Communication Studies 361Media Law and Policy
M, W & F: 11:30-12:30, Pleasants 209

 

 

 

Schedule

 

Assignments

Texts

Instructor & Objectives

Policies

 

Instructor:
Chris Richter
Office: 207 Pleasants Hall, Phone: x6358
Office Hrs: M & W 1:30-3:30 p.m.;
Th 4:15-4:45 p.m. and by appointment

Course Objectives:
In this course you will learn about the philosophy and practice of government regulation of U.S. communication media. More specifically, you will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  1. The American legal system’s institutions and processes, especially as relevant to media businesses and issues;
  2. The economic and technological differences between various communication media, and the relevance of these differences for regulation;
  3. First Amendment and other legal principles and their application to the various communication media;
  4. The relationship between social science research and the formulation of media policy;
  5. Some basic techniques of legal research

Required Texts:

Pember, D. R, (2000). Mass media law. Boston: McGraw-Hill

You are required to subscribe to and regularly read The New York Times.

Other readings TBA

A Few WWW resources:

http://www.uscourts.gov/

http://www.usconstitution.net/

http://www.fcc.gov/

http://www.fcc.gov/telecom.html

http://www.state.va.us/scc/index.html

http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Welcome.html

http://www.appealsunlimited.com/coafed.htm

http://innopac.law.virginia.edu/screens/opacmenu.html

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/

http://www.cix.org/Archive/1996/Governance/Policy/telecomm96.html

http://www.technologylaw.com/techlaw/act_summary.html

http://www.msen.com/~duemling/telecom/act.html

Other web sites TBA

Assignments:

Your final grade will be calculated based on the following assignments:

1. Class Attendance & Participation 100 pts.
2. Ten quizzes (15 pts. each) 150 pts.
3. 5 case briefs (40 pts each) 200 pts.
5. Role Play & Brief 200 pts.
6. Midterm Exam 150 pts.
7. Final Exam 200 pts.
Total 1000 pts.

Quizzes: quizzes will be given periodically on the week’s reading assignments. Your top ten quizzes will be included in your final grade.

Exams: the Midterm and Final exams will consist of multiple choice, short answer and essay questions designed to allow you to demonstrate your understanding of reading and lecture/discussion materials. The final will be comprehensive.

Case Briefs: you will locate and write concise summaries of five U.S. Court cases, noting the facts of the case, the legal issue involved, the decision and the legal principle(s) that might be derived from the case.

Role Play & Brief: You will play the role of an expert testifying on a particular issue before either congress, a regulatory commission or the supreme court. You must thoroughly research the issue, because you will be assigned a point of view which you must support using your knowledge of law and various types of evidence including social science research.

Student Responsibilities and Rights:
Attendance, Lateness & Participation:
Attendance: Much of what we learn will grow out of our discussions in class. Lecture and discussion will involve important concepts not covered in the readings. Thus, regular attendance is expected. You are permitted two absences. Use your two absences wisely. More than two absences for reason any will result in your grade being lowered. On any day marked with an "*" in the schedule below, attendance is required of all students

Lateness: Showing up for class late on a regular basis is very rude, and will result in grade reduction. Also see "Quizzes," above.

Participation: You are expected to complete all reading assignments prior to class, and to ask useful questions and participate in class discussions in an informed and thoughtful way.

Etc.
Honor Code: As with all your courses at Hollins you are expected to be familiar with, and abide by, the student honor code, as laid out in the Student Handbook. In particular, pay attention to the definition of plagiarism.

Grading
I will make every effort to grade and return all assignments by no later than one week after they are turned in. The Grading Scale for each assignment and for the final grade is based on a total of 100%, as follows:

90-100%

=A

85-89

=A-

80-84

=B+

75-79

=B

70-74

=B-

65-69

=C+

60-64

=C

55-59

=C-

50-54

=D+

45-49

=D

44 or lower

=Failure

 

SCHEDULE

Day

Assignment

Topic

Week 1
Sept. 2

 

 
Introductions; overview of U.S. Governance

Week 2
Sept. 7
Sept. 9


Pember Ch. 1& 2


U.S. Legal system; First Amendment: Philosophical Ideals & Historical Limits
Issues in Legal Research

Week 3
Sept. 14
Sept. 16


Pember Ch. 3
Pember Ch. 4


Modern Limits on Free Speech;
Unprotected Speech: Libel

Week 4
Sept. 21
Sept. 23


Pember Ch. 5
Pember Ch. 6
LEGAL BRIEF # 1 due


Unprotected Speech: Libel cont'd.

Week 5
Sept. 28
Sept. 30

 
Pember Ch. 13

 
Unprotected Speech: Obscenity

Week 6
*Oct. 5

*Oct. 7

 
Pember Ch. 15

Pember Ch. 16

 
Limited Protections: Commercial Speech
Special Case: Telecommunication Regulation
Review for midterm last half hour of class

Week 7
*Oct. 12
Oct. 14

 
MIDTERM
Pember Ch. 17

 
MIDTERM
Special Case: Telecommunication Regulation cont'd

Week 8
Oct. 19
Oct. 21

 
Pember Ch. 7
Pember Ch. 8
LEGAL BRIEF # 2 due

 
Privacy & the Media

Week 9
Oct. 26

Oct. 28

 
Pember Ch. 9
No Class: Fall Break

 
Information gathering & Access

Week 10
Nov. 2
Nov. 4

 
Pember Ch. 10 TBA
LEGAL BRIEF # 3 due

 
Protecting Sources & Contempt
TBA

Week 11
*Nov. 9
*Nov. 11

 
Role Plays
Role Plays

 

Week 12
*Nov. 16
Nov. 18


Pember Ch. 11
Pember Ch. 12


Conflicting Rights? Fair trial vs. Free Press

Nov. 23 & 25

Give Thanks!!

Week 13
Nov. 30

*Dec. 2


Pember Ch. 14

LEGAL BRIEF # 4 due


Copyright laws

Week 14
*Dec. 7
*Dec. 9


TBA
LEGAL BRIEF # 5 due


Other issues in medeia law & policy

 Student administered independent final exam