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Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal In False Advertising Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a false advertising claim filed against the national Council of Better Business Bureaus and two BBBs. The appeals court held that the plaintiff – a Washington-area business – failed to adequately allege how it was injured by the Better Business Bureaus’ promotion and advertising of its rating services. LSKS partners Jay Ward Brown and Rachel Strom defended the national Council, the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Washington, Inc., and the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, Inc.

Berry Speaks On False Light And Implication Claims

LSKS partner Mike Berry and Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, presented a webinar for reporters and editors discussing the law governing claims for false light and defamation by implication. The webinar was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society of News Editors and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation.

Zansberg Discusses Challenges To Press Freedom In Trump Era

LSKS partner Steve Zansberg presented a program titled “Social Media and Online: Legal Rights and Ethical Wrongs” at the 2017 Annual Convention of the Colorado Press Association. He addressed a variety of ongoing legal issues since the inauguration of President Trump, including libel and privacy law, subpoenas to reporters, leak investigations, and access to records and press briefings.

Strom Moderates Panel On Broadcasters And New Media

LSKS partner Rachel Strom moderated a panel titled “Confront or Conform? Broadcast Deals With New Media,” which was hosted by the Cardozo Entertainment Law Society and the Cardozo Fashion, Arts, Media & Entertainment Law Center. The panel featured in-house counsel from three major networks and addressed the novel legal issues that can arise for broadcasters in the context of new media, including how emerging technologies affect the way lawyers vet content.

Zansberg Addresses “Fake News” Versus Real News

LSKS partner Steve Zansberg participated in a panel discussion titled “The War on Facts and the Facts on Fake News” at a conference on “Reporting in the Age of Alternative Facts,” presented by the University of Colorado’s College of Media, Communication and Information. Steve expanded on the ideas in his recent op-ed on the topic of “fake news.”  

Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Claims Against Newspaper

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against The Durango Herald and its former arts and entertainment editor arising from an email the editor sent to the publicist of a religious-oriented musical group. The appeals court held that the lower court correctly ruled the email was not outrageous as a matter of law, and therefore could not constitute a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The appeals court also affirmed the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees to The Durango Herald. LSKS attorneys Steve Zansberg, Tom Kelley, and Shaina Jones Ward worked on behalf of the defendants.

Seidlin-Bernstein Speaks On Media Law In The Digital Age

LSKS attorney Lizzie Seidlin-Bernstein spoke at the America East media business and technology conference on a panel titled “Ethics and Media Law in the Digital Age.” The panel discussed best practices and new challenges related to internet publishing and social media, addressing recent issues in defamation, privacy, and copyright law.  

Brown Moderates Panel On Legal Challenges Under The New Administration

LSKS partner Jay Ward Brown moderated a panel titled “The First Amendment and the Next Four Years” at the Virginia Press Association’s Annual News and Advertising Conference. The panel discussed the legal challenges journalists will likely face during the new presidential administration, as well as how members of the media can prepare for those challenges.

Penchina Speaks On Media Law In The Trump Era

LSKS partner Bob Penchina spoke at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Northeastern Conference on a panel titled “Walk the Line with Media Law.” The panel addressed the state of media and First Amendment law in the wake of President Trump’s election, and covered a wide array of legal issues affecting journalists, including libel, privacy, newsgathering, and intellectual property.

LSKS Announces New Partner

LSKS is pleased to announce that, effective April 1, 2017, Paul Safier has become a partner in the firm, resident in our Philadelphia office. Paul graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as an articles editor for the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He started his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas L. Ambro of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to joining LSKS, Paul worked in the appellate practice group of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Before law school, Paul received a graduate degree in political science at Princeton University and was a lecturer at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and Temple University. Since 2013, he has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Paul is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania.

Court Dismisses Claims Against Investigator For Documentary

A federal district court in Washington, DC dismissed defamation and privacy claims against an athlete who served as a freelance investigator for “The Dark Side,” an Al Jazeera documentary on sports doping. The court held that the athlete’s undercover reporting for the film did not constitute “publication.” The athlete was represented by LSKS attorneys Jay Ward Brown and Matt Schafer.

Court Grants Access To Jurors’ Names In High-Profile Trial

A Pennsylvania judge granted a media coalition’s motion seeking access to the names of the jurors in the high-profile criminal trial of former President of Pennsylvania State University Graham Spanier. The charges against Spanier arose from his failure to act after allegedly learning about accusations of abuse against football coach Jerry Sandusky. During the trial, the Associated Press and the publishers of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News sought access to the jurors’ names, which had been placed under seal. The coalition was represented by LSKS attorneys Gayle Sproul and Paul Safier.

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.

Information about additional news and events can be found in our News Archive.

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