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Media Law

This guide contains information and resources about media law.

Introductory Resources

Student study aids are excellent introductory resources as they provide an overview of an area of the law.  A print collection of Study Aids is available by Circulation in the UNC Law Library, and UNC Law Students & Faculty have online access to West Study Aids with their ONYEN and password.

Mass Communication Law in a Nutshell 7th ed. KF2750.Z9 M37 2014 (available electronically via West Study Aids).  This student study aid provides an introduction to mass communications law, including topics such as First Amendment Law, Copyright and Trademark Law, Broadcasting laws and regulations, commercial speech, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, FOIA, etc.

First Amendment Law in a Nutshell 4th ed. KF4770.Z9 B37 2018 (available electronically via West Study Aids). This Nutshell contains an introduction to First Amendment issues, such as defamation, privacy, commercial speech, obscenity, and many other issues.

Copyright Law in a Nutshell 3d ed. KF2994.L3 2017 (available electronically via West Study Aids). This student study aid provides an introduction to and an overview of copyright law.

Treatises and Books

Treatises are in-depth resources that provide extensive explanation, analysis, and interpretation of an area of the law.  They are usually written by scholars in the field and provide valuable citations to primary law.

Smolla and Nimmer on Freedom of Speech 3d ed. KF4772.N54 (print updated 2019) (available electronically via Westlaw Edge). This loose-leaf resource contains in-depth explanation and analysis of issues related to free speech, as well as citations to cases.

Nimmer on Copyright: A Treatise on the Law of Literary, Musical and Artistic Property, and the Protection of Ideas KF2991.5 .N55 (print updated 2019) (available electronically via Lexis+). This treatise is a comprehensive work regarding numerous aspects of copyright law. It provides in-depth details, as well as citing to statutes, regulations, cases, and treaties.

Patry on Copyright KF2991.5 .P382 (print updated 2019) (available electronically via Westlaw Edge). This treatise provides an encyclopedic analysis of copyright, placing court opinions and statutes in their real-world context. In addition to enumerating a complete legislative and statutory history for relevant provisions, on pertinent litigation issues, a circuit-by-circuit breakdown is provided.

Goldstein on Copyright KF2994 .G65 3rd (print last updated 2011) (available electronically via Cheetah).  A comprehensive treatise with detailed analysis of every aspect of copyright law, from registration to licensing to infringement and litigation. Includes explanations of applicable copyright law to the music, publishing, motion picture, commercial art, and software industries. Also covers international copyright law, as well as the intersection of copyright law with bankruptcy, antitrust law, and Lanham Act doctrines that fill in the gaps in traditional copyright protection.

Getting the Deal Through - Telecoms and Media (available electronically via Bloomberg Law). This resource contains telecommunications laws and policies of numerous countries.

Telecommunications Regulation: Cable, Broadcasting, Satellite, and the Internet (available electronically via Lexis+). This treatise, previously titled Cable Television Law, contains chapters on broadcast regulation, the FCC's jurisdiction, federal and state regulation of cable television, and wireless internet service.

Information Law KF2979 .N45 (print updated 2018) (available electronically via Westlaw Edge). Integrates commercial law and intellectual property law to encounter questions about information rights, liabilities and transactional issues. Examines all laws affecting information-intellectual property law, copyright law, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, the First amendment, privacy and data protection law, and more. Functions as a treatise that recognizes the convergence of industries and areas of law brought about by the digital information revolution and presents in a single location an analysis of the major areas that join together because of the convergence.

The Law of Advertising KF1614 .R68 2010 (available electronically via Lexis+). This resource covers both federal and state statutes and regulations governing advertising. Some of the topics include the First Amendment, consumer protection, trademark issues, and the Federal Trade Commission's jurisdiction with regard to advertising. There is also a section on international advertising.

The Rights of Publicity & Privacy KF1262 .M43 (print updated 2019) (available electronically via Westlaw Edge). This treatise discusses the evolution of the rights of publicity and privacy, as well as current issues regarding these topics.

