Opening  Plenary Session: New Developments in Digital Media Law and What They Mean

David McCraw, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, The New York Times Company and Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Aftermath of WikiLeaks: The tensions between State Security and Freedom of Information

Will the leaks have a damaging effect on freedom of information and thus on our democracy? Are all of us in this conference room doing enough to ensure that the government and other power brokers like financial institutions don’t damage freedom of the Press?

David McCraw, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for the New York Times, helped guide the Times newsroom in publishing the leaked confidential cables.  Now he fears the government is drawing the wrong conclusions which might damage the freedom of the press. McCraw believes that government secrets, not their leaks, are the greater threat to democracy.

The Wall Street Journal via SafeHouse has started its own WikiLeaks type brand. Would it publish the cables if they had come directly to them? Would places like credit card companies and Pay-pal take restrictive actions against the Wall Street Journal as they have against with WikiLeaks? If they did, how would the Wall Street Journal react? Should financial institutions have this much power over free exchange information? Was a dangerous precedent set without much protest from traditional media?


Breakout Panels:

Apps and Wireless: New Platforms for Online Content Providers and Journalists

Moderator:  Justin Brown, Assistant Professor of Telecommunications, University of South Florida. Panelists include: Rob Bertsche, Prince Lobel, Sosh Howell, CEO AppedOn, and Art Neill, Founder, New Media Rights

An Internet website allows you to put the news on a screen in front of your audience at home, at work, or wherever they might open a web browser.  With mobile apps and wireless technology, your content accompanies your audience with every step they take and is a mere tap of the finger away — and you can even tailor your content based upon your reader’s specific location.  But do you have the rights necessary to transfer your content to this new platform?

  • What exactly is geolocation?
  • What legal risks accompany the use of geolocation data for content tailoring?

This session will discuss these and other issues arising from the use of mobile technology to distribute content and interact with users.

Is Recording in Public a Crime?  Mobile Devices and Newsgathering

Moderator:  Jeff Hermes, Assistant Director of the Citizen Media Law Project, Berkman Center, Harvard University. Panelists include: Mickey H. Osterreicher, General Counsel, National Press Photographers Association, Carlos Miller, Multimedia Journalist, Photography is Not a Crime, and Valerie Cummings, Assistant Professor of Journalism

In Massachusetts, a man was arrested for wiretapping after he used his cell phone in broad daylight in a public park to record an arrest, and a woman was arrested on her own property for photographing a car that has crashed through her fence.  In Miami Beach, police officers pointed their weapons at a man sitting in his car who had just videotaped the officers shooting another man, and seized his camera.  The new Illinois Eavesdropping Act prohibits audio recording of others in public without their permission, even if there is nothing secret about the recording and those recorded have no legitimate expectation of privacy.

  • Can the First Amendment possibly allow this?
  • And what does this mean for journalists who try to cover public officials and gather news in public places?

The panel will explore these recent events and discuss best practices for responding to such incidents.

Social Media and Its Legal Implications: Where Your Personal Life Meets Journalism

Moderator:  Josh Azriel, Associate Professor of Communication, Kennesaw State University.  Panelists include: Dr. Amy Kristin Sanders, Assistant Professor of Mass Communications and Law, University of Minnesota, Justin Brown, Assistant Professor of Telecommunications, University of South Florida and Josh Levs, Journalist, CNN.

Social media platforms provide online content providers and journalists with a vast array of information on various topics from sources around the world. But like every other newsgathering tool, social media can present legal risks if misused. This panel will guide you around the pitfalls of engaging in social media, including:

  • claims for invasion of privacy and dissemination of private facts
  • misrepresentation claims arising out of your interaction with others as a journalist
  • Violations of social media site terms of service and how it can affect you.
  • What does the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act mean for you?
  • What are the risks posed by spoofers and impersonators?

Generating Revenue: Advertising, Branding, and Buzz

Moderator: Leonard Witt, Executive Director, Center for Sustainable Journalism.  Panelists include: Mark VanderBroek, Troutman Sanders, Kari L. Moeller, Senior Counsel, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and and Andrew Christopher, Media and Information Technologies Group, Dow Lohnes.

