New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

MMC 4200, Week 7 Notes

by: Deena Acree

MMC 4200, Week 7 Notes MMC 4200

Deena Acree
GPA 3.87

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

End of Chapter 4 and beginning of Chapter 5. Defamation defenses, the right to privacy, invasion of privacy, publication of public facts, privacy torts, online privacy, defenses, First Amendmen...
Law of Mass Communications
Sandra Chance
Class Notes
media law, Law, mass communication, law of mass communication, first amendment, court systems, SCOTUS
25 ?




Popular in Law of Mass Communications

Popular in Journalism and Mass Communications

This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Deena Acree on Monday February 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MMC 4200 at University of Florida taught by Sandra Chance in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 63 views. For similar materials see Law of Mass Communications in Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Florida.


Reviews for MMC 4200, Week 7 Notes


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 02/22/16
Class Eleven (Chapter 5) — 2/16/16 Announcements: • Extra Credit Quiz Today o Question: What major even occurred over the weekend? o Answer: Death of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Death of Justice Scalia: What this means • In cases where there is a majority, the majority decision will be upheld • In cases where there is a even split, there are two options o SCOTUS can affirm the decision made by the lower court by a divided court, or o Both of the parties can re -argue their case in front of the SCOTUS Exam 1 Breakdown • Class Average: 82.15 • High grade: 102 (several people got this score) • Low grade: 44 (if you got a failing grade, go and talk to her during office hours) o How you prepared for the exam o What you can do for the next exam Exam Information • Grades are posted • Exam review: some spots are left on Sakai Chapter 4 continued: Defamation Defenses • Likely Defamation Defendants o Publishers o Editors o Reporters o Photographers o Advertisers o Public Relations Counselors o Private Individuals o Most of the time, defendants are (media) organizations that have deeper pockets (people often sue because they want money) o Punitive damages can be awarded from private individuals, but usually those people do n't have a lot of money • Defamation Defenses o Truth (this is completely different from privacy) o Opinion o Privileges • Absolute • Qualified • First Amendment Protections o Truth is traditionally a defense in libel • (NY Times v. Sullivan shift in burden of proof): Defamation plaintiffs have the burden to prove falsity • This is still a defense, but it isn't used much anymore because of the burden of proof o More important when the burden of proof rested on the defendant o Today, burden is carried by the plaintiff to prove falsity when matter of public concern o "Pure opinion" protected by the first Amendment o Assertion is protected as opinion unless it contains a "provable false factual connotation" • This has to do whether something is verifiably true or false • Milkovich v. Lor ain Journal Co. o VIDEO: C-SPAN • There's a lot more protection for journalists now than there used to be • A columnist for the local paper said that in his opinion, the coach had lied under oath (perjured himself) • The court has said since 1974 that there is no such thing as a false idea • SCOTUS said that "An opinion is protected as long as it is not a fact that can be provable" o Opinions are something that can't be proven true or false o Accusation was that Milkovich was a liar who had perjured himself during a hear ing (can be proven true/false) o Bottom line: not opinion if it can be proven true or false o Lower courts don't like decision, so many have adopted a more in depth test • This gives them more guidance when looking at matters of opinion • It's a totality of circumstances way of looking at a case • It is not a SCOTUS precedent • Ollman Test o Can the statement be proved true or false? • This is a totality of circumstances o What is the common or ordinary meaning of the words? • Are we looking at the proper usage of the word? • Are people actually saying what the word means, or is it a form of speech? o What is the journalistic context of the remark? • What else has been said in this story/speech/etc. o What is the social context of the remark? • Opinion o Rhetorical hyperbole: • Opinion statements that may be defended as being unbelievable (in the context) • Audience knows it's an opinion (the audience has to all believe that it's not a fact) • Tone is key § This is where comedians fall in defenses • Absolute Privilege o Government officials • Have an absolute privilege when acting in their official capacity • They are protected from any defamation liability o Consent • Doesn't happen very often • If you consent to being interviewed and the interview is accurate, you can't come back and sue for defamation o Doctor/lawyer • They have an absolute privilege to communicate any information with private individuals • Essentially, they are protected from being sued for defamation while they are in a privileged meeting with client/patient o Political candidates: • There's also a privilege for broadcast stations; they are required by federal law to give equal time to candidates, so they cannot be sued by someone for content in a political broadcast (the candidate can be sued, but not the broadcast) • Qualified Privilege • Reporters have to meet other requirements • Designed to protect the ability of reporters to communicate defamatory information • Has to be accompanied by an absence of ill will by the reporters • Defendant always bears the burden of proving that the individual meets the privileges o Reporter's privilege § Privileged so long as the reporting is fair and accurate § Covers anything said by anyone, as long as you report on it fairly and accurately § There must be no ill will towards the person defamed § You have to give attribution (to the source of the material) • Official proceedings • Official documents • Judicial proceedings • Court documents o Neutral reportage • Responsible, prominent source makes charges against a public figure, the First Amendment projects accurate and disinter ested reporter § Reporter must think that the speaker is someone who is reliable and responsible • Not a viable defense in most jurisdictions § It protects them even if they may doubt what is being said as true § Florida and a small amount of other states have adopted it o Mutual interest § Gives you a qualified reason to defend yourself from unfair business practices § Also applies to defamatory remarks between employers § People don't usually sue for this type of communication • Protects communications among persons with common interests • Business partners • Letters of credit and references • Statute of Limitations o Defamation claims must be started within a specified period of time o Two years (2) in Florida • Florida's Retraction Statute -Chapter 770 o Plaintiff must serve notice on Defendant five days before filing action o You have 10 days to print a retraction o Call your lawyer o Limits your potential liability to actual damages, no punitive **this defamation material will be on Exam 2 ---- End of Chapter 4 Chapter 5: The Right to Privacy • The right to privacy is protected by: o The US Constitution (the right to be let alone and free from unwarranted governmental intrusion). • There is no explicit statement, but different parts of the constitution come together to give you the right to privacy AND o Tort law (the right to be free from unwarranted publicity) • VIDEO: CNN Impact—Privacy o When President Roosevelt was president, the press had a code to not be involved in the private lives of people • It was just assumed that no one would ask presidents about their private lives • They didn't report anything at all about him being paralyzed or about his & his wife's multiple affairs o The media is completely different now than it was then; now the media reports on things with the claim that "this tells us something about that person's character" • Now we "poke our noses into every conceivable part of their private life" • Now the idea is "tell the public about your private life and they will like you more" • Invasion of Privacy o There are four major privacy torts: • Publication of private facts § When plaintiffs sue because private facts were published § Prevents actual publication of a private fact • Intrusion § More prevention of news -gathering techniques than publishing § Hidden cameras, wiretapping, etc. • False light § The protection to be portrayed accurately § Florida does not recognize this tort (similar to defamation by implication) § Some jurisdictions does not recognize it because defamation by implication already exists • Commercialization/Appropriation Publication of Private Facts • Publication of a private matter that is: o Highly offensive to a reasonable person, AND o Is not of legitimate concern to the public • Truth is not a defense • Must be widely published o Not a particular number o Just a significant portion of people in the community have to be made aware of it • People are successful in suing for them when the publication is of information that is "so intimate that it ruins a part of their personality" • The information cannot be in th e public in some way • Courts rarely find that there is "not a legitimate concern to the public" o Most of the time, courts give deference to the publishers when it comes to matters of public concern • Privacy: o Start by asking: "Does this person have a reasonab le expectation of privacy?" • Definitely not: § Information is already public § Doing something that is visible to the public § Being on the street in public areas Publication of Private Fact Tort • Elements (What does the plaintiff have to prove?) o Private fact (no one outside of immediate family knows, etc.) o Publication (widely published) o Highly offensive to a reasonable person o Not of legitimate concern to the public (NOT newsworthy) • This is usually the part where plaintiffs fail • Examples: o Publication of Private Fact • 1939 — Time Magazine § The Story: "The Starving Glutton" § Published a story about Dorothy Barber, who had an unusual eating disorder that caused her to lose weight no matter what she ate § Photographer took a photo of her at her hosp ital bed against her will § There was no legitimate cause to identify her § Court said that Time Magazine did invade her right to privacy; "it could have been published without identifying her" • Erin Andrews § VIDEO: Erin Andrews Stalker Pleads Guilty —ABC News § Erin Andrews, ESPN Reporter who was videotaped while undressing in a private hotel room § Her stalker tampered with peepholes in three of her hotel rooms in three different states § He pleaded guilty to a criminal statue (interstate stalking) and was imprisoned for 2 1/2 years § If there had been a civil tort, all of the elements of a private fact tort would have been met • So this tort depends on a private fact o Private facts are personal details about someone that have not been disclosed to the public o A person's sexual orientation, a sex-change operation, and a private romantic encounter could all be private facts o Once publicly disclosed by that person, or someone else, however, they more into the public domain o Plaintiffs sue for shame, humiliation, mental anguish ( intimate information & shocking o AND highly offensive to a reasonable person • Example: § "Kingbootyhunter" • Started at UCF by a student there who would take pictures of people's butts § Site is now closed § But, is it illegal? • Yes, this is legal because they cannot identify the people by a photo of their butts • You can't sue the press for a publication of a private fact if it's something that happens in public o AND not of "legitimate" interest (to the public) § Court has ruled that a lot of private in formation can be considered newsworthy • Newspapers § Traditional § Non-traditional § Alternative (blogs) • Television § Traditional § Reality TV § • VIDEO: —CBS § Facebook having access to websites that you've visited and them sharing your information with the websites • VIDEO: Facebook responds to backlash § Zuckerberg's response to their public information § There's no privacy on Facebook for anything that you post, no matter what your settings are. Class Twelve (Chapter 5) — 2/18/16 Announcements: • In the future, don't sign up for multiple appointments to review exams. o It's inconsiderate for others, so if you can't make an appointment that you signed up for, cancel it. Chapter 5 continued: The Right to Privacy Publication of Private Fact Tort (continued) • Elements (What does the plaintiff have to prove?) o Private fact (no one outside of immediate family knows, etc.) o Publication (widely published) o Highly offensive to a reasonable person o Not of legitimate concern to the public ( NOT newsworthy) • This is usually the