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Newsroom Alert


Doug Pierce

Newsroom Alert provides you with the latest updates in First Amendment and other legal issues related to news gathering and reporting, including reviews of recent state and federal court decisions.  Some of the many topics include libel, copyright, privacy, and access to records and meetings.

Doug Pierce is a Partner at King & Ballow. He also serves as General Counsel for the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and President of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government.  He is a frequent writer on legal issues related to newsroom topics; he co-authors portions of the Media Law Resource Center’s annual 50 state surveys for Libel and Privacy.

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Hyperlink does not constitute republication of defamation

Monday, 01 June 2015 14:17


A U.S. District Court in Florida has determined a news article including a hyperlink to another article found to contain defamatory content did not constitute republication of the defamatory content, and accordingly, the publisher of the article containing the hyperlink was not liable for defamation.


Reporting on matter of public concern cannot support defamation claim if the defamation is only implicit

Tuesday, 26 May 2015 08:41


An economics professor was quoted in a New York Times article as saying slavery “was not so bad -- you pick cotton and sing songs.” The article, titled “Rand Paul's Mixed Inheritance,” was about libertarianism. It also quoted the professor as saying Woolworth's had the right to exclude blacks from its lunch counters because “no one is compelled to associate with people against their will.”


Don’t shoot the messenger, and don’t bother to sue him either

Thursday, 14 May 2015 13:07


The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York recently held that under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), a web hosting company was shielded from publisher liability for defamatory statements published on a website it hosted. The web hosting company played no role in the creation of the defamatory statements.


Michael Jordan’s lawsuit still has a shot against grocery chain

Thursday, 30 April 2015 09:13


A Chicago based grocery chain featured an ad in a Sports Illustrated’s commemorative issue congratulating all-time great Michael Jordan on his 2009 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Though the ad did not feature an image of Jordan, it clearly referenced him.  Jordan sued the grocery chain for violation of his statutory right of publicity under Illinois law.


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