The course has two major goals: to engage students in a critical review of the substantive law governing the gathering and dissemination of information by print, broadcast and digital means; and to achieve a fresh understanding of the appropriateness and adequacy of the constitutional protection that this body of law affords the "press," even as our understanding of what constitutes the press continues to evolve.
The course will consider the bundle of speech and press rights protected under the First Amendment, the theories upon which our system of freedom of expression is based, and how these theories are used by litigants in constitutional litigation and by courts in articulating constitutional principles. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary challenges to the press in the digital age, including competing interests of national security, intellectual property, privacy and the so-called “right to be forgotten.”
It will survey the constitutional principles, laws and regulations that shape the operations of the press, primarily the laws regulating the content of speech (libel, slander, invasion of privacy, rights of publicity) and the gathering of news (access rights, newsgathering torts, use of drones and other developing technology, reporters’ privilege as to confidentiality of sources). And it will assess the impact of technology and globalization on the evolution of legal standards that protect freedom of speech and of the press, including a selective examination of the different approaches to regulation of speech and press in the British Commonwealth and the European Community.