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Court Cases

Dateline NBC Produces Web-Only Oscar Pistorius Special

PistoriusOscarAs we reported yesterday, several networks have specials planned for tonight on the Oscar Pistorius verdict. NBC wasn’t one of them.

With a 2-hour “Dateline NBC” already in the can, the network just announced it has produced a full-length original documentary exclusively for the web — its first ever. The Dateline digital documentary, “Oscar Pistorius: The Verdict” will tell the entire story of the murder case against the Olympic sprinter, from the night Reeva Steenkamp was killed to today’s courtroom events.

The original documentary will go live on DatelineNBC.com tonight at 7pmET, and will be available online only.

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A Friday Night of Oscar Pistorius on TV

pistoriussteenkamp

CBS’s “48 Hours” is planning a special Friday edition following the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial. The decision, along with an interview with Pistorius’ former girlfriend, Samantha Taylor, will be part of a new primetime special tomorrow at 8pmET. “Blade Runner: The Verdict” features reporting by correspondents Debora Patta, Peter Van Sant and Richard Schlesinger. ABC’s News’ Matt Gutman also spoke with Taylor who says she feels parts of Pistorius’ story did not ring true. Gutman’s interview airs tomorrow on “20/20″ at 10pmET. Also at 10pmET, on CNN, Robyn Curnow hosts “The CNN Spotlight: Oscar Pistorius,” re-airing Saturday night at 7:30pmET. For now, “Dateline NBC” tells us they are sticking with their scheduled 2-hour program called “Deadly Valentine” at 9pmET.

Judge Rules TVEyes is Mostly Okay

tveyesThe TVEyes web service has won a round against Fox News.

Last year, Fox sued TVEyes, a service that monitors and transcribes video from cable, broadcast and radio stations, claiming copyright infringement. But U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein has given a partial victory to the service saying the keyword search function falls under the fair use doctrine.

A Fox News spokesperson says the network will fight on: “The Court expressly said that it required more information to decide whether TVEyes’ other features — including allowing video clips to be archived, downloaded, emailed, and shared via social media — were fair use.”

The Court has called for another hearing on that part of the case on October 3. Mediabistro sites TVNewser and TVSpy use TVEyes extensively.

Gregg Jarrett Pleads Guilty to Disorderly Conduct

gregg jarrettThe AP reports Fox News anchor Gregg Jarrett pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct today for a May incident with police at the Minneapolis airport.

Gregg Jarrett, 59, entered his plea by petition and didn’t appear in Hennepin County District Court. Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said Jarrett’s plea was put on hold for a year and will be thrown out if he doesn’t commit the same or similar offenses and if he abides by certain conditions. Among them, Jarrett can have no alcohol or drug offenses and he must complete treatment.

In response to the airport incident, where a reportedly intoxicated Jarrett refused to follow police orders, Fox News said, at the time: “He is dealing with serious personal issues at this time. A date at which Gregg might return to air has yet to be determined.” The anchor, who joined FNC from MSNBC in 2002, has been on personal leave since early May.

Bob Beckel Outnumbered During Hobby Lobby Ruling Debate

On its final day of rulings for this session, the Supreme Court delivered a decision tailor-made for cable news. The ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby involves religious freedom, first amendment rights, and Obamacare. Cable news programs have been debating the ruling and its possible lasting effect since it came in, including on CNN’s “Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield,” MSNBC’s “The Reid Report,” and FNC’s “Outnumbered.” Just as its title indicates, that’s where FNC’s Bob Beckel found himself on the issue. The cable news day is still young, so expect more fireworks throughout the day.


(h/t J$P)

Scalia: ‘We Came Within One Vote of Declaring the VCR Contraband’

ScaliaAereoIn his dissenting opinion Wednesday in the case of American Broadcasters vs. Aereo, Justice Antonin Scalia hinted that it’s now up to Congress to decide if future Aereos can exist.

Scalia, along with Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, disagreed with the majority in the 6-3 decision. Scalia reminds of an earlier high court decision involving a disruptive technology. “We came within one vote of declaring the VCR contraband 30 years ago,” Scalia writes, pointing to the 1984 Universal v. Sony decision. Scalia continues:

I share the Court’s evident feeling that what Aereo is doing (or enabling to be done) to the Networks’ copyrighted programming ought not to be allowed. But perhaps we need not distort the Copyright Act to forbid it.

Hence, the proper course is not to bend and twist the Act’s terms in an effort to produce a just outcome, but to apply the law as it stands and leave to Congress the task of deciding whether the Copyright Act needs an upgrade.

