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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2019 » December » 11


Court of Appeals Finds Maryland Law Imposing Political Disclosure Obligations on Online Platforms to be Unconstitutional – Finding Different Treatment of Broadcasters is Justified

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 5:51 pm

Late last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in a case called Washington Post v. David J. McManus, upholding the ruling of the US District Court finding that the State of Maryland’s attempts to impose political advertising reporting obligations on online platforms to be an unconstitutional abridgment of these companies’ First Amendment rights.  The suit was brought by the Washington Post and several other companies owning newspapers with an online presence in the State.  Their arguments were supported by numerous other media organizations, including the NAB and NCTA.  The Maryland rules required that online advertising platforms post on their websites information about political ads within 48 hours of the purchase of those ads.  That information had to be maintained on the website for a year and kept for inspection by the Maryland Board of Elections for a year after the election was over.  The appeals court concluded that the obligation to reveal this information was forcing these platforms to speak, which the court found to be just as much against the First Amendment as telling them to not speak (e.g., preventing them from publishing).  As the court could find no compelling state interest in this obligation that could not be better met by less restrictive means, the law was declared unconstitutional.

The Maryland law required the following disclosures on the website of a platform that accepted political advertising:

  • the ad purchaser’s name and contact information;
  • the identity of the treasurer of the political committee or the individuals exercising control over the ad purchaser; and
  • the total amount paid for the ad.

In addition, the platform had to maintain the following information for a year after the election and make it available to the State authorities upon request:

  • the candidate or ballot issue to which the qualifying paid digital communication relates and whether the qualifying paid digital communication supports or opposes that candidate or ballot issue;
  • the dates and times that the qualifying paid digital communication was first disseminated and last disseminated;
  • a digital copy of the content of the qualifying paid digital communication;
  • an approximate description of the geographic locations where the qualifying paid digital communication was disseminated;
  • an approximate description of the audience that received or was targeted to receive the qualifying paid digital communication; and
  • the total number of impressions generated by the qualifying paid digital communication

The appeals court found that this “compelled speech” forced these platforms to “speak” when they otherwise might not want to – the “speaking” being the mandatory publication of information on their website.  The court also pointed to the potential of these rules to chill political speech, by compelling companies to reveal information about those who might otherwise not want to disclose that they are taking a position on a controversial issue or election.  The court found that anonymity in political speech was part of a long tradition in the US, and it could subject those buying the political ads to harassment.  Also, the added burden of collecting this information could cause platforms to reject political ads in favor of advertising where no such burden was imposed. 

In the court’s view, the State’s goals of combating foreign interference in US elections and providing more transparency about political advertising could be met by requiring the disclosure of information to the State by the purchasers of the ads themselves, rather than by imposing the obligations on the platforms that accepted that advertising.  Moreover, the court could not see how the disclosure obligations would stop foreign meddling in elections, especially as there had been no showing of any attempts by foreign entities to buy ads on the vast majority of the platforms that would be subject to the laws, such as small newspapers that publish in the State and post their news on their websites.  Given the burden, and the more direct path to achieve the required disclosures directly from the political advertisers themselves, the court found that the state interests did not justify this intrusion into First Amendment rights.

Interestingly for broadcast readers, Maryland attempted to justify its rules by analogizing them to the rules imposed on radio and television stations (and on other certain other FCC-regulated entities) which require disclosures about political advertising in each station’s online public file (see, for instance, our articles here and here on the latest FCC-required disclosures on political issue ads, and our article here on the general political file obligations).  The court, relying on old precedent including the Red Lion case that justified increased broadcast regulation because of the scarcity of the spectrum, found that FCC regulation did not justify the State’s intrusion into this area.  Given the virtually unlimited capacity of the Internet, the scarcity doctrine justifying broadcast regulation was seen by the court as being inapplicable to online platforms.  The court also suggested that broadcasters did not have the same interest in speech as did a newspaper, suggesting that broadcast stations were not as much “expressive products” as were the newspaper plaintiffs in this case, because in the court’s view broadcasters tend to retransmit programming developed by others.  I know many broadcasters would certainly dispute that characterization (and, even if true for newspapers, it hardly seems true for other online platforms like Facebook and Google who would also be subject to Maryland’s regulations), but it was nevertheless advanced by the court in justifying this disparity in regulation.  (See our articles here and here about other disparate treatment of broadcast and online platforms in their treatment of political ads).

