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MLRC Zoom Series

Upcoming Events
  • Wednesday, May 29, 1pm ET

TikTok, National Security & the First Amendment

Is banning TikTok obviously unconstitutional? Do national security concerns justify a ban? Is TikTok’s algorithm dangerous? Will Congress regulate other platforms? What rights do TikTok users have?

Past Events
  • Tuesday, May 21 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Newsgathering 201

Are you a working practitioner who wants a more in-depth dive into newsgathering issues? Join the Newsgathering Committee & Kristi Ramsay (Senior Counsel, CNN) to cover hypotheticals involving ethical & legal issues that journalists face & how counsel may advise them.

  • Monday, May 13 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Deals 201: First Look Deals – Dos & Don’t

What do you need to think about? What content is covered? How does the first look operate? When does the first look need to be exercised by? Are there set terms if the project gets made? What happens if the “buyer” passes? Plus other key things to consider when negotiating first look deals.

  • Thursday, May 9 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Libel 201

Advanced topics facing practitioners, which may include: prepublication review challenges; important libel privileges, including fair report & common interest; neutral reportage, especially in the wake of the Dominion decision & other recent cases; libel deposition goals & strategy; & strategies for dealing with various litigation challenges, such as anonymous sources & editors notes or retractions.

  • Thursday, May 2 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Campus Protests, Hate Speech & the First Amendment

Anti-Israel protests around the country & police crackdowns on protestors have college & university officials struggling to reconcile free speech, academic freedom, civility, & safety. How should this balance be struck? Should hate speech be protected or punished? Are crackdowns on campus protests censorship? Should private universities not allow disturbing speech even though it's legal?

  • Wednesday, April 24 at 12pm ET / 9am PT

Cameras-in-the-Courts: Will TV Coverage be Allowed in the Trump Trials and in New York?

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the OJ Simpson murder trial, the grand-daddy of all televised trials, and one which had a great influence on camera legislation going forward. Speakers: Kelli Sager of DWT; Chad Bowman of Ballard Spahr; Dan Novack of Penguin Random House; and Leita Walker of Ballard Spahr.

  • Thursday, April 18 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Inside the Effort to Free Evan Gershkovich

The Wall Street Journal, Biden Administration, & international partners have been working to free him. What is the current state of those efforts? And what do we know about private and public diplomatic efforts? Plus an update on the arrest of RFE/RL Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva & Russia’s campaign of reprisal against journalists.

  • Wednesday, March 20 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Q&A with Editor and Author Ben Smith

His recent book, Traffic, chronicles the rise and fall of Gawker and BuzzFeed as a lens into the impact of digital social networks on journalism and the political process. Ben will discuss his book, the media business landscape, media coverage of politics and more.

  • Thursday, February 29 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The Supreme Court Hears NetChoice

Counsel for amici will review Monday’s oral arguments in NetChoice v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, the blockbuster social media cases over state attempts to restrict platforms’ content moderation practices. We’ll discuss how the various amici see the arguments and what if anything we can glean about the justices’ respective positions.

  • Thursday, February 22 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The PRESS Act: What’s In It, and Will It Finally Pass?

A Federal Shield Law is on the verge of being passed by Congress. What are its terms, and how effectively will it protect journalists? What are the legislative hurdles it faces, and what are the chances of success? After almost 20 years of trying, will we finally get a federally enacted reporters’ privilege?

  • Wednesday, February 21 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Two Crazy Defamation Trials: How High Can Punitive Damages Verdicts Go?

A jury awarded $5M in compensatory damages & $20M in punitives against The Oklahoman. In the Michael Mann libel case, a jury awarded $1 in compensatory damages against each of two writers, then awarded $1M in punitives to plaintiff & against one of the writers. Are punitives more than one million times compensatories defensible?

  • Wednesday, January 10 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

“State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America’s Secrecy Regime”

A discussion with Sam Lebovic, author of the new above-titled book and a professor at George Mason University, and Amy Davidson Sorkin, a staff writer at The New Yorker who wrote a recent article there about the Espionage Act.

  • Tuesday, December 19 at 1pm ET / 10am ET

Free Speech on Campus

The recent rash of demonstrations and hate speech arising from the Israel-Hamas war has left college and university administrations struggling to reconcile free speech and academic freedom with maintaining civility on campus and freedom from harassment. How should this balance be struck? Is the only choice to censor or not to censor, or are there…

  • Thursday, December 14 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Brian Stelter’s New Book “Network of Lies,” and Dominion v. Fox

Brian Stelter, former media correspondent of CNN and the New York Times talks about his book "Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle of American Democracy." We discuss primarily the Dominion v. Fox chapters. Megan Meier (Meier Watkins Phillips Pusch), who represented Dominion, joins us as well.

  • Friday, December 1 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The Cancelling of the American Mind

A discussion with Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), and Aaron Terr, FIRE’s Director of Public Advocacy, about Greg’s new book The Canceling of the American Mind: Cancel Culture Undermines Trust and Threatens Us All—But There Is a Solution.

  • Tuesday, November 28 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Marty Baron on Journalism, Ethics and his Career

A discussion with the former editor of the Washington Post, Boston Globe and Miami Herald, about his recently published book Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos and the Washington Post.

  • Friday, November 3 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The New York Times and the Nation’s Newspapers: Past, Present and Future

A discussion with Adam Nagourney, national political reporter for the New York Times and author of the recently published book “The Times: How the Newspaper of Record Survived Scandal, Scorn and the Transformation of Journalism.”

  • Thursday, November 2 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Coverage of the Israel-Hamas Conflict: A Plethora of Journalistic Issues

A discussion of the many journalistic questions already raised by coverage of the War. With Holly Rosenkrantz, World, Supreme Court and Justice Department Editor at USA TODAY; Brian Stelter, special correspondent, Vanity Fair, former media correspondent, CNN and The New York Times; and Robert Corn-Revere, Chief Counsel FIRE.

