This course will cover a full spectrum of legal issues relating to contemporary news media, including the laws of defamation, privacy, newsgathering and intellectual property. While we will focus on current events and the ongoing debates regarding mainstream media, "fake news", the uses and abuses of social media and whistleblowing and leaks, the course will also explore the historical and jurisprudential underpinnings of First Amendment and media law. Given the pervasive nature of media in modern society, this class is not just for students interested in representing traditional media, entertainment companies or digital start-ups; nor is there any prerequisite course or specialized knowledge necessary to succeed in this class. Media law affects everyone in the connected world from the amateur blogger to giant internet retailers, from the devoted social media poster to the best-known journalists and from the student filmmaker to the major entertainment stars and studios. In a world in which everyone is a digital publisher, every well-trained lawyer needs to know about media law.This course will explore many of the today’s most interesting legal and ethical issues, including prominent, ongoing cases re:
- The scope of free speech rights in a "post-truth" political world
- Balancing reputation against the public’s right to know.
- The limits of privacy in an internet-enabled, 24/7 news world.
- Whistle-blowers, leaks and national security.
- The use of celebrity images and historical figures in videogames, documentaries and other media.
- Public and private access to government officials, records, proceedings and e-mails.