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February 2019

MediaLawLetter January 2019

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MediaLawLetter January 2019

 Download Publication MLRC From the Executive Director’s Desk: Entertainment Conference Explores #MeToo, IP, and Social Media Backlash 10 Questions to a Media Lawyer: Ashley Kissinger DEFAMATION & PRIVACY S.D. Fla.: Courts Grants BuzzFeed Summary Judgment in Dossier CaseGubarev v. BuzzFeed, Inc. 11th Cir.: Media Coalition Supports Rehearing En Banc on Applicability of Georgia Anti-SLAPP Law…

10 Questions to a Media Lawyer: Ashley Kissinger

Ashley I. Kissinger is Of Counsel at Ballard Spahr in Denver and Boulder. 1. How’d you get into media law? What was your first job? I stumbled across a job ad in the early days of the internet. Well, actually, my boyfriend did. It was 1998. We were in Austin, Texas, planning a move together…

Senator Brian Schatz and Democratic Co-Sponsors Introduce Data Care Act

By Naomi Sosner In December, the day after Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on data privacy issues, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz introduced legislation that he later described hopefully as the foundation of a future and “big privacy package on a bipartisan basis.” The Data Care Act of 2018, a 14-page…


The State of Transparency in the Commonwealth of Kentucky

By Jon L. Fleischaker, Michael P. Abate, and Cassie Chambers Armstrong Transparency is under attack in Kentucky. Historically, Kentucky has had one of most expansive Open Records Acts in the country. As a result, the press—and the public—have enjoyed broad access to government records. Yet Republican lawmakers—including the current Governor’s administration—are seeking to curtail that…


First Circuit: Juror Names and Addresses Remain Public in the Age of Social Media

By Jeffrey J. Pyle and Sigmund D. Schutz Nearly 30 years ago, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that judges in the District of Massachusetts must release the names and home addresses of jurors after trial, absent exceptional circumstances justifying impoundment. In re Globe Newspaper Co., 920 F.2d 88 (1st Cir. 1990)….


Canada’s Supreme Court Declines to Change Test for Media Production Orders

By Paul Schabas and Kaley Pulfer The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that production orders against the media will continue to be assessed based on a vague, discretionary test. In a much-awaited decision in R. v. Vice Media Canada Inc., the Supreme Court upheld an order that Vice journalist Ben Makuch, had to turn…

Puerto Rico District Court Declines to Address Preemption Challenge to San Juan Drone Regulation

By John W. Scott and Charles D. Tobin A federal court in Puerto Rico recognized support for the argument that federal law preempts drone restrictions in local ordinances – an issue of concern for newsrooms that have launched expanded aerial news coverage – but ultimately decided not to reach the issue. Pan Am v. Municipality…


Court Grants Summary Judgment in Public Official Defamation Action

“Now more than ever we depend upon the free press…” By Andrew Pauwels In an opinion and order issued on January 18, 2019, Judge Matthew Leitman, District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted summary judgment in favor of Scripps Media, Inc. in a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Detroit public official…


Nebraska Court Rejects Newspaper Reporter’s Challenge to Coverage of His Scuffle with Parking Attendant

By Tiffany B. Gelott A Nebraska state judge dismissed a defamation case – brought, ironically, by a newspaper reporter – holding that a television station’s coverage of the reporter’s run-in with a city parking employee was substantially true and protected by the fair report privilege. See Cooper v. WOWT-Channel 6 Gray Television Group Inc., Case…

WPIX Granted Two Summary Judgments Where No Gross Irresponsibility

By Bruce S. Rosen and Lisa Washburn Two separate New York state judges have dismissed defamation suits against WPIX -TV in New York, a Tribune Media station, in both cases because the plaintiffs failed to prove the station and its reporters engaged in “gross irresponsibility,” New York State’s intermediate malice standard for private plaintiffs and…


Does the Texas Anti-SLAPP Law Apply in Federal Court? … Stay Tuned

By Laura Prather Courts’ views of whether state anti-SLAPP statutes apply in federal court continue to be a judicial checkerboard across the country, and the United States Supreme Court again in December declined to take the opportunity to clarify the issue. See Americulture, Inc. v. Los Lobos, Docket No. 18-89, cert. denied (December 3, 2018)….


D.C. Anti-SLAPP Law: 2018 in Review

By Leslie Paul Machado In these early days of the new year, I thought it would be useful to take a look back at the 2018 decisions and developments involving the DC anti-SLAPP statute, as they will continue to impact this area of the law in 2019 and beyond. The Door to Federal Court Remains…


Media Coalition Supports Rehearing En Banc on Applicability of Georgia Anti-SLAPP Law in Federal Court

A media amicus coalition, including MLRC and 24 other organizations, has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reconsider en banc a panel decision ruling that the Georgia anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in diversity actions in federal court. The issue of whether state anti-SLAPP statutes apply in federal court is…

Courts Grants BuzzFeed Summary Judgment in Dossier Case

By Adam Lazier After nearly two years of litigation, on December 19, 2018 a Florida federal court granted summary judgment to the defendants in Gubarev v. BuzzFeed, one of the closely-watched defamation lawsuits brought against BuzzFeed over its publication of the so-called “Steele Dossier.” Gubarev v. BuzzFeed, Inc., No. 1:17-cv-60426 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 19, 2018)….

From the Executive Director’s Desk: Entertainment Conference Explores #MeToo, IP, and Social Media Backlash

By George Freeman Last month, the MLRC convened its annual Entertainment & Media Law Conference in Los Angeles. Though to the amazement of those of us expecting the highly touted SoCal weather, it didn’t stop raining from the moment we arrived in LA till the minute we left, the Conference was a great success. As…