In April 2012, the School of Law began publishing the Journal of Media Law & Ethics (ISSN1940-9389), an online, peer-reviewed journal exploring current legal issues facing the media including copyright, defamation and reporters' privilege.
Published quarterly, JMLE seeks theoretical and analytical manuscripts that advance the understanding of media law and ethics in society. Submissions may have a legal, historical, or social science orientation, but must focus on media law or ethics.
Unwelcome social media content is the subject of the first three articles in this issue of JMLE. In the first, Daxton Stewart and Kristie Bunton tackle the so-called “Streisand Effect,” which occurs when someone tries to minimize the harm from an online post by threatening legal or other action if the post is not taken down. The “effect” arises when the threat backfires, leading to even more attention to the original post through social and even traditional media. Stewart and Bunton explore the inadequacy of legal remedies and propose an ethical solution they call “practical transparency.” Journalists covering such incidents, they say, should balance the the value of the information to the public against the harm to the “victim.”
Both Brett Johnson and Adedayo Abah consider the uses of “Corporate Social Responsibility” – voluntary codes of conduct – through which social media platforms deal with unwelcome content, including exposure of private information, harassment and threats, even “revenge porn,” Johnson focuses on Facebook’s current Community Standards, but finds them arbitrary and capricious, with stringent norms likely to cramp the range of discourse on the platform. He proposes a policy that is both more tolerant toward extreme speech and more transparent about Facebook’s system of governing users’ speech.
Abah argues that Corporate Social Responsibility is not strong enough, alone, to deal with the sexual and often violent online harassment directed toward women. His article argues that such content is not a constitutionally protected form of expression and calls for enhancing Corporate Social Responsibility with legal and regulatory measures. In particular, Abah urges amendments to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to reduce the immunity it confers on websites and social media platforms as needed to combat this problem.
The final two articles in this issue go in different directions entirely. Robert Kerr offers new insights into the origins of the Citizens United decision, which opened campaign financing to corporate contributors. Kerr examines the thinking of Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, who authored the opinion in that case, through the lens of historian Carl Becker’s theory of “history that does work in the world.” And Yong Tang provides an exhaustive analysis of Freedom of Information law in China and its uses – or lack thereof – by Chinese journalists.
All theoretical perspectives are welcome. All manuscripts undergo blind peer review. Access to JMLE is available to the public at no charge.Exclusivity:
All manuscripts must be original and must not be under consideration at other journals.
All manuscripts will undergo blind peer review. The normal review period is three months or less.
The ideal length for submitted papers is 20-30 double-spaced pages (6,000 to 8,000 words using 12-point Times Roman or equivalent type), including footnotes, tables, and figures. Longer manuscripts will be considered when space is available.The submission and review process will be electronic; all manuscripts should be prepared using Microsoft Word or converted to that format. Email should be sent to the editor, Eric B. Easton, professor of law.
All footnotes should be in Bluebook form. All text must be double-spaced except tables and figures, which must be "camera-ready." Microsoft Word is the required software program for formatting manuscripts. The title page should include the title of the manuscript, names and affiliations of all authors, as well as their addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Five key words for referencing the document in electronic databases are also required. Only the title page should contain identifying information. The second page should include the manuscript title and an abstract of 150 to 250 words. All figures and tables must be formatted to 5.5 inches in width and no more than 7.5 inches in height.
Copyright and Production Notes:
All works submitted must be original and must not have been published elsewhere. Authors of works that are selected for publication shall retain the copyright in their works. However, authors should give the Journal of Media Law & Ethics and the University of Baltimore School of Law a nonexclusive right to publish the work in journals, books, or any other collections that it may publish at the same time or in the future. Authors shall be given credit in such works and will continue to control the copyright in their own works. After a manuscript is accepted for publication, the author or authors are expected to proofread and edit the page proofs when they are provided.
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright owners to use lengthy quotations (450 words or more) or to reprint or adapt a table or figure that has been published elsewhere. Authors should write to the original copyright holder requesting nonexclusive permission to reproduce the material in this journal and in future publications of the University of Baltimore School of Law.
Email an electronic copy of manuscripts to: Eric Easton, Editor.