Media law

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Media law

  1. 1. Law and Regulation J. Matthew Melton, Ph.D Lee University, Cleveland, TN
  2. 2. A free press <ul><li>Free Press Precedent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New York Times v. Sullivan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media role defined as </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Uninhibited, robust and wide-open debate” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal and regulatory issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Balancing press freedom with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interests of individuals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interest of government </li></ul></ul></ul>AP/Wide World Photo
  3. 3. U.S. Constitution <ul><li>The First Amendment to the Constitution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The “Fourth Estate” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The press as “tribune of the people” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An extra constitutional branch of government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposes public mismanagement </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Government Attempts to Restrict Press <ul><li>Alien and Sedition Laws, 1789 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibited anti-government speech </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expired in 1801 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Espionage Act of 1918 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prohibited anti-war speech in WWI </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Smith Act of 1940 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WWII press censorship </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HUAC and the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House Un-American Activities Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cold War congressional hearings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hunting for communists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discredited by news media </li></ul></ul>Bettmann/Corbis HUAC
  5. 5. Prior Restraint <ul><li>Near v. Minnesota </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Saturday Post, 1931 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Printed names of Prohibition violators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State could not stop publication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Pentagon Papers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time Magazine, 1971 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>printed classified Vietnam War documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Temporarily halted by court order </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Progressive Case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Progressive Magazine, 1979 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Article on how to make a hydrogen bomb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication temporarily stopped </li></ul></ul>J.P. Laffont/CORBIS Sygma Daniel Ellsberg-Pentagon Papers
  6. 6. Obscenity & Censorship <ul><li>Obscenity issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boston and H.L. Mencken’s The American Mercury, 1926 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Salacious” content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Magazine won the case </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Roth vs. United States , 1957 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obscenity not protected by the 1st Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obscenity: “Material utterly without redeeming social importance” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obscenity appeals to “prurient interest” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “Roth Test” of contemporary community standards </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Censorship <ul><li>Miller vs. California , 1973 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Local courts must determine: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>applying community standards, whether a work appeals to “prurient interest” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Whether a work violates state law with offensive sexual depictions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Whether a work lacks Literary, Artistic, Political or Social value - the LAPS test </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>School Boards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Banning library books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Censoring curricula </li></ul></ul>Unpopular with school boards
  8. 8. National Efforts to Control Free Speech <ul><li>The Meese Commission on Pornography, 1986 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Argued that pornography is harmful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No legislation resulted </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Hazelwood Case 1988 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hazelwood High School, Missouri </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articles in school paper censored by principal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minors do not possess same extent of freedom as adults </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student Press Law Center </li></ul>Southernfried/morgeufile.com
  9. 9. California’s “Free Choice” <ul><li>AB 47809 Students have the right to choose whatever topic they desire, within certain ethical boundaries, upon which to report. School administrators cannot legally stop the publication of any story by a school newspaper. </li></ul><ul><li>What does this mean for us? </li></ul><ul><li>Should we have a “no holds barred” approach to decide what stories/topics we should cover? </li></ul><ul><li>What type of stories/topics should we avoid? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Libel Law <ul><li>The Sullivan Case, 1964 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Public officials must prove malice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gertz v. Robert Welch , 1974 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Editorial opinion is not libel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public figures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Herbert v. Lando , 1979 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Public figures may investigate reporters’ sources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Masson v. The New Yorker , 1991 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grammatical changes not necessarily libelous </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Law Resource Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Libel FAQ </li></ul></ul>Bigfoto.com
  11. 11. Libel Defense <ul><li>To prove libel, must show that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statement communicated to third party </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject easily identifiable in the statement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statement injured the subject’s reputation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publisher of the statement is at fault </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Defenses for libel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Truth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s true, it’s not libel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualified privilege </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information obtained in court or legislature </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fair comment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opinion/Commentary/Editorials are not libel </li></ul></ul></ul>Ariadna/morguefile.com
  12. 12. Famous Libel Cases <ul><li>Carol Burnett v. National Enquirer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sued for $10 million, 1983 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Awarded $150,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gen. Westmoreland v. CBS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sued for $120 million, 1984 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Settled out of court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$18 million in legal fees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ariel Sharon v. Time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sued for $50 million, 1988 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lost, paid $1 million in fees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wayne Newton v. NBC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sued for $6 million, 1990 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Won, no damages awarded </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Media Invasion of Privacy <ul><li>Intruding on physical or mental solitude </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Galella v. Onassis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photographers must maintain distance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publishing embarrassing personal facts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information not in the public record is private </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bartnicki v. Vopper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cell phone conversations not protected if criminal in nature </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>False Light </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must portray subjects truthfully </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Right of Publicity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>May not use a celebrity’s name for promotion without permission </li></ul></ul>Jacqueline Onassis
