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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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4 Privacy: Publishing Private, Embarrassing, or Sensitive Information

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CHAPTER 4

Privacy

Publishing Private, Embarrassing, or Sensitive Information

The term “privacy” is used often in a wide variety of contexts, and it can mean different things in different contexts. There are five distinct concepts for which the term “privacy” is often used:

1. Constitutional privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly grants protection against unwarranted governmental search and seizure. This is a right granted to citizens vis-à-vis the government, meaning that it bars the government (as opposed to private parties) from intruding into a citizen’s home. There is no federal constitutional right to privacy to protect individuals from other individuals or the press. If a person has an enforceable legal right of privacy against another person, it will likely derive from one of the privacy torts, mentioned below. Some state constitutions offer a right of privacy, but each state interprets this right according to their own courts, and so the right is not necessarily the same in all states. Generally, any constitutional right of privacy protects against state government intrusion.

2. Presumed constitutional privacy, as established by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has extended protection against governmental intrusion into private matters in cases such as Roe v. Wade (abortion), Griswald v. Connecticut (birth control), and Lawrence v. Texas (consensual sexual activity). These protections are not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, but have been recognized as a natural extension of what the concept of privacy should...

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