Media Law - Law 765-01
Fall, 2009                  
Professor Harpaz
Office - Room 317
Mailbox - Room 307
Office telephone - 782-1437
E-mail -                   


Required Reading: Mass Media Law: Cases and Materials by Franklin, Anderson & Lidsky, (7th edition, Foundation Press, 2005) and 2009 Supplement to Mass Media Law.  Additional online materials will also be assigned as course reading.    

Course Description: 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.

First Amendment:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Grading:  There will be a three-hour closed book examination.

Class Participation:  The class will be divided into 6 groups by alphabetical order.  The groups will rotate principal responsibility for the reading assignments beginning on September 1st.

Note re Assignments: Each assignment represents the reading for a single class.  If we do not complete an assignment in a single class, you should nevertheless read the next assignment in its entirety.  However, once we fall one full class behind in the reading, no new reading will be assigned for the succeeding class.


1. Casebook Pages 272-282 (New York Times v. Sullivan)
Casebook Pages 2-20 (The First Amendment and the Media: Introduction and Values Served by Speech)

2. Casebook Pages 21-41 (Values Served by Speech and Methods of First Amendment Analysis: Balancing - Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia and Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co.)

3. Casebook Pages 41-42 (Introduction to Categorical Approach)
Kasky v. Nike, Inc.
Casebook Pages 51-56

4. Casebook Pages 56-76 (The Press Clause)         
Citizens United v. FEC (includes background material, lower court opinion, and excerpts from Supreme Court briefs)

5. Casebook Pages 76-85  (Are Electronic Media Different?)
Casebook Pages 86-110 (Content Based Regulations of the Media: Prior Restraints)

6. Casebook Supplement Pages 5-12 (Prior Restraints)    
Casebook Pages 110-132 (Content-Based Regulation of Media: Speech About Judicial Proceedings)

7. Casebook Pages 132-148 (Content-Based Regulation of Media: Speech Concerning Elections and Sexually Explicit Speech)
Casebook Supplement Pages 12-16
United States v. Stevens

8. Casebook Pages 148-168 (Content-Based Regulation of Media: Broadcast Indecency)
Casebook Supplement Pages 16-21
9. Casebook Pages 186-200 (Content-Based Regulation of Media: Government-Sponsored Speech)
Casebook Supplement Pages 22-23

10. Casebook Pages 200- 225 (Content-Neutral Regulation of Media)
Casebook Supplement Page 24

11. Casebook Pages 225-250 (Content-Neutral Regulation of Media)

12. Casebook Pages 560-583 (Subpoenas and Searches: Reporter's Privilege)
Casebook Supplement pages 51-54 (top of page - read only Judge Sentelle's opinion)
Casebook Supplement pages 63-65

13. Casebook Pages 583-602 (Reporter's Privilege: Applying the Privilege)
Casebook Supplement pages 65-69
O'Grady v. The Superior Court
Federal Free Flow of Information Act (passed in House, pending in Senate)
Illinois Reporter's Privilege Act

14. Access to Information: Records
pages 603-628
Casebook Supplement pages 69-78

15.  ACLU v. Department of Defense
Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009
Access to Governmental Meetings and Institutions
pages 628-643
Casebook Supplement pages 78-80

16.  Criminal Law Restrictions on Access, Discriminatory Access, and Courtroom Access
pages 653-681
Casebook Supplement pages 81-82

17.  Access to Judicial Proceedings, Jurors and Witnesses
pages 681-709
Casebook Supplement pages 82-83

18.  Legal Issues Arising from Newsgathering: Newsgathering Torts
pages 500-530
Casebook Supplement. pages 45-50

19.  Legal Issues Arising from Newsgathering: Newsgathering Torts
pages 530-559
Casebook Supplement pages 50-51