Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Worthy on Freedom of Information in Europe: Creation, Context, and Conflict

Ben Worthy, University of London, Birkbeck College, is publishing Freedom of Information in Europe: Creation, Context and Conflict in Contested Trade-Offs: Transparency and Secrecy in European Democracies (forthcoming)

This paper takes an overview of the development and implementation of Access to Information laws across Europe. It argues that laws are shaped (and re-shaped) by their creation, context and the resulting conflict. It begins by examining the link between the passage of the legislation and the differences in their implementation. While there are common features and trends in ATI laws, they differ by the type of political systems, legacies of open or secret cultures, and the strength of political support or opposition. The paper ends by looking at how contestation and conflict continue to shape Europe’s ATI laws. Regimes go through phases of ‘expansion’ or ‘dismantling’ over time and systems are now increasingly shaped by the wider ‘ecology’ of openness in which they are placed (Knill 2012: Kreimer 2017).

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

July 22, 2019 | Permalink

Federal District Judge Dismisses Russian Free-Speech Challenge To Facebook's Shutdown of Its Account

Federal District Judge Lucy Koh has dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Federal Agency of News (FAN) against Facebook for shutting down its account. 

FAN argued that Facebook was interfering with its free-speech rights. Judge Koh ruled that Facebook is not a state actor, and thus not subject to the First Amendment. However, she noted that the dismissal was without prejudice. More here from the Daily Beast. 

July 22, 2019 | Permalink

Friday, July 19, 2019

Sixth Circuit Affirms Lower Court Ruling Dismissing Defamation Suit Against New York Times

The Sixth Circuit affirms a lower court ruling dismissing a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. An Ohio State University professor sued over a NYT article, but the lower court held, and the 6th circuit agreed, that a reasonable reader would understand the the article presented a standard approach to investigative journalism or statements complained of were substantially true. The success of his IIED claims rested on his ability to prevail on his defamation claim. Read the ruling here.

July 19, 2019 | Permalink

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ó Fathaigh on The Chilling Effect of Turkey's Article 301 Insult Law

Ronan O Fathaigh, University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law, has published The Chilling Effect of Turkey’s Article 301 Insult Law at 3 European Human Rights Law Review 298 (2019). Here is the abstract.

This article discusses how the approach of the European Court of Human Rights has evolved in seeking to protect freedom of expression from the chilling effect of Turkey’s controversial Article 301 insult law. The article reveals the early reluctance within the Court in finding that the law’s provisions were incompatible with freedom of expression, and yet, the analysis now demonstrates how the Court’s concern for the chilling effect has led the Court to two adopt notable approaches: first, the Court permitting applicants to argue that the law, in and of itself, violates the European Convention on Human Rights, even where an applicant has not been convicted, nor even prosecuted under the law; and second, the Court’s application of its rarely-used competence under Article 46 of the European Convention, finding that amending Article 301 would “constitute an appropriate form of execution” of the Court’s judgment.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 16, 2019 | Permalink

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Chicago Defender Ends Its Print Edition Run, Goes Digital Only, Today

From the New York Times:  The Chicago Defender ceases print publication today. It will continue its digital edition. Notes the Times, "Decade by decade, the newspaper told the story of black life in America. It took note of births and deaths, of graduations and weddings, of everything in between. Through eras of angst, its reporters dug into painful, dangerous stories, relaying grim details of lynchings, of clashes over school integration and of the shootings of black men by white police officers. Among a long list of distinguished bylines: Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks." 

Visit the Chicago Defender website here. 

More coverage from ABC7 Eyewitness News (Chicago) here,  Jezebel here, the Smithsonian Magazine here.


July 10, 2019 | Permalink

Monday, July 8, 2019

Reposted: CFP: Program of the Section on Communication, Media & Information Law, AALS 2020 Annual Meeting @LiliLevi_UMLaw @TheAALS







The Section on Communication, Media & Information Law is pleased to announce a Call for Papers from which an additional presenter will be selected for the Section’s program to be held during the AALS 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. 


The program title is Danger, Drama & Self-Defeat? Diagnosing What Faces “the Press.”  The theme for the 2020 Annual Meeting is Pillars of Democracy: Law, Representation and Knowledge.  Obviously one of the critical pillars of democracy is a robust and independent press.  The press today faces a variety of threats, of which the panel will examine three kinds:  1) Danger:  physical threats against journalists and newsrooms; 2)  Drama: lawsuits against the press as “weaponized” political theater; and 3) Self-defeat:  self-destructive press behavior.  Although Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has focused the discussion of violence against the press on threats to the press abroad, we are also facing home-grown press-targeting and threats to the physical safety of working journalists.  Do we need more laws protecting journalists from such harm, or are proposed legislative options flawed?  In addition to physical threats, the press today faces a bourgeoning strategy designed to cripple it in the court of public opinion.  Eerily reminiscent of prior strategic attempts to marshal law to deter criticism, cases like the $250 million Sandmann v. Washington Post defamation suit read as little more than political theater designed to delegitimize the press and sow public distrust.  Do we need responses like federal anti-SLAPP laws to protect the press from such “drama” lawsuits?  Or do stories of press misbehavior—like  revelations of “catch and kill” policies, plagiarism charges, conflicts of interest and the substantial number of  #MeToo claims against prominent media figures—counsel caution?  What do recent charges of a politicized press, of coziness between news organizations and government—of the “Fox News White House” and the Sinclair management’s “must run” statements to independently-owned affiliates—mean for the identity of the independent “press”?  What can be done to improve press function and bolster confidence in the institution of the press in light of a clear-headed look at modern media practice? 


