514: Media Law
This course will teach students the fundamentals of traditional media law with a particular focus on the intersection between injury law and constitutional speech and press protections. This area of study poses intriguing questions about the American balance between the rights of individuals to protect their reputation and privacy and the rights of those who speak via media - whether traditional mainstream news reporters or citizens using social media platforms such as Facebook or Google Glass. In the words of former New Republic counsel Scott Gant, "we're all journalists now." As a result, it is almost inevitable that even lawyers whose practice does not focus on media will confront questions about rights and liabilities arising from client speech. In addition to discussing defamation and privacy doctrine, we will cover statutory regimes that apply to public speech, such as the privilege to protect sources and rights of access to government institutions and documents, and consider whether and how those statutes apply to both old and new media speakers. We will conclude with a comparative survey of media law. The United States takes a dramatically different approach to speech questions than other countries, and as speech increasingly crosses geographic boundaries, choice of law questions in speech cases are multiplying.