We have some important news to share from the Digital Media Law Project. After seven years of providing legal assistance to independent journalism through various methods, the DMLP will soon spin off its most effective initiatives and cease operation as a stand-alone project within the Berkman Center. The upcoming changes will ensure that our work continues in a robust and sustainable fashion, and so, while those of us here are a bit melancholy to see the end of an era, we are hopeful for what comes next.
I wanted to take this opportunity to look back over the history of the DMLP and its accomplishments, and to talk a bit about what the future will hold for our work.
In 2007, a group of scholars and attorneys at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society recognized a growing problem for online speech: namely, that a vast array of bloggers, citizen journalists, and other non-professional writers were publishing information on the Internet without a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the law. Those without legal training or resources were unprepared for challenges such as defamation, privacy, and copyright claims, and often ran into pitfalls when dealing with issues such as corporate formation, contract negotiation, and development of website policies.
While the Berkman Center had been providing legal services to online ventures for several years through the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, this growing need among independent publishers was simultaneously too widespread for the Clinic to address through its existing service model and too basic in many specific instances to present a valid case-by-case training opportunity for law students. A different approach was required. read more »