Author Archive | Lindsie Trego

Graduating Media Law Ph.D. Student Lands Faculty Position at LSU

Brooks Fuller headshotUNC media law Ph.D. student Brooks Fuller will begin work as an assistant professor in the Manship School of Communication at Louisiana State University in the fall. Brooks will teach classes in media law, ethics, and First Amendment issues.

Brooks will graduate from the Ph.D. program in the UNC School of Media and Journalism in May.

Brooks’s dissertation is titled “Words, Wounds, and Relationships: a Mixed-Method Study of Free Speech and Harm in High-Conflict Environments.” His work uses a mixed-method approach – legal analysis and ethnographic fieldwork – to better understand the importance of contextual analysis in determining whether potentially harmful speech is protected by the First Amendment. Brooks has conducted extensive fieldwork at an abortion clinic, where he observed and interviewed protestors on both sides of the abortion issue.

“I can’t really say enough about how important the growing attention to interdisciplinary research has been in positioning me for the job at LSU,” Brooks said. “Opportunities made available through the Park Fellowship and the Center for Media Law and Policy allowed me to explore outside my discipline and make connections with scholars similarly exploring at other institutions. The mentorship I received from the faculty in the MJ-School helped me find a path that I think will make me truly happy.

Congratulations, Brooks!

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Dual-Degree Student Wins ACLU Award

Chanda Mimg_0598arlowe, a fourth-year student in Carolina’s dual-degree program, recently was awarded the ACLU of Northern California’s 2016 Paine Award. The Paine Award is given annually to an “especially deserving” summer intern who demonstrates a commitment to public interest work.

The Paine Award is named for Robert Paine, who passed away just as he was graduating from law school with plans to practice public interest law. Chanda earned the award, which provides her with a $1,000 stipend, after spending a summer interning with the ACLU of Northern California.

As a litigation intern, Chanda conducted legal research and writing in support of active and potential impact litigation on issues of student privacy. She also toured the San Joaquin Valley and gained new insights into the ACLU’s subtle but important work supporting local organizations.

After she graduates in May 2017 with both a J.D. and a master’s in mass communication, Chanda plans to pursue a career practicing public interest privacy law.

“I was incredibly honored to learn that I was chosen as the recipient of this year’s Paine Award,” Chanda said. “I loved my summer working with the ACLU and am looking forward to continuing to work in public interest law.

Congratulations, Chanda!

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Dual-Degree Student Spent Summer on the First Amendment Frontier

lindsieI spent my summer interning in the legal department at the ACLU of Washington State in Seattle, one of the largest ACLU affiliate offices in the country. At the ACLU-WA, I worked on a variety of projects related to First Amendment and other civil liberties issues.

On the First Amendment frontier, my last assignment at the ACLU-WA was to write a letter encouraging a city to abstain from instituting an unconstitutional panhandling ordinance. The proposed ordinance would have made solicitation in the downtown area of the city a crime, in direct contradiction with applicable First Amendment precedent.

I also spent much of my time updating the ACLU-WA’s public education materials on First Amendment and other expression issues. The materials included guides to protest rights, teacher free speech, and initiative signature gathering.

While I wasn’t working on free expression-related projects, much of my time was spent working on Trueblood v. DSHS, a federal class action suit. In Trueblood, Washington State has been found to violate the due process rights of mentally ill individuals by keeping them in jail for months awaiting competency evaluation and competency restoration services. While I was at the ACLU-WA, part of this case was on remand from the 9th Circuit, and I was able to join the team preparing for the remand hearing.

On a more personal note, as a Washington State native, it was great to be in an office in the heart of Seattle and to be near family and friends for a season. I enjoyed the splurges of the West Coast, including many lattes and delicious produce.

Lindsie Trego

Dual-degree student, earning a master’s in mass communication and a J.D. degree

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Media Law Ph.D. Student Spent Summer at the ALA

alaPosted on behalf of Nick Gross, third-year Ph.D. student:

This summer I worked as a Google Policy Fellow at the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in Washington, D.C. The Google Policy Fellowship gives undergraduate, graduate, and law students the opportunity to spend the summer working for public interest groups engaged in Internet and technology policy issues. As the world’s oldest and largest library association, the ALA represents 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. OITP helps secure information and technology policies that support libraries’ mission to ensure the public’s access to electronic information resources in order to promote a free and open information society.

