Hollywood Docket: Supremes boost TV b'casters; Zucker on hot seat; Gordon Ramsey vs. cleaning staff

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Hollywood Docket: Supremes boost TV b'casters; Zucker on hot seat; Gordon Ramsey vs. cleaning staff

Fri Jan 22, 2010 @ 09:37AM PST

Entertainment law news while trudging through the Park City snow this morning:

  • The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to relax campaign-spending laws as an improper restraint of free speech. Here's the opinion. The case involved FEC restrictions on the broadcast of a movie that attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. Some see the decision as a victory against censorship. Others believe it may damage democracy. Regardless, the historic decision could be a boon to TV broadcasters because political ad spending could reach record heights.
  • Now that the Conan/Leno madness has been put to rest, NBCU chief Jeff Zucker has other things to attend to, including testifying before Congress to begin a lengthy review of Comcast's purchase of the conglom. 
  • Microsoft has filed a lawsuit claiming that Tivo's DVRs infringe patents related to the purchasing and delivering video and displaying programming information. Here's the complaint. In a statement, Tivo responds that Microsoft is intervening on behalf of client AT&T, which faces its own patent infringement suit from Tivo.
  • A Verizon spokesperson says she was misinterpreted in a recent article that suggested the ISP has adopted a strict automatic policy towards cutting off the Internet access of repeat copyright infringers. Verizon says it is only implementing a "reasonable" notice and education program set up last April.  
  • The recording industry is pledging further action against the ex-administrator of a BitTorrent tracker who was found not guilty in the UK's first criminal filesharing trial. A civil lawsuit is probably forthcoming.
  • Reality TV star and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is being sued for allegedly stiffing his cleaning staff of more than $89,000 for one of his restaurants.

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