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Investigation Of Media Law Online


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  • 1. Investigation of Media Law Online:Libel Online
    Bastian Steineck
    JOUR3500-001 // Dr. Jin Yang
    Final project
    Fall of 2009
  • 2. Agenda
    • Bibliography (APA style)
    • 3. Eight questions that relate to Libel on the Internet
    • 4. Student interviews
    • 5. Important legal case: Zeran v. AOL, 1997
  • Bibliography
    Printed books
    • Collins, Dr. M. (2001). The law of defamation and the Internet.
    Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 3-92.
    • Ferrera, G. R. et al. (2001). Cyberlaw: Text and cases.
    Australia; Cincinnati, Ohio: West/Thomson Learning, 248-263.
    • Goldstein, N. (2002). Associated Press stylebook and briefing on media law: With Internet guide and glossary. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus. Fully rev. and updated, 338-340.
    • 6. Shariff, S. (2009). Confronting Cyber-bullying: What schools need to know to control misconduct and avoid legal consequences. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1-98.
    • 7.  Solove, D. J. (2007). The future of reputation: Gossip, rumor, and privacy on
    the Internet. New Haven: Yale University Press. Electronic Resource. 
  • 8. Bibliography
    Online articles
    • Johnson, A. & Griggs, I. (March 29, 2009). Love‘s online spatsparksfirstTwitterlibelsuit. Retrieved*
    • Laubscher, K. (November 20, 2009). Libellawsshouldapplytosocialnetworks. Retrieved* from
    • Tsostsis, A. (May 15, 2009). Re-Tweet Legal: New Media. Retrieved* from
    • Puppy poo girl (June 30, 2005). Retrieved* from
    • Vance, E.. Libel online. Retrieved* from
    *All online articles retrieved December 5, 2009.
  • 9. Libel on the Internet
    “Libel means injury to reputation. […] Words, pictures, cartoons, photo
    captions and headlines can all give a rise to a claim for libel. ” [AP stylebook (2002), 339)]
    • How may the Internet’s special features influence “cyber libel”?
    • 10. How does the “Norm Police” use libel for vigilantism?
    • 11. What applies for linking and framing?
    • 12. What happens if it is an unintentional publication?
    • 13. Who are typical perpetrators and victims?
    • 14. Who might be liable?
    • 15. Does libel occur on Twitter?
    • 16. How do blogs deal with libel? How is the legal situation?
  • Five-word features of the Web
    • Geographical indeterminacy
    • 17. Unique number of Internet intermediaries
    • 18. Republication
    • 19. Hyperlinks
    • 20. Each access is a “new” publication
  • The Internet “Norm Police”
    • “Dog-shit-girl”
    • 21. A victim of “cyber-posse, tracking down norm violators” who didn’t deserve any privacy anymore
    • 22. People harness the power of the Internet to enforce norms => vigilantism
  • Linking and framing
    • Providing a link makes you a publisher
    • Linking does not repeat or republish the defamation but guides towards the defamatory content
    • 23. The original author will be liable in respect of all publications of that page
  • Unintentional publications
    • Should the publication have been anticipated?
    • 24. Interception of private e-mails
    • 25. Interception of business e-mails
    • 26. Hackers
  • Perpetrators and victims
    • Ethnic background and religion
    • 27. Outward appearance
    • 28. “Victim cleverness”
    • 29. Adolescent girls increasingly as active instigators
  • Responsibilities
    • Primary liability: author/ editor/ publisher
    Vicarious liability at work
    • Second liability: printer, distributor, ISP
    Repeating/ republishing persons
    • Contribution
  • Libel @ Twitter
    • Courtney Love vs. Dawn Simorangkir
    • 30. “Nasty, lyin’, hosebag thief”
    • 31. Re-Tweeting
    • 32. Twitteris not responsible – unless
    theyplay an activeeditorialrole
  • 33. Libel @ Blogs
    • judged by the same standards as professionals
    • 34. “I hate Kristen’s movie”
    • “I think it was Kristen who hacked into the school’s protected computer system”
  • Student Interviews
    • Is the Internet more dangerous in terms of distributing libel than the “real world”?
    • 35. How far should blogs be allowed to go?
    • 36. Who should be responsible in the case of republication/ repeating?
  • Student Interviews
    • Thuyvi Vo (Business)
    • 37. Neil Turner (Journalism)
    • 38. Anna Coleman (English)
    • 39. Ali Boone (Advertising)
  • Student Interviews
    • “You put something out there and it goes everywhere.”
    • 40. “Watch the Freedom of Speech!”
    • 41. “As long as you put it up, there’s some degree of libel.”
  • Kenneth M. Zeran vs. AOL, Inc. (1997)
    • “Naughty Oklahoma T-Shirts” => libeling post
    • 42. Zeran sued AOL for defamation
    • 43. as a distributor, AOL is liable for its distributed material
    • 44. complain got dismissed by the Court of Virginia:
    “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as a publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”