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State Department Agrees To Pay Legal Fees In FOIA Settlement

The U.S. Department of State has entered into a settlement agreement with the Associated Press, resolving a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving the AP's request for records from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. As part of the settlement, the State Department agreed to pay a significant portion of the legal fees the AP incurred in litigating the FOIA case. In that case, a federal court had ordered the State Department to provide the records to the AP. The AP was represented by LSKS attorneys Jay Ward Brown and Matt Kelley

Ziccardi Writes on “Right to Yelp” Law

The Legal Intelligencer has published an article by LSKS attorney Alex Ziccardi analyzing the Consumer Review Fairness Act, a new law that limits the ability of businesses to silence consumer critics through the use of non-disparagement clauses in their contracts. Alex writes that the CRFA is a “solid victory” for consumers and free speech, but cautions that the law’s protections are not limitless.

Ziccardi Analyzes Legal Risks Of Using Memes

Law360 has published an article by LSKS associate Alex Ziccardi exploring how principles of First Amendment, tort, and intellectual property law apply in the world of memes. Citing recent lawsuits involving memes, the article focuses on defamation and false light invasion of privacy, the right of publicity, copyright infringement, and anonymous speech issues.  

North Dakota Authorities Release Seized Photo Equipment

Authorities in North Dakota have released cameras and equipment seized from two visual journalists who were arrested on misdemeanor charges while photographing the clearing of protest camps at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline in late February. LSKS attorney Matt Kelley represents the journalists and worked to convince prosecutors, law enforcement, and state officials to return the seized equipment. The National Press Photographers Association led a coalition of journalism organizations that advocated for the return of the seized equipment. Other members of the coalition included the Society of Professional Journalists, the Native American Journalists Association, the Online News Association, Reporters Without Borders, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Sproul Comments In New York Times On Judge Gorsuch’s Media Rulings

LSKS partner Gayle Sproul was quoted in a New York Times column by Adam Liptak about the record of Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch in cases involving press freedom that came before him as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She observed that “[i]n a handful of opinions where he has weighed in on the subject, Judge Gorsuch shows no indication that he will ‘open up libel laws’ to muzzle the press, as the president appears to hope.” Among the media rulings discussed in the column were two cases that LSKS litigated for media defendants, Bustos v. A & E Television Networks and Anderson v. Suiters.

Court Dismisses Copyright Claims In Facebook Live-Stream Case

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed a copyright infringement suit against ABC, Yahoo, and other media companies brought by a man who accidentally live-streamed a 45-minute video of the birth of his son over Facebook Live. ABC and Yahoo each used brief clips of the video in their news reports about the incident. The court held that the defendants’ use of the clips for commentary and news reporting was a fair use. LSKS attorneys Nathan Siegel and Dana Green represented ABC and Yahoo.

Safier Speaks On Fake News

LSKS attorney Paul Safier was a panelist at a symposium on “Hate Crime vs. Hate Speech: Exploring the First Amendment” organized by the University of Pennsylvania Law School Journal of Constitutional Law. Paul’s panel addressed possible legal and non-legal solutions to the problem of “fake news,” with an emphasis on the First Amendment barriers to regulating “fake news.”

Siegel Elected To Governing Committee Of ABA Forum

LSKS partner Nathan Siegel was elected to the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law. He joins LSKS partner Kate Bolger, who also serves on the Governing Committee.

Safier Writes On Publishing Illegally Obtained Information

The Pennsylvania Law Weekly has published an article by LSKS attorney Paul Safier addressing the rights of the media to publish information that was obtained by others illegally or otherwise in violation of a right to privacy. Safier’s article discusses the strong First Amendment protections afforded to the press to report on information relating to matters of public concern.

Schafer Presents At Investigative Journalism Workshop

LSKS attorney Matt Schafer presented at the 2017 New York Watchdog Workshop sponsored by the organization Investigative Reporters & Editors. Schafer and veteran journalist Tom Robbins led the workshop, “The art of requesting and negotiating for information.” Schafer discussed the successful use of FOIA and common pitfalls to avoid when making requests under federal freedom of information laws.


