Tori Ekstrand Named Director of Communications at Center for Media Law and Policy

Tori EkstrandVictoria (Tori) Ekstrand, a Carolina faculty member who teaches and researches media law and has 11 years of public relations experience, has been named director of communications for the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy. Tori is an assistant professor in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication and has been working with the center since she came to Carolina in 2012.

In her new position with the media law center, Tori will develop strategies for using both traditional and new media to communicate the work of the center and to build our community of media professionals, lawyers, professors, students and others. This work is critical to the success and growth of the center.

You can read more about Dr. Ekstrand here.

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Job opportunities in media law at your fingertips

FIND JOBIt’s never too early – or too late – to start looking for the internship, fellowship, or job that is right for you.  However, the process of sifting through hundreds of postings looking for what you want can be daunting.  That is why the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy created its Job Center.  It’s a centralized place to find opportunities to work in the field of media law and policy.

We Bring Our Network to You

The UNC Center for Media Law and Policy has a large (and growing) network of media law and policy minded folks who are often looking for people just like you.  Here is just one example: The multidisciplinary project Privacy Tools For Sharing Research Data at Harvard is looking for undergraduates, law students, graduate students, postdocs, and visiting scholars to join its efforts to help enable the collection, analysis, and sharing of sensitive data while providing robust privacy protections.  If you are willing to live in Boston for the summer (and who wouldn’t?), this could be a great summer gig.

Easy to Use

You can easily find the perfect job for you by using our advanced search feature to search by location, keyword, or practice area.  Also, try browsing by job type or category for a more expansive look at what we have to offer.  Just like that, opportunities for internships, fellowships, and academic teaching positions (Academic – Journalism and Academic – Law) are at your fingertips.

Wide Variety of Jobs

The job opportunities in our database are endless.  If it pertains to media law, we have it.  Our categories include: IP, Copyright, Photo Journalism, Broadcast, FTC listings, Cyber Law, and Trademark.  It’s a one-stop shop for media law jobs.  Here is a list of some of my favorite recent postings:

  • Internship – NPR, Office of the General Counsel: A 10-week program that provides legal interns with an opportunity to work on diverse assignments and a wide range of legal issues, including First Amendment and intellectual property.
  • The ITS Global Policy Fellowship Program: A 4-week program in Brazil that provides fellows from around the world who are interested in internet and technology policy with an opportunity to deepen their knowledge about the Brazilian technology industry.
  • Free Press Public Interest Summer Associate: A 10-12-week program that provides summer associates with an opportunity to work on projects that focus on Net Neutrality, media ownership rules, antitrust law, the use of spectrum, wireless consumer protections and cable television policy.

The Time is Now

If you are currently a student, there are still opportunities for you to find the perfect summer position after on campus interviews are over.  Recent graduates and experienced job seekers, employers’ needs are ever changing, so it pays to be persistent with your job search.  Remember our Job Center is available year-round.  Use it, along with other UNC Center for Media Law and Policy resources, to land your dream job.

  • Join the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy group on LinkedIn!
  • Read about UNC dual degree student Natasha Duarte’s summer internship experience at the Electronic Privacy Information Center here.
  • Read about UNC dual degree student Kevin Delaney’s summer internship experience at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press here.

Chanda Marlowe is a 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law

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Law students give legal guidance to Reese News Lab’s Capitol Hound

CapitolHoundLogoStudents enrolled in a UNC School of Law practicum class have provided legal guidance to a project whose faculty advisers have been named recipients of the University’s 2014 C. Felix Harvey Award for Institutional Priorities. The faculty will receive $50,000 to help improve state government transparency through a web application called Capitol Hound.

The law students, as part of a third-year “capstone” class entitled Media and Internet Law Practicum, worked with students in the Reese News Lab in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication to identify and address a host of legal issues involved with the development of Capital Hound, including copyright, trademark, licensing, and contract issues. The law students were an integral part of the development team at Reese News, helping to make sure legal issues didn’t get in the way of the project’s success. The course was created by and is taught by David Ardia, an assistant professor in the law school and co-director of the UNC Center for Media law and Policy.

School of Journalism and Mass Communication faculty members John Clark and Sara Peach are the recipients of the award. Read more about the award and about Capitol Hound here.

