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Newsgathering Liability

LSKS attorneys wrote the book on the law of newsgathering – literally. Partners Lee LevineSeth Berlin, Jay Ward Brown, and Gayle Sproul are co-authors of the authoritative treatise on the subject, Newsgathering and the Law.

Investigative reporting, reality television programs, documentary filmmaking, and even traditional newsgathering pose risks of potential liability. In recent years, plaintiffs have filed a growing number of suits based on how information and images are obtained, rather than on the content of what is distributed. Disputes in this area have arisen from accessing computer records, using hidden cameras and microphones, and riding along with police.

LSKS attorneys have successfully defended some of the most significant of these cases. For example, LSKS represented the media defendants in Bartnicki v. Vopper when that case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In Bartnicki, the media defendants were sued after they broadcast a recording of a cell phone conversation between two union officials that they had received from a source. The Supreme Court ruled in the media’s favor, reaffirming the principle that the press has the right to broadcast newsworthy information, even if the source of that information obtained it illegally.

LSKS attorneys also have substantial experience with data privacy laws, including those that protect personal as well as health-related information, and the laws governing the privacy of computer, voicemail, and other electronic information storage systems. Our lawyers also have significant experience counseling clients who report on national security issues and whose newsgathering touches on other sensitive areas of the law. 

Through legal counseling hotlines operated 24/7 on behalf of various of the firm’s clients, LSKS attorneys provide real-time advice in these areas of the law during the preparation of news reports and entertainment products. Clients are thus able to maximize their information-gathering while minimizing their legal risks.

A listing of some of the noteworthy newsgathering cases LSKS attorneys have handled can be found here.

Recent News About LSKS's Newsgathering Practice


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