Sep 05 2010

Mass Media Law (3 units)

This course exposes you to the most relevant and important aspects of mass media law in the United States - stretching from the First Amendment to the most recent judicial opinions, statutory enactments, and regulatory controversies affecting speech.

This course surveys the law of mass communications with reference to print, radio, television, internet, and other forms of distribution.  The subject matter addressed in this course includes the First Amendment, defamation, invasion of privacy and the right of publicity, Federal Communications Commision regulation, advertising and commercial speech, obscenity, fair use, newsgathering, and other relevant subjects.

COURSE OBJECTIVES - click to expand

  • At the completion of the Mass Media Law course, the student will be able to:
  • draft a federal or state law appellate brief on a First Amendment speech issue;
  • create an outline of a complaint and response motions in a speech tort case;
  • draft a memorandum of law on the structural and content regulations of media industries;
  • confer and advise a journalist client on a speech censorship law, reporter’s privilege, or fair use issue;
  • manage a complaint at a federal agency such as the Federal Communications Commission; and
  • review broadcast content for compliance with federal election statutes, advertising regulations indecency regulations, and children’s programming rules.

GRADING POLICY - click to expand

  • The grade in this course is based upon three 10 point multiple choice quizzes given at regular intervals throughout the course (each quiz counting for 10% -- for a total of 30% of your course grade), non-graded “hands-on problems” in preparation of each live class, and an open-book final exam (for a total of 70% of your course grade).
  • The multiple choice quiz questions require the student to show knowledge of the applicable statutory and case law and to apply that law to a specific fact situation.
  • In preparation for each live class, students are required to submit a memo to the professor containing the analysis of each assigned problem in advance. Although these problems are not graded, they are required. Failure to provide a timely memo, prepared in good faith, will result in a deduction of one grade increment from the student’s final grade for the course.
  • The final examination is open-book. “Open-book” means that students may use any of the assigned course materials as well as their own notes and outlines that they have created themselves from course materials. The final examination is comprise of one or more essays which are weighted as follows: 10% for identification of the factual and legal issues; 30% for the accurate description of law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; 40% on correct application of the law, treaty, regulation and/or policy; and 20% on clarity of the written argument.