Friday, October 23, 2009

Craigslist Wins Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

Federal Judge John F. Grady in Illinois has granted Craigslist's motion for a judgment on the pleadings in a suit over the website's "erotic services" internet classified listings.

Thomas Dart, the sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, alleged that Craigslist facilitated prostitution and constituted a public nuisance. The Sheriff claimed that Craigslist knowingly arranges meetings for the purpose of prostitution and directs people to places of prostitution. Dart asked for an injunction prohibiting Craigslist from publishing erotic services listings, and sought to recover the money that his office spent investigating prostitution on the site. The Sheriff claims to have arrested over 200 people through Craigslist since January of 2007.

The court held that Craigslist was shielded from liability by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

U.S. to Extradite Polanksi

The United States has formally requested that Switzerland extradite film director Roman Polanski, 76, who fled California in 1977 before sentencing for sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl.

Swiss authorities said that director Roman Polanski could spend up to two years in prison if he was extradited back to the United States for sentencing in a sexual assault case. Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to reveal what kind of sentence they would seek if he is returned to Los Angeles.

The extradition process is complex and could delay Polanski’s return if he challenges the request. A Swiss court recently rejected a bid by Polanski for release on bail, saying the risk that he would flee was too great.

Production Incentive Update

According to Entertainment Partners Iowa has suspended its incentive program and Connecticut recently passed budget bill changes the existing motion picture and digital animation production and infrastructure project expense tax credits, applicable for income years commencing on or after January 1, 2010.

Changes to the motion picture and digital animation tax credits include: (1) a minimum spend of $100,000 for a 10% credit, a minimum spend of $501,000 for a 15% credit, and a minimum spend in excess of $1,000,000 for a 30% credit; (2) a minimum local principal photography requirement of 50% for the film credit; (3) an aggregate project cap on star talent compensation subject to local income tax of $20,000,000 (in addition to the per person cap of $15,000,000); (4) exclusion of costs for the independent certification; (5) exclusion of all costs incurred outside the state, but used within; (6) infomercials have been excluded from eligible formats; and (7) the independent audit must be completed by an approved firm.

The digital media and motion picture infrastructure project credit has also been changed to require a minimum qualifying spend of $3,000,000 to be eligible for a 20% credit.