Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Hudson on Cyberbullying and Freedom of Speech @Hudboxing @BelmontLaw

David L. Hudson, Jr., Belmont University College of Law, has published Essay: Cyberbullying and Freedom of Speech at 50 New Mexico Law Review 287 (2020). Here is the abstract.

Part I of this essay examines state cyberbullying laws. These laws vary a lot in terms of language and coverage but this part attempts to group these different state laws into different categories. This section categorizes cyberbullying laws into two main categories—(1) those that treat cyberbullying as a crime and (2) those that address cyberbullying as a violation of a school’s code of conduct. Part II of this essay then addresses court decisions that deal with cyberbullying. Once again, this essay examines the topic from both the perspective of (1) criminal law decisions and (2) school law decisions.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

May 29, 2020 | Permalink

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Arresting Dissent: New Policy Paper From PEN America @PENamerica

A new policy paper from PEN America: Arresting Dissent: Legislative Restrictions on the Right To Protest. 

May 28, 2020 | Permalink

Friday, May 22, 2020

District Court Judge Dismisses OAN Defamation Suit Against Maddow, MSNBC

A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed the lawsuit that Herring Networks, owner of One America News Network, brought against Rachel Maddow and other defendants, based on a statement Ms. Maddow made about the general bent of OAN's content, which the judge quotes in the ruling. 

Herring Networks sued for defamation.  Defendants filed a motion to strike under California's SLAPP statute.

The judge ruled that reasonable viewers familiar with Maddow's views would not take her statements as fact. The judge also considered Maddow's presentation of a Daily Beast article which presented information about OAN, which she held Maddow presented "truthfully and in full." Her analysis is rather extensive. Ultimately the judge dismissed the suit with prejudice. Read the ruling in full here.  More coverage here from the Daily Beast, here from the Times of San Diego. 

May 22, 2020 | Permalink

Pedrioli on Regulating Online Hate Speech: A U.S. Perspective

Carlo A. Pedrioli, Liverpool Hope University, has published Regulating Online Hate Speech: A U.S. Perspective at 6 International Journal of Digital & Data Law 259 (2020). Here is the abstract.

In the early 2010s, Terry Jones of Florida became known for his threats to burn, and for eventually burning, the Koran, the holy book of Muslims. The actions and message of the pastor eventually attracted the attention of figures as prominent as U.S. President Barack Obama and, with transmission around the world via the Internet, spread to countries far from the United States like Afghanistan and Indonesia. The response was explosive. The burning of sacred texts such as the Koran provides particularly rich opportunities for study by academics in a variety of fields. Topics like religion, politics, marginalization, nonverbal communication, intercultural communication, and hate speech come together. Digital dissemination adds an element of contemporary technology to the mix. Drawing upon the Florida Koran-burning case, this paper briefly examines the constitutional regulation of online hate speech in the United States, illustrating how limited the punishment and thus regulation of such hate speech generally are. Hate speech is discourse that aims to promote hatred based on categories such as ethnicity, race, national origin, class, and similar categories. The paper proceeds with a summary of the Florida Koran-burning case, continues with a discussion of relevant constitutional principles, and then moves to constitutional analyses of the Florida case

. Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

May 22, 2020 | Permalink

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Cornell Law School's First Amendment Clinic Opens Applications for Position of Local Journalism Attorney @CornellLaw

Cornell University Law School's First Amendment Clinic is accepting applications for the new position of Local Journalism Attorney. The attorney, based in New York City, will have primary responsibility for developing and managing a New York Metropolitan Area based project dedicated to providing legal services to support local journalism.

The Local Journalism Attorney must have a J.D. or equivalent, be admitted to the New York bar, and have a minimum of three years of relevant experience as a lawyer. The appointment is for a two-year term and is benefits eligible. Reappointment for a third-year is possible based on performance and funding availability.

More information about the posting is available at

May 21, 2020 | Permalink

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Is Local News Also Pop Culture and Entertainment? @openculture @MarkLintsenmayer

Monday, May 11, 2020

NYPD Arrests Journalist Jill Nelson For Writing Graffiti On Storefront

Hyperallergic reports that the NYPD arrested journalist Jill Nelson for writing graffiti (Trump=Plague) on a storefront. Ms. Nelson says that although the officers allowed her to make a call to her husband, they cut off the call after a few seconds. She has asked for an apology and for an expungement of her record. More here. 

Coverage from NBC News here. 


May 11, 2020 | Permalink

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Wright on A Variable Number of Cheers For Viewpoint-Based Regulations of Speech @IUMcKinney

R. George Wright, Indiana University, McKinney School of Law, has published A Variable Number of Cheers For Viewpoint-Based Regulations of Speech. Here is the abstract.

It is widely taken for granted that viewpoint-based restrictions of speech are, as a class, especially disfavored, meriting either absolute prohibition or strict scrutiny. As it turns out, however, this common assumption is both descriptively incorrect and normatively unjustifiable. A typology of the various basic forms of viewpoint-based restriction of speech supports this initially surprising claim. This typology can be constructed out of the obvious uncertainties, ambiguities, equivocations, disparities, and gaps found in the viewpoint-restriction cases. Ultimately, depending upon type and circumstance, and apart from any weight of any relevant government interest, a viewpoint-based speech restriction of speech may deserve anywhere between zero and three cheers.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

May 5, 2020 | Permalink

Friday, May 1, 2020

Magaldi and Davis on Examining Online Defamation Law Through the Twitter Account of James Woods

Jessica Magaldi, Pace University, and Wade Davis, Minnesota State University, Mankato, are publishing 'Into the Bowels of Hell' Examining Online Defamation Law Through the Twitter Account of James Woods in volume 29 of the Southern Law Journal (Fall 2019). Here is the abstract.

Film actor James Woods is a conservative Twitter personality who uses the platform to provoke and attack celebrities, politicians, commentators, and news media that express liberal and progressive viewpoints – behavior commonly known on the internet as “trolling.” He also has his own trolls. Two lawsuits that stem from incidents on Twitter involving Woods offer an opportunity to explore the ways in which the medium and the law of defamation affect and are affected by one another. This Article analyzes these two lawsuits in an effort to explore the legal nuances and practical realities of asserting a defamation claim arising in a social media context. Section II discusses the factual bases of the lawsuits, their procedural histories, and their resolutions. Section III explores the merits of the defamation claims in both lawsuits by analyzing the elements of a defamation claim as they apply to the facts of each case. Section IV addresses the unique problems that social media defamation litigants face with respect to anonymity, the public figure doctrine, and the actual malice standard. Section V concludes by offering recommendations relating to the law and litigation process, and remedies for social media defamation claims.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

May 1, 2020 | Permalink