Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers

Course Overview

Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers
Self-Directed Course
Time Estimate:
This course takes about an hour to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Bloggers and other citizen media creators contribute to the vitality of free societies by reporting on events in their communities, exposing and scrutinizing the workings of government, and helping to hold those in power accountable. Whether you’re a member of a news organization or working solo, your freedom to report on the world around you is protected by the United States Constitution and the courts.

However, freedom of expression is not absolute. This course addresses three important areas of media law that specifically relate to gathering information and publishing online: defamation, privacy and copyright.

When you're ready, test your knowledge of online media law when you "Take the Assessment." See how learning about some of your legal rights and responsibilities can protect you against lawsuits. This course will help you improve the accuracy and quality of the material you publish and become a better journalist.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will know about:

  • Defamation
  • Copyright infringement
  • Invasion of privacy
Who should take this course:

Bloggers and others who want to know more about the laws that relate to gathering information and publishing content online.

Course Instructors:

David Ardia

David Ardia is a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the director of the Citizen Media Law Project , which provides legal assistance, training, and resources for individuals and organizations involved in online and citizen media.

Geanne Belton

Geanne Belton is a professor of journalism at City University of New York's Baruch College and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a faculty associate at The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Geanne directs the Harnisch Journalism Projects, specializes in online education, and teaches news and digital literacy, journalism, and media law and ethics. An attorney and journalist (previously writing under the byline Geanne Rosenberg), Geanne is a graduate of Columbia University's Schools of Journalism and Law (where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), and Bryn Mawr College.

Scott Swift

Scott Swift is an assistant vice president-claims with Media/Professional Insurance, now part of Axis Pro, and also serves as its loss control counsel. Swift joined Media/Pro in 2001 and manages a variety of media liability claims.

Training Partners:

Citizen Media Law Project

The Citizen Media Law Project is jointly affiliated with Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Center for Citizen Media at Arizona State University. The CMLP provides legal assistance, training and resources for individuals and organizations involved in online and citizen media.

Baruch College

Baruch College, located in Manhattan near Wall Street, is one of the 23 institutions that make up the City University of New York.

Media Bloggers Association

The Media Bloggers Association is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting, protecting and educating its members; supporting the development of blogging as a distinct form of media; and helping to extend the power of the press, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, to every citizen.

Axis Pro

Axis Pro, which previously operated as Media/Professional Insurance, offers media, cyber, technology and miscellaneous professional liability coverage for all sizes and classes of risk with media content, Internet-related exposures and a wide range of service-oriented businesses.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 9.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox
  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari
  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher
  • You use a high-speed connection