Media Law

Law 765: This course will explore issues relating to the mass media, including print, broadcast, cable and Internet communications. The course will consider constitutional issues such as the extent of First Amendment protection for the media and nonconstitutional issues such as protection available to the press under state shield laws. Specific topics that will be covered include government efforts to prevent publication of national security information, government censorship of offensive speech, press rights of access to information, balancing the rights of criminal defendants to a fair trial against the public’s right to know, protection for confidential sources, the power of the Federal Communications to regulate broadcast speech and tort liability of the media. This course also is taught under the name Communications Law. Students who have previously successfully completed the course in Communications Law may not enroll in Media Law.

Required Textbooks

Franklin, Anderson & Lidsky, Cases and Materials: Mass Media Law,
Foundation Press, 7th ed., ISBN-13: 978-15877-8773-7

Franklin, Anderson & Lidsky, 2009 Supplement to Cases and Materials: Mass Media Law, ISBN-13: 978-15994-1686-1

Note: Both parts (Part One and Part Two) of the course review are now posted under Exam Review Materials below.


Group Assignment Calendar

Additional Cases

Kasky v. Nike, Inc.

Citizens United v. FEC (includes background material, lower court opinion, and excerpts from Supreme Court briefs)

United States v. Stevens

O'Grady v. Superior Court

ACLU v. Department of Defense

Other Class Materials

Tort Actions

Federal Wiretap Statute

Press-Enterprise II Standard

Freedom of Information Act

Federal Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 (passed in the House)

White House Seeks to Weaken Media Shield Bill

Washington State Shield Law (2007)

Innocence Project Blog

Innocence Project Website

Distribution Hypotheticals (Assignment 11)

First Amendment Analysis of Government Media

FCC - Obscenity, Indecency and Profanity FAQ

FCC Consumer Facts - Blocking Objectionable Programming

Statutes and Rules on Candidate Appearances & Advertising

Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6

Trailer for "Hillary: The Movie"

Unprotected Speech Categories

Balancing in First Amendment Analysis

New York Times v. Sullivan advertisement (picture and text)

New York Times v. Sullivan Advertisement (text)

Legal Issues Related to Bloggers

Golan v. Holder

Online Defamation Law


Section 230 Protection

Intellectual Property

Bloggers' Rights

Supreme Court Watch

Jeffrey Toobin - Colbert Report - Citizens United

The Word - Colbert Report - Citizens United

Exam Review Materials

General Memo on Improving Exam Performance

2009 Media Law Review - Part One

2009 Media Law Review - Part Two

Student Questions Answered 2009

Media Law Examinations

  • Fall 2009
  • Fall 2007
  • Spring 2005
  • Spring 1995
  • Fall 1989

  • Media Law Answer Sheets

  • Fall 2009
  • Fall 2007
  • Spring 2005
  • Spring 1995
  • Fall 1989

  • Related Links

    National Freedom of Information Coalition


    The FOIA blog