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When I request records, do I have to explain why I want them?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Am I required to explain why I want a particular record when submitting an open records request? A: Almost always, states and the federal government FOI laws make clear that the motivation behind an open records request is irrelevant.… Continue reading When I request records, do I have to explain why I want them?

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Is my publication responsible for libelous quotes from third parties?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Is my publication responsible for libelous quotes from third parties or libelous statements contributors make, such as in guest columns? A: In print or broadcast media, yes. If you publish it, you are taking ownership of it,… Continue reading Is my publication responsible for libelous quotes from third parties?

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Can we create an online directory of alumni that includes their photos and graduation dates?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Can we (student media staff) create an online directory of alumni that includes their photos and graduation dates? A: You can certainly create a directory that includes the names and graduation dates of former students. No special… Continue reading Can we create an online directory of alumni that includes their photos and graduation dates?

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Are fonts subject to copyright protection?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Are fonts subject to copyright protection? A: Yes. Fonts — which are basically computer programs or software that tell your printer or computer screen how to create the shape of a letter or character — meet all… Continue reading Are fonts subject to copyright protection?

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Can school officials search my personal social media accounts?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Are school officials allowed to search for and look at my personal (non-school-affiliated) social media accounts without my permission? A: Yes. Once you post something online it’s pretty much fair game for anyone (school officials, current or… Continue reading Can school officials search my personal social media accounts?

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Can our newspaper wish students a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Can we wish students a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” in our student publication? Generally, yes. Your school officials or even some of your peers may be quick to cite the separation of church and state as… Continue reading Can our newspaper wish students a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”?

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Does FERPA prevent me from reporting on a fight between students at my school?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Does FERPA prevent me from reporting on a fight that took place on my campus between two students? A: No. FERPA punishes schools that have a policy or practice of disclosing a student’s education records without the… Continue reading Does FERPA prevent me from reporting on a fight between students at my school?

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How can I access information about my school’s plans to cope with COVID-19?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: I am trying to figure out what my school is doing to cope with COVID-19. How can I access information about their plans? A: Your school’s budget has been set since the beginning of the year. But… Continue reading How can I access information about my school’s plans to cope with COVID-19?