Research and Response

The DMLP's central vantage point on issues affecting the online content industry enables us to detect urgent legal issues as they arise. Our attorney and client networks, together with our tracking of legal threats, serve as an “early warning system” for questions affecting the digital journalism and publishing community. Through our Research and Response initiative, we become involved in these pressing issues and develop relevant legal resources in an informed and timely manner.


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.


Amicus Briefs

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.

Research Studies

Guides, White Papers and Primers


Legal Education and Training

Advisory Work

  • 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:

    DMLP staff members regularly appear at conferences on media law issues as session leaders and featured panelists, including:
    • 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
    In addition to these formal events, DMLP staff members are regularly invited to appear at academic venues to speak on media law topics, recently including:
    • 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)

    Media Appearances

    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.