Legal Brief 3

Legal Brief 3 Annie Willard, Student of UNA's COM 400W Citation: Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co. , 433 U.S. 562 (1977) Facts: Performer, Hugo Zacchini, performed a "human cannonball" act, where he was shot out of a cannon into a net that was placed two hundred feet away from the cannon. A free lance reporter for Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co. broadcasted a recording he took of the entire performance on the nightly news later that evening without any form of consent for recording Zacchini's performance or airing it on television. Zacchini as a result of this decided to sue Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co., stating that this recording of his entire performance airing was the unlawful appropriation of his professional property. Procedural History: The case originally went through the standard trial courts. However, their summary judgment was reversed after the case was appealed and then sent to the Ohio Court of Appeals, who reversed the judgment.he judgment was then appealed again and was taken on by the Ohio Supreme Court who then ruled in favor of Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co. before the case was finally brought before the Supreme Court of the United States. Issue/Central Question : Do the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment protect Scripps-Howard Broadcasting Co. from being held liable for damages as a result of its alleged infringement of performer Hugo Zacchini's state-law right of publicity? Holding: No The Vote: 5-4 Reasoning : SCOTUS decided the First and Fourteenth Amendments do not immunize the news media when they broadcast a performer's entire act without his consent. SCOTUS also came to
the conclusion of this based on the reasoning that the Constitution no more prevents a State from requiring respondent to compensate petitioner for broadcasting his act on television than it would privilege respondent to film and broadcast a copyrighted dramatic work without liability to the copyright owner. SCOTUS explained that this would be equal if one were to film or broadcast a prize fight or a baseball game, where the promoters or participants had other plans for publicizing the event. They used the case Time, Inc. v. Hill, 433 U. S. 569-579 to support this ruling. SCOTUS also referred to the case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan , 376 U. S. 254 (1964), to establish their grounds that "the press has a privilege to report matters of legitimate public interest even though such reports might intrude on matters otherwise private," and concluded, therefore, that the press is also "privileged when an individual seeks to publicly exploit his talents while keeping the benefits private." SCOTUS used this to justify the idea that airing the entirety of his performance without Zacchini's consent could be detrimental to his economic value, leaving nothing for curious fans to desire to experience by attending his performances. Concurring or dissenting opinions: Justice Louis F. Powell, Jr., in addition to Justices William J. Brennan, Jr., and Thurgood Marshall, made the dissenting opinion, "arguing that the recording was genuinely treated as news and as such Scripps-Howard was constitutionally privileged." Justice Byron R. White, shared the concurring opinion, "The Court held that Scripps-Howard's constitutionally privileged free speech did not extend to broadcasting Zacchini's entire performance without his permission."
Uploaded by ChancellorIceKangaroo28 on