Newsgathering

I Can Clearly See You’re Nuts: ACORN’s Insane Civil Suit

I'm pretty sure I can struggle my way out. First I'll just reach in and pull my legs out, now I'll pull my arms out with my face. – Homer J. Simpson, The Simpsons, Bart Gets An Elephant, 1F15

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

CMLP Releases Second Newsgathering and Privacy Video for YouTube Reporters' Center

We are proud to announce the release of Newsgathering and Privacy Part 2 - Stay on the Story, Don't Become the Story!, the second of two short videos addressing the legal issues people are likely to face as they head out with camera in hand to cover the news.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

News Flash: Watching the Erin Andrews Video Is Perverted, Not Illegal

CBS News is reporting that downloading or watching the peephole video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews walking around naked in a hotel room is a crime:

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

CMLP Partners with YouTube to Help Launch Reporters' Center

As part of today's launch of YouTube's Reporters' Center, which features how-to videos on news reporting, the Citizen Media Law Project created a short video addressing some of the newsgathering and privacy issues people are likely to face as they head out with camera in hand to cover the news.  The two-part series of newsgathering videos (the first video is

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

First Circuit Webcasting Argument Stems From Long History of Rules on Cameras in Courts

On Wednesday, April 8, the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston heard oral argument (mp3) on whether a trial of a Boston University student sued for music downloading, Sony BMG Music v. Tenenbaum, should be allowed to be webcast live. Federal district judge Nancy Gertner had agreed to allow the webcast, but the recording industry plaintiffs appealed.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Texas Moves Closer to Shielding Journalists, Bloggers' Protection Unclear

Bloggers in the Lone Star State are being left out of a law that would give journalists limited protection against subpoenas. The Texas House has passed overwhelmingly a bill that would let Texas join some 36 other states in erecting a shield for journalists who want to keep confidential information secret, even in the face of a subpoena.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

The Mortgage Specialists, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

11/12/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Implode Explode Heavy Industries, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Rockingham County Superior Court, New Hampshire

Case Number: 

08-E-572

Legal Counsel: 

William L. Chapman, Jeremy D. Eggleton - Orr & Reno, PA

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued
Material Removed

Description: 

The following is a user-submitted description:

Mortgage lender Mortgage Specialists filed a petition for injunctive relief against Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, a website that reports and publishes stories concerning the US housing-finance sector.  In one story, Implode Explode covered Mortgage Specialists, a New Hampshire corporation.  As part of the story, Implode Explode posted a .pdf copy of a document it received from an anonymous source, detailing Mortgage Specialists' loan volume in recent years.  Mortgage Specialists sued Implode Explode seeking an order compelling Implode Explode to refrain from posting the document, to disclose the identity of the source of the document, to produce all other documents obtained from the same source, and to disclose the identity of an anonymous poster who commented on the article about Mortgage Specialists and allegedly made defamatory statements.

The trial court rejected Implode Explode's arguments on personal jurisdiction and on the merits, granting all of Mortgage Specialists' requests for relief.  Implode Explode has a filed a motion to stay the injunctive order pending appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.  Questions on appeal would involve: the right to publish under the New York Times standard; the protection of sources under the New Hampshire qualified reporter's privilege; the application of the test for injunctive relief where the petitioner's claims are against a third party and not the respondent; and the application of the Dendrite Test to the compelled disclosure of anonymous posters on websites.

Update:

4/7/09 - Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc. filed a notice of appeal from Justice McHugh's order.

4/14/2009 - Justice McHugh stayed most of his order pending pending appeal.

6/22/2009 - Citizen Media Law Project and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press submitted amicus brief in N.H. Supreme Court. ML-Implode filed its appellant's brief.

7/22/2009 - Mortgage Specialists filed its appellee's brief.

