Posts Tagged Social Media

What’s The Verdict: Were Mike Huckabee’s anti-Hollywood phone calls more like a survey or telemarketing? Will he be held liable?

What’s The Verdict: Were Mike Huckabee’s anti-Hollywood phone calls more like a survey or telemarketing? Will he be held liable?

Just earlier today, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit that accuses U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee along with others of violating telemarketing laws.  The lower court rejected the case, but after today’s decision, Huckabee and others will again face a class action lawsuit over millions of prerecorded  phone message delivered on behalf of the film Last Ounce of Courage back in 2012.

So, what actually happened that led to the lawsuit?

Huckabee was tapped by the film’s producers including Veritas Entertainment in an attempt to get people to a see a movie about a son of fallen U.S. soldier.  The film was Last Ounce of Courage.  To be more precise, there were about 34 million calls to residential phone lines and cells phone.  Based on the script, Huckabee was promoting the film by pitching it as ‘anti-Hollywood.’ For example, Huckabee would call residents and ask the following:

“Do you agree that traditional American values are under attack in mainstream media and by our government?” As well as, “Would you, like me, Mike Huckabee, like to see Hollywood respect and promote traditional American values?”

Two St. Louis residents, Ron Golan and Dorit Golan, filed a $5 million class action suit on behalf of themselves as well as other claiming that the calls were a violation of the Telephone Communication Protection Act and Missouri’s Do Not Call Law. Turns out that the Golans weren’t actually in their home to hear the message but were left with voicemails on their answering machine.

In May 2014, a federal judge rejected the lawsuit because the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate an injury sufficient enough to give them standing for a law intended to crack down on robocalls.  However, the 8th Circuit judge Diana Murphy has decided to read the law more broadly than the district judge who rejected.  Judge Murphy says that the lower court judge erred in dismissing the claims.

The defendants are arguing that the calls do not fall under the category of telemarketing or advertising, but were more for information gathering with survey questions.  It is now the role of the appeals court to examine and determine the context of the calls to see if the purpose was to promote goods.  Judge Murphy states in her opinion that the messages appeared to be survey-like by asking if recipients had traditional American values, but clearly acknowledges that the producers were most concerned with getting viewers of the film rather than gathering information.

Overall, Judge Murphy recognizes that the Golans are not subject to a unique defense nor did the suffer a unique injury, but what matters for all class members (including Golans) is that the phone calls placed by Huckabee were initiated for the purposes of promoting Last Ounce of Courage.  Additionally, she does not rule on whether or not Huckabee could be “vicariously liable” and is leaving that to the lower district court.

Judge Murphy has reversed the lower court judge’s opinion, meaning the case has been revived and remanded.  The final decision will be left to a lower district court judge.

The case is Golan et al v. Veritas Entertainment LLC et al, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-2484.

What do you think the lower court judge will do this time around? Stay tuned for more updates on What’s The Verdict!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Courtney Love Triumphs in Twitter Defamation Suit

After eight days of testimony, a California jury decided on Friday that Courtney Love should not be held liable for a tweet directed at her former attorney, Rhonda Holmes. The lawsuit is considered to be a trailblazing case as it is believed to be the first trial in a U.S. courtroom involving allegations of defamation on the Twitter platform. Love retained Holmes in 2009 to handle fraud allegations against the executors of Kurt Cobain’s estate. After the relationship between Love and Holmes deteriorated, the rockstar tweeted about Holmes who in turn sued for defamation claiming the tweet hurt her reputation.

The court found that the attorney was a limited-purpose public figure because of her involvement with a celebrity client and thus Holmes was burdened with demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the statement was made with actual malice. Actual malice, sometimes referred to a Constitutional malice, was defined in the the landmark 1964 lawsuit New York Times Co. v. Sullivan,  as knowledge that the statement was false or reckless disregard for the truth. Love contended that the tweet as intended to be sent as a direct message and when she learned it was tweeted to the public, she quickly deleted the comment. Love further testified that she believed the tweet to be true when she sent it. The jury ultimately concluded that Holmes did not meet her burden of proof in this case. 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/courtney-love-wins-twitter-defamation-673972

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Lil’ Kim Attacked Over Zombie Makeup Photo

After posting an image on instagram, rap star Lil’ Kim was sued over a photo of zombie makeup by a Vancouver artist. Samantha Ravndahl is claiming that self proclaimed Queen Bee “splashed” a photo of Ravndahl modeling zombie-style makeup across the internet, including on the rapper’s social media pages, and is prepared to go to court to protect the image and stake some claim in her “original makeup design”. The Ravndahl allegedly posted the image on instagram and other social media outlets as part of a step by step “how to” tutorial. The artist alleges that Lil’ Kim put her name and copyright notice on the artist’s face and makeup design prior to distributing it on the internet. The lawsuit claims that Lil’ Kim’s alleged exploitation of the image is unfair and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/lil-kim-sued-zombie-makeup-673437

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Zuckerberg Sells $2.3 Billion of Facebook Stock

In a statement filed at the SEC, Mark Zuckerberg declared he is selling $2.3 billion of Facebook stock.  The Facebook CEO is relinquishing 41.4 million shares of the company’s stock in order to make a tax payoff. However, the sale will only marginally alter Zuckerberg’s voting power as it will only decrease from 58.8% to 56.1%. 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mark-zuckerberg-sells-facebook-stock-666867

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Hollywood Heavy Hitters Expected to Join Comcast’s SEEiT Twitter Partnership

As soon as early 2014, Twitter’s newly developed SEEiT capability will be available to more consumers. SEEiT will allow social media users to click on “SEEiT” in a tweet and instantly begin watching or recording on DVR online or on TV. ABC Entertainment Group, A+E Networks Group, AMC Networks Inc., Crown Media Family Networks, Discovery Communications, Fox Networks Group and cable providers Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable are some of the Hollywood giants expected to join the SEEiT partnership with Twitter. 

What effect, if any, do you think SEEiT will have on both social media and digital media? 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/abc-fox-amc-cable-giants-665095

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Twitter Moves To Wall Street; Now Worth More Than Sony and Netflix

The social media phenomena, better known as Twitter, exploded onto the New York Stock Exchange scene yesterday when it made its debut as a public company. Twitter ended the day with a market capitalization of $31.6 billion, making it more valuable than Sony, Dish, Discovery and even Netflix.

Do you think Twitter could surpass Facebook? 

http://variety.com/2013/biz/news/twitter-now-worth-more-than-sony-dish-discovery-and-netflix-1200805756/

 

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: