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COM Law Final Sheet

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COM 400

Defamation: The publication of material that would tend to hold with hatred, ridicule, contend or spite (hurts someone reputation). If it is said it is SLANDER if it is written it is LIBEL. Government can’t sue because of 1 Amendment. To win, Plaintiff must prove: (F2LI2P)ALL OF THESE • Publication ▯ communicated in any form (spoken, written, broadcast, etc.) o Republication is liable too • Falsity: The statement is false ▯ not true statement • Language that’s defamatory ▯ “words that tend to damage a person’s standing in a community” • Fault of the speaker (the hardest one to prove) ▯ determines negligence or recklessness (actual malice or gross irresponsibility) o Most states = negligence, New York = gross irresponsibility o Negligence: failure to follow accepted professional practices or standards o Knew it was false, or disregarded truth or falsity information (or should have known) • Identification of the person/company ▯ does not have to be named, just described • Damage/Harm ▯ you have to prove that the person was harmed in some way o Emotional, physical, economic (need to recover somehow) o Vary state by state  Compensation for loss  Punitive: to punish and send a warning to others Defendant can still win with affirmative defenses • Even if P proves all the elements o Fair report privilege  Qualified – defamers use of privilege is conditional on accurate reports (sometimes called reporters privilege), Fair report for official proceedings, Legislative, executive, judicial o Fair comment and criticism  Reviews and critiques, Must be matter of widespread public interest (Public issue, cultural activity, sale of consumer goods) o Opinion Statement of belief that cannot be proved true or false, Ollman Test (Milkovich – can’t couch a fact within an opinion) Privacy: Prosser synthesis law into 4 topics (1960) ▯ not all states recognize all 4 1. Disclosure of embarrassing private facts about individuals - the publication of private information that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and is not a matter of legitimate public concern a. Defenses: News media not liable for info if they merely give further publicity to info about P which is already public, public occurrences in public view (1 Amendment), newsworthiness and consent i. Cox V.Cohen, Florida Star V.BJF and Smith V.Daily Mail b. Defamation ▯ hurts reputation, wide dissemination, FALSE; Private Facts ▯ hurts feelings, wide dissemination, TRUE c. Infliction of emotional distress (intentional or negligent) 2. Intrusion, the physical or technological violation of an individual’s privacy a. Trespass – PR has right to deny news crew on corporate property b. HIPAA 3. False light, the widespread publication of facts that placed a P in false light that is highly offensive to a reasonable person and was published with actual malice (for public interest/public official), otherwise use state standard (private person) a. Plaintiffs must prove: actual malice, misrepresentations are significant, highly offensive (fictionalization, distortions) b. Defamation ▯ damage to reputation, communicated to one; False light ▯ damage to mental health (HARM), widespread dissemination 4. Appropriation/Commercialization, or the use of another persons likeness without permission for trade a. Defenses: newsworthiness or consent b. Right of publicity: right of celebs to make money of their names, picture, voice, etc. (only 20 sates) NY Civil Rights Law: Commercialization – prohibits use of name/likeness of living person for “purposes of trade or advertising” do not recognize other 3 Access to Places: Branzburg: reporters “have no constitutional right of access to the public scenes of a crime or disaster when the general public is excluded.” • Time, place and manner restrictions • Public (traditional public forum, limited/designated public forum, non public forum); Private (open-to-public places [custom usage]) o Malls are not public places Paparazzi Law – trying to take a pic of celebrity’s child without permission (already covered by trespass, intrusion and intentional infliction of emo. distress) Access to Records and Meetings: FOIA – open records law, if the government has a record, you can see it GENERALLY (corporat
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