More F&B: News as advertising

More F&B: News as advertising
: On the fair-and-balanced suit by FoxNews against Al Franken, Glenn Reynolds says:

Of course, as several people have pointed out, this “dumb” suit has gotten both Fox and Franken a lot of free publicity. Well, that’s the media biz, these days.

Yup, it’s how you use news to get publicity.

You can file suit and get a story.

Or you can run for office and get a story (see Terry Tate, state house linebacker).

What’s next: petty crimes for the sake of publicity?

: Yale Law School’s Jack Balkin also weighs in on FoxNews v. Franken. I think he’s overintellectualizing what is at best a publicity stunt and at worst a Bill O’Reilly hissy fit:

If Franken may not use the expression “fair and balanced” in a book to accuse Fox News of failing to be “fair and balanced,” there is something seriously wrong with trademark law under our First Amendment. And if Fox can get an injunction preventing the sale of the book, we can be sure that the expansion of intellectual property rights has gone too far.

So far, so good: If a court allows this to happen, then that would be a travesty. I doubt any sane court would enjoin Franken.

Balkin keeps a-chuggin’ down this track:

The most troubling aspect of the lawsuit politically is its attempt to harass a political opponent through the use of intellectual property laws. Fox News v. Franken is merely one episode in a much larger conflict between freedom of speech and intellectual property. Trademark, like copyright, has now become a general purpose device for private parties to use the state to suppress speech they do not like. And they can suppress the speech of others not merely to protect their legitimate economic interests but because of aesthetic and political disagreements as well.

A bit stretched, a tad paranoid, eh? I don’t see a trend here (yet). But I’m sure Larry Lessig will see boogeyman lurking nonetheless; it’s another convenient opportunity to try to paint copyright as a bad thing.

: One other very odd piece of this: You’d think that Fox — owner of Harper Collins — would not want to set precedent in prior restraint of the distribution of books, both as a matter of free speech and as a matter of free trade.

: Neal Pollack declares Friday, Aug. 15 Fair and Balanced day, urging all bloggers to use the words on their websites.

So we are all Al Franken. We are all curly-haired and paunchy. [via RFB]

: Drudge says that, indeed, this is just a Bill O’Reilly hissyfit. [via Michele]