Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. Is there a different body of libel law that applies just to the Internet? Q. Is there a different body.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. Is there a different body of libel law that applies just to the Internet? Q. Is there a different body."— Presentation transcript:

1

2 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. Is there a different body of libel law that applies just to the Internet? Q. Is there a different body of libel law that applies just to the Internet? A. No. If something is n ot libelous in print, it will not be libelous online, and vice versa. However, the unique logistics of Internet communication can pose special risks. For example, it is easy for anyone writing an to forget that by clicking the Send button, they are engaging in publishing. A carelessly written statement can make its way to a global audience within seconds. A. No. If something is n ot libelous in print, it will not be libelous online, and vice versa. However, the unique logistics of Internet communication can pose special risks. For example, it is easy for anyone writing an to forget that by clicking the Send button, they are engaging in publishing. A carelessly written statement can make its way to a global audience within seconds.

3 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel It is also easy to repeat or forward defamatory statements via . Because any re-publication can be just as libelous as the initial posting, anyone who obtains such a message and simply forwards it to a friend opens himself to liability. In such cases, the sender rarely takes the time to verify the identity of the original writer or the accuracy of the information. It is also easy to repeat or forward defamatory statements via . Because any re-publication can be just as libelous as the initial posting, anyone who obtains such a message and simply forwards it to a friend opens himself to liability. In such cases, the sender rarely takes the time to verify the identity of the original writer or the accuracy of the information.

4 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. We just received a letter-the-the-editor by . Any special concerns about publishing it? Q. We just received a letter-the-the-editor by . Any special concerns about publishing it? A. Know that it is relatively easy to fake the source of an message and, just as with letters received by regular mail, your newsroom should establish and adhere to a verification policy both for the identity of the author and the facts contained in the letter. The same goes for using a particular Web site as a source for information. It is difficult to sort the legitimate sources of information from the unreliable ones. A. Know that it is relatively easy to fake the source of an message and, just as with letters received by regular mail, your newsroom should establish and adhere to a verification policy both for the identity of the author and the facts contained in the letter. The same goes for using a particular Web site as a source for information. It is difficult to sort the legitimate sources of information from the unreliable ones.

5 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. Does our publications libel insurance policy cover online editions? Q. Does our publications libel insurance policy cover online editions? A. Almost all of them do. Whe the Internet frist emerged as a viable publishing medium, many libel insurance companies started adding online coverage to existing policies, according to Leib Dodel, an underwriting manager with the media insurance company Executive Risk. While Internet coverage is now automatically built in to almost every policy, it is worth taking a moment to check your policy to see if you have it. A. Almost all of them do. Whe the Internet frist emerged as a viable publishing medium, many libel insurance companies started adding online coverage to existing policies, according to Leib Dodel, an underwriting manager with the media insurance company Executive Risk. While Internet coverage is now automatically built in to almost every policy, it is worth taking a moment to check your policy to see if you have it.

6 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy Q. My high school principal says that privacy law requires us to remove student names and photos from the online version of our paper even though they are routinely published in our print version. Is this true? Q. My high school principal says that privacy law requires us to remove student names and photos from the online version of our paper even though they are routinely published in our print version. Is this true? A. No. School officials across the country often citing some vague and general threat to student safety have sought to require anonymity in student online media. The SPLC is aware of no law that requires such restrictions. In fact, such restrictions might not even be permitted under the First Amendment. A. No. School officials across the country often citing some vague and general threat to student safety have sought to require anonymity in student online media. The SPLC is aware of no law that requires such restrictions. In fact, such restrictions might not even be permitted under the First Amendment.

7 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy Q. Can a student reporter use a brief but revealing comment she obtained from an Internet discussion group or chatroom as a source in a story without the sources permission or are such statements private? Q. Can a student reporter use a brief but revealing comment she obtained from an Internet discussion group or chatroom as a source in a story without the sources permission or are such statements private? A. One of the key questions in such cases is whether thesource has abandoned his or her expectation of privacy by posting the comments online. If the comment is posted in an open discussion or chatroom, where membership is not tightly regulated, members know that as soon as they hit the Send button, their comments A. One of the key questions in such cases is whether thesource has abandoned his or her expectation of privacy by posting the comments online. If the comment is posted in an open discussion or chatroom, where membership is not tightly regulated, members know that as soon as they hit the Send button, their comments

8 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy may be viewed instantly by hundreds or thousands of individuals across the world. It would be tough to argue that a reporters use of such comments would constitute an unlawful exposure of information the writer did not want revealed. On the other hand, if the discussion group is a closed forum, accessible only to a small group of subscribers who may or may not have promised to keep discussions confidential, the sources belief that conversations are taking place away from public scrutiny may be more reasonable, and the expectation of may be viewed instantly by hundreds or thousands of individuals across the world. It would be tough to argue that a reporters use of such comments would constitute an unlawful exposure of information the writer did not want revealed. On the other hand, if the discussion group is a closed forum, accessible only to a small group of subscribers who may or may not have promised to keep discussions confidential, the sources belief that conversations are taking place away from public scrutiny may be more reasonable, and the expectation of

