Media Law Resource Center

Serving the Media Law Community Since 1980

Media Law Conference 2016 Materials


Rodney King, 25 Years Later; Fair Use and Police/Press Issues

An analysis of the copyright case brought by the plumber who shot the beating video footage against the networks and others. Was a taking of the video a fair use? Did the First Amendment give an extra layer of defense to the copyright claims? And how to improve Police-Press relations in the context of the urban riots which ensued and continue to Ferguson and beyond: Access to Demonstrations and documents, Citizen Journalism, Body Cams and more. Materials

Boutique Sessions A

Data Privacy 101

In response to audience demand, this is a beginner's workshop on data privacy law. Ask all the questions you elsewhere might be afraid to admit you have. Among the fundamental issues to be covered are: What laws govern the cyber-security area and does the jurisdiction you are in matter? What role do self-regulatory guidelines play in data protection and do data protection requirements vary by industry? What happens if your company violates data protection law? Materials

Employment and Labor Law

Attendees will choose among these topics: How should media companies respond to violent attacks on their journalists? Can media companies still have unpaid interns? What is the potential impact of the Dept. of Labor's new test for independent contractors? What's the effect on media companies if the Dept. of Labor implements its salary base increase for FLSA exemptions? How to defend discrimination claims, and are there First Amendment and anti-SLAPP defenses? How best to execute layoffs and buyouts? Materials

FOIA & BodyCams

FOIA at 50: Best practices for submitting FOIA requests, and negotiation tactics; often overlooked access laws and techniques to obtain public records.

Body Cams: Existing statutes and ordinances; pending and upcoming legislation and policies; MLRC's Model Policy. Materials

Pre-Publication/Pre-Broadcast (repeated on Friday)

Vetting the contents of articles and videos: What are the libel and privacy concerns? What role does risk assessment play? How should lawyers approach the vetting conversation with editors? Materials

Subpoenas, the Reporters' Privilege, and Shield Laws

Could there be an FBI vs. Apple for the press? Does the reporter's privilege apply to tech information and the cloud? Reporter's privilege 2.0: new arguments for its application to U.S. and foreign news media. What are the effects of the Risen case and the revised DOJ guidelines? Materials


A Hypothetical Case Panel in the Context of the 2016 Presidential Campaign

A Fred Friendly-style hypothetical with journalists, political insiders and media lawyers raising issues in covering a political campaign, such as neutral reportage, broadcasting hidden camera and audio tapes of a campaign meeting, distribution of sex tapes of candidates, and other timely issues. Materials

A View from the Bench

Former MLRC Members, Now Federal Judges, Share Their Views on Media Cases Materials

Breakout Sessions

Digital Media

An in-depth discussion of the latest developments in Section 230 law, as well as liability for harmful speech transmitted via online platforms; the status of right to be forgotten laws; encryption and national security; chatbots and more. Materials

Intellectual Property Torts

An in-depth discussion of the latest developments in online copyright; additional issues at the boundaries of copyright law; the Slants / Redskins cases and registration of disparaging trademarks; use of music in election campaigns; right of publicity law; best practices in IP clearance; the use of IP claims to end-run First Amendment protections and more. Materials

Publication Torts

An in-depth discussion of the latest developments in defamation and privacy law, including determining public interest in privacy cases, libel lawsuits over denials of allegations; pleading actual malice under Iqbal/Twombly; proof of actual malice; developments in opinion law and more. Outline | Materials

Boutique Sessions B

Anti-SLAPP Litigation and Legislation

Update and review of anti-SLAPP laws and legislation; varying scope of anti-SLAPP laws (stay of discovery, attorney's fees, right of interlocutory appeal); strategic concerns in when and what to file, and how to respond to your adversary's actions; judicial distaste for anti-SLAPP laws; application of anti-SLAPP laws in federal court; current state and federal anti-SLAPP initiatives. Materials

Cross-Border Vetting

"You're Not in Kansas Anymore": What jurisdictions should you think about when vetting a story with subjects from various countries? Should you use the lowest common denominator or a more practical approach? How to deal with cross border IP and reporter's privilege issues – and do other countries have more protections? How should journalists use social media overseas? Enforcement of foreign judgments. Materials

The FCC and the 21st Century Media Marketplace

What did the D.C. Circuit decide in the net neutrality case, what are the odds of Supreme Court review, and what does neutrality mean for online content providers? What's at stake in the FCC's ongoing proceeding regarding privacy rules for ISPs? Why is Google fighting the cable industry and content companies over set-top boxes, and what are the implications for copyright protection of programming? What's the latest news on the FCC's media ownership rules? Materials


Modern challenges to newsgathering: Public officials' emails on private servers; violence at campaign rallies; ballot selfies; interactive use of social media; ag-gag laws and undercover reporting; drones update - from FAA rules to insurance; expungement and sealing of court records; citizen cameras; FERPA; and cloud-based public records. Materials

Trial Tales

A perennial favorite reviewing important and interesting media trials of the last two years. Lawyers from the Mitre v. HBO and Hulk Hogan v. Gawker trials will share lessons learned from the frontlines. Materials


Program: The Soul of the First Amendment

A preview of Floyd Abrams' new book of that title, highlighting how the U.S. is an outlier in providing sweeping First Amendment rights – and how different our ongoing political campaign might be if it were governed by the law of other Western democratic states. Materials

Boutique Sessions C

Advertising and Commercial Speech

Developments in advertising and commercial speech cases, including discussion of what is native advertising and what makes it different; whether varying platforms raise different issues; and other advertising and commercial speech issues. Materials

Encryption and Protecting Reporters' Materials

Mass state surveillance and digital security practices have been increasingly in the news since the Snowden revelations, but the technical and legal implications for journalists and newsroom lawyers remain complex and convoluted. This interactive session by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press will provide an introduction to using (and not using) technology to protect communications and materials both inside and outside the newsroom. Topics will include email encryption, secure computing environments, basic threat modeling, mobile security, and protecting online sources. Materials

Entertainment Law

A hypo to cover submissions and oral pitches of ideas for film and TV projects, including best practices, submission agreements and idea theft claims; acquisition of rights "ripped from the headlines" – "based" or "inspired" by true events and the Hurt Locker case; vetting the screenplay (what is required and the risk of claims); advertising and marketing issues; piracy; and recent entertainment litigation. Materials


Lawyer blogs: lawyering or advertising? The uses or misuses of Facebook; discussing ongoing trials in social media; spoliation issues in social media; the use of information from data breaches; the risks and rewards of lurking on social media. Materials


Vetting the contents of articles and videos: What are the libel and privacy concerns? What role does risk assessment play? How should lawyers approach the vetting conversation with editors? Materials


Program: The Next Big Thing: The Hottest Trends in Media Law

A look back at the NBT candidates from prior conferences. Were they hits or bloopers? Plus a look ahead for the Next Big Thing. Materials

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