  • Thursday, October 26 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The Rise in Book Bans & the Lawyers Fighting Back

Attempts to restrict and ban speech are nothing new, but the past few years have seen a marked uptick in efforts to censor books, particularly books treating LGBTQ issues, sex and abortion, and race. Three attorneys arguing cases against school and library restrictions on books in different states discuss their litigations attempting to fight back.

  • Tuesday, October 24 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Q&A with Kashmir Hill about her new book Your Face Belongs to Us

The new best-seller by New York Times tech reporter Kashmir Hill documents the rise of Clearview AI and its groundbreaking facial recognition technology. Is it the ultimate government surveillance tool? Will it end privacy as we know it? Can it be regulated?

  • Thursday, October 12 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Supreme Court Preview

Cases ranging from 1st Amendment restraints on public officials’ social media activity, the constitutionality of the government denying registration of a trademark critical of a public official, & whether content moderation restrictions survive 1st Amendment scrutiny. Discussion with Chris Geidner, Law Dork and Paul Smith, Georgetown Law. Moderated by Matthew Schafer, Paramount Global.

  • Tuesday, August 29 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Back to the Future: Kids and the Internet

It's 1996 all over again. Congress charging ahead with sweeping legislation intended to protect kids online; State legislatures enacting strict limitations on the ability of minors to use the internet. Critics say these measures violate the 1st Amendment, impair privacy rights, and will harm kids; but has the landscape changed meaningfully since Reno v. ACLU?

  • Monday, August 21 at 1pm ET / 12pm CT / 10am PT

The Marion County Record Raid

The execution of a search and seizure warrant against Kansas newspaper the Marion County Record, leading to the death of the 98-year-old co-owner, and the legal issues arising out of the raid. With Max Kautsch (Kansas Press Association), Gabe Rottman (RCFP), and counsel for the Marion County Record, Bernie Rhodes (Lathrop GPM).

  • Tuesday, August 15 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

The Trump Cases and the First Amendment

A discussion of the First Amendment aspects of the various Trump prosecutions, including his apparent free speech defenses in the federal indictment, arguments over gag orders, and the cameras-in-the-courts question.

  • Tuesday, August 8 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 101: Pre-Pub / Pre-Broadcast

Our review of the Pre-Pub/Pre-Broadcast basics focuses on a vetting hypothetical. We analyze: defamation vetting (including fair report privilege and opinion); privacy/risk of publicity vetting (specifically, reporting on private facts or minors); & newsgathering issues that arise in the pre-pub/pre-broadcast process (such as recording laws and obtaining sensitive information).

  • Tuesday, July 25 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 101: Entertainment

This one hour presentation will cover basic but important issues to be aware of in the entertainment law world, including issues relating to the use of materials subject to copyright and trademarks, the risks involving references to real people and things, how best to use and rely upon releases and disclaimers, and more.

  • Friday, July 21 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Hollywood on Hold: Everything You Want to Know about the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

For the first time since 1960, Hollywood writers and actors are striking at the same time. Join Jonathan Handel, Puck contributor, entertainment attorney and preeminent expert on Hollywood unions and guilds for answers to your most pressing questions.

  • Thursday, July 20 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 101: Advertising & Commercial Speech

1st Amendment protection of commercial speech and regulation under right of publicity laws; Speech that toes the line between editorial and commercial, including when it is deemed native advertising or influencer marketing and subject to FTC jurisdiction; key principles underlying the laws governing sweepstakes and contests and best practices for navigating such promotions.

  • Wednesday, July 19 at 3pm ET / 12pm PT

Missouri v. Biden and Government Jawboning

What kind of pressure has the government been putting on platforms, and when does such jawboning violate the First Amendment?

  • Tuesday, July 18 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 101: Newsgathering

New to newsgathering or need a refresher? Join the MLRC for “Newsgathering 101” presented by the Newsgathering Committee for an overview of the newsgathering process. This seminar addresses best practices for gathering news in public and private spaces.

  • Monday, July 17 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Sex, Lies and Defamation

Roberta Kaplan, who successfully represented E. Jean Carroll in her sex abuse and defamation case against Donald Trump, discusses the trial and ongoing litigation against the former President.

  • Friday, July 14 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Web Designs, Free Expression and Discrimination: A Look at 303 Creative v. Elenis

A discussion about the recently decided SCOTUS case with Professors David Cole and Richard Epstein. Does a web designer engage in expressive speech? Does that give her immunity from the anti-discrimination laws? How to balance the interest in free speech with the interest against discrimination? Or was this a religion case?

  • Tuesday, July 11 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 101: Copyright (or Copyright Law in One Easy Lesson)

What is copyright? What is copyrightable? How do you get a copyright? What remedies are there for copyright infringement? What exceptions and limitations are there on copyright rights? What is fair use and what did the Supreme Court do with it in Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith (2023)? Copyright on the Internet.

  • Tuesday, June 27 at 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Media Law 101: Libel & Privacy

The MLRC is pleased to announce a special series of 101 Zoom calls this summer, focused on teaching the fundamentals of various discrete areas in media law. This one-hour session is aimed at summer associates, junior associates and even veteran media attorneys who are interested in learning the basics of libel law.

  • Thursday June 8 at 11am ET / 4pm (London) / 1am (Melbourne)

Australia’s Libel Trial of the Century: Ben Roberts-Smith v. Fairfax Media

Joining us from Australia, Peter Bartlett, Minter Ellison, discusses the judgment in his grueling five-year legal battle pitting three newspapers against Ben Roberts-Smith, the decorated war hero – and broadcast media executive – accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan.