Proskauer on Privacy: A Guide to Privacy and Data Security Law in the Information Age KF1263.C65 P76 2d (2016) (available electronically via PLI).  This comprehensive, one-stop reference covers the laws governing every area where data privacy and security is potentially at risk -- including government records, electronic surveillance, the workplace, medical data, financial information, commercial transactions, and online activity, including communications involving children.  It also covers international issues as well.

Modern Privacy & Surveillance Law KF9430 .P67 2018 (available electronically via Lexis+). This resource by Steve Posner covers a variety of topics related to privacy and surveillance, including government powers, national security concerns, terrorism, and cyber security.

Privacy and Cybersecurity Law Deskbook KF1263.C65 S672 2nd (2016) (available electronically via Cheetah). This resource discusses US privacy and information security requirements in addition to privacy laws in other countries that are of interest to US practitioners.

Law Reviews & Journals

Law journal articles are a rich source of legal information and provide excellent for background research on a topic, including new and trending topics.

To locate law journal articles published in the last twenty to thirty years, search the Law Reviews and Journals database on Westlaw Edge or Lexis+. To locate older journal articles or to view articles in their original format, search the Law Journal Library on HeinOnline. To locate unpublished or forthcoming articles, search free databases like SSRN or bepress Legal Repository. You may also consult the website of a particular journal to locate articles or a law school's online scholarship repository (like the Carolina Law Scholarship Repository).

Your media law research may also involve locating scholarship from other disciplines outside of law. Sources of scholarship that may help with your research include the UNC Libraries E-Journals Listing for a list of available journals or UNC Libraries E-Research by Discipline for a list of online databases organized by research area. You can also search for articles by keyword, author, or title in UNC Libraries Articles+  to search UNC Libraries extensive collection of digital journal articles.

Practice Centers & Current Awareness

Online Practice Centers organize resources specific to an area of legal practice in a centralized location. Along with delivering relevant law, authoritative secondary sources, news, and analysis, online practice centers are particularly valuable for their practitioner-focused content that can save time, enhance productivity, and increase efficiency via detailed, step-by-step guidance on how to create quality work product for a client.

Depending on the database, Online Practice Centers often include:

  • Current awareness in the form of news and analysis of trending topics
  • Chart builder and surveys, which include user-created charts or prefilled selections
  • Checklists such as timelines, flowcharts, decision trees, tables, and lists
  • Forms, which are templates to help you draft documents with spaces to fill-in-the blanks
  • Practice notes, how-to guides and explanations of law
  • Precedents, which are contracts and agreements that have previously been used in actual transactions
  • Sample Documents including model agreements, clauses, and contracts

Bloomberg Law: Bloomberg Law has many practice centers that may be useful for media law research, including Privacy & Data Security; Tech & Telecom; Trademarks & Copyrights; and Patens & Trade Secrets. Bloomberg Law News also has many news reports users can subscribe to for weekly email updates, including Privacy & Data Security News or US Law Week. UNC Law Students and Faculty can use their individual accounts to access these resources.

Cheetah Intellectual Property Practice Area: Cheetah is Wolters Kluwer's new database to replace CCH IntelliConnect.  This practice area has information regarding copyright, patent & trade secrets, trademark & advertising, technology & internet, statutes, regulations, cases, and news resources.  There is also a IP-WK Trademark Navigator Practice Area that contains trademark prosecution resources.

Lexis+ Practice Area Pages: Practice areas that may be of interest to media law researches include Communications Law; Computer & Internet Law; Copyright Law; Entertainment & Sports Law; and Trademark Law. Practice area pages include links to statutes, cases, regulations, administrative resources, secondary sources, and forms.

Lexis+ Practice Advisor: A number of practice areas are covered in this product, including Data Security & Privacy and Intellectual Property & Technology. Each practice area includes links to practice notes, forms, and checklists designed to help with common tasks conducted by attorneys.

Westlaw Edge Practice Area Pages: Practice area pages that may be of interest to media law researchers include Data Privacy and Intellectual Property. Practice area pages include links to statutes, cases, regulations, administrative resources, secondary sources, and forms.

Westlaw Edge Practical Law: The Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Area on Practical Law has information regarding IP, internet law, right of publicity, IP litigation, and IP transactional materials. It is a great resource for guiding practitioners through legal actions.