COMMUNICATION LAW

LAW 867 -- Spring 2004 -- 3 Credits

Monday 6:00-7:25 p.m. & Thursday 8:00-9:25 p.m.
170 Administration Building, HARRISBURG



WILLIAM MARTIN SLOANE, Adjunct Professor

[email protected] - (717) 249-1069


University of Pittsburgh

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BOOK:  Franklin, Anderson & Cate, Mass Media Law:  Cases & Materials, 6th edn. (Foundation, 2000).

"[W]ho ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"

--John Milton, Areopagitica  (1644)


READING ASSIGNMENTS

CLASS:
DATE 2004
Casebook Pages Update Pages TOPICS
#1:
12 January
v-vi & 1-28 . . . The First Amendment & Government Regulation
#2:
15 January
28-57 1-2 The First Amendment and the Media
No Class
19 January
. . . . . . . . .
#3:
22 January
57-85 2-3 The First Amendment and the Media [continued]
#4:
26 January
85-115 3 "
#5:
29 January
115-146 . . . Content-Neutral Regulation of Media
#6:
2 February
146-171 3-6 "
#7:
5 February
171-203 6 Content-Based Regulation of Media
#8:
9 February
203-228 . . . "
#9:
12 February
228-256 6-10 "
#10:
16 February
256-280 10-11 "
#11:
19 February
280-310 . . . Legal Issues Arising from Publication
#12:
23 February
310-339 11-12 Defamation
No Class
26 February
. . . . . . . . .
No Class
1 March
. . . . . . . . .
No Class
4 March
. . . . . . . . .
#13:
8 March
339-368 12 Defamation [continued]
#14:
11 March
368-395 12-13 "
#15:
15 March
395-421 13-15 "
#16:
18 March
422-451 15-16 Protecting Privacy
#17:
22 March
451-483 16-17 Liability for Emotional, Economic & Physical Harm
#18:
25 March
483-509 17-18 "
#19:
29 March
509-535 18-19 "
#20:
1 April
535-564 19 Copyright
#21:
5 April
564-595 19-21 Legal Issues Arising from Newsgathering
#22:
8 April
596-620 21-23 Newsgathering Torts
#23:
12 April
620-648 23-25 Subpoenas and Searches
#24:
15 April
648-676 25 Access to Information
#25:
19 April
676-701 25-28 "
#26:
22 April
701-728 28-30 Access to Judicial Proceedings
#27:
26 April
728-757 30-33 "
#28:
29 April
757-779 33-36 "
No Class 3 May unless
needed for make-up
. . . . . . . . .
No Class 6 May unless
needed for make-up
. . . . . . . . .
8 May 6:30 p.m. FINAL EXAMINATION


SCOPE AND EMPHASIS:  This is a course about law as it applies to journalism, including an in-depth examination of the First Amendment Speech and Press clauses, selected torts, and newsgathering issues.

REQUIREMENTS:  (1)  Students should read the assignments in the casebook and supplement (handout), according to the above schedule, and should be prepared to recite oral briefs and answer questions in class.  (2)  Students should check the course TWEN page periodically for announcements and other information posted by the instructor or by other students.  (3)  Students will take a traditional, in-class, closed-book final examination consisting of four essay questions, each weighted equally.  The questions will be based on issues raised in the casebook and/or supplement and/or class discussion.

ATTENDANCE:  The ABA and Widener University policy is that students must attend at least 22.4 classes without exception.  No excuses can be accepted for failing to meet this residency requirement.  Any student who misses 5.7 or more classes will receive a course grade of "IW" (Involuntary Withdrawal); the instructor will endeavor, but does not guarantee, to notify students who are approaching this limit.  Arriving late or leaving early is counted as a partial absence.  A student who misses the roll call at the beginning of class is irrebuttably presumed to be absent unless he/she makes his/her presence known to the instructor immediately after class.

COMMUNICATION:  Students are encouraged to contact the instructor at any time, either privately via email or phone, or publicly via the TWEN bulletin board for the course.  Individual meetings can be arranged at a mutually convenient time and place.

GRADING:  The course grade will be determined by the grade received on the final examination, which may be raised or lowered by one grade (e.g., from B+ to A-, or from C to C-) on the basis of the student's class participation.  The instructor will be available over the summer to review the final exams with any student who is interested and to suggest means for improvement in writing successful essay answers.




Selected First Amendment "Macro-Issues"

{1}  Access Theory:  Freedom v. Competition;  Speaking v. Hearing;  Kant v. Mill

Associated Press v. United States (1945)

Kansas City Star Co. v. United States (1957)

Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission (1969)*

Columbia Broadcasting System v. Democratic National Committee (1973)

Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974)

Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (1976)

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Co. v. Public Service Commission (1983)

Muir v. Alabama Educational Television Commission (1983)*

Syracuse Peace Council v. Federal Communications Commission (1990)

{2}  "Strings Attached"  &  "Waiver of Rights"  v.  "Constitutional Right to a Subsidy"

Grosjean v. American Press Co. (1936)

American Communications Association v. Douds (1950)

*Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. Federal Communications Commission (1969)

Snepp v. United States (1980)

*Muir v. Alabama Educational Television Commission (1983)

Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue (1983)

Federal Communications Commission v. League of Women Voters of California (1984)

Arkansas Writers' Project v. Ragland (1987)

Leathers v. Medlock (1991)

Rust v. Sullivan (1991)

Waters v. Churchill (1994)

Rosenberger v. Regents and Visitors of the University of Virginia (1995)

Can you think of any other cases that should be included on either list?



MINIMUM FAULT STANDARD FOR EACH LIBEL ELEMENT

At
Common
Law

After New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)

After Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974)

After Dun & Bradstreet v. Greenmoss Builders (1985)

After Philadelphia Newspapers v. Hepps (1986)

Publication

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

Identification

Strict liability

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Defamation

Strict liability

Strict liability

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Falsity

Strict liability, with burden on D to prove truth

Strict liability, with burden on D to prove truth; but if P is a public official being criticized for performance of official duties, then P must prove actual malice

(Topic is of public concern):  At least negligence, with burden on D to prove truth; if P is seeking presumed or punitive damages, or if P is a public figure seeking ANY damages, then P must prove actual malice

(Topic is of private concern):  Same as before, but as long as P is a private figure, then negligence is sufficient to receive presumed or punitive damages

If there is a media D and the topic is of public concern, then P (public or private figure) must prove falsity

 

 

1992 by
Wm. Martin Sloane