9 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy privacy heightened. In both cases, some would probably argue that professional ethics, if not the law, demands that a reporter obtain the consent of the source prior to publishing his or her comments. In any event, as with all Internet communication, you will need to be very careful to verify that the information is really coming from the person whose name has been associated with the comment. You must also be sure to keep the writers comments in context. It can be dangerous to use one particular comment in isolation, without reference to the discussion which preceded it. privacy heightened. In both cases, some would probably argue that professional ethics, if not the law, demands that a reporter obtain the consent of the source prior to publishing his or her comments. In any event, as with all Internet communication, you will need to be very careful to verify that the information is really coming from the person whose name has been associated with the comment. You must also be sure to keep the writers comments in context. It can be dangerous to use one particular comment in isolation, without reference to the discussion which preceded it.

10 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy Q. Can school administrators monitor student journalists or Web usage? Q. Can school administrators monitor student journalists or Web usage? A. This is an open and apparently unresolved issue. One question is whether the monitoring of can be considered a search in violation of the protections given by the Fourth Amendment. While courts have said that public high school students do have some privacy rights when they are on school grounds, they have also made clear that such rights are more limited than those for the public-at-large. For example, the Supreme Court has held that high school officials may search personal A. This is an open and apparently unresolved issue. One question is whether the monitoring of can be considered a search in violation of the protections given by the Fourth Amendment. While courts have said that public high school students do have some privacy rights when they are on school grounds, they have also made clear that such rights are more limited than those for the public-at-large. For example, the Supreme Court has held that high school officials may search personal

11 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy items such as a purse or backpack without a warrant when they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student hasviolated…either the law or rules of the school. School officials, however, may not search based on a hunch; they must have reason to believe that the specific student broke an articulated rule. In other words, officials may not search every students backpack just to uncover one students illegality. Courts have even been more lenient with respect to high school student locker searches, usually on the grounds that lockers are items such as a purse or backpack without a warrant when they have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student hasviolated…either the law or rules of the school. School officials, however, may not search based on a hunch; they must have reason to believe that the specific student broke an articulated rule. In other words, officials may not search every students backpack just to uncover one students illegality. Courts have even been more lenient with respect to high school student locker searches, usually on the grounds that lockers are

12 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy considered school, as opposed to personal, property. The validity of locker searches, however, rests on a students reasonable expectation of privacy, or the likelihood that the student views her locker as a truly private space. This expectation can be heightened or lowered, depending on a districts policy. Because a locker is typically viewed as property of the school, where students are granted use only as a privilege, school districts can draft locker use policies warning students that a search may take place. If there is an articulated policy, a students belief that her locker is considered school, as opposed to personal, property. The validity of locker searches, however, rests on a students reasonable expectation of privacy, or the likelihood that the student views her locker as a truly private space. This expectation can be heightened or lowered, depending on a districts policy. Because a locker is typically viewed as property of the school, where students are granted use only as a privilege, school districts can draft locker use policies warning students that a search may take place. If there is an articulated policy, a students belief that her locker is

13 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy private space will probably no loner be reasonable, giving school officials much more leeway in conducting involuntary searches. It is possible that a court might apply this rationale to school--provided computer systems. In such cases, the amount of privacy student could expect regarding their and Internet use would depend largely upon a schools policy and practice. Yet, there are obvious differences between a student locker and a student account that make the blanket application of existing locker law analysis both unreasonable and unlikely. private space will probably no loner be reasonable, giving school officials much more leeway in conducting involuntary searches. It is possible that a court might apply this rationale to school--provided computer systems. In such cases, the amount of privacy student could expect regarding their and Internet use would depend largely upon a schools policy and practice. Yet, there are obvious differences between a student locker and a student account that make the blanket application of existing locker law analysis both unreasonable and unlikely.