  • Wednesday, May 31 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 201: Pre-Pub/Pre-Broadcast

The MLRC Pre-Pub/Pre-Broadcast Committee's 201 series focuses on unsealing motions. The session will cover the mechanics of when, why, and how to file a successful unsealing motion, accompanied by high-profile lessons from the field, such as the Trump indictment hearing.

  • Thursday, May 25 at 3pm ET / 12pm PT

A Wild Thursday at the Supreme Court

Last Thursday morning saw the Court drop major opinions on copyright fair use and platform liability in Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith, Twitter v. Taamneh, and Gonzalez v. Google. We discuss first impressions and potential fallout from these decisions for MLRC members.

  • Thursday, May 25 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 201: Data Privacy

This session takes a deeper dive into the current landscape of data privacy laws and regulations across the United States at the state and federal level.

  • Wednesday, May 24 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 201: Copyright and Trademark

Join Moses Singer attorney David Rabinowitz as he presents Copyright 201. The session will cover Ownership (registration of copyright, including troll defense; notice of copyright; termination of transfers) and Disputes (notice and take-down; remedies; statute of limitations).

  • Tuesday, May 16 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Media Law 201: Entertainment Law

A discussion aimed at media attorneys wishing to become more knowledgeable in areas of media law in which they have some familiarity but are not already experts.

  • Tuesday, May 9 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Florida and the First Amendment: DeSantis and the Florida Follies

With Rachel Fugate, Shullman Fugate; Dave Wilson, Miami Herald; and our own Lynn Carrillo.

  • Wednesday, May 3 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Scholars Hour: Danielle Citron, University of Virginia Law School

A MacArthur fellow and distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia, Professor Citron is one of America’s foremost privacy law scholars and an advocate for “intimate privacy” as a new civil right.

  • Tuesday, May 2 at 1 pm ET / 10am PT

Artificial Intelligence, Journalism & the Law

Professors Eugene Volokh (UCLA Law) and Nicholas Diakopoulos (Northwestern) join us to discuss their research in this area.

  • Tuesday, April 25 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Message in a Bottle: Jack Daniel’s, Bad Spaniels & the First Amendment

A discussion with two advocates who were involved in the Jack Daniel’s dog toy trademark case, argued last month in the Supreme Court. With Susan Kohlmann, Jenner & Block (submitted an amicus brief for the Motion Picture Association) and Megan Bannigan, Debevoise & Plimpton (submitted an amicus brief for intellectual property professors).

  • Thursday, April 20 at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT

Dominion v. Fox: Settlement – What Does It Mean?

A town-hall meeting among members to discuss the ramifications of the case — the settlement, the legal rulings, the evidence, and more.

  • Tuesday, March 7 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The First Amendment and Criminalizing Speech

The Supreme Court and Circuit Courts are considering cases that raise thorny doctrinal questions about the boundaries between crime and the First Amendment, including Counterman v. Colorado regarding whether defendant’s Facebook posts constituted “true threats.” Will the Court clearly define “true threats?” What are the implications for criminalizing speech in other contexts, such as defamation?

  • Thursday, February 23 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

The Arguments in Gonzalez v. Google

Analysis of the Feb. 21 oral arguments in Gonzalez v. Google, the blockbuster case in which the Supreme Court will, for the first time, consider the scope of Section 230’s protection. Speakers are all amicus counsel in the case and discuss the arguments and the justices’ responses from the viewpoints of their respective clients.

  • Thursday, February 9 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Embedding Back Before the Ninth Circuit / Trump v. Woodward” Frivolous or Fair?

The 9th Circuit heard oral argument this week in Hunley v. Instagram on whether to limit or overrule Perfect 10 and the “server test.” A panel of experts discuss. Plus, Copyrights in Interviews: Is Trump’s complaint against Woodard a frivolous lawsuit? What case law exists on claims between interviewer and interviewee?

  • Wednesday, January 11 at 1pm ET / 10am PT

Twitter and What Comes Next

We talk about where things stand at Twitter and practical and legal issues for those considering transitioning to alternative platforms.

  • December 2022

Next-Generation AI Tools: Legal and Ethical Challenges

The newest AI-based tools for content generation can create photorealistic images based on text descriptions, compose poetry, deceive humans playing Diplomacy, and even generate code. But their output is based on the work of humans, raising thorny copyright and privacy issues while reflecting very human flaws and biases.

  • December 2022

Free Speech, Same Sex Weddings, and Public Accommodation Law Back at the Supreme Court

Adam Liptak, New York Times; and Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea, UNC Law School, discuss the Supreme Court argument in 303 Creative v. Elenis, where a website designer claims a First Amendment right to refuse designing websites for same-sex weddings.

  • November 2022

How Well Did the Media Cover the Midterm Elections?

With Catherine Lucey, White House reporter, The Wall Street Journal; Erik Wemple, media critic, Washington Post; and Aaron Zitner, reporter and former national political editor, The Wall Street Journal.

  • October 2022

Search Warrant for Las Vegas Murdered Reporter’s Journalistic Devices and Sources

Can shield law protection be given to a deceased journalist? Can a newspaper assert the reporter’s privilege? Where does the case stand, and what are the Las Vegas Review-Journal's arguments?

  • October 2022

Fair Use at the Supreme Court

Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith has crystallized the debate about whether the transformative use doctrine of fair use has been taken too far. Our speakers, who all filed amicus briefs in the case, discuss how the parties and the justices approached this critical issue.

  • September 2022

The Fifth Circuit Rules in NetChoice v. Paxton

We speak with Professor Alan Rozenshtein of the University of Minnesota Law School about the widespread condemnation of the Fifth Circuit opinion, whether that reaction is entirely justified, and what comes next in the case.

