Curriculum Guide · Courses
Law in a New Media World
J.D. Seminar 1188 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours
In today’s world of 24-7 news cycles, cell-phone cameras, blogs, and social media, the race to publish provocative, cutting-edge content has lead to high-profile instances where legal lines have been crossed to get a story, picture, or video. This seminar explores the fundamentals of defamation law, invasion of privacy, and liability for torts and crimes committed in the course of newsgathering activities — and how First Amendment principles have evolved to address these issues in the modern age of electronic media. Through lectures, class discussions, and written assignments, students will not only gain a broad understanding of the substantive law — but also understand the important policy implications for the public, reporters, and the subjects of their stories. The seminar will also feature interactive classroom exercises in which students will research, present, and advocate opposite sides of current issues taken directly from the headlines in real-world media cases, including media shield laws, anti-SLAPP statutes, public vs. private figures, group libel, fact vs. opinion, prior restraints on publication, media liability for torts and crimes committed by third parties, and the liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and administrators of interactive online websites. Practical aspects of representing clients in media matters, including jurisdiction and choice-of-law issues, are also examined.
Prerequisite: Constitutional Law I or Democracy and Coercion.
Students may not receive credit for both this seminar and Free Press Seminar.