8/6/2009 - Implode-Explode filed its reply brief.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Threat Source: 

User Submission Form

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

House Passes Federal Shield Bill

Dave Aeikens at SPJ and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press report that last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Wisconsin Athletic Association Fumbles with Lawsuit Over Paper's High School Football Webcast

High school athletics tend to be held out as an important tool for teaching youth important skills: teamwork, fair play, and hard work.  The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association ("WIAA") is adding one more lesson to the lesson plan: disrespect for freedom of the press.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Citizen Journalist's Guide to Open Government

J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University's School of Communication, just announced the launch of "The Citizen Journalist’s Guide to Open Government," an extensive multimedia module to help citizen media creators understan

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Roe v. McClellan

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/31/2007

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jack Justin McClellan

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County; Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California

Case Number: 

PS010050 (trial court); B203651 (appeal)

Legal Counsel: 

Jack Justin McClellan (pro se, trial court hearing); Richard Mario Procida - Law Office of Richard Mario Procida (on appeal)

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued
Material Removed

Description: 

In summer 2007, parents in Santa Clarita, California sought an injunction against Jack McClellan, a self-proclaimed pedophile who maintained websites promoting his belief that "girl-love" is positive and healthy. 

According to the MLRC, McClellan's website stated that its purpose was "to promote association, friendship; and legal, nonsexual, consensual touch[ing] (hugging, cuddling, etc) between men and prepubescent girls."  In 2007, McClellan visited a number of events and places where children congregate in California and the Pacific Northwest in order to photograph children in attendance and to provide commentary on his websites, according to an appellate decision in the case.  His website included photographs of fully clothed children taken at these public events and places.

The Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, granted a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against McClellan and his websites on August 3, 2007.  McClellan was arrested for violating the order and served 10 days in jail.

After a hearing on August 24, 2007, in which McClellan represented himself, the Superior Court issued a permanent injunction barring McClellan from:

(1) harassing, attacking, threatening, assaulting (sexually or otherwise), hitting, following, stalking, keeping under surveillance, blocking the movement, loitering, with or around Jane Roe, Jane Roe 2 [the anonymous plaintiffs], or any minor child; (2) contacting (directly or indirectly), telephoning, sending messages, mailing, e-mailing, photographing, videotaping, and otherwise recording or publishing any image of Jane Roe, Jane Roe 2, or any minor child without the parent or guardian's written consent; (3) taking any action, directly or through others, to obtain the addresses or locations of Jane Roe, Jane Roe 2, or any minor child; (4) being within 10 yards of any place where children congregate, including schools, playgrounds, and child care centers; and (5) loitering where minor children congregate, including, but not limited to schools, parks, and playgrounds.

McClellan appealed, arguing that the injunction violated his First Amendment rights because it was based on the content of his speech that promotes sexual relations with children as being healthy, and because it constituted a prior restraint on his publishing activities. 

The California Court of Appeal, Second District, affirmed the lower court, reasoning that the injunction did not bar McClellan from expressing his views, but rather from voyeuristic and stalking activity that is "offensive, frightening, menacing, and not protected by McClellan's free speech or assembly rights." Although the decision is not entirely clear, it also suggests that McClellan invaded the privacy of those children whose photographs appeared on his website, both by appropriating their likenesses for an exploitative purpose and casting them in a false light.

Content Type: 

CMLP Notes: 

to-do: check for appeal to Cal Supreme

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

New York Times Calls on Inauguration Attendees to Submit Their Photos

In much the same spirit as its Polling Place Photo Project, the New York Times is calling on attendees of this week's inaugural events to submit their photos for publication:

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

CMLP Publishes Guide to Covering the 2009 Presidential Inauguration

Heading to Washington, D.C., to attend the Presidential Inauguration?  You're bringing your camera with you, right?  Well it shouldn't come as any surprise that heightened security measures across the Washington area will affect where you can go, what you can bring with you, and what you can do to document the inaugural events.  In an effort to help

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Get Out And Vote: Election Day Resources

I am about to head out and vote, but before I do I want to exhort all of our readers who haven't yet voted to GO OUT AND VOTE!  Don't know where to vote?  Go here to find out.  Once you've voted, do your part and upload the details of your experience to one (or all) of the organizations seeking to collect information about this election. 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Documenting Your Vote: Massachusetts Election Laws

Massachusetts has no statutory provision that specifically prohibits the use of photographic or video equipment inside a polling place while you are voting.  There is, however, a Massachusetts statute that makes it a crime to "hinder[], delay[] or interfere[] with . . .

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Newsgathering