Weeks and Months Ahead for the CMLP

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.

Over the past 6 months, we got a substantial amount of work done on the legal threats database and legal guide. Much of this work was done by 5 full-time law students we hired this summer using funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The students performed legal research, wrote sections of the legal guide, and helped add entries to the legal threats database. We just hired 6 part-time students for the school year who will supplement the invaluable assistance we receive from students in Harvard Law School's Clinical Program in Cyberlaw. Needless to say, we have quite a team in place.

So onto what is new and forthcoming.

Website: I hope you've noticed the changes we've made to the website. Although the site is still in "beta" status, we've been adding functionality on almost a daily basis. We are using Chris Wells from Redfin Solutions, a great developer who specializes in Drupal. You'll see a lot more of the site's functionality in the next few weeks. If you haven't already done so, please take the time to register; some of the customization features we have planned will only be available if you are signed in. If you have any suggestions for ways we can improve the site, please contact us through our feedback page.

Threats Database: We have been feverishly building the legal threats database. In early November, we will announce the public launch of the database containing lawsuits, subpoenas, and other legal threats involving online speech. The database, which can already accept entries from the public through an easy to use input form, currently has several hundred entries and is growing daily.

Legal Guide: In December, we plan to begin rolling out our legal guide. The first sections will cover how to form a business, insurance coverage, and how to respond to legal threats. We will put up other sections of the guide as we complete them and plan to have the entire guide, covering the 15 most populous states and the District of Columbia, up in the spring of 2008.

Community Building: Last week saw the inaugural issue of our weekly newsletter, the Citizen Media Law Brief, which highlights recent blog posts, media law news, and other new CMLP content. If you didn't receive one, you can sign up for it here. In the next week or so we will launch a CMLP podcast series. We are still working on the script, so I don't want to give anything away yet. And, lastly, I'll be blogging about the CMLP at PBS's MediaShift Idea Lab, which goes live tomorrow.

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