RALEIGH, N.C. - The Campbell Law Sports & Entertainment Legal Society hosted first amendment expert Amanda Martin for a discussion on media law and its implications on Wednesday, March 14. Martin practices at Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych, PLLC, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Campbell Law.
“Pretty much any lawyer now is representing clients who have websites or participate on websites,” said Martin. “By definition that makes them publishers, and I think that it is important for all lawyers who have the possibility of representing publishers to understand the dynamics of what’s protected, what’s not protected, what they can use from someone else’s website, and what they can’t use.”
Upon graduating from law school in 1992, Martin envisioned a career representing clients in libel cases. These days she primarily represents media clients attempting to gain access to government documents and meetings, as well as responding to subpoenas on their behalf.
She pointed out that the merger of information online has blurred the lines between print and television media, as well as what constitutes news and entertainment, thus creating a litany of new legal issues for media outlets and law practitioners. She also touched on intellectual property and privacy issues, touting issues such as television programs being uploaded to YouTube and media outlets pulling photos of potential suspects and victims from Facebook.
Martin also explained several North Carolina statues that attorneys and media outlets frequently address, including open meeting requirements, reporter’s privilege, access to civil court proceedings, and freedom of information requests.
“Any law firm needs to have a lawyer that understands the internet,” said Martin.
Martin serves as general counsel to the North Carolina Press Association, and routinely counsels and advises reporters and editors on obtaining access to government documents and meetings, resisting subpoenas, and avoiding libel suits. In 2007 she co-edited the North Carolina Media Law Handbook, and she regularly contributes to media law and legal newsletters and publications. Martin also handles copyright, intellectual property, and trademark issues.
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