In the Miller v California case, the U. Supreme Court said that there are obscenity limitations to free speech in broadcast media. The FCC continues to regulate speech in free-to-consumer broadcasting like radio and television. The FCC may issue fines for words they consider obscene.
In , the U. In the case, MTV blamed Janet Jackson for acting without authority when she exposed her breast during her halftime performance with Justin Timberlake. Media law includes regulations in books and newspapers.
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In , in the Simon and Schuster Inc v. Supreme Court declared a law invalid that allowed the state to confiscate income from a book written by a person convicted of a crime. They said that important books that have contributed to the public dialogue may not have been written if the law was in place. Media law continues to change and grow. Media lawyers are a part of the developments in the legal niche. One modern media law debate is net neutrality.
The issue of net neutrality surrounds whether media outlets like internet providers should be able to give certain types of content priority over other types of content when they operate their networks. Proponents of the policy say that giving preference based on content is tantamount to censorship.
Opponents of net neutrality say that some consumers, like internet-based visual media company Netflix, use a disproportionately large amount of bandwidth that can slow down other users. Media lawyers advocate for their clients on this issue that impacts almost everyone in the United States. While most media lawyers work for larger media outlets, even a local lawyer in a smaller city may encounter media law in their practice.
Local television stations employ on-air talent for their local news shows. An on-air talent might rely on a local lawyer for contract negotiations. Local television stations often include a non-compete clause in their contracts that prevent personalities from appearing on-air for a local competitor for a period of time.
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A local media lawyer may carefully negotiate a non-compete clause for their client, or they may even challenge the validity of a non-compete clause in a media contract. In addition to on-air talent, local television stations may occasionally have disputes with their network companies. Most local television stations are independently owned and operated. When a network has a dispute with their local affiliate, the local affiliate may turn to a lawyer in the community to help them resolve the issue.
In addition to uniquely local media law issues, there are also international issues to be aware of. Other countries may have more or fewer content limitations for media than exist in the United States. There may be different rules and customs regarding piracy and intellectual property rights. Media law may even involve helping a media outlet lawfully send a reporter to another country in order to prepare a report. Media lawyers must be prepared to give their clients sound advice about how to effectively work in the media industry in another country.
Media law impacts lawyers too. Whether lawyers should be allowed to advertise and how they can use the media to advertise has been a subject of debate for many years. In Bates v. State Bar of Arizona , the U. Supreme Court said that lawyers may advertise including on television. Opponents of the practice say that legal advertising is distasteful and brings the legal profession into disrepute.
They say that advertising may lead to an increase in frivolous litigation.
They say that lawyers may pass the costs onto consumers in the form of higher fees. However, advertising proponents say that an increase in the number of lawyers makes advertising necessary for lawyers to find clients.
Media-Law-Producers-Philip-Miller-PDF-3bbe1dpdf - Google Drive
Today, most law firms advertise their services. Lawyers advertise using websites, online ads, television, radio and even print ads. Laws that apply to defamation and fraud apply to legal advertisements in addition to other media laws that may apply. Media lawyers may work in private practice or for the government with the Federal Communications Commission.
About Producers and Consumers in EU E-Commerce Law
Most media lawyers work as in-house counsel or they work for mid-size and large law firms. However, lawyers who represent individual talent may work either as a solo practitioner or directly for a talent agency. Media lawyers are both transaction lawyers and litigation specialists. Lawyers in media law spend a great deal of time advising their clients about how to comply with the law. They may also negotiate contracts. Lawyers may also work as advocates for their clients as they seek new laws or modifications to existing law.
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Serving as an effective media lawyer likely requires a diverse skill set. In addition, when disputes arise, media lawyers need litigation skills as well as alternative dispute resolution skills.
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Media law is exciting. Media lawyers can work with the companies or the talent that they see on television. Lawyers who specialize in media law must be great communicators as they advise their clients in the many different types of law that impact the media including trademarks, copyrights, employment law and dispute resolution. Legal problems can be very costly to media producers. Lawyers and court fees, coupled with the loss of work time, can lead to bankruptcy.
Media Law for Producers / Edition 4
Media Law for Producers cuts through the legalese and illustrates legal issues to help producers recognize the legal questions that can arise during production. Contracts and the Media Production Process. Sample Media Production Contracts. Copyright Concerns During Media Production.
- A terrific resource on media law in the Internet age.
- Media Law for Producers, Fourth Edition.
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