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demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated.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.
Britain's effort to reform its defamation laws and shed London's title of "libel capital of the world" has been chugging along for several years, but now it looks like it's in sight of the last stop: The government unveiled its proposed new defamation bill in early May. So what has all this time and effort wrought?
On April 24, 2012, a Texas jury awarded $13.78 million to a married couple in a case based upon an extended campaign of defamation on the website Topix.com - to be specific, more than 1,700 separate statements accusing the plaintiffs of a wide array of criminal activity and, shall we say, unusual sexual practices, among other misconduct.
Ron Paul's presidential campaign has been having a rough go of it: He has yet to win a Republican state primary or caucus. But now his campaign's also-ran streak extends into the courtroom too, in a victory for the right to anonymous free speech.
A Note from the Staff of the CMLP: This post contains a candid discussion of First Amendment issues, including the use of terms that some readers might find offensive. We do not censor such terms in a blog contributor's post when relevant to the topic discussed, because we believe that an analysis of the constitutional right to use certain language requires the freedom to discuss that language plainly and openly.
First Amendment doctrine is sort of obsessed with the idea of a public/private divide – the idea that we can clearly slice society up into those things that are "public" (about which we want robust discussion, so we protect that discussion with the Bill of Rights) and those that are "private" (less societally important, so less protected).
By now, it is a given that many journalists have a regular presence on social networking services. The value of social media for gathering information, developing the journalist’s public persona, and promoting the journalist’s work is well-recognized.
The refrain that bloggers can't be trusted to produce accurate, factual information and reporting is a familiar one. Now, though, courts are beginning to give the cliche some legal bite. While in the short run those cases are wins for the individual bloggers involved, the bigger picture suggests that we shouldn't be too quick to celebrate.
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.