  • September 2022

Free Speech and Digital Privacy After Roe v. Wade

We discuss what’s happened since the fall of Roe, the measures that Congress and tech companies are exploring to protect the privacy of women’s speech and data, and what the First Amendment has to say about all of this.

  • August 2022

The Trump Mar-a-Lago Search: Access, Espionage & Videotapes

With Chuck Tobin, Ballard Spahr, who argued the motion for the media coalition; Katelyn Polantz, CNN Justice and crime reporter; and Mark Zaid, national security law expert.

  • August 2022

The Rise in Book Bans—and How to Fight Back

Dave Eggers, whose novel “The Circle” was recently pulled from public schools in South Dakota; Kelly Denson, who tracks and analyzes bans for the Association of American Publishers; and DWT attorney/author Bob Corn-Revere explores recent developments, historical context, and steps First Amendment advocates can take to fight back.

  • August 2022

Interview with Katy Tur

A discussion with Katy Tur, anchor on MSNBC, about her new book, Rough Draft.

  • August 2022

Entertainment Law 101

Our final Media Law 101 of the summer!

  • August 2022

Libel Plaintiff Litigation Funding: Getting Behind the Curtain

An exploration of lawsuits funded by third parties—why it matters, how to find out who's behind the funding, its effect on settlement efforts, and more.

  • July 2022

January 6th Hearings: Judge Michael Luttig

Former Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Luttig discusses the House Select Committee hearings, the constitutional issues surrounding efforts to prosecute Trump for speech related crimes or other malfeasance, and the state of our democracy.

  • July 2022

Media Law 101: Internet / Section 230 / DMCA

Learn more about how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prevent internet service providers from being held responsible for content posted by their users.

  • July 2022

Ken Auletta on Harvey Weinstein – Sexual Predation and Hollywood Power

A discussion with Ken Auletta, The New Yorker’s Media Reporter for decades and author of a just-released, vivid biography of Harvey Weinstein.

  • July 2022

Media Law 101: Newsgathering

This 101 presented by Edward Fenno and Eric Robinson addresses access to record, courts, and government meetings; other access issues such as access to private property, drones & police bodycams; source confidentiality; receiving documents from leakers and more.

  • July 2022

Copyright 101, or Copyright Law and Fair Use in One Easy Lesson

What is copyright? What is copyrightable? What remedies are there for copyright infringement? What exceptions and limitations are there on copyright rights? What is a fair use?

  • June 2022

Media Law 101: Pre-Publication / Pre-Broadcast

This workshop is structured as issue spotting around hypotheticals, identifying potential legal pitfalls that arise in the reporting process, including defamation, privacy, newsgathering, right of publicity and recording laws.

  • June 2022

The Uvalde Massacre: Media Coverage, Access Hurdles and Ethical Questions

A discussion about local and national media coverage of the Uvalde shootings and similar mass tragedies with Kelly McBride, Senior VP for Ethics and Leadership, Poynter Institute and Marc Duvoisin, Editor-in-Chief and VP, San Antonio Express-News.

  • June 2022

Media Law 101: Libel

This session covers what the plaintiff has to prove in a libel case, defenses that you might have under the First Amendment and common law, the differences in defending cases brought by public and private figures, and the effect of corrections, denials, implications of fact, and using anonymous sources.

  • June 2022

Exposing R. Kelly: Jim DeRogatis on His Decades-Long Journey

Legendary music journalist Jim DeRogatis began publishing accusations of R. Kelly’s sexual relationships with underage girls in 2000. Two years later, he broke the story of the incriminating sex tape that would lead to Kelly’s first court case.

  • May 2022

Depp v. Heard Defamation Trial: Part II

With Chuck Tobin, Ballard Spahr; Matthew Barakat, Associated Press; Julia Jacobs, New York Times (invited).

  • May 2022

Leaks – From SCOTUS to Ukraine

With Jeremy Peters, New York Times; Landis Best, Cahill Gordon (former clerk to C.J. Rehnquist); and David Sanger, New York Times.

  • May 2022

Libel (and False Light) in Docudramas and the Jerry West Complaint

With Rod Smolla, Dean & Prof. of Law, Delaware Law School, and Kathleen Cullinan, Apple.

  • May 2022

Elon Musk, Twitter, and Freedom of Speech

With Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post; Dr. Courtney Radsch, Center for International Governance Innovation/UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy; and Mike Masnick, Techdirt.

  • May 2022

The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Defamation Trial: The Accusations, Legal Issues & Testimony in Court

Reporters covering the case will give a mid-trial update.

  • April 2022

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Professor Amy Gajda

Tulane Law Professor Amy Gajda is the author of the new book Seek and Hide: The Tangled History of the Right to Privacy.

  • April 2022

Is Free Speech on Campus in Crisis?

David Lat, author and legal commentator, and Will Creeley, Legal Director FIRE, will discuss recent controversies at Yale and UC Hastings Law School, and broader attitudes and problems with free speech on campus.

  • April 2022

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Professor Richard Hasen

Looking at the 2020 election and ahead to 2024, Professor Hasen proposes a variety of legal and policy changes to stop fake news from drowning our democracy.

  • March 2022

The Media and the War in Ukraine

How has the media covered the war, and what have been the main challenges? What have been the effects of Putin’s clampdown on the press, and what can be done about it? What has been the role of digital platforms on the battlefield and in public opinion?

  • March 2022

An Interview with Ted Koppel

Award-winning broadcast journalist Ted Koppel discusses the media’s coverage of Ukraine, the state of journalism today, the amalgamation of factual reporting and commentary, what can be done about disinformation and the poor perception of journalists, and some reminiscences of his signature show “Nightline.”

  • March 2022

The Case for Preserving Times v. Sullivan

MLRC and an assemblage of its top First Amendment lawyers, under managing editor Lee Levine, have written a comprehensive White Paper in defense of the Court’s most important decision championing freedom of the press.

