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    Citizen Media Law Project Publishes Newsgathering Legal Guide

    by David Ardia
    March 3, 2008

    Back in January, I announced the launch of the first two major sections of the Citizen Media Law Project’s Legal Guide covering Forming a Business and Getting Online and
    Dealing with Online Legal Risks. This past month we began rolling out the section on Newsgathering and Privacy, which addresses the legal and practical
    issues you may encounter as you gather documents, take photographs or
    video, and collect other information. Here is a quick rundown of the sections we’ve just published:

    • Entering the Property of Others discusses your rights to access public and private property and
      provides some guidance on how to avoid legal liability for trespass.
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    • Gathering Private Information outlines the various privacy laws that may limit your ability to gather private
      information or otherwise intrude into another person’s private space.
    • Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings discusses federal and state laws relating to the use of recording devices in specific private and quasi-public settings.
    • Acquiring Documents and Other Property addresses the laws affecting your ability to gather documents and
      other tangible property that belongs to others, including the government.
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    • Protecting Sources and Source Material examines the legal challenges you may face in maintaining the confidentiality
      of your sources and source material and discusses the federal and state laws
      that may protect you from forced disclosure of your newsgathering
      materials.

    The legal
    guide
    , which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,
    is intended for
    use by citizen media creators with or without formal legal training and
    addresses the legal issues that you may encounter as
    you gather information and publish your work online. It covers the
    fifteen most populous U.S. states and the District of Columbia. You can
    search the legal guide by keyword, browse by state, or simply navigate
    through it like a book.

    Because of its enormous scope, we can’t create this legal guide alone.
    We need your help
    to keep the information accurate and up to date. If you see something
    we’ve missed or gotten wrong, please let us know by using our contact form. If you would like to stay abreast of new material in the legal
    guide, please sign up for our weekly newsletter, the Citizen Media Law
    Brief
    .

    Tagged: access cmlp newsgathering privacy wiretapping
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