Speech, Media Law, & First Amendment


The Cyberlaw Clinic has been very active in addressing a broad spectrum of legal issues faced by web-based media, including bloggers, website commenters, and other online speakers.  The Clinic has provided advice and counsel in matters involving First Amendment issues; defamation and libel claims; immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act; the common law tort doctrine of hot news misapprpopriation; protections for speakers under state Anti-SLAPP laws; anonymous and pseudonymous speech online; and a host of issues relating to open government, transparency, and access to public documents and records.

The Clinic conducted initial research for and helped co-found the Citizen Media Law Project (“CMLP”), a joint initiative with the Center for Citizen Media that seeks to provide legal training and resources for individuals and organizations involved in citizen media, including research and advocacy on free speech, newsgathering, intellectual property, and other legal issues related to citizen media.  The CMLP has built a state-by-state guide to citizen media legal issues and a database of lawsuits and legal threats against citizen journalists, as well as developing a community of lawyers, academics, journalists, and others who are interested in facilitating citizen participation in online media and in protecting the legal rights of those engaged in speech on the Internet.  Since the CMLP was established, the Clinic has worked closely with CMLP staff attorneys on a number of discrete projects as well as larger education and policy initiatives and amicus briefs on issues of interest to online media.

Finally, filtering, surveillance, and censorship of online activities are problems in countries throughout the world.  The Cyberlaw Clinic has worked with a number of entities at the forefront of documenting and responding to these issues globally.