Legal

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?

Legal

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?

Legal

Can my school deny a public records request because of COVID-19?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: I recently submitted an open records law request to my public school for budgetary information related to a time-sensitive story I’m working on. No one is disputing that the records are “public records” that must be… Continue reading Can my school deny a public records request because of COVID-19?

Legal

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?

Legal

Can my school punish me for what I post on social media?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: What authority do public school officials have to punish me for my off-campus use of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other private social media platforms? A: That’s a much-debated — and still open — question that depends on… Continue reading Can my school punish me for what I post on social media?

Legal

Can school boards require registration to online meetings?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our community is practicing social distancing, so school board meetings are now held via videoconference. Our administration requires anyone who wants to attend a meeting to complete a registration form, which… Continue reading Can school boards require registration to online meetings?

Legal

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?

Legal

Does HIPAA limit my ability to report on COVID-19 cases?

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: I’m being told the federal HIPAA law limits my ability to report on COVID-19 cases. Is this true? A: No. While HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) may limit the information a medical provider can… Continue reading Does HIPAA limit my ability to report on COVID-19 cases?

Legal

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?

Legal

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?