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LAW Law and the News Media

Intellectual Property: Media, Entertainment, Sports

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LAW 530

Law and the News Media

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[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] [ Transactional ] Intellectual Property: Media, Entertainment, Sports

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] [ Transactional ] as a Key Elective : Students interested in the media industry or in working with companies engaged in online content distribution will benefit from this exploration of media law issues. This course examines the effect of technology on traditional media organizations; the media’s privileges and immunities against criminal or tort liability; and the areas in which the government and the media have clashed.

General course Description:

This course will explore the major legal restraints on and First Amendment protections of journalists, a category now arguably covering almost anyone who posts information on the Internet. The objective is to drill deep on issues and case studies -- starting with national security leaks -- that are especially fascinating, fun, or at the cutting edge of media law, while covering the basics of other subject areas essential to understanding the major legal issues affecting journalism. These range from libel and privacy to phone hacking and net neutrality. We will explore the human drama and ethical dilemmas underlying legal struggles as well as doctrinal developments, looking critically at the media as well as the law. The lecturer (Stuart Taylor) will draw on his 30 years as a journalist focusing on the Supreme Court and other legal issues, including eight years at The New York Times and 23 years writing commentary elsewhere. The readings for each of the 18 classes will average 30 pages of the casebook (with only 500 words per page), or 15,000 words of other material, or some of each. (An earlier course description referred to a different casebook, with 770 words per page.) To promote lively classroom discussion and broad participation without unwarned cold-calling, the lecturer will designate in advance, after the first week, panels of three to five students on whom he will call during each class. All others will be encouraged to volunteer comments. There will be one or more guest lecturers. Grading will be honors-pass. The final exam will be a one-day take-home with a word limit. There will be one optional paper of 1000-1500 words. A paper can raise but not lower your grade. Class participation may affect grades at the margin. We will spend Weeks 1 and 2 on perhaps the most interesting First Amendment controversy now in the news: national security leaks by The New York Times, WikiLeaks, and many others, against the backdrop of eight decades of evolving First Amendment doctrine on the clash between national security and news media's determination to expose government secrets that sometimes (but not always) shed light on policy choices and abuses. From there we will move to whether "the freedom of the press" adds anything to protection of free speech, and who qualifies as press, focusing on confidential sources, a brief detour into campaign finance law, intrusive newsgathering methods, and media access. Then to libel; privacy; inflicting emotional distress; incitement; hate speech; differential First Amendment protection of print, broadcast, cable, and Internet speech, especially "indecency"; plus an introduction to copyright law, legal tensions between old and new media including news aggregation and online piracy, and the future of journalism. The lecturer will provide copies of his draft syllabus on request. His email is StuartTaylorJr@gmail.com.

Course Style: A Substantive course teaches the law, theory, and policy in a particular area of law

Course Frequency: Varied, check w/ registrar

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