Winter/Spring 2012 Silha Bulletin

Volume 17, Number 2

Volume 17, Number 2             
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Below is the Table of Contents for the Winter/Spring 2012 edition of the Silha Bulletin. Click on the title to read the full article. 

Cover Story: Legislators Seek Increased Consumer Privacy Protections; FCC and FTC Investigations of Online Companies Continue
The proliferation of companies engaged in the buying and selling of user information gave rise to calls in 2011 for increased regulation of what are often characterized as deceptive practices. 

Student Free Speech: Courts Continue to Grapple with Online Student Speech Cases; Supreme Court Chose Not to Weigh In
The University of Minnesota defended its right to punish students for online, off-campus speech before the Minnesota Supreme Court on April 2, 2012, in a case in which a student was disciplined for posting allegedly disrespectful and threatening comments on Facebook. 

Government Leaks: The Obama Administration Takes on Government Leakers; Transparency May be a Casualty
Several recent court rulings provide a lesson in contrasts concerning protection accorded to allegedly defamatory online speech. 

Defamation: Defamation Lawsuits Pose Threat to Journalists as Online Communication Complicates First Amendment Analysis
Several recent court rulings provide a lesson in contrasts concerning protection accorded to allegedly defamatory online speech.  

Copyright: Update: Copyright Firm Righthaven Suffers Debilitating Defeats in Federal Courts
Continuing a trend established through 2011, copyright holding firm Righthaven suffered several debilitating defeats in early 2012. 

International Press Freedom: British Media Law Developments Positive for Press
Recent decisions in British courts, proposed British governmental policy changes, and judgments issued by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will provide the press with greater access to the courts and allow for fuller coverage of celebrities’ private lives. 

Freedom of Information: Federal Appeals Courts Hold Mug Shots Can Be Withheld Under FOIA Exemption
On Feb. 22, 2012, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit held unanimously that federal mug shots can be withheld from the public under an exemption to the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  

Supreme Court News: U.S. Supreme Court Extends Copyright Protection to Millions of Foreign Works
In the face of challenges brought by groups as diverse as community orchestras, publishers, and educators, the Supreme Court of the United States held on Jan. 18, 2012 that Congress was within its power to grant retroactive copyright protection to writings, films, and musical compositions produced by foreign authors.  

Supreme Court News: Warrantless GPS Tracking Violates Fourth Amendment; White House Defends Warrantless Surveillance
On Jan. 23, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously overturned the drug conviction of a Washington, D.C. nightclub owner because the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it placed a GPS tracker on his car to monitor his movements for 28 days. 

Media Ethics: Pentagon Says No Misconduct in Bush Era TV Military Analyst Briefing Program
A Pentagon briefing program established by President George W. Bush’s administration designed to encourage TV and radio military analysts to put a positive spin on news coverage of the Iraq war was found to be in compliance with U.S Defense Department directives and regulations despite ethical concerns involving conflicts of interest.      

Copyright: Internet Outrage Tables Online Piracy Legislation; SOPA/PIPA Supplanted by New Proposals
What was characterized as a grassroots online protest in January prompted Congress to postpone indefinitely the consideration of two bills intended to target online piracy that critics contended would damage free speech on the Internet. 


Media Ethics: Single-Source Stories Lead to Problems for Media
Two incidents in March 2012 reaffirmed the risks that journalists and editors face when a story is published based on one source without sufficient fact checking.  

Media Ethics: Media Gaffes Prove Costly for News Organizations
Three lapses in editorial judgment proved costly in spring 2012, forcing media entities to engage in damage control.  

International Press Freedom: International Journalists Face Censorship in Confronting Governments
Throughout 2011 and into 2012, international journalists under authoritarian rule faced difficulty critiquing their governments’ domestic policies.      
International Press Freedom: Journalists Endangered Covering Syrian Protests as Government Turns to Arrests and Violence
As journalists attempt to cover Syria’s popular uprising, they face opposition from a government that has responded violently to the political dissent.      

Silha Center Events: Silha Forum Explores Whether Constitutional Rights Extend to Virtual Worlds
Many people view virtual realities – games where users create computer-simulated environments that can mimic the real world – as imaginary worlds that may differ dramatically from an individual’s real life.    

Silha Center Events: Silha Spring Ethics Forum Focuses on Cameras in the Courtroom, Status of Minnesota Pilot Project
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the press and the public have a First Amendment right of access to criminal trials, and that cameras do not violate the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.