  • February 2022

Palin v. New York Times: Trial Recap

A deep dive into what happened: the strategies of the two sides, whether they succeeded, how the witnesses performed, etc.

  • February 2022

Biden and the Press: How is the Relationship a Year Out?

A discussion with Len Downie, former Editor of the Washington Post and author of a recent CPJ Report: “Night and Day”: The Biden administration and the press; and David Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent, The New York Times.

  • January 2022

Sarah Palin v. New York Times: Mid-Trial Analysis of a Key Libel Case

Discussing the trial are three journalists who are closely following it: Erik Wemple, Washington Post; Robert Van Voris, Bloomberg News; and Reynolds Holding, Columbia Law School and former law editor at Reuters and ABC.

  • January 2022

Can Social Media be Forced to Pull Back the Curtain?

Professor Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University School of Law, joins us to discuss his forthcoming journal article, The Constitutionality of Mandating Editorial Transparency, on what the First Amendment has to say about this urgent issue.

  • January 2022

The Highlights of 2021 and Predictions for Media Law in 2022

An entertaining and slightly offbeat look at the most interesting media law matters of 2021, and prognostications as to the most significant developments in 2022.

  • January 2022

The Prior Restraint on The New York Times

The first significant prior restraint against The Times since the Pentagon Papers with Dana Green, inside counsel at The Times, and Lizzie Seidlin-Bernstein, Ballard Spahr.

  • December 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Professor Noah Feldman

Professor Noah Feldman is the author of over 10 books, the most recent is The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery and the Refounding of America, which argues that Lincoln effectively rewrote the Constitution, transforming it from a compromise document to a transcendent statement of the nation’s highest ideals.

  • December 2021

Prepublication Review of Government Officials’ Memoirs: Censorship or Security?

Is the Department of Defense improperly censoring former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s memoir?

  • December 2021

Netflix and Chill — Or Netflix and Sue?

From complaints over docudramas to libel-in-fiction claims, how should traditional libel defenses apply to streaming companies? Are streamers distributors or publishers? How should actual malice be assessed? Should Section 230 apply to video streaming companies?

  • October 2021

Nunes v. Lizza: Tweeting, Republication & Actual Malice

Did the Eighth Circuit err in holding that a journalist’s tweet linking to his article was a republication?

  • October 2021

The Supreme Court’s New Term: Big Cases, New Procedures and Access, and the Politicization of the Court

An interview with Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent of The New York Times.

  • September 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour with Robert Corn-Revere

A discussion with First Amendment lawyer Bob Corn-Revere about his forthcoming book The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder: The First Amendment and the Censor's Dilemma.

  • September 2021

Julie K. Brown – The Journalist “Who Brought Down Jeffrey Epstein”

The Miami Herald’s award-winning reporter Julie K. Brown, author of “Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story,” discusses the challenges she faced in her year’s long effort to report the truth about Jeffrey Epstein. Joined by outside counsel Christine Walz, Holland & Knight.

  • August 2021

Sports, Athletes and the Media: Is the Balance of Power Shifting?

Following the Naomi Osaka controversy at the French Open, how will the relationship between athletes and journalists change? How will the Supreme Court's decision in NCAA v. Alston affect sports, and the balance of power between athletes, leagues and broadcasters? Will legalized sports gambling impact sports journalism?

  • August 2021

Media Law 101: Insurance

A workshop on the application and underwriting process, key policy provisions to look for, effective claims reporting and handling, types of coverages needed and current hot topics.

  • July 2021
  • On Zoom

Media Law 101: Pre-Pub/Pre-Broadcast

This workshop will be structured as issue spotting around one or more hypotheticals, identifying reporting potential legal pitfalls, including defamation, privacy, newsgathering, right of publicity and agreements with sources.

  • July 2021

Media Law 101: Newsgathering

We discuss open records (FOIA) and open meetings laws, access to courts and their participants (including gag orders), other access issues (such as access to private property, surveillance and drones), police issues (such as recording the police and responding to police demands on scene), phone recording and wiretap, promises of confidentiality to sources, lawful obtainment…

  • July 2021

Justice Gorsuch’s Dissent and the Viability of Times v. Sullivan

Is Gorsuch’s dissent wrong? How many other votes are there to overturn Sullivan? What might replace it? Should public figures have to meet the same high standard as public officials?

  • July 2021

Media Law 101: Data Privacy

This workshop will provide an overview of U.S. and international data privacy and security laws, with a focus on advising companies on how to comply with a patchwork of emerging requirements, operationalize a privacy program, and prepare and respond to data security breaches.

  • July 2021

Media Law 101: Copyright

How copyright does (and does not) protect, who owns it, how long does it last, what constitutes infringement, defenses to infringement, and fair use.

  • Summer 2021
  • Zoom

Media Law 101s

The MLRC is very pleased to announce a special series of 101 Zoom calls this summer, focused on teaching the fundamentals of various discrete areas in media law.

  • June 2021
  • Zoom

Media Law 101: Libel

This workshop covers what the plaintiff has to prove in a libel case, defenses that you might have under the First Amendment and common law, the differences in defending cases brought by public and private figures, and the effect of corrections, denials, implications of fact, and using anonymous sources.

  • June 2021

A Panel of Complete LOSERS: The Online Slander Industry, Takedowns, and the Law

New York Times reporters Aaron Krolik and Kashmir Hill discuss the ecosystem of gripe websites that seek to destroy reputations, then charge to fix them, and what happened after they posted “Aaron Krolik is a complete LOSER.”

  • May 2021

Defense of Rhetorical Hyperbole: How Is it Being Used (or Overused) in Today’s Polarized Environment

Courts have long considered whether statements made in the context of heated political debate are protected as rhetorical hyperbole. Recent cases stemming from opinion shows hosted by partisans like Rachel Maddow, and on platforms such as Twitter, have seen the rhethorical hyperbole defense take on new prominence. Have these cases gone too far?

