This page provides access to our work on various issues, including research papers, white papers and issue guides, participation in litigation as an amicus curiae, conferences and speaking events, advisory work, and media appearances.
The DMLP coordinates and participates in amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in cases raising important First Amendment and intellectual property issues. In cooperation with the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, also hosted at the Berkman Center, the DMLP has had a substantial role in preparing more than twenty legal briefs, including briefs directed to the United States Supreme Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. See our Amicus Efforts page for more information.
Guides, White Papers and Primers
- Tax-Exempt Journalism and the IRS
- Newsgathering in Massachusetts (co-produced with the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic; PDF file formatted for booklet printing)
- Documenting the Vote 2012
- Guide to Reporting at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions
Frequently Asked Questions Guide to Reporting on Occupy Wall Street
- Printable pocket version of the FAQ Guide
- Mobile version of FAQ Guide with general information for protests nationwide (hosted and co-produced by our partner organization, the First Amendment Coalition)
- The Rise of the News Aggregator: Legal Implications and Best Practices
- Primer on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act
- Primer on Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies
- Shield Law Primer & Resources
- Live-Blogging and Tweeting from Court
Legal Education and Training
- In June 2011, former DMLP Director David Ardia, working with Professor Geanne Rosenberg of City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism and Baruch College, published an online, self-directed course on newsgathering law and liability for Poynter News University.
- In November 2008 and summer 2009, the DMLP partnered with YouTube to create instructional videos for its Reporters' Center and Video Your Vote initiatives.
- In September 2008, the DMLP partnered with News University at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies to provide legal expertise for the creation of a course entitled Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers. The interactive course was specifically designed for individuals and journalists engaged in online publishing, and covers three important areas of media law -- defamation, privacy, and copyright.
- In 2007, the DMLP assisted the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism in the creation of multimedia modules on the "Top 10 Rules for Limiting Legal Risk" hosted on J-Lab's Knight Citizen News Network.
- In February 2012, DMLP Director Jeff Hermes was invited by the European Commission and Hague Conference on Private International Law as a delegate to the Joint Conference on Access to Foreign Law in Civil and Commercial Matters. He was invited to comment on the proceedings of the Conference based upon his experience in providing legal resources to a broad community and his familiarity with the role of access to law in an open society.
- The DMLP serves on the Advisory Board of the OpenCourt project, a groundbreaking experiment in public access to the courts run by WBUR, Boston's NPR news station. OpenCourt provides all-day, live-streaming video of court proceedings at the Quincy District Court just south of Boston, and also provides a WiFi network for use by journalists and bloggers in the courtroom. In its advisory role, the DMLP provides in-depth knowledge of First Amendment issues and the public's right of access to the courts. This has included advising OpenCourt in connection with successful litigation to protect itself against prior restraints on distribution of the video that it has recorded.
- On April 21, 2011, the DMLP was invited to address the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Media Judiciary Committee about proposed amendments to SJC Rule 1:19, which deals with cameras and media access to Massachusetts courtrooms. In accordance with the DMLP's comments, the Supreme Judicial Court adopted a revised Rule 1:19 that provided for expanded recognition of digital media and citizen journalists in the courts.
Conferences and Speaking Events
The DMLP, in conjunction with the core staff of the Berkman Center, regularly produces conferences on media law topics either on its own or in conjunction with partner organizations throughout the United States. Past conferences include:
- Filling the News Gap in Cambridge and Beyond: Citizen Journalism and Grass Roots Media (a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Cambridge Community Television) - May 4, 2013, Cambridge, MA (co-produced with the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic)
- Planting the Seeds of Freedom: A Celebration of the First Amendment - March 20, 2012, Columbia, MO
- Media Law in the Digital Age: The Rules Have Changed - Again - October 22, 2011, Kennesaw, GA
- Law School for Digital Journalists - September 22, 2011, Cambridge, MA
- Media Law in the Digital Age: The Rules Have Changed, Have You? - September 25, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Journalism's Digital Transition: Unique Legal Challenges and Opportunities - April 9, 2010, Cambridge, MA
- National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2011 Conference
- Journalism That Matters 2011: Create or Die 2
- 2011 Block-by-Block Community News Summit
- 2012 Rethink Music Conference
- Society of Professional Journalists of Connecticut 2012 Conference
- Social Networking Sites: Law, Policy And Practical Strategies, Suffolk Law School, April 13, 2012
- University of Massachusetts at Lowell, October 25, 2011 (music & copyright law)
- Elon University, November 8, 2011 (digital journalism law)
- Columbia School of Journalism, November 19, 2011 and February 11, 2012 (content aggregation law)
- Lesley University, September 26, 2012 (legal and ethical issues for journalists)
- Harvard Law School, March 7, 2013 (liability of online service providers and content intermediaries)
- Northeastern University, March 25, 2013 (online privacy law)
The DMLP is recognized as an authoritative source of information on legal issues, and grants interviews to journalists and other media entities in order to promote accurate information about the law in response to current events. Please visit our Press Room for more information about our media appearances.