden,” Ferguson recently told Moriarty. “And I think that was very beneficial to us in having somebody actually look at the reality of this case in a non-biased manner and – and look at both sides equally.”

“Dateline NBC” has also been invested in Ferguson’s story. “Dateline” aired a 2-hour special in August, 2011 and another follow-up report in November, 2012. NBC’s producer is in Missouri now working on the latest.

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