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The purpose of this site is to provide a brief introduction to the laws of public communication.

Designed by a graduate student in the University of Florida's School of Journalism and Mass Communication for a electronic publishing class project, it is not meant to be a scholarly source, but it does provide some good introductory summaries and links for anyone who wants to learn about media law.

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The following summaries and links to legal resources are intended to explain some ways in which media laws protect citizens and media companies (including print, broadcast, and electronic media). Note***All the informational summaries on this website are from The Law of Public Communication by Kent Middleton, Roger Trager, & Bill Chamberlin (2001 Edition).

There are six primary sources from which the law in the United States comes (Middleton, Trager, & Chamberlin, 2001).

  • constitutions (state and national documents that outline the structure of governments and define government authority and responsibilities);
  • statutes (laws passed by legislative bodies);
  • administrative rules and regulations (rules set by administrative agencies such as the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC, among others);
  • executive actions (appointment, executive orders, and foreign agreements made by the President of the United States or other governmental executive officers);
  • common law (judge-made law); and
  • the law of equity (remedies -other than monetary- put forth by courts.

Links to information about general media law:

The Legal Information Institute at Cornell-Media Law

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