 

Barry Diller on Aereo: ‘It’s Over’

barry diller aereo interviewCNBC’s Becky Quick got the first comments from IAC Chairman and Aereo investor Barry Diller about the Supreme Court ruling against the streaming TV service. Quick caught up with Diller, who is out of the country, on the phone.

“I do think it is a big loss for consumers wanting an alternative to the bundle,” says Diller who was at the Supreme Court for the arguments in April. “We did try, but now it’s over.” Diller’s comments today echo what he’s been saying leading up to the decision, should Aereo lose.

Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia adds, “Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court is a massive setback for the American consumer. We’ve said all along that we worked diligently to create a technology that complies with the law, but today’s decision clearly states that how the technology works does not matter. This sends a chilling message to the technology industry.”

Paul Clement, the attorney for the broadcasters, says, “Today’s decision is a victory for consumers. The Court has sent a clear message that it will uphold the letter and spirit of the law just as Congress intended.”

The petitioners in the case, American Broadcasting Companies v. Aereo, included American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.; Disney Enterprises, Inc.; CBS Broadcasting Inc.; CBS Studios Inc.; NBCUniversal Media, LLC; NBC Studios, LLC; Universal Network Television, LLC; Telemundo Network Group LLC; WNJU-TV Broadcasting LLC; WNET; Thirteen Productions, LLC; Fox Television Stations, Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; WPIX, LLC; Univision Television Group, Inc.; The Univision Network Limited Partnership; and Public Broadcasting Service.

Supreme Court Sides With Broadcasters in Aereo Case

aereo antennaeThe Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the broadcasters in ABC vs. Aereo. In the 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice Breyer, the High Court “goes out out of its way to make clear that its ruling does not endanger other technologies,” according to SCOTUSBlog.

The decision is the end of a long road for the lawsuit, which began when Aereo launched in 2012. Acting on behalf of the local stations in New York City, Aereo’s first market, broadcasters filed the initial suit less than two weeks after the streaming television service was announced. Four months later, a federal judge ruled in Aereo’s favor. In early 2013, a federal appeals court upheld the lower court’s ruling. In October 2013, the broadcasters petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The High Court heard oral arguments in the case in April. At the time, justices seemed conflicted over the broader implications the ruling could have over the cloud computing industry. During the arguments, the Supreme Court heard from both sides as well as the Deputy Solicitor General, who argued against Aereo on behalf of the government.

As for what’s next for Aereo: both Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia and investor Barry Diller have said that the streaming service would be shut down in the event of a Supreme Court loss. “The mission of this company was to try to create an open platform, to try to wedge the system open a little bit. And if we don’t succeed in that, despite our best efforts and good law on our side and merits of our case, it would be a tragedy, but it is what it is,” Kanojia told Bloomberg TV in April.

Developing…

Following Conviction of Journalists, AJAM to Produce Special on Press Freedom

AJASpecialFollowing today’s guilty verdicts in the trial of several Al Jazeera journalists, the network’s American channel will produce a special on the case and on press freedom — or lack of it — around the world.

“War on Truth” airs at 8:30pmET tonight and will be hosted by David Shuster. Shuster will interview Al Jazeera English reporter Sue Turton – another of the AJE journalists sentenced by the Egyptian court. Turton, a British journalist, was sentenced in absentia.

Al Jazeera America’s Jonathan Betz will cover world reaction to the sentencing and Randall Pinkston and Ben Moran will put together a look at other journalists in danger.

“Consider This” at 10 pm with host Antonio Mora will also feature a full hour on press freedom.

Al Jazeera America CEO Ehab Al Shihabi will be interviewed on PBS’ “Charlie Rose,” airing tonight.

CNN, NBC, FNC Specials on O.J. Simpson Murder Case, 20 Years Later

CNNOJ2Tonight at 9pmET, CNN’s Kyra Phillips reports “O.J.’s Wild Ride: 20 Years After the Chase,” looking back on the slow-speed pursuit of O.J. Simpson on the night of June 17, 1994, four days after the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Tomorrow night at 9pmET, NBC presents a two-hour “Dateline” special on the 20th anniversary of the case. Josh Mankiewicz reports “The People vs. O.J. Simpson: What the Jury Never Heard,” which features exclusive interviews with Kris Jenner, a friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, as well as a key witness who speaks out for the first time.

Friday at 7pmET, Greta Van Susteren hosts a special on Fox News Channel. A former criminal defense attorney, Van Susteren’s TV career can be traced back to the so-called trial of the century. Her legal analysis for CNN led to the show “Burden of Proof.” FNC’s Geraldo Rivera hosted the Fox News special “O.J. Simpson At 20″ last month.

Next Monday at 10pmET, CBS’s “48 Hours” will present a look back at the trial.

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