part where plaintiffs fail • In some cases, only a significant group will find the information to be newsworthy Online Privacy: How did we get there? • VIDEO: PBS — Privacy in the Online Age o Three technological changes that shocked the American people: • Camera • Telephone • Ability of Western Union to collect lots of information about people o Combination of law & technology decides how available we are • Technology is evolving much faster than laws can keep up • Most technology laws are based on/contained in the Federal Communications Act of 1896 o The future of privacy will depend on whether the technology being used will be evolving faster than the government can regulate it • SCOTUS rulings about privacy in the technology age: o Ruling that it's illegal to place GPS trackers on cars without warrants o Ruling that it's illegal to search a cell phone without a warrant • Before, the police was able to search anything within a certain area of a person who was being arrested, including phones • SCOTUS said that this was above and beyond the reach of the police to search phones (so much personal info available on phones) o Apple case (happening currently): the FBI has request ed backdoor access to Apple's iPhone software for the iPhone of one of the shooters in the San Bernandino case • The FBI could create the software, but it would be much more costly to do it • Apple has refused because it would set a big precedent that would c hange the way that evidence is collected by police and law enforcement • Also creates a big problem when it comes to other nations/national security • Privacy in the Online Age • Privacy and Social Networks: Did the Internet Kill Privacy? o Ashley Payne, a high sc hool teacher • Was forced to resign because a parent complained (in an anonymous email) about a photo on her Facebook page from a vacation to Europe (she was holding a glass of wine and a glass of beer) • Was called into the principal's office and given the op tion to resign right there or be suspended • She had used the privacy settings on Facebook, so she didn't think that anyone else could see the photo besides friends • Suing the school because the photo was no different than if a parent walked into a restaurant and saw a teacher with a glass of anything alcoholic o Data mining issues • Advertisers and other companies tracking your information and your presence online • A big danger is that it would be really easy for a computer to confuse you with someone else and document you with incorrect information • Daily Show Talks Internet Privacy • Why Care About Internet Privacy • Youth and Media — Part 1 • Youth and Media — Part 2 Defenses • First Amendment o Protects most truthful information lawfully acquired IF not highly offe nsive to a reasonable person and of legitimate concern to the public • Newsworthiness o Public records and occurrences • If the information is on public record, it is likely to be considered to be newsworthy o Strange and unusual • If it is strange and unusual, it is probably newsworthy o Newsworthiness over time • If something wasn't newsworthy at first (but is now), then it is considered to be newsworthy over time • Consent o You cannot be held liable if the person consented to you using their personal information First Amendment Cases • Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn (1975) o A 17-year old high school student who went to a party, got drunk, was sexually assaulted by 6 men and then died o Her name was never published because at the time in Georgia, it was a misdemeanor to publish a rape victim's name (particularly a minor) o When the 6 men were indicted, a reporter got a copy of the indictment and ended up publishing her name o Father sued, saying that his privacy was inva ded o SCOTUS said that it was not illegal to publish information that had been legally obtained from court documents • If it was such a high interest, then it is the government's charge to not give out the name of the victim • Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989) o Florida Statute 794.03 o Prohibits anyone from "printing, publishing, or broadcasting… in any instrument of mass communication" the name or other information identifying a victim of a sexual offense. o Criminal offense punishable by up to one year in jail o Constitutional or Unconstitutional???? • Unconstitutional • An intern got a police report naming BJF as a victim of sexual assault • The paper had an internal policy to not print victim's names, but somehow it got past the editor and was published • It was illegal (punishable by up to one year in jail) to publish a victim of sexual assault's name • SCOTUS: A newspaper can't be punished for publishing lawfully obtained information that was a matter of public concern (a crime is a matter of public concern) § The government should establish higher standards for disclosure if it's a concern instead of publishing the press § Said that it was limited to the facts of this specific case § Courts have applied the standards from this case very broadly (more than it was intended to be) § The per se standard was unconstitutional in this case • Questions to ask about a court case concerning a newspaper: o Whether the newspaper lawfully obtained truthful information about a matter of public significance o Whether it meets the standards of strict scruti ny • Florida v. Globe Communications Corp. (1994) o Globe published the identity of Patricia Bowman (alleged victim of rape) o SCOTUS ruled that the Globe had "lawfully learned of (her) identity through standard investigative techniques" • Revised Florida Statutes (1995) o 794.024 publishes public employees or officers who willfully and knowingly disclose identity of a victim o 794.026 provides for civil remedy against "entity or individual" who reveals information if revelation was "intentional and done with reckless disregard for highly offensive nature of publication." o Constitutional or unconstitutional??? • Most likely constitutional o Positives of these changes: • Doesn't single out the media (generally applicable law, has incidental affect on the media) • Punishes the government official who releases the information • They would likely be held as constitutional


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."

Kyle Maynard Purdue

"When you're taking detailed notes and trying to help everyone else out in the class, it really helps you learn and understand the I made $280 on my first study guide!"

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.