Tag Archives | Students

UNC Media Law Doctoral Student Wins Top Paper Award for NCA 2017

We are pleased to announce that UNC  doctoral student Shao Chengyuan has won the top student paper award from the Communication and Law Division of the National Communication Association (NCA) this year. Chengyuan will present her paper at the NCA’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas in November. Congratulations, Shao!

Chengyuan studies media law in the UNC School of Media and Journalism. She joined the program in 2015 after earning a master’s in communication from Beijing Foreign Studies University and a bachelor’s in English from China Agricultural University in Beijing. She has now studies media law issues in China, specifically new media-related legislation and the legal boundaries of online free speech.

Chengyuan’s paper, which was blind-reviewed in the NCA’s paper competition,  is titled “Internet Defamation in China: Criminal Cases Since the 2013 Supreme People’s Court Judicial Interpretation.” Here is the abstract.

“This paper examines the recent development in Chinese defamation law, specifically the establishment of a 2013 judicial interpretation by the Supreme People’s Court that criminalized Internet defamation. This paper uses the language of Chinese law and analyzes eight Internet defamation cases decided after the 2013 judicial interpretation on Internet defamation. The criminal cases analyzed in this paper showed how Chinese public prosecutors have employed the new legal rules in cases deemed as threats to public order and state interests, as well as how Chinese individuals, acting as private prosecutors, have pursued criminal defamation prosecutions against online speakers. This paper takes into consideration the cultural and historical background of Chinese criminal defamation law and argues that, in addressing the lack of free speech protection under the current criminal defamation law, Chinese legislators need to consider raising the standard of fault for public officials and eventually abolishing the “state interest clause” of the criminal defamation statute.”

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UNC Media Law Student Part of Winning Research Group

UNC media law student Mariam Turner is among a group of faculty and graduate students who have won a $10,000 research award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ Mass Communication and Society Division. The award, which was announced over the summer, was given to Dr. Daniel Riffe and Dr. Adam Saffer from the UNC School of Media and Journalism.  However, students were the forces behind the grant application.

The study will look at the interlocking of U.S. media company boards of directors, and how much this influences media content. The idea arose in Dr. Riffe’s Theories of Media Processes & Procedures course last spring. Mariam, who was a student in that class, plans to help with data collection, the literature review, and creation of the survey.

Mariam is in the third year of UNC’s four-year dual-degree program. In this program, which is administered by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, she’ll earn both a J.D. and a master’s degree in mass communication.

Go, Mariam!

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UNC Law Student Named Finalist in Games Industry Legal Challenge

RileyKathleen Riley, a second-year law student at the UNC School of Law, has been named as one of five finalists in the 2017 Games Industry Law Summit’s Legal Challenge. The international competition, which is based on an actual dispute involving gaming law,  is open to law students and practicing lawyers from all over the world.  Submissions were reviewed by a 6 member jury made up of some of the top gaming lawyers from the United States and European Union. Kathleen was the only finalist from the U.S. and received an invitation to attend the 2017 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where the winners will be announced on April 27, 2017 (1st place will receive a prize of €1,000 and 2nd place will receive €500).

Last year, the Games Industry Law Summit drew over 100 professionals from gaming companies and law firms representing 25 countries, including: US, Brazil, UK, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus, Malta, and Luxembourg.

Congratulations, Kathleen, and good luck tomorrow!

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In addition to preparing for her trip to Lithuania, Kathleen was gracious enough to pass along the following information that might be of interest to other students interested in video game law:

IGDAF Women in Games Ambassador Program

Late Dec/early Jan application deadline, the Game Development Conference (GDC) takes place in late Feb/early Mar.  Successful applicants receive a scholarship including an all access pass to the GDC in San Francisco and a stipend for travel. While GDC is mostly tailored to game developers, there are many great legal talks, and lots of opportunities to network with lawyers in the industry. The IGDAF is looking to expand participation in the Ambassador program to business and legal students/professionals.

IGDA Scholars Program

This program is closely related to the Women in Games Ambassador program, but is not limited to women. 

Video Game Bar Association Scholarship Program

This is another writing competition, but instead of being practice-based, competitors submit a paper on a current legal topic related to the video game industry.  The winner receives a $2,500 stipend as well as round-trip airfare, accommodations, and admission to attend the Video Game Bar Association‘s Annual Video Game Law Summit in Los Angeles. The winning submission is also published in the Summit materials book. 

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UNC Media Law Students to Present Research in Minneapolis

2016-AEJMC-Conference-LogoFour UNC School of Media and Journalism graduate students will present media law research papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s (AEJMC) national convention in Minneapolis Aug. 4-7.  One of those students – Lindsie Trego – won a prize for writing the third best student paper in the Law and Policy Division.

Congratulations, everyone!

The papers went through a process of blind review, with students and faculty competing in the same category.  These are the authors’ names, paper titles, and abstracts:

Chanda Marlowe, “Student Data in Danger: What Happens When School Districts Rely on the Cloud” (Chanda is a J.D./M.A. dual degree student in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law.)

