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1. "Who's liable when the 'product' is information?," Editor & Publisher, August 28, 1993, at 19, 35  View Low-Resolution .GIF Version View High-Resolution .PDF Version

Case:  Jan Way v. Boy Scouts of America, 856 S.W.2d 230 (Tex. App. Dallas 1993, writ denied]

LegalTrac Abstract:  "In numerous cases, such as the Jan Way vs. Boy Scouts of America case in Texas, courts have so far dismissed personal injury claims against publishers.  Jan Way, whose son was killed in a rifle accident, claimed that publishing a supplement on shooting sports in Boys' Life constituted negligence and that the information content rendered made the magazine defective.  The courts have ruled that information contained in publications is not covered by product liability law because it is intangible.  They also stated that publishers have no duty to verify accuracy of texts if the publisher neither authors nor guarantees its contents."

New York Public Library Database Summary:  "The issue of products liability is applied to such sources of information as books, magazines, newspapers or advertisements.   The Texas Court of Appeals decision in 'Jan Way vs. Boy Scouts of America' is discussed."

"Jan Way sued the Boy Scouts of America, the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc., and Remington Arms Co., claiming that publication of an advertising supplement on shooting sports in Boys Life magazine was negligent and that the information in it made the magazine a defective product. She alleged that the supplement's presentation of information caused her son, 12-year-old Rocky Miller and several of his friends to experiment with a rifle, which accidentally discharged, killing Miller. The Texas trial court granted the defendant's motions to dismiss the suit without a trial. The Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that Texas law does not recognize a cause of action for publishing an article or advertisement that allegedly causes harm under such circumstances."

Subjects:  Products liability - newspapers/magazines/books/advertising - publishing industry - state court decisions - limit of liability - case studies - advertisements

2. "Cover yourself when you 'mask' sources," Editor & Publisher, October 23, 1993, at 3, 40  View Low-Resolution .GIF Version View High-Resolution .PDF Version

Case:  Ruzicka v. Conde Nast Publications, Inc., 999 F.2d 1319 (8th Cir. 1993)

New York Public Library Database Summary:  "Reporters are trying to give readers a more complete picture of their confidential sources in order to help the readers assess the sources' authority and credibility, which may render the unnamed sources identifiable based on information disclosed in the article.  In 'Jill Ruzicka vs. Conde Nast Publications Inc. and Claudia Dreifus,' the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that under Minnesota law, journalists and their publishers who promise but effectively fail to conceal identities of confidential sources may be held liable."

Abstract:  "In journalism, the technique of masking is increasingly in vogue. The danger is that the mask may be removed, rendering the unnamed sources identifiable based on information disclosed in the article. The question is whether such disclosure may make reporters - and their publishers - liable to sources who required that they not be identified or identifiable. A recent federal appellate court decision in Jill Ruzicka vs. Conde Nast Publications Inc. and Claudia Dreifus provided an affirmative answer. The test is not the author's intent nor the plaintiff's apprehension but the reasonable understanding of the recipient of the communication. This decision is not binding on other state and federal courts. Writers need to discuss in advance with their sources the actual descriptions to be used and get the sources' approval - preferably in writing."

Subjects:  Journalism - liability - sources - reporters - identification - Federal court decisions - confidentiality - state court decisions

3. "Trademarks 101: The Basics," Editor & Publisher, December 4, 1993, at 23T-26T  View Low-Resolution .GIF Version View High-Resolution .PDF Version

New York Public Library ProQuest Database Abstract:  "A knowledge of the basics of trademark law can help publishers and editors avoid costly litigation brought by the owner of a trademark on which they might unintentionally infringe. A trademark can be any word, name, symbol, or device - or any combination of these - which is used to identify and distinguish a product from those manufactured or sold by others. The key to a trademark is its ability to identify the source of a product. There are 4 basic types of infringement, each with its own degree of protection against infringement. The trademarks offering the most protection are arbitrary or fanciful marks. Somewhat less protective are suggestive marks. Still less protective are purely descriptive marks. The least protective trademarks are generic marks."

Subject Terms: Trademarks, Publishing industry, Infringement, Impacts

Classification Codes: 9190: US, 8690: Publishing industry, 4300: Law

4. "Newspaper Reporters and Overtime," Editor & Publisher, February 26, 1994, at 17, 43-44  View Low-Resolution .GIF Version View High-Resolution .PDF Version

New York Public Library Database Abstract:  "The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides that employees covered by the FLSA usually are entitled to overtime compensation when they work extra hours. However, the FLSA exempts employees at newspapers with less than 4,000 circulation. On January 6, 1994, the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit became the first federal appellate court to examine the exemption in the case Reich vs. Gateway Press Inc., in which it ruled that related chain papers that share staff, management, and content will have their circulations combined when determining whether they qualify for the exemption. In addition, the court held that all of the company's reporters were entitled to the protections of the FLSA. The lawsuit was brought by Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to enjoin Gateway from violating the FLSA's requirements."

Subject terms:  Newspapers - implications - impacts - Fair Labor Standards Act 1938-US - court decisions - case studies - working hours - reporters - legislation

5"The Internet and the Law," AmCham News (American Chamber of Commerce in Russia), July-August 1996, at 15-17; Editor & Publisher, September 28, 1996, at 22-23, 36; "Legal Liability and the Web: A Tour of the Problem Areas," E&P Interactive, September 27, 1996 (formerly at www.mediainfo.com/ephome/news/newshtm/stories/092796n2.htm)  View Low-Resolution .GIF Version View High-Resolution .PDF Version

Cited in "Defamation Liability for On-Line Services: The Sky Is Not Falling," 65 George Washington Law Review 1071, 1099 n.8 (quoting sentence, "Site operators may be better off not undertaking ... any exercise of editorial control."), n.14, n.15 (same), n.219 (same) (August, 1997)

ProQuest Abstract: "As in the case with traditional print media, one of the most common areas of potential liability for Internet users and Web site operators is copyright infringement. Copyright owners need to monitor and take action against the unauthorized use of their property on the Internet, including making sure that works they disseminate in electronic form bear the requisite copyright notice. One hot issue in the publishing business is whether and to what degree print publishers have the right to disseminate electronic versions of articles prepared by freelance writers and originally published in printed form. A key limitation on copyright protection is the doctrine of "fair use," which is defined as the privilege that others than the copyright owner have to use copyrighted material in a reasonable manner without the owner's consent. To determine whether fair use has been made of copyrighted material, courts will consider and balance a number of interests between the owner and the user."

Subject Terms: Trademarks, Right of privacy, Online information services, Internet, Infringement, Electronic publishing, Copyright, Internet, Law, Copyright, Trademarks, Infringement, Libel & slander, Invasion of privacy, Pornography & obscenity

Classification Codes: 9190: US, 8690: Publishing industry, 8302: Software & computer services industry, 4300: Law

Northern Light database:
Summary: "There are several legal issues to be aware of when using the Internet."
Subject(s): "Internet--Laws, regulations, etc."

Vanderbilt University Faculty Development Seminar bibliography - Copyright Issues: "As is the case with traditional print media, one of the most common areas of potential liability for internet users and Web site operators is copyright infringement."

Subject Terms: Trademarks - Right of privacy - Online information services - Internet - Infringement - Electronic publishing - Copyright - Internet Law - Copyright - Trademarks - Infringement - Libel & slander - Invasion of privacy - Pornography & obscenity

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