Tag Archives | Events

Media Law and IP Sessions at the UNC Festival of Legal Learning

One of the biggest annual events at the UNC School of Law is the Festival of Legal Learning. This year’s multi-day convocation of legal geekery comprises 30 different continuing legal education (CLE) sessions over four days. For the past few years, the Center for Media Law and Policy has helped with the selection and coordination of sessions that cover Media Law and Intellectual Property subjects.

This year’s festival, which takes place on February 2-5, will be entirely remote, so you can kick back at home and partake in one of the best CLE programs in the country.  Although the festival is much smaller this year, there are at least 10 sessions that touch on media law and IP topics, ranging from the law of protests to cybercrime. And the list of speakers is a who’s who of the top media and IP lawyers in the state. You can see a list of these folks and descriptions of their sessions on the law school’s event page.

Here are just a few of the sessions available at the festival this year:

Tuesday, Feb. 2

  • 12:00 PM  –  1:00 PM + Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: What Does It Do, Who Wants to Change It, and How Does It Affect You? 
  • 3:45 PM  –  4:45 PM + Plenary: The Law of Protests and the Right to Assembly

Wednesday, Feb. 3

  • 2:30 PM  –  3:30 PM + The Complicated Legal Realm of the NCAA and Student-Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Rights
  • 3:45 PM  –  4:45 PM + Plenary: 2020 Post-Election Analysis

Thursday, Feb. 4

  • 12:00 PM  –  1:00 PM + The State of the News Media
  • 12:00 PM  –  1:00 PM + Introduction to Open Source and the Year in Review
  • 2:30 PM  –  3:30 PM + Recent Developments in Cybercrime Law

Friday, Feb. 5

  • 12:15 PM  –  1:15 PM + Constitutional Hardball: What We Learned from the Trump Presidency
  • 2:45 PM  –  3:45 PM + Privacy Implications of COVID Response Technologies
  • 4:00 PM  –  5:00 PM + Plenary: U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Term

You will not want to miss the final plenary session on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 Term, which includes Adam Liptak from the New York Times; Mary-Rose Papandrea, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UNC School of Law; Andy Hessick, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the UNC School of Law; Alli Larsen, Professor of Law and Director, Institute of the Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School; Richard A. Simpson from Wiley Rein, LLP; and Rick Su, Professor of Law at the UNC School of Law.

To register for the Festival, please visit their registration page.


Tackling Race, Journalism and Viral Images in “Confederates”

“I think that people in this country – the people of good will, anyway – are aching for a real conversation about these very questions and I think maybe we can help them, you and I.”

So says Will, the main character and young black journalist of Suzanne Bradbeer’s award-winning play, CONFEDERATES, to his friend and source, Maddie, after she shares with him a controversial photo of her with a Confederate flag. In this gripping one-act play, Will tries to persuade Maddie, the white daughter of a presidential candidate, that he can be trusted to tell the story of her soon-to-be viral photo, released in an act of revenge by Maddie’s former boyfriend.

On Friday, Jan. 31, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, the UNC Department of Dramatic Art and PlayMakers hosted a reading of CONFEDERATES for about 50 guests in the Freedom Forum Conference Center, including students, faculty, friends of PlayMakers, and the playwright, Suzanne Bradbeer. The play was followed by a panel discussion about the themes in the play with Bradbeer, News & Observer political reporter Will Doran and senior journalism major Elliott Millner.

For the Center, the play was an amazing moment to explore a whole host of ethical and potential legal challenges faced by today’s journalists: how to handle sources we know; how to work in a field that faces tremendous financial pressures; how we talk or don’t talk about race in our work; how “cancel culture” derails conversations about our partisan times; and how the release of controversial images online can wreck lives, encourage death threats, and spark lawsuits.

The conversations were immeasurably bolstered by the performances of Vivienne Benesch, PlayMakers’ artistic director (Stephanie); Brandon Herman St. Clair Haynes from UNC’s Professional Actors Training Program (Will); and Tori Jewell from UNC’s Professional Actors Training Program (Maddie). The reading was produced by Alejandro Rodriguez, PlayMakers’ associate artistic director, and directed by New Jersey actor and director Laura Ekstrand.

The panel discussion that followed addressed how the Internet continues to change the way we work as journalists. The panelists tackled the challenges of writing about race and racial tensions in this moment, as well as the delicate “grey area” of dealing with sources we know.

The evening was a reminder of the power of theater to encourage conversations that are often difficult to have and bring big issues to the personal level, where we can feel them as well as think about them.

