MLRC Media Law Conference 2018
Hyatt Regency, Reston, Virginia | Sept. 26-28, 2018

Wednesday Sept. 26


Provocative Issues in Libel Law
Part I: Hustler v. Falwell – 30 Years Later: What is its legacy, from political cartoons to Colbert? Roslyn Mazer, counsel to the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Hustler v. Falwell; Len Niehoff, Professor, U. Michigan Law School; Signe Wilkinson, editorial cartoonist, Philadelphia Media Network; Matt Wuerker, editorial cartoonist, Politico; 
Sophia McClennen, Professor, Penn State University, author of Colbert's America: Satire and Democracy
Moderator: Jane Kirtley, Professor, University of Minnesota

Part II: Sarah Palin v. New York Times. Will Judge Rakoff’s unprecedented Iqbal hearing survive on appeal?  Should the media favor or fear having their reporters testify on a motion to dismiss? Lee Levine Ballard Spahr, counsel for the New York Times; Lynn Oberlander, Gizmodo Media; and Nathan Siegel, Davis Wright Tremaine


4:15 – 5:30 

Libel & Privacy – Publication of the Trump dossier – actual malice, fair report, discovery, and more.  Defamation liability for denials of allegations. Iqbal/Twombly hearings in media cases. Retractions as republication.
Chairs: Johnita Due, CNN, and Rachel Fugate, Shullman Fugate 

Digital & Social Media – Regulating online platforms for fake news and offensive speech. Deepfakes, revenge porn, and privacy law. FOSTA/SESTA and Section 230. GDPR and the right to be forgotten.
Chairs: Patrick Carome, Wilmer Hale, and Jacob Goldstein, Dow Jones

Copyright, Trademark & Right of Publicity – Liability for embedding. TVEyes and fair use. Blurred Lines, Stairway to Heaven, and music copyright. Update on offensive trademarks. De Havilland, Lohan and the boundaries of right of publicity.
Chairs: Lauren Fisher, Vox, and Robb Harvey, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis

6:00 – 7:00

Stormy Weather: A Fred Friendly-style hypothetical with journalists, political insiders and media lawyers on politics, scandals and the media. 
Panelists include: Michael Avenatti, Eagan Avenatti LLP; Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times; Victor Kovner, Davis Wright Tremaine; Elizabeth Locke, Clare Locke LLP; Judy Woodruff, PBS News Hour.
Moderated by George Freeman, MLRC Executive Director, and Laura Handman, Davis Wright Tremaine

Thursday Sept. 27

8:15 – 9:30
Masterpiece Cakeshop & The First Amendment
A panel of First Amendment experts will discuss the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case pitting LGBT anti-discrimination law against the claim that cake designing is expression protected by the First Amendment. Moderated by Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon. With David Cole, ACLU National Legal Director; Robert Corn-Revere, Davis Wright Tremaine; and John Paul Schnapper-Casteras, Schnapper-Casteras PLLC (all of whom filed briefs to the Supreme Court in the case).

9:45 – 11:00

Anti-SLAPP Litigation and Legislation          
Hot issues in Anti-SLAPP law: Legislative updates; practical litigation advice; status of anti-SLAPP law in federal court; constitutional challenges to SLAPP statutes; countering judicial resistance to SLAPP remedies.
Chairs: Bruce Johnson, Davis Wright Tremaine, and Laura Prather, Haynes & Boone

Data Privacy 101
A beginner's workshop on data privacy law and regulation. Topics include: GDPR - basic rules and tips for compliance in the U.S. and Europe. An overview of U.S. data privacy rules and self-regulations. What happens if you violate the law?
Chair: Kristina Findikyan, Hearst, and Bryony Hurst, Bird & Bird 

Pre-Publication & Pre-Broadcast Review
This boutique (repeated 2x) will consider and discuss a hypothetical newspaper article and broadcast video for libel, privacy, and other legal problems. 
Chairs: Fabio Bertoni, The New Yorker, Matthew Leish, New York Daily News, Mary Kate Tischler, CBS,and Lisa Zycherman, Davis Wright Tremaine

Scandals & HR Investigations 
Balancing transparency with confidentiality. Is no comment a viable option in the #MeToo era? Problems that arise if you allow your own reporters to report on your scandals. How do you vet a story about misconduct by HR?  Can you silence your employees? Employees talking to the press. How do you manage the hiring/termination process? Former employees accused of misconduct. What do you owe to people who are no longer employed?
Chairs: Barbara Wall, Gannett, and Adam Zissman, NPR Associate General Counsel & Director of Compliance and Ethics

Subpoenas & Shield Laws
Leaks, the Comey memo and the Trump Administration. Are the DOJ Guidelines in jeopardy?
Is the privilege still robust in the federal courts? Is protection for non-confidential sources weakening? Why do states continues to pass Shield Laws, while the Federal Shield Law appears dead? Technology, Surveillance, Hacking and their stress on the confidential source relationship.
Chairs: David Bodney, Ballard Spahr, and Joel Kurtzberg, Cahill Gordon


11:15 – 12:30

Cross-Border Vetting
Privacy and reporting of arrests and investigations: the drift towards greater secrecy for wealthy and well known individuals. Privacy injunctions in the age of the Internet and social media. "Serious harm" under the Defamation Act. The right to be forgotten in the UK. Contempt of court issues. Equustek and worldwide injunctions.
Chairs: Adam Cannon, The Sun, and Louis Charalambous, Simons Muirhead & Burton

