1 Regulating Conditional Access in Digital Broadcasting

The IPKat has been taking a good look at a new book by Dutch legal scholar and researcher Natali Helberger (right), Controlling Access to Content - Regulating Conditional Access in Digital Broadcasting. This book is number 15 in the Kluwer Law International Information Law Series and it costs $122.00 (or €95.00, if you prefer).

This book is based on the author's doctoral thesis (lengthy synopsis here) and focuses on the role of Pay-TV (the form of conditional access that most ordinary humans are concerned are likely to encounter). According to the book's publishers:

"Control of access to content has become a vital aspect of many business models for modern broadcasting and online services. Using the example of digital broadcasting, the author reveals the resulting challenges for competition, broadcasting, and telecommunications. Controlling Access to Content explores the relationship between electronic access control, freedom of expression and functioning competition. It scrutinizes the interplay between law and technique, and the ways in which broadcasting, telecommunications, and general competition law are inevitably interconnected.

European law has widely harmonised the way conditional access is regulated in the Member States of the European Union. The author comments in detail on the relevant rules in European Court of Justice and the European Commission in its function as watchdog of European competition law. The relevant provisions in European broadcasting law, such as the right to short reporting and the so-called list of important events, are discussed extensively, as are the conditions that overrule the free-TV culture that was the essence of traditional broadcasting law. The broad and systematic screening of the existing regulatory framework makes this book an essential resource for all those who are concerned with the electronic control of access to content.

Right: the IPKat and Merpel do some empirical research on Pay-TV

With its in-depth analysis and explicit conclusions, Controlling Access to Content amply supplies the crucial understanding of this complex field that policy makers, regulators, and academics require. It investigates the implications of electronic access control, digitalization, and convergence for broadcasting, as well as the effects of the regulatory framework on innovation, competition, and consumer access to content. It demonstrates clearly at which points the chosen approach could backfire and generate undesirable side-effects, and what lessons can be learned from the pay-TV case for other digital service sectors. Using many examples, the author explains for lawyers, consumer and industry representatives the main lines of the regulatory framework that apply to access-controlled broadcasting, how their interests are affected, and what changes the future might bring".

The IPKat is most impressed with the scholarship that has gone into the preparation and writing of this book. Well done, Natali - you are obviously a true enthusiast.

2 Scientologists "not amused" by NZ spoof

The IPKat has just been reading with interest this piece on MSNBC on the Church of Scientology's response to a website poking fun at it and Tom Cruise (right). has received a cease and desist letter from the church, threatening to sue the New Zealand-based website for copyright infringement. Says the letter:
"You are hereby on notice that the registration and use of this domain name in this fashion has caused your name to be falsely associated with our client’s registered mark, SCIENTOLOGY. The fact that you have changed one letter (“m” instead of “l”) does not protect you from trade mark infringement”.
The site — which mercilessly ridicules Cruise, his engagement, and his devotion to the controversial religion — has posted a disclaimer of sorts:
“YOU MUST UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING BEFORE CONTINUING: Obviously has ABSOLUTELY NO connection whatsoever with the Church of Scientology, it’s [sic] affiliated organizations or, needless-to-say, Tom Cruise. It is designed for commentary and criticism within the limits of Free Speech. All content should be treated as opinion and all trade marks/copyrighted material herein are owned by their respective trade mark owners. The Scientology site is here. Thank you. You may continue…”.
The IPKat awaits the next instalment. Merpel says, don't the Scientologists have quite a track record for litigating their intellectual property rights? Perhaps we'll see this one in court.

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