The biggest question in digital media is how to make money at it. There are a thousand different answers to that question, but all of them are subject to state and federal law. This session will discuss statutory and regulatory regimes for advertising and promotions, including:

  • Use and disclosure of user information for marketing purposes, including behavioral advertising and apps that gather geolocation and other user-specific data
  • brand management and avoidance of others’ trademarks
  • state and federal restrictions on unfair and deceptive trade practices
  • the FTC guidelines on third-party endorsements
  • CAN-SPAM and other statutory marketing rules
  • … and other laws governing advertising, contests and promotions.

Online Community Building and Managing: What are the Legal and Editorial Concerns You Need to Know?

Moderator:  David Ardia, Assistant Professor, UNC Law School.  Panelists include: Johnita Due, Senior Counsel for Corporate Services, Turner Broadcasting , Lesli Gaither, Attorney, Dow Lohnes, PLLC, C. Amanda Martin, General Counsel, North Carolina Press Association, Partner, Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC, and Vera Haller, CUNY.

Allowing users to post content to your site and to interact with one another can create an energetic following that will sustain your business model. It can also expose you to a host of legal issues if not managed properly. This session will discuss managing legal risks arising out of user-generated content, including:

  • The safe harbor for website operators under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (including the latest cases)
    • What is the scope of editorial control that websites can exercise without losing Section 230’s protection?
  • The safe harbor of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • Do you have to and how do you comply with the DMCA’s statutory requirements, including responses to take-down notices and counter-notices?
  • How do you limit legal exposure from trademark violations in user content?
  • What do you do when asked to comply with a subpoena for user’s information?

Copyright: Using the Work of Others and Licensing Your Own Work

Moderator:  Dale Cohen, Communications Law, Emory.  Panelists include:  Clay Calvert, Director, Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, University of Florida, Richard Rimer, Intellectual Property Group, Troutman Sanders LLP, and Deborah Gonzalez, Founder, Law2sm, LLC.

Whether you’re a freelancer or an independent online publisher, you’ll want to know the basics of copyright law. This session will discuss the nature of a copyright and the rights that it includes, and identification of the owner of a copyright. It will also answer the following:

  • Do you need a license to use a certain copyrighted work or can you rely upon the doctrine of fair use or the concept of the “public domain”?
  • How do you license your work and the work of others, including Creative Commons and other share-alike licenses?

This panel will also cover particular concerns for news aggregators and others whose business models depend on third-party content.

Access to Government Information in the Digital Age

Moderator:  Carolyn Carlson, Assistant Professor Journalism and Citizen Media, Kennesaw State University.  Panelists include:  John Jupin, Retired Special Agent, US Dept. of Labor, Office of Inspector General (Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations), and Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The panel will discuss access to government through open meeting laws, FOIA and state public records laws, First Amendment and common law rights of access to judicial proceedings, and rules governing cameras in the courtroom.

  • As a journalist, what rights do you have to obtain records and attend governmental proceedings?
  • What can you do if a judge decides to close a courtroom?
  • Do you need permission to record audio or video?

The panel will also discuss ways in which the easy dissemination of content on the internet has raised concerns among judges and government officials about disclosure of information.

Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs: Business Law Basics for Those Starting or Running an Independent News Organization

Moderator: Daniel A. Shmalo, Founder and Partner, 360 Venture Law LLP. Panelists include:  Doug Kenyon, Hunton & Williams, and Brett Lockwood, Smith, Gambrell & Russell.

You may be a seasoned journalist or a first-time blogger, but if publishing online is your business, there are many legal and practical issues to consider. This session will cover the basics of setting up and running an online business, including:

  • What should I think about when naming my business?
  • Should it be for-profit or non-profit?
  • Choosing a business form (including LLCs, L3Cs, and corporations)
  • freelancer and other content-contributor agreements
  • and record-keeping, taxes and insurance.

Libel Law: Minimizing the Risks of Publishing Online

Moderator: David Ardia, Assistant Professor, UNC Law School. Panelists include: Peter Canfield, Dow Lohnes,  Eric Robinson, University of Nevada, C. Amanda Martin, General Counsel, North Carolina Press Association, Partner, Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC and Clay Calvert, Director, Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, University of Florida.

Everyone wants to get the story right, but unreliable sources and misleading information can sometimes lead you down the garden path. In this session, media lawyers will discuss the basics of avoiding defamation claims, including the legal definition of libel and privileges for opinion and fair reports of government activity. The panelists will also discuss the red flags that they look for when performing pre-publication review, the advice they give for reporters covering sensitive topics, and best practices for responding to legal threats.