As a fellow, my primary role at OITP was to prepare tech policy memos to submit to the incoming presidential administration. The goal is to inform policymakers about ALA’s public policy concerns, including why, and to what extent, ALA has an interest in specific tech issues and what the next policies should look like. To that end, I drafted a briefs on telecommunications issues and copyright issues.

The telecommunications brief addresses the importance of broadband Internet to libraries. A robust broadband infrastructure ensures that libraries can continue to provide their communities with equitable access to information and telecommunications services, and to serve residents with digital services and content via “virtual branches.” With funding from the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF), libraries and underserved or unserved communities are better able to afford access to high-capacity broadband. Also, greater broadband competition and local choice increase broadband deployment, affordability, and adoption for libraries and their communities. Opening up more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi expands broadband capacity so libraries can better serve their communities. Libraries sometimes provide the only Internet access for some communities. Finally, because libraries use the Internet to research, educate, and create and disseminate content, as well as provide no-fee public access to the Internet, they highly value the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which helps guarantee intellectual freedom and free expression, thereby promoting innovation and the creation and exchange of ideas and content.

As copyright lies at the core of library operations, OITP advocates for law that fulfills the constitutional purpose of copyright—namely, a utilitarian system that grants “limited” copyright protection in order to “Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” The copyright brief calls for a balanced copyright system in the digital age that realizes democratic values and serves the public interest. The first sale doctrine enables libraries to lend books and other materials. The fair use doctrine is critical to libraries’ missions, as it enables the “free flow of information,” fostering freedom of inquiry and expression. For instance, the fair use doctrine enables libraries to use so-called “orphan works” without fear of violating the authors’ copyrights. Moreover, libraries are at the forefront of archiving and preservation, using copyright law’s exceptions to make reproductions and replacements of works that have little to no commercial market or that represent culturally valuable content in the public domain. Libraries also enjoy protections against liability under the Section 512 Safe Harbors in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Furthermore, the brief highlights specific challenges that threaten libraries’ mission to provide the public with access to knowledge and upset the careful balance between copyright holders and users. For instance, e-licensing and digital rights management (DRM) under section 1201 of the DMCA limits libraries’ ability to take full advantage of copyright exceptions, from fair use to first sale to preservation and archiving. ALA also advocates the ratification and implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.

In addition to my policy work, Google’s bi-weekly meetings at its D.C. headquarters shed light on the public policy process. At each event, Google assembled a panel of its own policy-oriented employees and other experts from public interest groups in D.C. Topics ranged from copyright law to broadband deployment and adoption to Net Neutrality. During the meetings, I enjoyed the opportunity to meet the other Google fellows and learn about their work.

My experience as a Google Policy Fellow at OITP taught me a great deal about how public interest groups operate and advocate effectively. For instance, I learned how public interest groups collaborate and form partnerships to effect policy change. Indeed, ALA works, or has worked, with groups like the Center for Democracy & Technology to advocate for Net Neutrality.

Not only did I gain a deeper insight into telecommunications law and copyright law, I also developed an appreciation as to how such laws can profoundly impact the public interest. I’d highly recommend the Google Policy Fellowship to any student interested in learning more about D.C.’s policymaking in the tech ecosystem.

Nick Gross

Third-year Ph.D. Student

School of Media and Journalism

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Dual Degree Student Lands Privacy Job in Washington

natashaNatasha Duarte, a fourth-year student in Carolina’s dual-degree program, will graduate with a J.D. and a master’s in Mass Communication this week.  At graduation she will be honored as the outstanding master’s graduate in the School of Media and Journalism.

Last month, Natasha successfully defended her thesis, in which she examined law enforcement’s use of big data to identify those who are at risk of committing crimes.

After graduation and a summer of studying for the bar exam, Natasha will head to Washington, D.C., to begin work at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) as the Ron Plesser Fellow. Her work at CDT will focus on consumer privacy and government surveillance issues.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help fight for better tech policy and meaningful privacy protections,” Natasha said.

Congratulations Natasha!

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