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Court Cases

Case Closed for Jana Winter as Supreme Court Will Not Take Up Source Case

jana winterThe Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the lawyers of movie theater killer James Holmes who demanded FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter be compelled to testify about the source of one of her stories.

The high court’s decision keeps in place a December ruling from the New York Court of Appeals ending the nearly two-year-long legal fight.

Winter, who lives and works in New York, reported on the existence of Holmes’ diary which he reportedly gave to his psychiatrist before he went on his July 2012 shooting spree.

“We’re pleased that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of free speech,” Fox News said in a statement. “The Court made it clear that Jana Winter can never be compelled to testify in Colorado, and that all New York-based journalists and media companies can rely on New York’s strong shield law when they are covering news across the country.”

“I hope that this will really change the way that reporters work,” Winter told TVNewser in December, following the appellate court decision. “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.”

Alec Baldwin Cuffed in Manhattan

InTouchBaldwinFormer MSNBC host Alec Baldwin was detained this morning and given a summons for disorderly conduct after NYPD officers stopped him for riding his bike against traffic in Manhattan. The Daily News reports:

The hotheaded actor became unruly with officers who asked him for identification after they stopped him at E. 16th St. and Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District about 10:15 a.m., the sources said.

“The officers approached him and told him that he was riding the wrong way on the street and asked him for ID,” an NYPD spokesman said. “But he didn’t have any ID on him. He then began to act belligerent to police.”

A rep for Baldwin tells InTouch, “He was not arrested or charged with a crime. He has been released.”

How the Evening Newscasts Covered the Aereo Supreme Court Arguments

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.20.49 PMABC, CBS, FOX and NBC were at the Supreme Court today, on many levels. Reporters were there to cover the proceedings, lawyers argued on behalf of the networks, and executives sat in to watch the cases for and against Aereo. Two of the three evening newscasts reported on the case tonight.

“NBC Nightly News” and “CBS Evening News” each aired a story four minutes into their newscasts.

“Full disclosure right up top,” said Brian Williams, “This company (NBC) is a big player in this case, as are a lot of big names in media, who are tonight, just like us, covering it as a news story.” Stephanie Gosk then reported on what Aereo is, and what the argument is all about.

“Major networks, including CBS, are suing an an internet startup company claiming it is essentially stealing programming with a new technology,” said Scott Pelley in his introduction of a Chip Reid story.

“Nightly News” and “Evening News” also led with stories from the Supreme Court: the Court’s decision to uphold a ban on affirmative action in Michigan.

“ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” did not report on the Aereo case. “World News” led with the latest out of Ukraine.

Supreme Court Justices Express Concern Over Scope of Aereo Ruling

supreme_court_buildingWhile hearing oral arguments from attorneys representing the broadcast networks and Aereo this morning, the Supreme Court justices “appeared unsure” how to rule in the case, expressing concerns that a broad ruling could affect cloud computing companies like Dropbox and Amazon.

Bloomberg reports the justices posed questions about both the cloud computing industry and copyright violations:

Hearing arguments today in Washington, some justices suggested they viewed Aereo as violating broadcaster copyrights by using thousands of dime-sized antennas to get over-the-air signals without paying fees. Chief Justice John Roberts led the questioning, asking whether Aereo’s equipment had any purpose “other than to get around the copyright laws.”

At the same time, the hour-long hearing didn’t clearly indicate the likely outcome, as justices led by Stephen Breyer repeatedly asked whether a ruling favoring the broadcasters would imperil the cloud computing industry.

Justices also raised the issue of whether the Barry Diller-backed startup should be considered a cable service, according to Variety: Read more

With an Aereo Win, ‘The Television Industry Will Be Profoundly Reconfigured’

aereo antennaeOn the eve of the most significant media case in years before the Supreme Court, the high court has granted a request from the Deputy Solicitor General to argue in support of broadcasters who have sued streaming service Aereo. The broadcasters — ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX — will cede federal lawyers 10 minutes of their allotted 30 minutes. Aereo will also have 30 minutes to argue its case tomorrow.

The New York TimesDavid Carr interviews Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, as well as industry executives who side with the broadcasters:

Speaking on the phone on Thursday, Mr. Kanojia said he liked his facts but had no idea how things would play out. “It’s a bit of a coin flip,” he said. A lot of people will be watching to see how that coin lands, less because of what it means for Aereo specifically than what it portends for the broader media ecosystem. A decision is expected this summer.

I spent time in Hollywood last week chatting with various executives, and Aereo was described variously as “a fencing operation peddling stolen goods” and “thieves masquerading as innovators.” That’s about as friendly as it got: Aereo may be small — [Barry] Diller called it “a pimple” — but it represents something mighty important. If Aereo is allowed to store and transmit signals without payment, the television industry will be profoundly reconfigured.

Kanojia also appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this weekend. TVSpy has the video.

We’ll be breaking down the arguments in the Aereo case with U.S. Law Week managing editor Tom Taylor, Internet attorney Tim Bukher and BIA/Kelsey chief economist Mark Fratrik at the TVNewser Show next Tuesday. Click here for more information and to register.

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.

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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