Berlin And Zansberg Analyze Lawsuits Blaming Online Platforms For Violence

Law360 has published an article by LSKS partners Seth Berlin and Steve Zansberg explaining why tort lawsuits recently filed against Google, Twitter, and Facebook by the families of victims killed in violent attacks are likely to fail. The article discusses three legal hurdles the plaintiffs in these lawsuits face: (1) federal statutory immunity, (2) the protections of the First Amendment, and (3) common law requirements for establishing tort liability.

Bowman Speaks On Media Coverage Of Police Misconduct Cases

LSKS partner Chad Bowman was a panelist on a webinar titled The Courts & The Media: Handling High Profile Police Cases,which was sponsored by the American Bar Association and moderated by federal Magistrate Judge Nannette Baker. Chad spoke on public and press access to the courts.  

LSKS Attorneys Honored By Denver Magazine

Three partners in LSKS’s Denver office were named Top Lawyers for 2017 by 5280 magazine. Tom Kelley, Ashley Kissinger, and Steve Zansberg were all honored in the Media/First Amendment category.

Appeals Court Affirms Anti-SLAPP Dismissal And Attorneys’ Fees Award

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a proposed class action complaint against the National Enquirer based on a plaintiff’s claim that he was tricked into buying the newspaper by its cover headlines about the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The appeals court held that the lower court correctly applied California’s anti-SLAPP statute to dismiss all of plaintiff’s tort and consumer protection-based claims, which arose from the Enquirer’s non-commercial, protected speech. The appeals court also affirmed the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees to the Enquirer as the prevailing party on the special motion to strike. LSKS attorneys Cameron Stracher, Jay Ward Brown, and Mike Beylkin, together with Kelli Sager and Jonathan Segal of Davis Wright Tremaine, worked on behalf of the Enquirer.

Safier Speaks On First Amendment Issues Under Trump

LSKS attorney Paul Safier spoke on an inauguration-day panel focused on “Safeguarding the First Amendment Under President Trump.” The panel was sponsored by the Philadelphia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society. Paul was joined on the panel by Mary Catherine Roper, the deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and Seth Kreimer, the Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Court Dismisses Most Claims In Video Licensing Case

A federal judge in the Southern District of New York has dismissed most of the claims in a case brought by a videographer against more than a dozen media companies. The videographer’s suit arises from footage that he filmed inside the World Trade Center on 9/11 and then licensed for broadcast. The court rejected nearly all of the plaintiff’s state-law claims as preempted by the Copyright Act, dismissed his claims under the Lanham Act, and held that the plaintiff could not pursue statutory damages and attorneys’ fees on the few remaining claims. LSKS partner Bob Penchina represents the media companies.

Berry Critiques Proposed Drone Legislation

PennLive.com, the Harrisburg-based news site, published a column by LSKS partner Michael Berry discussing Pennsylvania's push to regulate private drones. In the column, Mike discusses prior bills passed by the state legislature to criminalize certain private drone operation and explains why that legislation is unnecessary in light of existing laws and remedies protecting privacy and property. 

Sproul And Mishkin Write Article On Supreme Court “Short List”

Law360 has published an article by LSKS attorneys Gayle Sproul and Max Mishkin examining the media law record of President-elect Trump’s Supreme Court short list in the shadow of Trump’s vow to “open up” libel law.

Court Dismisses Defamation Claim Against Denver Newspaper

A trial court judge in Colorado granted summary judgment to the weekly newspaper Westword, dismissing a defamation claim brought by the former head of Emergency Medicine at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. The plaintiff claimed that Westword defamed him in two articles that reported a woman’s allegations that he harassed her, six years ago. The court held that because the newspaper had accurately reported those allegations, the challenged articles were substantially true. LSKS attorneys Steve Zansberg and Mike Beylkin represented Westword.

Berry And Green Speak On Drone Journalism

LSKS attorneys Mike Berry and Dana Green presented on a Pennsylvania Bar Institute panel in Philadelphia titled “What You Need to Know About Drones.” Their presentation explored how journalists are using drones in their reporting, the First Amendment protection afforded to drone journalism, and how existing legal frameworks are likely to apply to the use of drones for newsgathering.


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