Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Using IP Laws To Quash Freedom of Speech

Jill Barton, University of Missouri, Kansas City, has published "Backdoor Censorship: How Media Giants' Copyright Protection Policies Collide with the First Amendment." Here is the abstract.
This thesis analyzes an alarming trend among large media companies to use copyright laws to censor news and news related websites using takedown notices, cease and desist letters and other legal threats. The paper examines the origins of takedown problem and the copyright, fair use and First Amendment concerns surrounding the issue. In addition, the paper identifies recent examples of takedowns and related censorship in an effort to explain the takedown problem and lessen its occurrence in the future. The goal of this paper is to provide concrete suggestions for dealing with the takedown problem to better protect the free speech and free press guarantees of the First Amendment. These suggestions include educating online journalists about their legal rights, fighting back against unfounded takedowns, getting added protection with insurance, publicizing wrongful takedowns, and most important, revising current copyright law.
Download the paper from SSRN here.

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