  • May 2021

Anti-Protest Laws: A Chilling Wave of Legislation

Republican lawmakers in at least 34 states have introduced bills that threaten the right to protest publicly, expanding liability and increasing penalties in connection with protest-related activity and/or immunizing those who take action against protesters from legal consequences. Can the First Amendment possibly allow such laws?

  • April 2021

The Supreme Court and Student Speech on Social Media: An Analysis of the “Cheerleader” Case

The case where a high school punished a cheerleader for her rants against the school on Snapchat, was recently argued in the Supreme Court. How did the argument go? Will the Tinker v. Des Moines precedent be retained? Can a public school punish students for off-campus speech? Can such a social media post be disruptive…

  • April 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Nadine Strossen, former President of the ACLU

Ms. Strossen answers questions about hate speech, disinformation, content moderation, Sec. 230, Dr. Seuss, free speech on campus, and more. Strossen is Professor Emerita at New York Law School, was the first woman president of the ACLU (1991-2008), and is the author of “HATE: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship.”

  • April 2021

Access Issues in the Derek Chauvin Trial for George Floyd’s Death

Was there appropriate access to jury selection? Why was full television coverage authorized? Was it justified to ban the Daily Mail from the courtroom for running a prohibited tape? Is the 2-person press pool adequate and reasonable? What other issues are there in running and covering a high-visibility trial during the pandemic?

  • April 2021

Cuomo, Trump, Weinstein, Cosby: Vetting #MeToo Articles & Defending “Liar” Litigations That Follow

What are the pitfalls and best practices in vetting #MeToo accusations; how to preserve privacy and work with NDAs; defending libel claims when the alleged abuser or victim claims the other is a liar; are the standards the same for both alleged abusers and victims?; for the media that reports on it?

  • April 2021

The Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith: Reining in Transformative Use?

Does the Second Circuit’s decision denying the fair use defense bring clarity or confusion to copyright law? Is it time for “appropriation artists” to pay the piper? Is the transformative use doctrine on the wane? Do we see similar arguments under the rubric of substantial similarity? How will the decision effect derivative works?

  • March 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Prof. Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law

Professor Franks, J.D., D.Phil., is an internationally recognized expert on the intersection of free speech, civil rights and technology. In 2013, she drafted the first model criminal statute on nonconsensual pornography, aka “revenge porn,” which has been used as a template for state laws and proposed federal legislation.

  • March 2021

The Joke That Went to the Supreme Court

Should a comedian pay damages for telling an offensive joke? This is a question the Supreme Court of Canada will decide this year. What interests will the Court balance? How does the case compare to Hustler v. Falwell? Is the First Amendment out of step with international trends and norms?

  • March 2021

Litigating in a Pandemic

Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent of The New York Times, Chad Bowman, Ballard Spahr, and Kelli Sager, Davis Wright Tremaine discuss virtual court hearings, whether they will be retained after the pandemic, how the pandemic affected the judicial system, including changes at the Supreme Court.

  • March 2021

Access to Courts, Information & Newsgathering Issues in a Pandemic

Katie Townsend, RCFP, and David McCraw and Dana Green, New York Times, discuss newsgathering issues: how access was affected by the crisis, as well as privacy and ethical issues in reporting on COVID-related subjects.

  • March 2021

The Legal Business in a Pandemic

David Lat, founder of Above the Law and Managing Director of legal recruiter Lateral Link, and Bill Hartnett, Executive Committee Chair of Cahill Gordon, discuss how lawyers fared in 2020, the future financial outlook, staffing plans, summer associate programs, and whether lawyers will work from home or the office once things return to normal.

  • February 2021

Suing the Media for Trump’s Lies: Are Defamation Cases a Cure for Disinformation?

Is Smartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation suit against Fox News a threat to the press? Should it be dismissed under New York’s new anti-SLAPP law? How can the media avoid liability for reporting the lies of public officials? With Paul Clement, Kirkland & Ellis, lead counsel for Fox News in the case; and Michael Grynbaum, media…

  • February 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Mark Tushnet

Professor Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School, discusses his recent essay "The Kids Are All Right: The Law of Free Expression and New Information Technologies." We discuss Prof. Tushnet's position that new technologies have not rendered the First Amendment obsolete and how our constitutional doctrine can adjust to…

  • February 2021

Takedowns, Fresh Starts, and Right to Be Forgotten

Does the Boston Globe’s “Fresh Start” policy, which allows people to ask the newspaper to takedown coverage of them, herald a new attitude toward online content? What led to this and similar new policies? How are they implemented? Will voluntary takedowns have any legal impact? With Jason Tuohey, Boston Globe, Managing Editor - Digital; Dan…

  • February 2021

First Amendment Issues Surrounding the Trump Impeachment for Incitement

Did Trump’s Jan. 6th speech amount to incitement under Brandenburg? Are his surrounding lies about the election relevant? Can Trump be criminally prosecuted? What would be the impact on social activism and other protests? With Professor Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School; Suzanne Nossel, PEN America; and Lee Rowland, New York Civil Liberties Union.

  • January 2021

Vetting Political Ads

A day before Biden's Inauguration, a timely review of the vetting of political ads during the ’20 campaign season (including Georgia ’21). What is the law regarding the running of political ads? What are the practical considerations as lawyers vet them? Do different media – and different companies – have varying acceptance standards? And we…

  • January 2021

De-Platforming Trump

Following the armed assault on the U.S. Capitol, tech companies moved to block incitement of further violence, including bans of Donald Trump from Facebook and Twitter and a decision by Amazon to cease providing web services to "free speech" social media site Parler. Were these the right moves, and do they imply anything for content…

  • January 2021

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Cass Sunstein

Professor Sunstein discusses his forthcoming book: Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception. Should false speech have any protections? What role should defamation law play? Who decides what is true? Professor Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School and a leading expert on constitutional law, administrative law, and…

  • January 2021

The Julian Assange Decision

A discussion of this week’s Julian Assange extradition ruling. What did the over 100 page opinion really say?

