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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Richard B Kielbowicz
COM 557
Seattle Campus

Government and Mass Communication

Legal problems of mass communication, institutions, and media operations.

Class description

New Media and Old Laws

For Fall 2008, Communication 557 (Government and Mass Communication) will focus on the law and regulation of new media technologies. The class meets T & Th. 11:30-1:20.

The Internet and related technologies raise a number of questions about communication law and policy: Should they be treated like traditional media (print, broadcasting, or common carriers), a hybrid, or something entirely new? What regulatory regime is emerging, if any, to govern new media? This class will examine the struggle to adapt existing legal principles, or develop new ones, for an age of new media technologies.

Following are some of the questions we�ll address in class: � Should anonymous speech on the Internet be protected when it�s libelous, hate speech, or constitutes harassment? � Should ISPs be allowed to constrain subscribers� choices by favoring access to some information services over others (net neutrality)? � What role does government play in promoting universal broadband service? � What special protections, if any, should be established to safeguard children from harmful content on the Internet and in digital games? � Should rules against deceptive advertising be extended to commercial content on the Internet? � Should government take down websites that communicate information that threatens national security? � Should political speech and campaign advertising on the Internet be subject to any rules? � How can copyright law be adjusted to balance the interests of creators and audiences in the Internet age?

Besides introducing students to these issues, the course will examine general legal and policy processes as they bear on new media and provide instruction in the basics of legal research (i.e., navigating court cases, law review articles, and government reports). There is no text book; readings will be available from online sources. Students will prepare some article or case abstracts and write a short research paper or prepare a bibliographic essay.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Richard B Kielbowicz
Date: 09/17/2008