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ABA Forum on Communications Law 24th Annual Conference

V&E again sponsored ABA’s annual Forum on Communications Law Conference, which took place January 31 – February 2, 2019.

Partner Tom Leatherbury moderated a panel titled, “50 Years After Brandenburg v. Ohio.” Tom co-authored a paper for the panel, which is available on the right-hand side of this page. Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court reversed the criminal conviction of Ku Klux Klansman Clarence Brandenburg and struck down, on First Amendment grounds, the Ohio Criminal Syndicalism Statute that outlawed forms of advocacy and assembly. The panel explored the legacy of Brandenburg’s standard of “incitement to imminent lawless action,” the challenges that journalists face in covering controversial speakers and groups, the treatment of these speakers and groups by public institutions post- Charlottesville, and the heightened tensions between the right to speak and social media platforms’ right to censor, limit, or ban these speakers.

Counsel Marc Fuller led a workshop on “Hot Issues in Libel and Privacy,” which included an examination of recent high-profile trials, settlements, and appeals. The panel reviewed the current state of the law regarding opinion, libel-by-implication, and the reporting of third- party allegations; libel and the right of publicity in fiction and docudrama; how the internet and social media are affecting courts’ analysis of public figure status, defamatory meaning, and other elements of libel law; and the increase in politically-charged defamation cases.

In addition to these speaking roles, Tom served as Program Co-Chair, Senior Associate Megan Coker served as Liaison to the ABA Young Lawyers Division, and Marc was involved with the Annual Media Advocacy Workshop at the conference, as faculty and committee member, respectively. More details about the conference are available here.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.