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Bulletin Summer 2016: Volume 21, No. 3

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Gawker Shuts Down After Losing Initial Appeal of $140 Million Judgment in Privacy Case

On Aug. 22, 2016, celebrity and media gossip website Gawker ceased operations after losing its initial appeal of a $140 million judgment in a March 2016 trial court battle with Terry Bollea, better known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.  Continue reading.

Sixth Circuit Rules that Booking Photos Implicate Privacy Interests Under FOIA

In July 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that criminal defendants have a non-trivial privacy interest in booking photos, also known as mug shots, in relation to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Detroit Free Press, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice (Free Press II), No. 14-1670, (6th Cir. July 14, 2016).  Continue reading.

D.C. Circuit Upholds “Net Neutrality” Rules

On June 14, 2016, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order, Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, 80 Fed. Reg. 19,738 (Apr. 13, 2015) (codified at 47 C.F.R. 1), which reclassified broadband internet access as a utility and imposed provisions on internet service providers (ISPs) enforcing net neutrality principles.  Continue reading.

President Obama Signs Law Making Significant Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act

On June 30, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, S. 337, 114th Cong. (2016), into law, which reforms several aspects of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 5 U.S.C. §552.  Continue reading.

Right to Be Forgotten Continues to Create Challenges for Online Entities

In May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that European citizens retain a right to have online search engine results deleted that link to “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” information about themselves under the European Union’s Data Protection Directive.  Continue reading.

Supreme Court Issues Long-Awaited Spokeo Ruling

On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), vacating and remanding the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that the lower court failed to properly analyze the “concreteness” requirement for establishing an injury-in-fact.  Continue reading.

Eighth Circuit Overturns Jesse Ventura’s Victory in Libel and Unjust Enrichment Suit

In June 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a jury decision in favor of former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura who brought defamation and unjust enrichment claims against American Sniper author Chris Kyle’s estate.  Continue reading.

2016 Presidential Candidates Present Challenges for Free Expression

During the 2016 presidential race, free expression advocates have raised concerns over comments and actions taken by Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton regarding the press.  Continue reading.

Revenge Porn Remains Controversial Topic for State and Federal Legislatures

In May 2016, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill that would criminalize “revenge porn,” which is the online distribution of nude photos or other sexually explicit content depicting another person without consent. Continue reading.

Data Breaches Continue to Plague Social Networking Websites, Government Agencies, and News Organizations

Throughout 2016, private companies, government bodies, and media organizations faced data breaches and cyberattacks. Continue reading.

Critics Raise Privacy Concerns Over Pokémon Go

On July 6, 2016, mobile app developer Niantic Inc. released Pokémon Go, a free “augmented reality” game in which players attempt to capture virtual monsters called Pokémon, in the United States in both Apple’s and Android’s mobile apps stores.  Continue reading.

Department of Defense Revises Law of War Manual after Criticisms from Journalistic Community

When the Department of Defense (DoD) issued its new “Law of War Manual” (Manual) in June 2015, several news organizations and press advocacy groups quickly criticized the way the manual defined “journalists” and “newsgathering activities,” and called on the government to make revisions to the text. Continue reading.

State Legislatures, Courts Consider Media Law Issues

During the summer of 2016, several states confronted legal questions that raised important issues for media law policy within their jurisdictions. Continue reading.

Free Expression Controversies on College Campuses to be Topic of 31st Annual Silha Lecture

From “culturally offensive” Halloween costumes to protests over controversial speakers to “trigger warnings” in classrooms, debate over freedom of expression only seems new to America’s college campuses. Continue reading.