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June 2021

MediaLawLetter June 2021

PUBLICATION:
SCOTUS Ruling on Computer Fraud and Abuse Act May Help Investigative Journalists; New York Appeals Court Dismisses Porco v. Lifetime; Calling a Person Racist or Attributing Racist Statements to Him Not Actionable in Defamation; As Harry And Meghan Become a Hybrid Royal /Celebrity Couple, What If Any Is Their Impact on Celebrity Reporting?; Reflecting on the 50th Anniversary of the Pentagon Papers Case; 10 Questions for Judy Endejan and more.
in this issue

The Pentagon Papers 50 Years Later

George Freeman

Fifty years has not definitively resolved the impact and import of the Pentagon Papers case. Was it a monumental victory for the press? Was it a loss, since for the first time the courts imposed a prior restraint on a newspaper? Or was it an inconsequential one-off, since it hasn’t been a precedent for many subsequent cases?

SCOTUS Ruling on Computer Fraud and Abuse Act May Help Investigative Journalists

Lynn Oberlander and Charles D. Tobin

Journalists may face less risk for commonplace investigative computer reporting techniques thanks to a recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas High Court: Revenge Porn Law Survives Strict Scrutiny

Adam Goodrum

The Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the statute does not violate the First Amendment, and thus the state may prosecute a person for sharing intimate sexual photos of another when the defendant was not involved in the depicted encounter.

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New York Appeals Court Dismisses Porco v. Lifetime

Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein

The unanimous decision provides much-needed guidance to creators of content about real people and events, making clear that a docudrama about a newsworthy subject cannot give rise to a Section 51 claim unless it misleads viewers into believing that it is entirely accurate.

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Utah Court: Calling a Person Racist or Attributing Racist Statements to Him Not Actionable in Defamation

Victoria R. Luman

In dismissing the claims, the court ruled that characterizing a statement as racist is a non-actionable opinion protected by the First Amendment.

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Ninth Circuit Finds Section 230 Defense Inapplicable in Snapchat Speed Filter Suit

Matt Kristoffersen

As the panel wrote, the defendants are not trying to hold Snap liable as a publisher under Section 230. Rather, Snap is liable for a negligently designed product as a manufacturer — a completely different role.

Sixth Circuit Dismisses Journalist’s Claims of Interference in Newsgathering

Christopher Proczko

Thomas believed that her removal and subsequent exclusion from the List was retribution, motivated by the City government’s disapproval of her coverage.

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As Harry And Meghan Become a Hybrid Royal /Celebrity Couple, What If Any Is Their Impact on Celebrity Reporting?

Amber Melville-Brown

The employment of a PR velvet glove around an iron legal fist appears to be the couple’s strategy for elbowing third party reporters and snappers out of the way as they take control of their own images.

Ten Questions to a Media Lawyer

Judy Endejan

The Washington state attorney discusses work history, favorite cases, COVID routines and more.