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PR - Chapter 6: Legal Considerations
Terms in this set (46)
The FCC was created by...
The Communications Act of 1934
Cable Communications Policy Act
(1984) - Gave the FCC jurisdictional authority over cable, deregulating rates and program choices, and providing benefits for cities and countries regarding franchise fees
Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union
(1997) - Made it clear that speech on the Internet was fully protected by the First Amendment. The decision overturned the Communications Decency Act of '96, in which congress tried to regulate indecency on the Internet by forbidding the operation of certain websites.
Children's Internet Protection Act
(2000) - Requires public schools and libraries that receive some federal money for Internet use to install "technology prevention measures" (filters)
Percentages of who requests government records
Journalists - 1/4
Business - 1/2
Citizens - 1/4
Freedom of Information Act
(1966) - A bipartisan effort in the U.S. Congress to promote full disclosure from the executive branch of government. The act applies only to records (tangible items), but not intangible information (agency employees are not required to answer any questions)
Electronic Freedom of Information Act
(1996) - Added access to digital information (e.g., computer databases) held by those federal government agencies subject to the FOIA.
Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council
(1976) - This court case formed the modern practice of advertising
First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti
Supreme court ruled that the First Amendment protects "political speech" regardless of who (individual or corporation) is speaking
Four Major Areas of Federal Legislation Limiting Corporate Speech (Relevant to PR)
Political elections, lobbying, labor organization communication with management and securities trading
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
(2002) - Commonly referred to a "McCain-Feingold" - regulates political election contributions. Three main provisions: "Soft money" prohibitions, increases in contribution limits, and limits on "electioneering communications"
Commercials that support or oppose a candidate without explicitly urging that candidate's election or defeat
Someone employed or retained by a client who makes more than one contact on behalf of that client and spends at least 20% of their time during a 6-month period providing service to the client
An entity that has at least one person who was hired to represent someone other than their employer. The term also applies to self-employed individuals who represent other people or entities
Defined as a communication (oral/written) on behalf of the client to a covered executive or legislative branch official regarding legislation, rules, regulations, grants, loans, etc. of anyone subject to Senate confirmation
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act
(1946) Lobbyists were first required to disclose their activities under this act.
Lobbying Disclosure Act
(1995) Enacted by congress, this act has updated definitions, disclosure requirements and restrictions
Lobbying does not include...
General PR campaigns designed to sway public opinion
Lobbying does include..
Direct pressure on members of congress through an "artificially stimulated letter writing campaign"
Part of an organization's First Amendment right to express itself on public issues. Distinguished from the type of lobbying that requires registration by the fact that it is not "direct" contact with government officials
Lobbying costs averaged almost ____ per legislator
Foreign Agents Registration Act
(1938) All PR practitioners working for "foreign principals" must register under this act
Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) and Labor Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Act)
(1935, 1947) Practitioners in labor relations must comply with these provisions
Employees cannot use their employer's time and facilities to develop their own separate business
Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act
(1933, 1934) PR specialists whose work involves communication by publicly owned companies must comply with these acts
(1933) Restricts corporate communication before and during the period that new securities offerings are being registered
Securities and Exchange Commission Act
(1934) Regulates trading of securities after their initial distribution, requires periodic reporting about about a company - also created the independent, federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Securities and Exchange Commission
Created to enforce newly passed securities laws, to promote stability in the markets and most importantly, to protect investors
Investment Company Act and Investment Advisers Act
(1940, 1940) Regulate investment opportunities and advisers
Take two forms -- those mandated by statute and those required to avoid fraud.
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
(1995) Made several reforms to the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934, primarily in restricting such abusive litigation practices as routine filing of class action lawsuits against public companies following sharp drops in stock prices and abuse of the discovery process by plaintiffs' attorneys to extort settlements from publicly traded companies that might be willing to settle simply to avoid costly litigation
If copyright infringement occurs, the copyright owner must show of these three elements...
Originality of the work, probably access by the infringer, and substantial similarity of the unauthorized work to the original
The Lantham Act
(1946) Protects trademarks (words, names and symbols used by companies to identify and distinguish their good or services from those of another)
Identifies the commercial name of the producer (ex. Kimberly-Clark Corp. - manufactures Kleenex tissues, a trademark)
Differs from a trademark only in that it identifies a source of services, rather than a source of goods. (ex. 'ServiceMaster', registered name for a company that provides cleaning services)
In a successful infringement suit, the trademark owner is allowed to recover these. This means the person(s) who infringed the trademark must pay the owner three times the infringer's profits from using the mark or three times any damages sustained by the legal owner (WHICHEVER IS GREATER)
Legal term for wrongfully harming an individual's reputation
Defamation and privacy violations in civil law are considered this, meaning anything considered legally wrong that one party does to harm another.
Why the lines of 'libel' and 'slander' have become blurred
In all libel lawsuits, the _____ has the ______, meaning that it's their responsibility to show that libel exists.
plaintiff, burden of proof
New York Times v. Sullivan
(1964) A landmark Supreme Court decision that introduced key elements/standard of proof for libel cases, depending on the plaintiffs are
6 Standards for Libel Cases
1. Defamation - Communication that injures another's reputation
2. Identification - Plaintiffs must prove that the defamatory language is "of or concerning" them.
3. Publication - The defamatory language was witness by a third party.
4. Fault - That a mistake was made (Actual malice or negligence)
5. Falsity - The defamatory language is untrue (this standard generally applies to public officials or public figures)
6. Damages - The defamatory language hurt the plaintiff
The (libel) case is dismissed because the plaintiff failed to meet the libel action's burden of proof
Statute of Limitations
The limited time during which a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit for libel has expired. (Typically one - three years)