The impact of this decision could be wide-ranging.  As we wrote here, several states, including New York and Washington State, have laws adopting similar requirements for the disclosure of information about political advertising on online platforms (and, at least in the case of Washington, even on traditional media platforms).  The Fourth Circuit’s analysis might be employed to question that regulation.  Federal efforts, through various proposals, have advanced similar regulation on a nationwide basis.  The First Amendment analysis by this appeals court would suggest that these efforts may also be subject to challenge.  Watch carefully as this decision could lead to far more policy debate in coming months – especially as we are likely to see a massive growth in online political advertising in 2020.  We are sure that this debate about the disclosure of online political spending has not ended with this decision.

Court of Appeals Finds Maryland Law Imposing Political Disclosure Obligations on Online Platforms to be Unconstitutional – Finding Different Treatment of Broadcasters is Justified

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 5:51 pm

Late last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in a case called Washington Post v. David J. McManus, upholding the ruling of the US District Court finding that the State of Maryland’s attempts to impose political advertising reporting obligations on online platforms to be an unconstitutional abridgment of these companies’ First Amendment rights.  The suit was brought by the Washington Post and several other companies owning newspapers with an online presence in the State.  Their arguments were supported by numerous other media organizations, including the NAB and NCTA.  The Maryland rules required that online advertising platforms post on their websites information about political ads within 48 hours of the purchase of those ads.  That information had to be maintained on the website for a year and kept for inspection by the Maryland Board of Elections for a year after the election was over.  The appeals court concluded that the obligation to reveal this information was forcing these platforms to speak, which the court found to be just as much against the First Amendment as telling them to not speak (e.g., preventing them from publishing).  As the court could find no compelling state interest in this obligation that could not be better met by less restrictive means, the law was declared unconstitutional.

The Maryland law required the following disclosures on the website of a platform that accepted political advertising:

  • the ad purchaser’s name and contact information;
  • the identity of the treasurer of the political committee or the individuals exercising control over the ad purchaser; and
  • the total amount paid for the ad.

In addition, the platform had to maintain the following information for a year after the election and make it available to the State authorities upon request:

  • the candidate or ballot issue to which the qualifying paid digital communication relates and whether the qualifying paid digital communication supports or opposes that candidate or ballot issue;
  • the dates and times that the qualifying paid digital communication was first disseminated and last disseminated;
  • a digital copy of the content of the qualifying paid digital communication;
  • an approximate description of the geographic locations where the qualifying paid digital communication was disseminated;
  • an approximate description of the audience that received or was targeted to receive the qualifying paid digital communication; and
  • the total number of impressions generated by the qualifying paid digital communication

The appeals court found that this “compelled speech” forced these platforms to “speak” when they otherwise might not want to – the “speaking” being the mandatory publication of information on their website.  The court also pointed to the potential of these rules to chill political speech, by compelling companies to reveal information about those who might otherwise not want to disclose that they are taking a position on a controversial issue or election.  The court found that anonymity in political speech was part of a long tradition in the US, and it could subject those buying the political ads to harassment.  Also, the added burden of collecting this information could cause platforms to reject political ads in favor of advertising where no such burden was imposed. 

In the court’s view, the State’s goals of combating foreign interference in US elections and providing more transparency about political advertising could be met by requiring the disclosure of information to the State by the purchasers of the ads themselves, rather than by imposing the obligations on the platforms that accepted that advertising.  Moreover, the court could not see how the disclosure obligations would stop foreign meddling in elections, especially as there had been no showing of any attempts by foreign entities to buy ads on the vast majority of the platforms that would be subject to the laws, such as small newspapers that publish in the State and post their news on their websites.  Given the burden, and the more direct path to achieve the required disclosures directly from the political advertisers themselves, the court found that the state interests did not justify this intrusion into First Amendment rights.

Interestingly for broadcast readers, Maryland attempted to justify its rules by analogizing them to the rules imposed on radio and television stations (and on other certain other FCC-regulated entities) which require disclosures about political advertising in each station’s online public file (see, for instance, our articles here and here on the latest FCC-required disclosures on political issue ads, and our article here on the general political file obligations).  The court, relying on old precedent including the Red Lion case that justified increased broadcast regulation because of the scarcity of the spectrum, found that FCC regulation did not justify the State’s intrusion into this area.  Given the virtually unlimited capacity of the Internet, the scarcity doctrine justifying broadcast regulation was seen by the court as being inapplicable to online platforms.  The court also suggested that broadcasters did not have the same interest in speech as did a newspaper, suggesting that broadcast stations were not as much “expressive products” as were the newspaper plaintiffs in this case, because in the court’s view broadcasters tend to retransmit programming developed by others.  I know many broadcasters would certainly dispute that characterization (and, even if true for newspapers, it hardly seems true for other online platforms like Facebook and Google who would also be subject to Maryland’s regulations), but it was nevertheless advanced by the court in justifying this disparity in regulation.  (See our articles here and here about other disparate treatment of broadcast and online platforms in their treatment of political ads).