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Privacy and Court Records: Online Access and the Loss of Practical Obscurity

CourtRecrodsI’m excited to announce that Professor Anne Klinefelter and I received an award from the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology and Microsoft Corp. to study the extent of private and other sensitive information in court records.  The $43,000 award will go to the Center for Media Law and Policy and the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library at the UNC School of Law to support a team of researchers who will sample and code several hundred briefs and other filings from the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The United States has a long history of providing public trials and open access to court records, both of which are essential if the public is to have faith in the fairness of our courts and justice system.  Over the past two decades, courts across the country have been moving quickly to digitize their records and make them available online. Some courts are doing this work themselves, while others are relying on third parties, such as libraries and other archives, to make public access possible. All, however, are dealing with one central and unavoidable issue: privacy.

Court records contain a number of types of information that could be characterized as private, ranging from social security numbers to the names of minor children involved in sexual abuse. Little work has been done, however, to study how often this information appears in judicial records and the context in which it appears. The lack of empirical data hamstrings court personnel and other archivists who are attempting to balance privacy interests with the public’s right of access, as well as scholars looking to adapt privacy law and First Amendment doctrines to deal with the flood of public records going online.

This research will provide a first-of-its-kind empirical study of the frequency of sensitive and private information in court records.  Although we are hopeful that our study will be valuable to courts and other archivists, we do not plan to recommend that any specific information in these records be redacted. Instead, our aim is to catalog the kinds of sensitive information that are in these records and to examine the context in which the various types of private information appear.  This will help policymakers and judges better evaluate the potential harm to privacy interests that might arise from the disclosure of private information in court briefs and related records. An examination of term frequency and any discoveries that certain terms are likely to appear when others also appear, may also inform some normative arguments about the “harmfulness” of online access to court records.

This study will also add much needed detail to the term “private information” as it applies in the context of judicial records. Based on a review of the laws that apply to court records as well as other privacy laws and scholarship, we have identified more than 139 types of sensitive or private information that may exist in these records. It is very unlikely that all of these information types appear with equal frequency. Frequency of appearance may be correlated with case type (e.g., civil vs. criminal), document type (e.g., brief vs. appendix) or time period. This study will allow us to assess, for example, whether criminal cases tend to raise different privacy concerns from civil cases.

Our project was one of six proposals to receive awards from Berkeley and Microsoft. You can read the UNC School of Law’s announcement of the award here.

We will present the results of this research at the 2015 Berkeley Technology Law Journal Spring Symposium, “The Privacy, Security, Human Rights and Civil Rights Implications of Releasing Government Datasets,” on April 17.  Look for more posts about our study over the next few months.

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True Threats and Free Speech

The extent to which the First Amendment protects threatening messages on Facebook and elsewhere will be the subject of a panel discussion at the UNC School of Law at noon on Monday, Jan. 26.

Co-sponsored by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the discussion will focus on Elonis v. United States, a case recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. You can read more about the event here.

One of the panelists will be UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication Ph.D. student Brooks Fuller, who recently had an article about threatening Internet messages and the First Amendment published in the Hastings Communication & Entertainment Law Journal. The citation is: P. Brooks Fuller, Evaluating Intent in True Threats Cases: The Importance of Context in Analyzing Threatening Internet Messages, 37 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L. J. 37 (2015).

From the abstract:

Following the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling on the true threats doctrine, Virginia v. Black (2003), significant conflict emerged among the federal circuit courts. The primary issue became whether the First Amendment, as interpreted by the Court in Virginia v. Black, requires a subjective intent standard to be read into all statutes that criminalize true threats, or whether the First Amendment only requires such a statute to require the prosecution to demonstrate that a reasonable person would consider the message to be a true threat. Speakers’ use of social networking websites and Internet forums for the purposes of posting violent and intimidating communications raises significant questions regarding the posture of the true threats doctrine and its application to modern modes of communication. In June 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Elonis v. United States, a true threats case involving posts on Facebook. The defendant, who posted violent messages in the form of rap lyrics and other pop culture references, argued that the trial courts misread Virginia v. Black and violated his First Amendment rights when it failed to instruct the jury to consider his subjective intent in addition to the objective standard. This paper utilizes legal research methods to examine federal courts’ treatment of Internet threats and highlights aspects of Internet speech that are particularly problematic for the true threats doctrine.

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