Risks associated with news organizations issuing calls for confidential information. Advising reporters how to manage sources bound by NDAs. Did #MeToo change how we think about corroboration - maybe lessen the amount of corroboration we think we need? Practical tips for dealing with a broken FOIA system. Verifying photo/video in an environment where it’s easy to make fakes.
Chairs: Matthew Schafer, Buzzfeed, and Marc Fuller, Vinson & Elkins 

Hot Issues in Ethics for Media Lawyers: From "Hero to Zero" - pushing ethical boundaries in scandal cases. What is the standard for evaluating conflicts: appearance of impropriety versus objective analysis of facts?  How to handle conflicts between a reporter and the news organization where reporters are reporting on their own company? What should a lawyer do when the client lies or may be lying? What constitutes misconduct under Rule 8.4 when gathering information or a case? Is it ethical for opposing counsel to communicate directly with in-house counsel when they have retained outside counsel?
Chairs: Timothy Conner, Holland & Knight, and Luther Munford, Butler Snow 

Campaign Finance 101           
Basic rules for election and issue ads on social media; what media lawyers need to know about election and campaign finance laws; what does Citizens United really mean.
Chairs: Floyd Abrams, Cahill Gordon, and Lee E. Goodman, Wiley Rein

Trial Tales                               
Detailed analysis of Eramo v. Rolling Stone and Larson v. Gannett, St. Cloud Times and KARE-TV.
Chairs: Tom Kelley and Mike Berry, Ballard Spahr
Panelists: Elizabeth McNamara, Davis Wright Tremaine; David Paxton, Gentry Locke; Steven Wells, Dorsey & Whitney.

12:30 – 2:30
Journalism Jeopardy 

2:45 – 4:00
Libel & Privacy             Digital & Social Media            Copyright, Trademark & Right of Publicity

Nest Generation Happy Hour
Drinks in the Lobby Bar with Hosts: Matthew Schafer, Buzzfeed: Al-Amyn Sumar, Ballard Spahr: Amy Wolf, NBCUniversal

4:15 – 5:00 
London 2019 Open Planning Meeting

RECEPTION / WINE TASTING (Sponsored by Kelley Drye)
5:00 – 6:30

Free time to dine and network with clients and friends.
There will be sign-up sheets at the conference registration table to join MLRC Board Members and Staff for dinner in Reston Town Center on Thursday night.

Click here for restaurants and bars in Reston Town Center.

9:30 – 10:30

Friday Sept. 28 

8:15 – 9:30
Jury Consultants on The Trump Effect
How is President Trump’s ‘war on the press’ affecting jury pools, voir dire, trial strategy and verdicts.  How to test? How to cope?
With jury consultants Jason S. Bloom, M.A., Bloom Strategic Consulting, Inc., Dallas; and Susan Macpherson, NJP Litigation Consulting, Minneapolis. Moderator: Michael Sullivan, Ballard Spahr

9:45 – 11:00
Libel & Privacy            Digital & Social Media             Copyright, Trademark & Right of Publicity


11:15 – 12:30

Advertising & Commercial Speech
A look at the ever-evolving relationship between marketing law and free speech. The right of publicity in the nebulous world of native advertising. Endorsements and the FTC’s revised FAQs. The changing (and patchwork) landscape of sports betting and associated advertising. Class actions (Spokeo, right of publicity, and video rental privacy act).
Chair: Lynn Carrillo, NBCUniversal; and Brendan Healey, Mandell Menkes

How is drone journalism faring after 2 years of FAA regulation?  How should the media deal with police-on-the-beat grounding drone use?  Will drones be allowed to fly over people?  Will government track journalists’ drones?  How do state and local rules interface with federal regulations?
Chairs: Mickey Osterreicher, NPPA, and Charles Tobin, Ballard Spahr

Entertainment Law
Participants will review an entertainment hypothetical raising a variety of topical issues including: enforcing releases; dealing with claims over false depictions in fictionalized content; fair use, de minimus use, and territorial limitations of fair use; and morals clauses in talent agreements.
Chairs: Jonathan Anschell, CBS Television, and Lee Brenner, Kelley Drye & Warren

Hate Speech and the First Amendment on Campus
A discussion of all the recent free speech issues on campus: Speech codes and discipline for bullying speech; regulations against protestors of invited speakers; safe spaces; disciplining students for their speech on social media. 
Chair: Frank LoMonte, Brechner Center, Hadar Harris, Student Press Law Center

Pre-Publication & Pre-Broadcast Review
Chairs: Fabio Bertoni, The New Yorker; Matthew Leish, New York Daily News; Mary Kate Tischler, CBS, and Lisa Zycherman, Davis Wright Tremaine

12:30 – 2:30
The Next Big Thing:  Is the Internet Honeymoon Over?
A panel of journalists, academics, and tech experts will discuss the implications of the growing backlash against “big tech.”  How will concerns over “fake news,” offensive content, loss of privacy, and digital disruption affect law, journalism, and emerging technology. 
Panelists include: Cecilia Kang, technology reporter New York Times; Franklin Foer, The Atlantic; Jack Shafer, Politico's senior media writer; Ted Lazarus, Director Legal, Google, Eileen Hershenov, Wikimedia; Jessica Leinwand, Facebook, Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum, former GC TW cable

Moderator: Dan Waggoner, Davis Wright Tremaine 

Program Faculty

MLRC Photo

Please click here to download a printable version of the program.


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