14 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy For example, messages would rarely, if ever, pose the imminent danger created by drugs or a gun stored in a locker. Such immediate and tangible threats, which have almost always tipped the scales against student privacy concerns, simply do not exist in the Internet context. It is also much harder to argue that a student account is school property in the same way as a student locker. While schools may own the computer hardware that makes online communication possible, it is much harder to categorize digitized student words and thoughts which exist in the ethereal domain For example, messages would rarely, if ever, pose the imminent danger created by drugs or a gun stored in a locker. Such immediate and tangible threats, which have almost always tipped the scales against student privacy concerns, simply do not exist in the Internet context. It is also much harder to argue that a student account is school property in the same way as a student locker. While schools may own the computer hardware that makes online communication possible, it is much harder to categorize digitized student words and thoughts which exist in the ethereal domain

15 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Privacy Privacy of cyberspace merely as school property. Finally and most importantly students could argue that the sanctity of ones , containing ones private thoughts, feelings and other protected speech, should receive greater legal protection than a school-furnished locker. The very idea of government officials in a supposed free society routinely pouring over the private speech of its citizens has a fundamentally repugnant taste to it--a taste which does not seem as palpable in the school locker contest. of cyberspace merely as school property. Finally and most importantly students could argue that the sanctity of ones , containing ones private thoughts, feelings and other protected speech, should receive greater legal protection than a school-furnished locker. The very idea of government officials in a supposed free society routinely pouring over the private speech of its citizens has a fundamentally repugnant taste to it--a taste which does not seem as palpable in the school locker contest.

16 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Liability Issues Liability Issues Q. Can a school, acting as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), be held liable if students publish something defamatory? Q. Can a school, acting as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), be held liable if students publish something defamatory? A. While there has yet to be an Internet liability case directly involving school-sponsored student media, the answer is apparently no, provided school officials played no active role in the editorial process. The Federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) grants immunity to ISPs in libel and privacy suits involving their subscribers. Recent cases interpreting the CDA have found that even where ISPs do examine and discover defamatory A. While there has yet to be an Internet liability case directly involving school-sponsored student media, the answer is apparently no, provided school officials played no active role in the editorial process. The Federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) grants immunity to ISPs in libel and privacy suits involving their subscribers. Recent cases interpreting the CDA have found that even where ISPs do examine and discover defamatory

17 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Liability Issues Liability Issues content, they retain their immunity and are under no obligation to remove or retract such statements. However, a school that does exercise content control over student media (or even one that just reserves the right to do so) would likely be legally responsible for everything that is published. content, they retain their immunity and are under no obligation to remove or retract such statements. However, a school that does exercise content control over student media (or even one that just reserves the right to do so) would likely be legally responsible for everything that is published.

18 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Copyright Copyright Q. Is there a different body of copyright law that applies to the Internet? Q. Is there a different body of copyright law that applies to the Internet? A. At this time, the same general rules apply. However, the unique nature of the Internet can complicate the application of existing law because of the difficulty in comparing the Internet to other communications technology. A. At this time, the same general rules apply. However, the unique nature of the Internet can complicate the application of existing law because of the difficulty in comparing the Internet to other communications technology.

19 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Copyright Copyright Q. I just visited a Web site that has some awesome graphics Id like to use. There is no copyright notice on the page. Are the graphics free for the taking? Q. I just visited a Web site that has some awesome graphics Id like to use. There is no copyright notice on the page. Are the graphics free for the taking? A. Not necessarily. A Web site, just like any other original work, is copyrighted the moment it is created. In most, though not all cases, you must attempt to contact the owner and seek his or her permission prior to any use. Many times a site will have an address where you can send inquiries or comments regarding the Web site. A. Not necessarily. A Web site, just like any other original work, is copyrighted the moment it is created. In most, though not all cases, you must attempt to contact the owner and seek his or her permission prior to any use. Many times a site will have an address where you can send inquiries or comments regarding the Web site.

20 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Copyright Copyright Q. Ive just received the okay from a Web site owner to use photos she has posted on her site. Is this enough? Q. Ive just received the okay from a Web site owner to use photos she has posted on her site. Is this enough? A. Generally, yes. There is no formal protocol for getting permission. However, you must be certain the person giving the permission is actually the copyright owner, and not just another copyright infringer. The ease with which materials is transferred over the Web can make tracking down an owner very difficult, so you should be especially cautious. A. Generally, yes. There is no formal protocol for getting permission. However, you must be certain the person giving the permission is actually the copyright owner, and not just another copyright infringer. The ease with which materials is transferred over the Web can make tracking down an owner very difficult, so you should be especially cautious.

21 Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Copyright Copyright Q. Do I always have to get permission to use someone elses online work? Q. Do I always have to get permission to use someone elses online work? A. Often, but not always. Just like with print and other media, there are times when you do not have to get permission. Such a situation would arise when your handling of copyrighted work constitutes fair use. The fair use exception to copyright law allows for the limited use of copyrighted works without permission when the use constitutes criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching…or research. A. Often, but not always. Just like with print and other media, there are times when you do not have to get permission. Such a situation would arise when your handling of copyrighted work constitutes fair use. The fair use exception to copyright law allows for the limited use of copyrighted works without permission when the use constitutes criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching…or research.


Download ppt "Internet and the Law SPLCs thoughts Libel Libel Q. Is there a different body of libel law that applies just to the Internet? Q. Is there a different body."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google