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Media Law

A Practical Guide (Revised Edition)

Ashley Messenger

Media Law: A Practical Guide (Revised Edition) provides a clear and concise explanation of media law principles. It focuses on the practical aspects of how to protect oneself from claims and how to evaluate the likelihood of a successful claim. This new edition has been revised to reflect important changes and updates to the law, including recent developments relating to scandalous trademarks, embedding, fair use, drones, revenge porn laws, interpretation of emoji, GDPR, false statements laws, lies, and the libel implications of the #MeToo movement.

Media Law is divided into five sections that help non-lawyers understand how the principles apply to their actual behavior: background information about the legal system; things you can be sued for; how you actually gather information; ways the government can regulate speech; and practical issues that are related to media law. This book is perfect for courses in media and communications law or a combination course in journalism law and ethics, as it covers both the legal and ethical aspects of communication.

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2 First Amendment–Theory and Practice


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The First Amendment— Theory and Practice

Any book on media law will be replete with references to the First Amendment. Courts have granted the media—as well as individual speakers—certain rights or protection based on First Amendment principles. But that fact alone probably doesn’t mean much without understanding what the First Amendment is and why the rights and protections it provides are defined the way they are. This chapter will discuss:

1. What the First Amendment is and the scope of its coverage

2. Why the United States began with a presumption of freedom rather than regulation

3. What theories underlie First Amendment protection and how they shape the scope of its application

4. The legal doctrines that have arisen from those theories

5. The practical effects of how the First Amendment is applied

The First Amendment and the Scope of Its Coverage

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