Review Questions

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Chapter 1

1. List the five types of law that comprise the American legal system. (pg. 2-10)

2. Define each type and list a media law example. (pg. 2-10)

3. Explain the process for amending the Constitution of the United States. (pg. 3-4)

4. Explain the importance of Marbury v. Madison. (pg. 5)

5.What does the Latin phrase stare decisis mean in respect to common law? (pg. 7)

6. The First Amendment guarantees five freedoms. List them. (pg. 2)

7. Define civil law and criminal law. (pg. 10-11)

8. List the differences between the elements of civil trials and criminal trials. (pg. 11)

9. What is the unique story of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution? (pg. 4)

Chapter 2

1. List and explain the three levels of the federal court system. (pg. 19)

2. Explain how there are 52 different court systems in the United States. (pg. 19)

3. Why is the U.S. District Court the workhorse of the judiciary? (pg. 19)

4. Explain the three steps in the purpose of a trial. (pg. 19-21)

5. What are the two different grounds for most appeals? (pg. 24)

6. Explain a defendant’s Fifth Amendment protection from double jeopardy. (pg. 21-22)

7. What determines the size of the U.S. Supreme Court and has it always been composed of nine members? (pg. 38)

8. Define the following terms:

  • jurisdiction (pg. 25-27)
  • personal jurisdiction (pg. 25-27)
  • subject jurisdiction (pg. 25-27)
  • venue  (pg. 25-27)
  • mootness (pg. 39-40)
  • ripeness (pg. 40-41)
  • standing  (pg. 41)

Chapter 3

1. Explain what a civil complaint is and what its purposes are. (pg. 47-49)

2. Explain the steps after a complaint is filed.  (pg. 48-52)

3. Most lawyers in mass communication law cases will file the same two major pre-trial motions. What are they? (pg. 52-53)

4. Explain the discovery process, including the differences between depositions and interrogatories. (pg. 53-56)

5. What is a subpoena duces tecum? (pg. 56-57)

6. What happens during a pretrial conference? (pg. 58-59)

7. Describe the jury selection process. (pg. 60-64)

8. Explain the different standards of proof required for trials. (pg. 66-67)

9. Explain the difference between a directed verdict and a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. (pg. 70-72)
10. Explain double jeopardy. (pg. 76-77)

Chapter 4

1. Define ethics. (pg. 98)

2. Ethical journalism is definitely tied to the roles of journalists. Explain those roles. (pg. 102-106)

3. Explain why journalism’s ethical lapses are different than lapses in other professions. (pg. 106-108)

4. Explain two of the approaches to determining what is ethical. (pg. 109-110)

5. Explain the two different types of ethical codes. (pg. 110-111)

6. Review the four main ethical principles of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. (pg. 112)

7. Define plagiarism and review some of the issues that confront journalists about using information already published elsewhere. (pg. 118-120)

8. Define reporter’s privilege and outline the ethical issues involved. (pg. 126-131)

9. Review Branzburg v. Hayes. (pg. 131-134)

Chapter 5

1. Define prior restraint. (See the definition sheet)

2. Explain the difference between the two types of contempt citations. (pg. 148-151)

3. The classic prior restraint case is the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota. Explain what the case was about, what the court decided and the impact of the decision. (pg. 155-158)

4. A second important prior restraint case is New York Times v. United States. Explain what the case was about, what the court decided and the impact of the decision. (pg. 158-164)

5. In what ways did the Progressive case differ from the New York Times case? (pg. 165-167)

6. What is the significance of Nebraska Press Association v. Judge Stuart? (pg. 167-170)

7. Beginning with Schenck v. United States, trace the history of free speech in the United States. (pg. 172-180)

8. What is symbolic speech? (pg. 180; see the definition sheet)
9. The Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. Johnson set off quite a political debate. Explain the positions and the legislative result. (pg. 183-185)

10. Discuss the student speech cases: Tinker v. Des Moines; Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier; Morse v.­ Fredrick; Kincaid c. Gibson; Hosty v. Carter.  (pg. 188-193)

Chapter 6

1. The history of the commercial speech doctrine began with Valentine v. Chrestensen in 1942. Review that decision and its ruling. (pg. 231-232)

