“The Delhi High Court has ordered 21 companies, which have already been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material in India, to present their plans for policing their services in the next 15 days.” A private complaint had charged the internet firms with permitting the dissemination of material offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians. [Emil Protalinski, ZDNet]
It’s not hard for a small chicken farmer to get caught in it, as we find in this Jesse Walker account. The food safety bill passed last year similarly carves out a little exemption for small producers who sell directly to consumers at farmer’s markets and the like, while not exempting those who sell through intermediaries — even though the intermediary in such a case may be simply a neighboring farmer who is headed in to the city market.
Related: India’s ingenious dabbawallah lunch-distribution system, which could probably never get past health codes in this country [37 Signals via Market Urbanism]
Gideon Kanner recalls how the forcible 1950s displacement of a modest Mexican community made way eventually (after the dropping of a public housing scheme) for the construction of L.A.’s baseball stadium. Some of the residents resisted: “Their principled fight became a footnote in the wretched history of eminent domain law which holds that once a condemnor acquires title to private property by eminent domain, it is not bound to put it to the ‘public’ uses for which it was taken.” ["The Curse of Chavez Ravine"]
In other eminent domain news, voters in the Indian state of West Bengal have ousted the long-ruling Communist party; a rival party “began to gain momentum when angry farmers erupted in protest against the Communist government in 2007 and 2008 after it seized farmland to set up an automobile factory.”
For more than three years a Sikh religious leader, styled by some “Third Holy Saint,” has been suing lone journalist Hardeep Singh under United Kingdom libel law over a critical article printed in the Sikh Times, drawing an outcry from some libel-law reformers there [Jack of Kent, Index on Censorship]
“Indian activists claim that the patent [awarded to Colgate for a tooth powder] is bogus because the ingredients — including clove oil, camphor, black pepper and spearmint — have been used for the same purpose for hundreds, ‘if not thousands,’ of years on the subcontinent.” [Fox Orlando]
Following the filing of a defamation action in the Indian courts, Bollywood* producers agreed to apologize and remove scenes from a Tamil-language movie that the lawyer-plaintiffs had decried as “opprobrious visual artistic work designed against lawyers and the legal profession” [Times of India and IndiaGlitz via Stephanie West Allen, Idealawg and Robert Ambrogi, LegalBlog Watch; "Sivakasi"]
* Or in this case more accurately “Kollywood” — see comments.
The Bollywood masala homage, Slumdog Millionaire, received ten Oscar nominations today, including one for best picture. It’s an excellent movie, if one forgives the entertainment world’s plot device of having a game show take place live, when in fact virtually all of them are taped.
And where there’s success, there’s those who try to hijack it for their own publicity stunt. Such is the case of Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, who is suing two Indians associated with the movie, A R Rahman and actor Anil Kapoor, claiming that the use of the word “slumdog” is defamatory to Mumbai slumdwellers, and will get a court hearing on February 5. (Kapoor uses the word in the movie.) I know not Indian defamation and free speech law–this strikes me as the sort of issue Salman Rushdie had with people who did not grok the concept of “fiction”–but until this case is dismissed, let us hope Vishwakarma does not get a hold of Huckleberry Finn. (AFP, “Slumdog stars sued for defaming slum-dwellers”, Jan. 22).