Law 683 - News Media Law in the Digital Age

Dale Cohen

Dale Cohen

Special Counsel, "Frontline"
Director of Documentary Film Legal Clinic
B.A. Syracuse University, 1980
J.D. Northwestern University School of Law, 1983
Course Description:

This course will cover a wide spectrum of legal issues relating to contemporary news media, including the laws of defamation, privacy, newsgathering and intellectual property. While we will focus on current events and the ongoing debates regarding mainstream media, "fake news", the uses and abuses of social media and whistleblowing and leaks, the course will also explore the historical and jurisprudential underpinnings of First Amendment and media law.

Given the pervasive nature of media in modern society, this class is not just for students interested in representing traditional media, entertainment companies or digital start-ups; nor is there any prerequisite course or specialized knowledge necessary to succeed in this class. Media law affects everyone in the connected world from the amateur blogger to giant internet retailers, from the devoted social media poster to the best-known journalists and from the student filmmaker to the major entertainment stars and studios. In a world in which everyone is a digital publisher, every well-trained lawyer needs to know about media law.

This course will explore many of the today’s most interesting legal and ethical issues:
• ◦  Balancing reputation against the public’s right to know.◾

Course Learning Outcomes:

1) Understand legal principles that apply to various media platforms

2) Apply these principles to contemporary cases, controversies and media events

3) Comprehend the history and theoretical underpinnings of First Amendment, intellectual property and other laws as they apply to news media

4) enable students to explain these principles and the conflicting interests at stake

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Dale Cohen 19F 683 SEM 1 W 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 3.0 No Per instructor's discretion
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Fall 2019 SEM 1
Kohler et. al. Media and the Law  2nd ed.  
ISBN: 9780769852775. LexisNexis. REQUIRED $203.00
Lewis, Anthony. Make No Law: the Sullivan Case and the First Amendment  1st Vintage Books ed.  
ISBN: 9780679739395. Vintage Books. REQUIRED $17.95