2. The so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses cases related to the door-to-door distribution of religious material. What principles came from them? (pg. 232-235)

3. What principles came from these decisions on the rights of corporations? 
a. New York Times v. Sullivan (pg. 235-236)
b. Pittsburgh Press v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (pg. 237-238)
c. Bigelow v. Virginia (pg. 238-240)
d. City of Cincinnati v. Discovery Network (pg. 240-241)

4. The Supreme Court’s decision in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumers Council brought a landmark change. Explain the decision. (pg. 241-243)

5. The 1980 decision in the Central Hudson Gas and Electric case set the test for determining whether the state’s effort to regulate commercial speech violates the First Amendment. Explain the decision and the test. (pg. 245-247)

6. Discuss the history of the Federal Trade Commission and its role in limiting deceptive advertising.  (pg. 268-273)

7. Discuss how the rules for tobacco and alcohol advertising are different. (pg. 285-290)

Chapter 7

1. Discuss the history of broadcasting. (pg. 302-304)

2. Discuss the origins of government regulation of broadcasting, including the Radio Act of 1927 and the Federal Communications Act of 1934. (pg. 304-309)

3. Discuss the scarcity principle, its relationship to the broadcast regulatory scheme and its present relevance. (pg. 310-312)

4. Discuss the broadcast rules governing treatment of political advertising and political candidates. (pg. 312-324)

5. Discuss the Fairness Doctrine. (pg. 325-327)

6. Review the rules and decisions governing broadcast indecency. (pg. 327-335)

7. What are the rules that govern children’s programming? (pg. 335-342)

Chapter 8

1. Define libel and discuss each of its four elements. (pg. 380-386, 388-394)

2. Define trade libel and explain the Oprah Winfrey case. (pg. 375-377)

3. Explain group libel. (pg. 386-388)

4. The most significant libel decision was New York Times v. Sullivan. Discuss the case and especially its most important result, the actual malice rule. (pg. 394-398)

5. The actual malice rule was extended to public figures in Curtis Publishing v. Butts. What were the circumstances of that case and why did the Court rule for one plaintiff and against the other? (pg. 400-402)

6. The third significant case in establishing fault standards was Gertz v. Welch. Explain the media’s wins and losses in that decision. Of special importance is the difference between a limit-purpose public figure and an all-purpose public figure. (pg. 402-405)

7. Discuss the way the Supreme Court determined a newspaper had published defamatory material with actual malice in Harte-Hanks v. Connaughton. (pg. 405-406)

8. Bose v. Consumers Union decided a principle that is extremely important to media corporations that lose libel lawsuits. Explain the decision and the principle. (pg. 406)

9. Explain the opinion rule as the Court ruled in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal. (pg. 407-409)

10. Explain the journalist’s defenses against libel lawsuits. (pg. 412-419)

11. Explain the impact of the Communications Decency Act on libel and the Internet. (pg. 420-421)

Chapter 9

1. Discuss the two major influences in the early regulation and identification of obscenity, the Hicklin rule and the Comstock Act.  (pg. 435-436)

2. The first attempt to modify the Hicklin rule came in the Supreme Court’s decision in Roth v. United States. Explain the obscenity definition that resulted from that case. (pg. 437-438)

3. An important development in obscenity prosecution is the scienter principle. Explain it and Smith v. California. (pg. 438-439)

4. In Ginsberg v. New York, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of variable obscenity laws. Explain what that means. (pg. 444-445)

5. In Stanley v. Georgia, the Supreme Court drew the line between privacy and obscenity prosecution. What did the Court rule? (pg. 445)

6. In Miller v. California, the Supreme Court once again tried to define obscenity. What is the test for obscenity that resulted from this decision? (pg. 446-451)

7. A continuing issue in this area is child pornography. What has the Court said in its rulings about state regulation of child pornography?  (pg. 452-455)