The impact of this decision could be wide-ranging.  As we wrote here, several states, including New York and Washington State, have laws adopting similar requirements for the disclosure of information about political advertising on online platforms (and, at least in the case of Washington, even on traditional media platforms).  The Fourth Circuit’s analysis might be employed to question that regulation.  Federal efforts, through various proposals, have advanced similar regulation on a nationwide basis.  The First Amendment analysis by this appeals court would suggest that these efforts may also be subject to challenge.  Watch carefully as this decision could lead to far more policy debate in coming months – especially as we are likely to see a massive growth in online political advertising in 2020.  We are sure that this debate about the disclosure of online political spending has not ended with this decision.

MO POP FESTIVAL 2020 TICKETS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 5:30 pm
Same weekend, new year! Get all the details.

Terrible Christmas mashups with Mariah Carey are now practically their own genre

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 5:11 pm

It’s a magical time of year when the whole spectrum of humanity comes together as brothers and sisters in a shared belief: that this endlessly looping Christmas music is seriously going to make us all go completely mental.

But don’t resist. Lean in. Let’s just pile on as much Mariah Carey Christmas as we can handle. No, scratch that – let’s swallow more than anyone can handle, like doing a bong full of egg nog.

Amazon Music is here with a documentary just about Mariah Carey, who – many people will find this relateable – has feelings about Christmas. I guess this documentary is serious. It pronounces “Mariah Carey is Christmas.”

And of course, that’s given us “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” The documentary reveals every detail. She went to a record label. There are people singing about Jesus, who I have come to think may be related to this whole, like, situation. There are anecdotes about … things. She plays notes on a piano, sometimes it sounds like at random. (Hey, her description, not mine, but I’ve been there, Mariah.) Hanging snow, and unwrapping stockings, and presents falling from the sky, or whatever that whole stuff is.

And then she wrote a song. A Christmas song, which they then recorded with ideas that they thought would make it more of a Christmas song, so it feels like your childhood or happiness or … I think they’re saying they were going to make a s*** ton of money with this one.

Okay, now that you can’t get those eleven minutes of your life back, what if you could obliterate still more minutes, but also ruin other songs at the same time, in a way that’s timeless? Timeless as in – you will obliterate your fragile grip on the passage of time and all other reality. Let’s do this.

But this makes you happy – you just want to sing and dance.”

Mariah Manson – “All I Want For Christmas is the Beautiful People” (probably tbe best-crafted of these)

Radiohead – Creep But It’s All I Want For Christmas.

(Thom, I’m sorry. So sorry. Yes, this mash-up is about as elegantly executed as the Photoshop but … can’t … stop … listening. I am kind of a creep, it turns out.)

Oh, and when you get to “running out the door,” well – got any family you want to make run screaming from your house?

Welcome To The Christmas Parade – Mariah Carey vs. My Chemical Romance (Mashup)

The chemical part is right.

Hey, let’s have another one. Why not? I mean – don’t answer that.

Don’t Stop Christmas Now – (Mariah Carey, Queen) – Mashup

I kept thinking mash-ups would go away. Or maybe they would be better executed. I’m a little scared of what machine learning might do here.

But the Christmas spirit endures.

God bless us, every one.

Which of these is the best/worst? Listen repeatedly, over and over again, until you can tell us in comm–ohhhhhh no don’t do that I was kidding!

The post Terrible Christmas mashups with Mariah Carey are now practically their own genre appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

BOTTLEROCK FESTIVAL 2020 TICKETS ARE ON SALE!

Delivered... Spacelab - Independent Music and Media | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 5:00 pm
The ticket sale to the general public is on! Tickets are available as General Admission, VIP and Skydeck passes.

A Conversation With Avant-Hardcore Producer Astrid Gnosis About The Weaponization Of Sound

Delivered... ztippitt | Scene | Wed 11 Dec 2019 12:32 pm

The post A Conversation With Avant-Hardcore Producer Astrid Gnosis About The Weaponization Of Sound appeared first on Telekom Electronic Beats.

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