According to Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy’s report “Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools,” 95% of public school districts rely on cloud services for a diverse range of functions. The use of cloud services raises serious privacy concerns. For example, in March of 2014, Google admitted to scanning students’ emails and gathering data that were used to target ads to those students. Under the threat of lawsuits, Google promised to stop; however, in December 2015, Google was accused of collecting and using student data for non-education purposes again, this time in violation of the Student Privacy Pledge that it signed January 2015. Yet, schools continue to contract with private sector corporations to obtain cloud services, leaving parents to wonder what information is collected on their children, how that information is being used, and how, if at all, that information is being protected. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the major privacy problems that school districts face when they rely on cloud services offered by private corporations, to analyze how FERPA and state privacy laws are addressing these problems, and to offer possible solutions that go beyond FERPA and state privacy laws. This topic is important because legislation must strike the right balance between protecting students’ personal information and meeting the technological needs of schools.

Lindsie Trego, “Indirect Censorship of Collegiate Media: Exploring Administrative Removal of Collegiate Media Advisers as First Amendment Retaliation Against Student Journalists” (Lindsie is a J.D./M.A. dual degree student in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law.  This is Lindsie’s prize-winning paper.)

Cases of indirect administrative censorship of collegiate media—in which students are indirectly punished for press activity—have recently made news headlines. In many of these cases, college media faculty advisers have been administratively removed from their positions in response to disputes between student editors and administrators. These cases call into question whether student journalists can successfully seek legal redress for indirect acts against their First Amendment rights, including removal of their advisers. Specifically, some have questioned whether removal of college media advisers injures student journalists—a necessary element of proving a First Amendment claim. This paper examines the analyses courts have used in past cases to determine what administrative actions injure students and applies these analyses to determine whether removal of college media advisers constitutes injury to student journalists in the context of First Amendment litigation.

Lindsie Trego & Chris Etheridge, “Power & Print: Content Influences in College Media” (Lindsie is a J.D./M.A. dual degree student in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and the School of Law.  Chris is a Ph.D. student in the School of Media and Journalism.)

Issues of censorship in higher education have lately been common in the news, however it is unclear to what degree college newspapers experience external influences. This study examines censorship in collegiate media through in-depth interviews with student newspaper editors and advisers. Specifically, this study explores what recalled practices by external actors lead editors and advisers to perceive content pressures or lack thereof, as well as how editors and advisers respond to these pressures.  

Ray Whitehouse, “An Examination of Ag-Gag and Data Trespass Statutes” (Ray is a 2016 master’s graduate of the UNC School of Media and Journalism.)

Since 1990, nine states have passed legislation that aims to limit undercover investigations of agricultural operations. These “ag-gag” laws attempt to limit investigations in three ways: by criminalizing recording and reporting on operations, criminalizing deceptive entry into operations, and by mandating that anyone recording abuse report it within a short time period. In 2015, two major events related to ag-gag laws took place. First, a federal judge ruled that Idaho’s ag-gag law was unconstitutional. This case decision, the first examining ag-gag laws, cast doubt on the constitutionality of other state ag-gag laws. Second, Wyoming passed a “data trespass” law that criminalized collecting information on “open land” with the intent to give that information to government agencies. Agricultural activists filed suit, claiming that it was an unconstitutional ag-gag law aimed at stopping citizen activists from reporting Clean Water Act violations by ranchers who lease public land from the state. Lawmakers disagreed, arguing that the bill simply strengthened existing trespass laws. This paper compares Wyoming’s data trespass law with all existing ag-gag laws and Idaho’s recently overturned law to examine its constitutionality. This examination is important because it incorporates recent legal outcomes that before now have not been incorporated into analysis of ag-gag laws. It suggests that because both the Idaho and Wyoming laws are similar in their construction and the legal questions in their respective cases are similar, the Idaho decision is very applicable to Wyoming’s data trespass law and casts serious doubts upon the constitutionality of Wyoming’s data trespass statute.

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Media law student selected to attend “Free Speech on Campus” conference

UChanda MarloweNC media law student Chanda Marlowe has been selected to attend a one-day conference on “Free Speech on Campus” in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 2016. Forty students were selected. The conference, sponsored by the Newseum Institute and the Knight Foundation, will provide an opportunity for students to discuss the challenges to free expression on college campuses related to conversations about race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexual identity.

Chanda is in her third-year of UNC’s dual-degree program, working toward degrees in both law and mass communication. Her primary research interest is the free speech and privacy rights of students.

The goal of the conference is to gather a diverse group of students to explore free expression issues in a meeting consistent with the First Amendment’s provision for a “marketplace of ideas” within society. It’s the first step in a joint initiative exploring contemporary free expression issues on college campuses.

Later this year, the Newseum will host a “Free Expression Fair” in Washington, D.C., where students will demonstrate projects that promote free expression on campus. The Newseum and Knight Foundation ultimately plan to support students in developing an interactive guide to free speech on campus. College students who are interested in free expression issues on campus should be on the lookout for more opportunities to participate in the Newseum’s upcoming events this year.

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