8. Discuss Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition. (pg. 454-455)

9. Discuss indecency on the Internet and Reno v. ACLU. (pg. 463-465)

Chapter 10

1. Describe some of the privacy issues that have arisen in the past 20 years. (pg. 491-490)

2. Three factors contributed to the rise of concerns about privacy in the United States. Explain them. (pg. 490-492)

3. Define privacy and its four forms. (pg. 492)

4. What is the tort of appropriation and what are some of the court cases that have resulted from it? (pg. 492-495)

5. One appropriation case has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. Explain Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broadcasting. (pg. 495-497)

6. Discuss the “All Shook Up” case and the right to publicity. (pg. 497-500)

7. What are the defenses for appropriation claims? (pg. 500-503)

8. Define intrusion and discuss Bartnicki v. Vopper and Florida Publishing Co. v. Fletcher. (pg. 503-508)

9. Discuss journalists’ defenses for intrusion claims. (pg. 520-521)

10. What are the three basic elements of the tort of publication of private matters? (pg. 521-528)

11. Discuss journalists’ defenses for publication of private matter claims. (pg. 528-532)

12. Explain false light invasion of privacy. (pg. 534)

13. Two false light cases have been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Discuss Time v. Hill and Cantrell v. Forest City Publishing. (pg. 535-538)

14. What are the defenses for false light?  (pg. 538-539)

Chapter 11

1. Explain the clash between the Sixth Amendment rights of the accused and the First Amendment rights of the press. (pg. 2-10)

2. The Supreme Court found in Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia a public right to attend criminal trials. Explain the case and the court’s reasoning. (pg. 550-552)

3. What did the decision say was the value of courts that are open to the public. (pg. 550-552)

4. Describe the judicial disaster that was Sheppard v. Maxwell, and what the Supreme Court said the trial judge should have done to limit prejudicial publicity. (pg. 560-562)

5. What is the importance of Robert K. Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co.? (pg. 564-566)

6.Explain the importance of the decisions known as Press Enterprise I and Press Enterprise II. (pg. 566-568)

7. Nebraska Press Association v. Judge Stuart is the principal judicial prior restraint case. What measures did the Supreme Court decision suggest to ensure a fair trial? (pg. 553-554)

8. Discuss the need for impartial jurors in a trial and some of the decisions that have turned on that issue. (pg. 553-555)

9. Discuss the Chandler case and the issue of cameras in the courtroom. (pg. 556-559)

Chapter 12

1. Where does the government derive its authority to regulate the use of intellectual property? (pg. 595)

2. Define patents, trademarks, copyrights, intellectual property and trade secrets.

3. How long do patents generally last and what are the three types of patents? (pg. 596-597)

4. Discuss an example of patent infringement. (pg. 598-599)

5.What is the significance of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996? (pg. 600)

6. Give some examples of trademarks that can be protected. (pg. 603-604)

7. How long can a trademark last and under what conditions? (pg. 604)

8. What is the purpose of the Federal Trademark Dilution Act? (pg. 602)

9. Explain the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act (pg. 611)

10. What works can be copyrighted? List some examples of what can’t be copyrighted. (pg. 612)

11. Explain the copyright infringement defenses. (pg. 632-633)

Chapter 13

1. Why is communications law so relevant to American studies of media law? (pg. 677-678)

2. Discuss how U.S. courts treat hate speech versus how it is treated in other countries. (pg. 679-680)

3. How do U.S. laws and European laws differ in the way they regard a person’s right to his reputation?  (pg. 681-682)

4. Great Britain is often called the libel capital of the world. Explain why? (pg. 683-686)

5.How does the 2004 decision of the European Court of Human Rights in a lawsuit, Von Hannover v. Germany, involving Princess Caroline of Monaco demonstrate the difference between privacy rights in the United States and in Europe? (pg. 686-688)

6. France and Germany both recognize a right to reply. Explain what the means and the differences between the right in these two countries.  (pg. 689-692)

7. Discuss the reporter’s privilege laws recognized in countries around the world. (pg. 692-698)

8. China and India are examples of what one expert called a “veritable revolution” in the right to government information. Explain what is changing in these two countries. (pg. 699-705)

9. How are the stances of international courts of law on the rights of commercial advertisers reflective of the stance of U.S. courts?   (pg.708-712)

10. Explain the ruling in Bachchan v. India Abroad Publications, Inc., and its significance. (pg. 713-714)