  • December 2020

All About the Story: A Conversation with Leonard Downie Jr

A discussion with Len Downie about his new book “All About the Story: News, Power, Politics and the Washington Post.” Downie worked at the Post for nearly 50 years, succeeding Ben Bradlee as Executive Editor. He was an editor of the Watergate story, and led the paper through the Clinton impeachment, the Unabomber threats and…

  • December 2020

Crawling from the Wreckage: Digital Media Law at the End of the Trump Era

A discussion of where the Trump administration will leave issues in digital media law and what President-Elect Biden is likely to do with what is left behind.

  • December 2020

A Conversation with Bob Woodward

A special hour with Bob Woodward, associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has reported on every American president from Nixon to Trump. Our discussion focuses on his latest book “Rage,” based on 17 interviews with Trump, and more broadly on the relationship between presidents and the press, and the state of investigative reporting…

  • December 2020

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Prof. Michael McConnell

Stanford Law School professor, former 10th Circuit Judge and potential nominee to the Supreme Court during the Bush Administration. Subjects include Covid restrictions and the First Amendment; the constitutionality of self-pardons; Facebook’s new policy court; and his new book "The President Who Would Not Be King."

  • October 2020

The Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings, First Amendment & Disinformation, and Election Chaos

Q&A with Emily Bazelon, New York Times Magazine staff writer, co-host of Slate’s Political Gabfest, and Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School. Emily’s recent NYT magazine article, The First Amendment in the Age of Disinformation, explores the legal, political, and journalistic issues surrounding “fake news” and the impact on…

  • October 2020

Presidential Health and the Transparency of Presidential Medical Records

A conversation with Lawrence Altman, M.D., who has been a New York Times science/medical reporter since 1969, and Josh Dawsey, a Washington Post reporter covering the White House. Dr. Altman has reported on the health of presidents and presidential candidates from the 1972 McGovern/Thomas Eagleton campaign through the Reagan Presidency and into the present day.…

  • September 2020

Barton Gellman on Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Barton Gellman discusses his new book "Dark Mirror," a gripping account of receiving and publishing information from Edward Snowden on the post 9/11 secret surveillance state. Why did Snowden leak to Gellman? Could Snowden be trusted? Did the government try to stop publication? James McLaughlin, who worked alongside Gellman as the…

  • September 2020

First Amendment Scholars Hour with Ronald K.L. Collins

The prolific author and scholar discusses the role of the First Amendment in the cancel culture debate. What is the debate about? Are free speech values being helped or harmed? What role should First Amendment lawyers play? What lessons can we learn from the history of legal suppression of offensive speech?

  • September 2020

What the Lawyers Who Sue the Press Think About the Press and Media Law

Jonathan Peters, a professor at Univ. of Georgia’s Law and Journalism Schools and correspondent for Columbia Journalism Review, interviews three plaintiffs’ libel lawyers.

  • September 2020

The Presidents vs. The Press

The award winning historian Harold Holzer discusses his new book surveying the history of battles between Presidents and the media – from the days of the Founding Fathers to Trump. Are Trump’s threats and bombast unique? Is tension between the President and the press inevitable? How has technology changed the relationship?

  • September 2020

Can a Fictional Character Defame You?

Using a recent legal demand over CBS' "The Good Fight" as a jumping-off point, this session will explore the various ways that real people can find their way into literature and entertainment content and the plausibility of libel claims when those fictional appearances aren't to their liking. Featuring: Jonathan Anschell, Executive Vice President and General…

  • August 2020

The Global Pandemic and Its Effects

Featuring Donald G. McNeil Jr., leading New York Times Science and Health reporter, who has long reported on epidemics and is an expert on the Coronavirus. Where did it derive from? Why is the U.S. so bad at containing its spread? When can we expect a vaccine? How and when will schools, businesses, leisure activities…

  • August 2020

Behind Closed Doors in the Roberts Court

A discussion with legal analyst and author Joan Biskupic on a recent series for CNN exploring how justices on the Roberts court asserted their interests, forged coalitions and navigated political pressure and the coronavirus pandemic.

  • August 2020

How New York Passed Favorable ROP and Anti-SLAPP Bills, and What Can Be Learned by the Other 49?

How favorable ROP and Anti-SLAPP bills were passed by the NY legislature, what they say, how they compare to similar bills nationally, and what media lawyers in other states can learn from the Albany process.

  • July 2020

FOIA, History & the Search for Truth

A conversation with acclaimed novelist Nicholson Baker, whose latest book "Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act" traces his struggle to surface documents on the US military's biological weapons program.

  • July 2020

Is Free Speech in Danger? When Should Offensive Speech be Censored? Problems in Developing Community Standards (And Using Political Correctness) for Moderation of Content

Our call is an open discussion of where and how the lines should be drawn, and why such issues have come to the fore in recent years

  • July 2020

Should Michael Cohen – or Anyone – Go to Jail for Writing a Book about the President?

A discussion about the issues raised by Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s being sent to jail because he didn’t agree to cease publication of his book about President Trump.

  • July 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour: Erwin Chemerinsky

Is the Roberts Court Really Moving to the Center – and Should the Media Be Encouraged by That?

  • July 2020

Rap Lyrics, Criminal Prosecutions, and the First Amendment

This session explores the troubling use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal proceedings.