The panel will feature both law professors and non-law speakers (including one or more journalists).


If you’re interested in presenting on this panel, please send a proposal electronically by 5:00p.m. Friday, June 14, 2019 to Lili Levi (Chair of the Section for this upcoming meeting) at  Proposals should contain a title, an explanation of the substance and likely argument you plan for the presentation, and a description of how your paper will support the panel’s stated objectives.  The papers will be selected after review by a committee appointed by the Section Chair from members of the Section’s Executive Committee. The selection will be by “anonymized review,” so we would appreciate your submitting your proposal with a cover page including your name and paper title but without identifying information on the proposal itself.  We would hope to notify the author of the selected paper by August 30, 2019.


If you have any questions about this Call for Papers, please feel free to contact Lili Levi at or 305.284.2289 (O) or 305.772.8187 (C), or the other officers of the Section:  Professor Sonja West (Chair-elect), Professor RonNell Andersen Jones (Secretary), and Professor Catherine Sandoval (Treasurer).  


Thank you very much for your interest.


July 8, 2019 | Permalink

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Frohock on The Law as Uncopyrightable @frohock_c

Christina Frohock, University of Miami School of Law, is publishing The Law as Uncopyrightable: Merging Idea and Expression Within the Eleventh Circuit’s Analysis of 'Law-Like' Writing, in volume 73 of the University of Miami Law Review (2019). Here is the abstract.

The Eleventh Circuit recently issued an opinion in Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. that meditates on the law as much as resolves a dispute. For that reason alone, attention should be paid. A commission acting on behalf of the Georgia General Assembly and the State of Georgia filed a copyright infringement action against a nonprofit organization that had disseminated annotated state statutes. The Eleventh Circuit took these modest facts and delivered a philosophical analysis of the nature of law, finding that statutory annotations are outside copyright protection because the true author of such “law-like” writing is “the People.” The court’s opinion respects democracy by amplifying the voice of the People. Such amplification works best, however, on narrow facts. Applied broadly, in line with the scope of the court’s philosophy, the opinion risks distorting the People’s voice by muting intragovernmental disagreements.That voice is more often cacophony than clarion call, and the loudest strain comes from the least representative branch. Focusing on the exercise of sovereign authority, a different area of copyright law supports the same case outcome. The law, along with law-like annotations, is uncopyrightable because its idea and its official expression merge.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 2, 2019 | Permalink

Bosland on Restraining "Extraneous" Prejudicial Publicity

Jason John Bosland, University of Melbourne, Centre for Media and Communications Law, is publishing Restraining 'Extraneous' Prejudicial Publicity: Victoria and New South Wales Compared in volume 41 of the University of New South Wales Law Journal (2018). Here is the abstract.

This article explores the powers available to courts in Victoria and New South Wales to restrain the media publication of ‘extraneous’ prejudicial material – that is, material that is derived from sources extraneous to court proceedings rather than from the proceedings themselves. Three sources of power are explored: the power in equity to grant injunctions to restrain threatened sub judice contempt, the inherent jurisdiction of superior courts and, finally, statutory powers in New South Wales under the Court Suppression and Non-publications Orders Act 2010 (NSW) and in Victoria under the Open Courts Act 2013 (Vic). It argues that the approach of the Victorian courts is much broader in terms of the scope and application of orders, which potentially explains why orders restraining extraneous material are more commonly made in Victoria than in New South Wales. It further argues that the Victorian approach presents some significant consequences for publishers.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

July 2, 2019 | Permalink

Mass Shootings, U.S. Society, and the Media @center4inquiry @BTRadford

From Benjamin Radford and the Center for Inquiry (CFI): a three part series on mass shootings, U.S. society, and the media.

Part 1: How Common Are Mass Shootings?

Part 2: Who Are Mass Shooters? Mass Shooter Demographics

Part 3: Mass Shootings and Media Literacy

July 2, 2019 | Permalink

Monday, July 1, 2019

ICYMI: Data Protection and Privacy: The Internet of Bodies (Hart, 2018) @hartpublishing

ICYMI: Data Protection and Privacy: The Internet of Bodies (Ronald Leenes, Rosamunde van Brakel, Serge Gutwirth, and Paul De Hert, eds., Hart Publishing, 2018). Here from the publisher's website is a description of the book's contents.

The subjects of Privacy and Data Protection are more relevant than ever, and especially since 25 May 2018, when the European General Data Protection Regulation became enforceable. This volume brings together papers that offer conceptual analyses, highlight issues, propose solutions, and discuss practices regarding privacy and data protection. It is one of the results of the eleventh annual International Conference on Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection, CPDP 2018, held in Brussels in January 2018.The book explores the following topics: biometrics and data protection in criminal justice processing, privacy, discrimination and platforms for men who have sex with men, mitigation through data protection instruments of unfair inequalities as a result of machine learning, privacy and human-robot interaction in robotized healthcare, privacy-by-design, personal data protection of deceased data subjects, large-scale face databases and the GDPR, the new Europol regulation, rethinking trust in the Internet of Things, fines under the GDPR, data analytics and the GDPR, and the essence of the right to the protection of personal data.This interdisciplinary book was written while the reality of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 was becoming clear. It discusses open issues and daring and prospective approaches. It will serve as an insightful resource for readers with an interest in computers, privacy and data protection.
Data Protection and Privacy

July 1, 2019 | Permalink