(Photos by Lois Boynton)


Pedro X. Molina Speaking on The Art of Resistance

In the midst of turbulent political times in the United States, it’s easy to forget that pressures on press freedom are everywhere these days. Tonight’s talk by Pedro X. Molina, which was co-sponsored by our Center, was a stark reminder of that.

In 2017 Pedro X. Molina was a prolific participant in the #FreeNseRamon campaign demanding freedom for fellow illustrator and political cartoonist, Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, who was imprisoned for his work criticizing his country’s government, Equatorial Guinea.

Pedro X. Molina, also known as ‘PxMolinA,’ is an internationally acclaimed political cartoonist, illustrator and journalist from Nicaragua. In December 2018, when the offices of news media outlet Confidencial were taken over by government forces and during a national crackdown on journalists and government critics, Molina fled his country. He and his colleagues continue to publish daily in Confidencial.com.ni, either from exile or from other locations in Nicaragua. In summer 2019, Molina won the prestigious Maria Moors Cabot Award in international journalism from Columbia’s School of Journalism. In 2018, Molina won the Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award from Cartoonists Rights Network International, as well as the Excellence in Journalism award from the Inter American Press Association.

Esono Ebalé’s work and Molina’s contributions to the #FreeNseRamon campaign are both featured in  ‘The Art of Resistance’ exhibition on display throughout the FedEx Global Education Center until December 13, 2019. Come hear/see Molina share his work in Nicaragua and his efforts to support freedom of expression everywhere.

Molina reminded those of us who attended his talk that fanaticism is rampant across the globe, and that citizens must advocate for human decency over ideology.

This event was sponsored by the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Global Relations, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, Institute for the Study of the Americas, Department of Romance Studies and UNC Global.


Tech Ethics and Governance

TechEthicsTomorrow, I will be joining some fantastic colleagues at Duke University to discuss the legal and ethical issues associated with cyber searches and data privacy. The panel is part of the Kenan Institute for Ethics’s “Tech Ethics and Governance: 2019 Conference on the Ethics of Emerging Tech.”  The conference kicks off today at noon with danah boyd, founder/president of the Data & Society Research Institute, who will speak about data ethics and sociotechnical security, and continues tomorrow with a number of panels on subjects ranging from artificial intelligence, algorithmic decision making, predictive analytics, cybersurveillance, to cyberwar.

My panel will be at 10:45 AM in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke, Room 101.  It’s going to be fascinating discussion, moderated by Sara Sun Beale (Duke). The other panelists are Shane Stansbury (Duke), Jolynn Dellinger (UNC & Duke), Richard Myers (UNC), Stephanie Pell (West Point), and Neil Richards (Washington University).

You can read more about the conference here. Please come by if you are in the area.


First Amendment Law Review Symposium: “Sex and the First Amendment”

In a lecture delivered in 2008, University of Chicago professor Geoffrey Stone confessed to the audience that he had been working on a book tentatively titled “Sexing the Constitution,” a project of “reckless ambition.” Almost ten years later, the book has hit the stands, renamed Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century, at a time when debates about sex and religion are more heated than ever. Beginning with a survey of law and sexuality in Greek and Roman
times, the book ends with an analysis of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decisions and their aftermath. The breadth of the work is staggering.

Earlier this year, I wrote a review of Professor Stone’s book in the Michigan Law Review, titled Sex and Religion: Unholy Bedfellows.  I’m thrilled that Prof. Stone will be joining us this coming Friday as the keynote speaker at the First Amendment Law Review’s symposium on “Sex and the First Amendment,” co-hosted by the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, to discuss his book and the many issues sex and religion raise for the First Amendment.

At a time when debates about sex, religion, and the law are more contentious than ever, the First Amendment Law Review is hosting some of the nation’s top constitutional law scholars to consider a wide-range of free speech, free exercise, and establishment clause issues. In addition to discussing the Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and NIFLA v. Becerra, the symposium will address a broad array of topics relating to sex, sexuality, and religion, including but not limited to the constitutionality of conversion therapy legislation and other restrictions on professional speech; changes in communications technology that have undermined efforts to control explicit sexual images, including revenge porn and sex trafficking; the ongoing debate about whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be amended or repealed; the regulation of sexually oriented businesses; the constitutionality of the Federal Communication Commission’s ongoing regulation of “indecency” in broadcast radio and television; and the fascinating history of all of these laws.

The symposium will take place on November 16 from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM at the Carolina Club at the University of North Carolina. There is a modest registration fee, but students can attend for free. For more information on the symposium, please visit the Center’s event pageTo register, please go here