Media Law and How to Stay Up to Date
Media law refers to the legal field that involves media communications of all kinds including but not limited to advertising, broadcasting, censorship, confidentiality, copyright, defamation, freedom of information, internet services, privacy, and telecommunications. There are three general areas of interest within media law: (1) print media, which includes newspapers, magazines, and print advertising (2) telecommunications, including radio and television broadcasting, and (3) digital communications and the internet. A media law firm specializes in assisting business and organizations navigate this vast area of law.
Media refers collectively to all media technologies, including the internet, television, games, newspapers, film and radio. It can also be used to include the business and organizations which own or control these technologies. A media law firm can provide a business with a broad range of legal services such as drafting and negotiating contracts, advising on regulatory issues and restrictions, litigating or mediating disputes. A media lawyer can help internet, e-commerce, or other technology-based businesses to better understand and comply with international, state and federal regulations, and to structure and negotiate media transactions and deals.
Because media by its nature transcends state and even national boundaries, media law may be regulated by multiple authorities and laws. Media law in the United States is primarily regulated by the federal government (FCC), but states are involved in various issues such as rights of publicity and defamation law. However, each country has its own laws regulating media. These laws are constantly in flux as countries conform to the needs of changing technologies and norms. As such, businesses should reach out to a lawyer who specializes in this field and is able to familiarize the business with all the national and international nuances of media law. In addition, certain bodies of law, especially copyright law and privacy, and libel and defamation law, are always present in the world of media law. Media companies may be large, and there are many antitrust decisions affecting media companies.
Understanding the legal environment in which media operates is a crucial factor in the success of a company. Rules and regulations can hinder or enable the growth of a company within that legal context. Laws can also restrict or promote particular kinds of content and communication. By keeping abreast of evolving transactional best practices, legislative changes as well as tracking court cases in this rapidly evolving field, an experienced media lawyer will be able to represent media companies effectively and advise clients as to their obligations, clarify the law, and minimize the risks of litigation.