Skip to main content
April 2024

MediaLawLetter April 2024

in this issue

Regina Thomas Elected New MLRC Board Chair

George Freeman

At a recent MLRC Board meeting, Regina Thomas was unanimously elected as the Board’s new Chair.


MLRC Goes West

Jeff Hermes

Our Entertainment & Media Law conference kicked off the season on March 21st, with the MLRC working once again with our partners at Southwestern Law School once for our half-day conference in Los Angeles. I’m pleased to report that our early notices were all extremely positive.


DC Court Holds Journalist in Contempt for Refusing to Disclose Confidential Sources

Zachary Babo

Though the district court found Herridge in contempt, Judge Cooper’s opinion noted the possibility that the D.C. Circuit could “take the opportunity to refine the applicable First Amendment test in Herridge’s favor or recognize a new federal common law newsgathering privilege broader than the constitutional analog.” 

Court Quashes Prosecution Subpoena to New Yorker Journalist

Fabio Bertoni

Judge Schofield held that, even though the government sought solely to authenticate non-confidential, on-the-record statements that were published in The New Yorker article, it must meet the heightened standard required for confidential information, because confidential source information is within the scope of a potential defense cross-examination of the reporter.

The Supreme Court Rules on Social Media Blocking

Jeff Hermes

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court enunciated the standards by which a court should determine whether a public official’s action in preventing someone from commenting on the official’s social media page constitutes state action.

Texas Appellate Court Rejects LLC Plaintiff’s Bid for Statewide Venue in Defamation Case

Marc Fuller

A Texas court of appeals recently clarified the state’s venue statute governing libel and slander claims, rejecting an interpretation that would have given limited liability companies, partnerships, and other business entities the ability to file suit almost anywhere in the state.

Eleventh Circuit Declares Florida’s “Stop W.O.K.E. Act” a Constitutional Sin

Daniela Abratt-Cohen

In, Inc. v. Governor of Fla., the Court found unconstitutional a Florida law that prohibits mandatory workplace meetings and trainings that endorse a viewpoint the government finds offensive.


D.C. Circuit Reinforces FOIA’s Foreseeable Harm Requirement

Stephen Stich Match

The statute now generally requires agencies to show both that an exemption applies and that disclosure would cause recognized harm. But despite being on the books for eight years, the D.C. Circuit’s ruling is only one of a handful to grapple with the requirement.

Investigative Reporter Wins Access to California Official’s Calendar Entries

Steve Zansberg

On March 5, Judge Chang issued a Final Ruling, in a case under California’s Public Records Act, granting a Writ of Mandate that commands Governor Gavin Newsom to release the calendar entries of all meetings between his Cabinet Secretary and any representative of Pacific Gas & Electric in May 2023.

Connecticut Supreme Court Reaffirms Public Right to Access Cold Case Records

Stephanie Rice

The Supreme Court of Connecticut issued a ruling of first impression defining the scope of an exception to the state FOIA law allowing police to withhold investigative information “to be used in a prospective law enforcement action” if disclosure would be “prejudicial to such action.”

Texas Federal District Court Grants Access to Previously Sealed Judicial Records in True the Vote Litigation

Zachary Belew

In granting the motion to unseal, the court held that the “public access presumption” outweighed any confidentiality interest True the Vote asserted because True the Vote did not “articulate any specific harm created by the disclosure.”


Authors’ Vicarious Infringement Claims Against ChatGPT Dismissed

Matt Kristoffersen

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently dismissed most of a collection of claims brought by a group of authors against OpenAI, alleging that the artificial intelligence company infringes their copyright when it uses their works to train its large language model ChatGPT.

Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer

Michael Cameron

News Corp. Australia lawyer on his start in media law, big cases, differences between legal cultures in New York and Sydney, Australia must-sees and more.