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June 29, 1977 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1977-06-29

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Page Two


Wednesday, June 29, 1977

Pag To HEMIHIANDALYVvcesv Jun 2.17


High Court curbs media news

preme Court decision yesterday
may create new legal risks for
television stations and other
news media when they film or
record entertainment events for
use on news programs.
The court ruled 5 to 4 that the
news media have no constitu-
tional protection against dam-
age suits if the media broad-
cast a performer's entire act
without his consent.
own laws may authorize such
suits without violating a First
Amendment guarantee of a free
press, the court said.
But states may also choose to
pass laws protecting the news
media from such suits, the ma-
pority continued.
The decision came in a case
involving Hugo Zacchini, a self-
described "human cannonball"
who sued an Ohio television
station for broadcasting a film
of his entire 15 second act at
a county fair in Burton, Ohio,
in 1972. In the act, Zacchini is
shot from a cannon into a net
about 200 feet away.
a station owned by the Scripps-
Howard Broadcasting Co., had

filmed the act despite Zacchini's
protest. The station then used
the film in a news program.
Three dissenting justices said
the majority decision would af-
fect a variety of news coverage
much broader than "human
cannonball" acts.
The majority view "has dis-
turbing implications for the de-
cision could lead to a degree of
media self-censorship," wrote
Justice Lewis Powell in a dis-
senting opinion supported by
Justices Wiliiam Brennan and
Thurgood Marshall.
"HEREAFTER," he contin-

ued, "whenever a television
news editor is unsure whether
certain film footage received
from a camera crew might be
held to portray an 'entire act,'
he may decline coverage-even
of clearly newsworthy events -
or confine the broadcast to wat-
ered down verbal reporting, per-
haps with an occasional still
"The public is then the loser.
This is hardly the kind of news
reportage that the First Amend-
ment is meant to foster."
He said the decision could
curb coverage of local fairs,
circuses, sporting events, or

dramatic productions made up
of short skits.
opinion by Justice Byron White,
stressed that the news media
have a right to broadcast news-
worthy aspects of entertain-
ment events. The question, the
court said, is whether the entire
act may be broadcast without
the entertainer's consent. States
may recognize an individual's
"right of publicity" and pro-
tect entertainers' right to con-
trol publicity about themselves,
the court said.
"The broadcast of a film of

Zacchini's entire act poses a
substantial threat to the eco-
nomic value of that perform-
ance," the majority said.
The court noted, however,
that Zacchini must go back to
state courts to establish that
he was damaged by the broad-
It is possible the broadcast
"increased the value of Zac-
chini's performance by stimu-
lating the public's interest in
seeing the act live," White said
in a footnote. If so, Zacchini
could not collect the $25,000 in
damages he seeks from the TV
station, he said.

Presbyterians nix anti-gay move

P H I L A D E L P H I A (P)
- The American assembly of
United Presbyterian Church ov-
erwhelmingly rejected efforts
yesterday to stop the Church
from studying homosexuality
and the possible ordination of
gay ministers.
Following an emotional hour-
long debate, delegates at the
189th General Assembly of the
Church, which claims 2.6 mil-
lion members, voted down a
motion to kill a task force cre-

ated last year to make a report
on the issue in 1978.
THEY ALSO rejected 381 to
278 a substitute report that
would have banned ordination
of avowed homosexuals as im-
proper now or at any fture
Then the delegates adopted
by a show of hands the major-
ity report calling for continua-
tion of the study ,.
The Rev. J. Harry McElroy
of Elmhurst, Pa., led the fight

to kill the possible ordination of
homosexual ministers.
"A pastor needs to beabove
reproach in his ministry and
homosexuality is a sin and bars
a person to ordination," he said.
"We should devise a minis-
try for the homosexuals so
they can be cleared of this
The Rev. Edward Gehres Jr.
of Decatur, Ill., said the pro-
cess started last year should
be allowed to continue and ar-
gued that to do anything else
would be an error.
"We shouldn't be stamped-
ed by a motion to take an un-
informed position," said the

Rev. Mr. Gehres. "This deci-
sion can affect the lives of mil-
lions of human beings. If we
truly are in fear of God, we
will take every precaution to
make informed decisions. We
must be positive, not negative."
The issue came before the
Assembly on resolutions from
presbyteries in Huntsville, Ala.,
and Pittsburgh. They alleged
that the task of studying homo-
sexuality was an improper func-
tion, claiming the Scriptures
were clear and unequivocal that
gay behavior is just as sinful
as prostitution, adultery and

The five most dangerous words
in the English language.
American Cancer Society
We want to cure cancer in your lifetime.

U.S. space shuttle
passes second test

BASE, Calif. (1') - Carrying
two astronauts, the Space Shut-
tle "Enterprise" rode its jum-
bo jet launcher again yester-
day in a "higher and faster"
test of the craft that someday
will ferry men into orbit.
NASA spokesman Bob Gordon
said the delta-winged craft,
mounted atop a modified Boe-
ing 747, roared off the runway
of the Dryden Flight Hesearch
Center at this Southern Call-
fornia airbase at 7:50 a.m.
S mon-ft8pm-2n

Landing one hour and two
minutes later,'the 747 and its
150,000-pound passenger rolled
to a stop on the long runway,
and a flight official said, "Ev-
erything apparently went quite
Volume LXXXVII, No. 34-S
wednesday, June 29, 1977
is edited and managed by students
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Wednesday, June 29th
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