Welcome to the website of the Digital Media Law Project. The DMLP was a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2007 to 2014. Due to popular demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated. Please check any information you find here for accuracy and completeness.
Today we are launching the first sections of the Citizen Media Law Project's Legal Guide. The guide is intended for
use by citizen media creators with or without formal legal training, as
well as others with an interest in these issues, and addresses the legal issues that you may encounter as
you gather information and publish your work online.
The legal guide, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, covers the 15 most populous U.S. states and the District of Columbia and will focus on the wide range of legal issues online publishers are likely to face, including risks associated with publication, such as defamation and privacy torts; intellectual property; access to government information; newsgathering; and general legal issues involved in setting up a business.
For today's launch we are starting where we think you would likely start, with sections on
Forming a Business and Getting Online, which covers the practical issues to consider in deciding how to carry on your online
publishing activities, including forming a for-profit and nonprofit business entity, choosing an online platform, and dealing with critical legal issues relating to the mechanics of online publishing.
Dealing with Online Legal Risks, which covers managing your site and reducing your legal risks, finding insurance, finding legal help, and responding to the different kinds of legal threats you may face as a result of your online publishing activities.
You can search the legal
guide, browse by state, or simply navigate through it like a book. Because of its enormous scope, we can't create this legal guide alone. We need your help
to keep the information accurate and up to date. If you see something we've missed or gotten wrong, please let us know by using our contact form.
Throughout the spring, we will roll out a new section (or two) each
month. If you would like to stay abreast of new material in the legal
guide, please sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Citizen Media Law
The legal guide is the product of a tremendous amount of work by CMLP
staff and students, especially Sam Bayard and Tuna Chatterjee. We also received some great feedback -- and timely editing -- from a team of top lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, including Richard Hindman, Jane Harper, Kai Kramer, David Pawlik, and Eric Sensenbrenner. Our website designer, Chris Wells from Redfin Solutions, worked tirelessly on getting all of the functionality operating properly. A big public thank you to everyone who helped!
We've finally finished building the interface for our Legal Threats Database, and I am excited to announce its public launch. If you would like to read our news release, you can find it here.
The database, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, contains legal threats from 35 states and 9 countries, and it is growing daily. These threats range from copyright infringement lawsuits filed against bloggers to cease and desist letters claiming defamation sent to MySpace users.
Users of the interactive database can input new threat entries, comment on existing threats, and search the database in a number of ways, including by location, legal claim, publication medium, and content type. We've already been receiving a lot of interest in the database and expect that it will be useful to a wide range of people. As Sam Bayard noted yesterday, the database already contains a fascinating array of lawsuits, as well as more informal threats like cease-and-desist letters and emails.
We can't create this database alone, however, so we need your help to keep the information accurate and up to date. If you've been threatened with legal action as a result of your online activities or
know of someone who has, please let us know by using our contact form or by entering the information directly into the database through our easy to use threat entry form.
The database is the product of a tremendous amount of work by CMLP staff and students, especially Sam Bayard, Jillian Button, Daniel Ostrach, David Russcol, Matt Sanchez, Daniel Ungar, and Stefani Wittenauer. Our website designer, Chris Wells from Redfin Solutions, has worked tirelessly on getting all of the functionality operating properly. A big public thank you to everyone who helped!
week, David Ardia previews our legal threats database, Colin Rhinesmith talks about a recent decision on First Amendment protections for anonymous bloggers, and Sam Bayard spotlights a defamation suit involving an Iranian blogger in Canada.
We formally launched the Citizen Media Law Project's website back in April, so it's about time that I provided an update on what we have been up to and where we are headed in the next few weeks and months.
The CMLP is looking to hire law students (and lawyers) to work as paid interns for the 2007-08 academic year. Interns will perform legal research and draft sections of the CMLP’s legal guide and will analyze recent lawsuits and other legal threats involving online speech for our legal threats database. Interns will be required to work onsite at our offices at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts one day per week, but otherwise will be permitted to work remotely.
If you are interested in working on cutting edge legal issues relating to the intersection of law and journalism on the Internet, please apply. You can find more information on the position and where to apply here. (For information about other opportunities at the Berkman Center, come to their Open House on September 24th.)
On a related note, if you are a college student -- and a blogger -- you should consider applying for the Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation's college blogger scholarship. Applications for the scholarship, which pays $10,000, are due October 6, 2007. Details can be found at the Foundation's website.
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is seeking a Media Fellow to undertake a project to comprehensively study the new/citizen/social media landscape. The fellow will perform a critical analysis of where citizen media has fallen short, where it has delivered, and how we as a community can help it to do better. Details:
Are you a lawyer interested in dealing with emerging legal issues relating to the intersection of law, journalism, and new media on the Internet?
The Citizen Media Law Project is looking to hire an Assistant Project Director commencing in the summer or fall of 2007 to assist with the work of the CMLP. The position requires a Juris Doctor degree with admission to at least one state bar; 1-5 years legal-practice experience with media, First Amendment, Internet, or intellectual property law; and litigation or transactional/licensing experience. Previous experience in a clinical legal setting or the direct supervision and mentoring of young attorneys or students is advantageous. Superior writing and verbal skills, sound judgment, exceptional ethical standards, and interpersonal communication skills are essential.
We are looking for contributing authors with expertise in media law, intellectual property, First Amendment, and other related fields to join us as guest bloggers. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.