  • July 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour with Columbia Law Professor Jamal Greene

Professor Jamal Greene discusses his book How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession with Rights Is Tearing America Apart; the relationship between rights and justice; and how we should think about the First Amendment in the current political and cultural climate.

  • July 2020

Nick Kristof on the Crises of 2020

A discussion with Nick Kristof, the New York Times columnist and two-times Pulitzer Prize winner (and seven-times finalist), on the coronavirus; the Black Lives Matter protests; the inequality gap; presidential lies and disinformation; attacks on journalism; the President, the DOJ and the AG; China; gerrymandering and the electoral college; and, finally, the 2020 presidential election.

  • June 2020

The Supreme Court’s Decision in Bostock and the Role of the First Amendment in LGBT Rights

The implication of the Supreme Court's landmark Bostock decision, and whether and how the First Amendment has been used to advance LGBT equality.

  • June 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour with RonNell Anderson

Professor RonNell Anderson discusses how SCOTUS has characterized the press over time; her article “Freedom of the Press in Post-Truthism America” and Trump's denigration of the media.

  • June 2020

Is There a (First Amendment) Responsibility to Publish Unpopular Views?

A discussion about the kerfuffle at The New York Times for its disowning the op-ed piece by Sen. Tom Cotton “Send in the Troops” and A&E Network’s decision to pause production of its cop show Live PD.

  • June 2020

The Business and Law of Podcasting with New York Times’ Michael Barbaro, Host of The Daily

Plus NPR's Ashley Messenger and journalist Nick Quah. They look into the origins of podcasts, the changing business environment, legal issues peculiar to the form, and shows that seem destined for classic status.

  • June 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour with Tim Wu

Professor Tim Wu, Columbia University Law School, specializing in technology and free speech law, speaks about dealing with propaganda and misinformation, content moderation and free speech, and Trump’s Executive Order.

  • June 2020

Fact Checking COVID-19 Information

How has the role of fact-checking organizations changed during the pandemic?

  • June 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour with Professor Geoffrey Stone and President Lee Bollinger

Professor Geoffrey Stone, University of Chicago Law School and author of ten books on constitutional law, and Columbia University president and First Amendment expert Lee Bollinger on leaks, national security and freedom of the press.

  • June 2020

President Trump’s Executive Order Undercutting Section 230

How much of the executive order is bluster, and how much is worthy of actual concern? Is the executive order unconstitutional? How does an executive order trump congressional legislation? What are the limits on the president's ability to rope the FCC and FTC into policing social media? Will Trump’s E.O. lead to Twitter’s censoring Trump?

  • May 2020

Governmental Regulations on Civil Liberties During the Coronavirus Crisis

Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon, and Joe Steinfield, Prince Lobel, discuss the constitutionality of government restrictions on statehouse demonstrations, large gatherings and travel to combat the coronavirus.

  • May 2020

No Laughing Matter: Comedy, the Constitution, and Cancel Culture

Does the First Amendment protect offensive speech in comedy; what’s the value in protecting such speech, particularly in the political arena; is political correctness stifling comedy; and are comedians becoming persona non grata on campuses?

  • May 2020

First Amendment Scholars’ Hour: Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law

Professor Volokh discusses his recent law review article "Anti-Libel Injunctions." Are post-trial libel injunctions prior restraints? Or are they constitutional - and necessary - especially now, when the Internet makes it easier for judgment-proof defendants to damage people’s reputations.

  • May 2020

The Supreme Court’s Open Telephonic Arguments – How Did They Work and Do They Augur More Openness?

Adam Liptak, New York Times Supreme Court correspondent, discusses the last two weeks of telephonic oral arguments before the High Court which were open to the public: How did they work, were they successful, did the public listen-in in numbers, were there glitches or interruptions, were the arguments different, and is this a harbinger of…

  • May 2020

Should Trump’s Coronavirus Press Briefings Be Broadcast Live and In Full?

Two journalists with differing views: Olivia Nuzzi, New York Magazine, who writes that the public should see Trump unfiltered, and Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post, who opines that his briefings are too self-serving and unsafe to be broadcast live and in full.

  • May 2020

It’s Different for Us: Women Journalists Tell their Stories from the Campaign Trail

Three journalists featured at our Annual Dinner program will discuss their reporting since – what they have covered, how coverage in the coronavirus environment is different, how women have fared as journalists and politicians, and possibly conjecture on Biden’s VP pick.

  • April 2020

First Amendment Scholars Hour: Kent State and the Failure of First Amendment Law

Reflecting on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings against the recent centennial of modern First Amendment law, Professor Gregory Magarian of Washington University School of Law will discuss what he sees as a shift in law toward prioritizing powerful speakers over marginal and dissident speakers.

  • April 2020

Access to Court Hearings and Arguments – Is the Public Getting Access to Telephonic and Video Conference Calls

Are the Courts making hearings, motion arguments and appeals available to the public via Zoom video calls and open telephone calls?

  • April 2020

45 Days In: Access to Government Documents and Meetings and FOIA, Revisited

Featuring Katie Townsend, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

  • April 2020

Hollywood, Broadway and Entertainment: How Are They Faring? How Are They Being Covered? And How Will They Come Back?

Will the virus affect the future of television, movies and streaming? How will other cultural institutions - Broadway, concerts, and museums - adapt to a world where people may be afraid to gather in crowds?

  • April 2020

Sports Coverage with No Sports to Cover

How is the media covering sports with no games to report on?

  • April 2020

How Well Is the Media Covering the Crisis?

With Ben Smith, media columnist, New York Times/former editor, BuzzFeed News; and Bill Carter, former media reporter, New York Times

  • April 2020

Privacy and Ethical Considerations in Obtaining & Publishing Corona Patient Information

With David McCraw/Dana Green, New York Times; Lucian Pera, Adams and Reese; and Deborah Fisher, Executive Director, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government