  14. 14. Fair Trial, Access & Sources <ul><li>Fair Trial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sheppard v. Maxwell , 1954 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jury access to media later ruled as influence on a conviction (1966) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Original verdict overturned </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Courtroom Access </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gag orders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited press access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Closed proceedings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No press access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both rarely applied </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shield Laws </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect source confidentiality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No federal protection </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. War Coverage <ul><li>Grenada Invasion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1983, Press blackout </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No access for 5 days </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gulf War </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1991, Press pools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blackouts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>War in Afghanistan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2003, press pools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Footage provided by the military </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Iraqi War </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2003, “embedded” reporters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More, but still limited access to the front lines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Patriot Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to library records </li></ul></ul>AP/Wide World Photos
  16. 16. Access to Courtrooms Illustration 14.1
  17. 17. Regulating Broadcast and Cable <ul><li>Federal Communications Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulates broadcasting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 commissioners, 5-year terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appointed by President, approved by Senate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Licences all stations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Trade Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulates advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Airwaves are a “public trust” </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasters are “trustees operating in the public interest” </li></ul>
  18. 18. Telecommunications Act of 1996 <ul><li>Philosophy of Deregulation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition improves choices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Favors larger media companies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Selling “The Bundle” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combination of services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV, telephone, cable, Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Targeting “Power Users” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People using a lot of media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spends three or more times what the average user spends </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Effects of Deregulation <ul><li>Goal of Universal Service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to all media for all people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Deregulation of Free Media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Radio & TV are “free media” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relaxed ownership/licensing rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cross-ownership allowed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TV and radio in the same market </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Local Phone Competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phone companies allowed to offer video service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unregulated Cable Rates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1992 Cable Act removed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deregulated cable rates </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Failed Regulation Attempts <ul><li>Communication Decency Act (CDA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Program Blocking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attempted to block adult programming </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indecent Material on the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A felony to send indecent material over a computer network </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Struck down by Federal Court, 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Child Online Protection Act (COPA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tried to prevent minors accessing explicit material on public computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2002, Supreme Court rules that Congress may not limit Internet access </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Filters and Chips <ul><li>U.S. v. American Library Association , 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress may require Internet filters in publicly funded libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>TV ratings imposed (1997) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TVY: ages two to six </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV7: seven and above </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TVG: suitable for all ages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TVPG: unsuitable for young children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV14: unsuitable under 14 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TVMA: unsuitable under 17 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Monitoring Broadcast Indecency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Bubba the Love Sponge” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Howard Stern </li></ul></ul>AP/Wide World Photos
  22. 22. Network TV Ratings System Illustration 14.2
  23. 23. Intellectual Property Rights <ul><li>Ownership of creative ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1998, Ownership issues and the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World International Property Organization treaties (WIPO) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at preventing illegal copy of Internet published material </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Illegal to circumvent password protection technology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New York Times v. Tasini </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects freelancer royalties, 2001 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MGM v. Grokster , 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File-sharing software is liable </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Advertising, Public Relations Law and Regulation <ul><li>Central Hudson v. Public Service Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1980 Supreme Court ruling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government may not regulate commercial speech so long as it is lawful and does not mislead </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Texas Gulf Sulphur Case, 1960s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that publicly owned companies may not conceal information that may impact investment options </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Critical Discussion <ul><li>Banning books in grade school libraries continues to be a controversial issue. Should any books be forbidden to certain age groups? How should a community make this decision? </li></ul><ul><li>Recent decisions of the FCC to enact fines on perceived indecency have had a major impact on decisions in radio and television. Should the FCC be monitoring broadcast content in this fashion? </li></ul>

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