I’m pleased to announce my new book Digital Media Law: A Practical Guide for the Media and Entertainment Industries, due out this October from Routledge. If you teach media law, or are simply looking for a resource that offers a succinct look at the legal issues confronted by professionals in traditional and digital media, then I encourage you to give it a look. It’s aimed at communications and journalism students and practicing professionals in those industries, but the book is suitable for law school classes as well, though it may require adding a few cases here and there to add some additional depth and detail to some key concepts.
Digital Media Law offers a practical guide to the law of media and communication, focusing on digital channels, models, and technologies. It draws together the aspects of media law that are most critical for those engaged in the production and distribution of digital media, from traditional broadcasters and internet-based services to major internet platforms.
As an expert scholar and educator in media law, Christopher S. Reed brings considerable experience as an in-house lawyer for a US-based media company with extensive news, sports, and entertainment operations. This blend of practical and scholarly insight delivers a textbook which packs foundational principles and concepts into the context of the digital environment, focusing on how those doctrines are applied in the face of rapidly evolving newsgathering, production, and distribution technologies.
This accessible textbook is the ideal companion for advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as practitioners interested in law, journalism, and media studies.
I’ll be teaching media law again this summer at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law’s recently rekindled Intellectual Property Summer Institute. The program was a longtime in-person summer staple of the law school that fell to the wayside about a decade or so ago. Under the leadership of Dean Megan Carpenter and IP Center executive director Micky Minhas, the program was rebooted in 2020 in an on-line only format, as a way to engage students whose summer opportunities were quashed due to COVID. It was such a success we did it again last year, and we’re doing it again this year.
For IPSI 2022, the school is offering an impressive slate of courses, some of which include in person components at the UNH Franklin Pierce main campus in Concord, New Hampshire.
My class, From Traditional Media to Social Media: Current Issues and Events in the Law of Media and Mass Communication (if that’s too much of a mouthful, you can just call it “media law”) will be offered live, online, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-2:30 Pacific (3:30-5:30 Eastern), May 24 to June 30.
I’ll be teaching my short (6 week; 2 credit) course in media law again this year as part of the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law’s Intellectual Property Summer Institute. Last summer I taught a short (6 week; 2 credit) remote course in media law as part of the reboot of University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law’s Intellectual Property Summer Institute. Affectionately known as “IPSI” by us UNH alums, last year marked the return of the program, albeit in remote form, following a multi-year hiatus. We’ll be remote again this year, though we’re hopeful that the COVID conditions may improve enough to have at least a weekend gathering. Stay tuned for more information on that.
My course, which has been given a snazzy new title, From Traditional Media to Social Media: Current Issues and Events in the Law of Media and Mass Communication, will run Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern (10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Pacific), from May 24 through July 2.
Here is the official course description:
This course offers broad exposure to various legal issues confronted by mass media enterprises, ranging from traditional broadcasters and similar internet-based services, to the major internet platforms and the new class of “media enterprises” that they spawned, such as YouTube influencers and TikTok stars. By examining current issues and events, students will navigate areas of law including defamation, rights of publicity and privacy, newsgathering and right of access, advertising, broadcast and internet regulation, intellectual property, and antitrust – to understand how the law’s staple doctrines apply to the business of producing and distributing news, information, and entertainment for mass consumption.
In addition, UNH is offering a handful of other short (1 and 2 credit) courses, including:
Drug Wars: Patent Protections in the Life Sciences Industry
The Art & Science of Legal Engagement in China
Video Gaming & IP
Cannabis & IP
Name, Image, and Likeness: Controversy of Identity
Introduction to Digital Brand Protection
For more information, including instructions on how to register, visit UNH’s IPSI page.
Yesterday, Congress passed two important copyright measures that the creative community has long advocated for:
The first is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE), which will establish a voluntary adjudicatory process, housed within the Copyright Office, for copyright claims under $30,000 in value. The law requires that the Copyright Office establish the Copyright Claims Board within a year of the law’s enactment. As Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter noted in the Office’s announcement, the Copyright Office has long supported the idea of hosting a small-claims tribunal which, just like the Music Modernization Act passed in 2018, was the subject of an extensive report of the Copyright Office and years of congressional inquiry and review.
The second major development is the passage of a bill to close the “streaming loophole.” The Copyright Act, as it currently stands, provides that the unlawful reproduction or distribution of copyrighted works can be treated as a felony (when certain factors make the conduct especially egregious), but the unlawful performance of copyrighted work is treated only as a misdemeanor, meaning fewer cases were prosecuted.
As content distribution technologies have evolved, and streaming has become the dominant mechanism by which legal content offerings are distributed, pirates have followed suit, and today illegal streaming sites and services are the dominant form of piracy. Still, the law treated the two differently (more about this in chapter 4 of my book).
The felony streaming provision which, as the Copyright Office noted in its announcement, “was the result of a negotiated profess among a number of consumer and industry groups,” fixes that disparity, but does so in a way that specifically excludes “criminal prosecution of individual users.”
The two copyright measures now await the President’s signature.
I am pleased to announce the upcoming release of The Routledge Companion to Copyright and Creativity in the 21st Century, to which I am honored to have been asked to contribute an essay. Edited by Professor Michelle Bogre, Esq., of the Parsons School of Design, and noted copyright lawyer Nancy Wolff of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, the book features the basics of copyright law and a series of essays from academics and practitioners reflecting a diverse range of perspectives on how copyright law works (or doesn’t work) in the contemporary environment. The anticipated date of publication is November 26, 2020.
My contribution is titled The DMCA Safe Harbor: Policy and Practice Divided, appearing in section 8.2.
Here’s the official description of the book from the publisher:
These collected chapters and interviews explore the current issues and debates about how copyright will or should adapt to meet the practices of 21st-century creators and internet users.
The book begins with an overview of copyright law basics. It is organized by parts that correspond to creative genres: Literary Works, Visual Arts, Fine Art, Music, Video Games and Virtual Worlds, Fashion, and Technology. The chapters and interviews address issues such as copyright ownership in work created by Artificial Intelligence (AI), the musical remix market, whether appropriation is ever a fair use of a copyrighted work or if it is always theft, and whether internet- based platforms should do more to deter piracy of creators’ works. Each part ends with an essay explaining the significance of one or two landmark or trendsetting cases to help the reader understand the practical implications of the law.
Written to be accessible to both lay and legal audiences, this unique collection addresses contemporary legal issues that all creators need to understand and will be essential reading for artists, designers, and musicians as well as the lawyers who represent them.
You can learn more about the book (and buy a copy, of course): at the publisher’s website, Amazon, or numerous other booksellers.