J-Lab: Exploring a Networked Journalism Collaborative in Philadelphia

Our friends at J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism just released a report analyzing the media landscape in Philadelphia. The William Penn Foundation commissioned J-Lab to conduct the study of Philadelphia's media landscape and the state of public affairs reporting and make recommendations for a possible media investment strategy.

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Student Journalists in Virginia Need Strict Enforcement of Privacy Protection Act

James Madison University students celebrate each semester with a large block party in a popular neighborhood near campus.

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OMLN's Spring Conference: Journalism's Digital Transition

We're pleased to announce that, on Friday April 9, 2010, the Citizen Media Law Project and Berkman's Cyberlaw Clinic are hosting a conference at Harvard Law School to celebrate the launch of the Online Media Legal Network (OMLN)

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Why Are Bloggers Still Sitting at the Kids' Table? The Popularity of Online News and the Federal Shield Law

Well, it turns out this whole Internet thing is getting pretty popular. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more Americans now get their news from the Internet than from old-fashioned newspapers.

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Fortress Iceland? Probably Not.

Today, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative ("IMMI") will file a final proposal to the Icelandic parliament to update that nation's journalism laws into a reporter's dream.  But frankly, I'm pretty sure it won't be much help to journalists around the world.


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The Catsouras Photos: Will a Family's Privacy Interest Impede Press Access?

The tragic story of Nikki Catsouras continues. I considered not giving yet more attention to the horrific accident photos she is now most known for, but the case still elicits a great deal of emotion and for that very reason it's important to address the law that is being decided in California. 


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Olympic Athletes Can Tweet to Their Hearts' Content

Rejoice, all ye Olympian fans, the International Olympic Committee ("IOC") has said that its athletes can use Twitter!

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Denying Anti-SLAPP Coverage, Massachusetts High Court Draws Activist/Journalist Boundary

A ruling by the highest court in Massachusetts could impact the methods that activists use to advocate their causes, by setting a boundary between activism that is protected by the state's anti-SLAPP statute and factual reporting, which is not.


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Wikileaks Needs Financial Help

I have a pet theory that perfect informational transparency would make the world a more civil place.  Sure, it might be embarrassing to reveal our personal secrets and foibles to the world, but the tradeoff would be that you'd know when someone was talking out of both sides of their mouth.  In such a world, maybe that senator wouldn't be quite so holier-than-thou when the public knows about his penchant for underage prosti

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Open Government Data Presents New Journalism Opportunities and Legal Challenges

It’s been a long time since a printed newspaper delivered to your doorstep or purchased on your way to work was the only way to get your daily dose of news.

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Florida Court Restricts Reporter's Use of Laptop During Murder Trial

As if there hasn't been enough judicial scrutiny of live media coverage during ongoing trials recently, last week a Florida court banned a Florida Times-Union reporter from live-blogging during a high-profile murder trial in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Duval County, Florida.


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Will This Revolution Be YouTubed?

YouTube CourtThere are a couple of laws in California that the U.S. Supreme Court should consider before it announces tomorrow whether or not the Proposition 8 trial can be broadcast on YouTube: § 240 and § 422.  These two laws don't address same-sex marriage, discrimination, or even access to courts, as you may have expected.  Instead, these sections of the California Penal Code make it a crime to either assault or threaten to use violence against another person. 

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National Freedom of Information Coalition to Create FOI Litigation Fund With Help From Knight Foundation

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports that the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) has received a $2 million, three-year grant from the John S. and James L.

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OMLN Partners With Online News Association to Provide Legal Assistance to Independent Journalists

The Citizen Media Law Project is pleased to announce that its Online Media Legal Network (OMLN) is partnering with the Online News Association (ONA) in a joint effort to help innovative online journalism ventures meet their legal needs.

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Is There a Mini Constitution in Sky Mall? How the TSA Forgets Citizens' Rights

In recent years, the American public seems to have fallen under the impression that providers and regulators of airline travel have extra-legal powers. These fictional powers typically mean that passengers can be treated like cattle.

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United States v



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Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kristina Clair

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United States District Court for the District of Indiana

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Kevin Bankston - Electronic Frontier Foundation

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In January 2009, Kristina Clair received a grand jury subpoena issued upon application of the United States Attorney for the District of Indiana, Timothy M. Morrison. Ms. Clair is a Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for, an independent news aggregation site with a left-of-center activist orientation. 

The subpoena demanded "all IP traffic to and from" on June 25, 2008.  It instructed Ms. Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including email addresses, telephone numbers, records of session times and durations, physical addresses, registered accounts, and financial information.  The subpoena also prohibited Ms. Clair from disclosing "the existence of this request unless authorized by the Assistant U.S. Attorney." 

Ms. Clair contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which agreed to represent her.  Kevin Bankston of EFF sent a letter to Doris L. Pryor, the Assistant United States Attorney on the case, explaining that Ms. Clair did not possess the information requested, objecting that the subpoena was not personally served on Ms. Clair, and arguing that disclosure of the requested information would require a court order under federal electronic privacy law.  Further, the letter pointed out that grand jury secrecy requirements do not reach witnesses or prospective witnesses, and therefore the government had no basis to restrain Ms. Clair's speech about the existence of the subpoena.

U.S. Attorney Morrison replied 12 days letter with a one sentence letter informing Bankston that the subpoena had been withdrawn.


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One of the Classic Blunders: Microsoft’s De-Listing Campaign Makes No Sense

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Microsoft held talks with News Corp. in an attempt to convince the titan of information to de-list its content from Google.

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Citizen Media Law Project Launches Legal Assistance Network for Online Journalists

We are delighted to announce the public launch of the Berkman Center's Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a new pro bono (i.e., free!) initiative that connects lawyers and law school clinics from across the country with online journalists and digital media creat

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Hears Oral Argument in Anti-SLAPP Case

On Monday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) heard oral argument in Fustolo v.Hollander, No.


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