The main media law issues which arise via the Publication
Discuss About The Handbook For Communicators A Digital World.
Those who are involved in media and publication have to act in compliance with several legal provisions which have been imposed on them by statue and common law. These laws have been imposed on the media and publication sector so that not only their rights are protected but also so that they do not cause unnecessary intervention with the rights of others (Butler and Rodrick 2015). In relation to a publication there may be several legal issues which can be invoked such as copyrights issue for publishing copyright materials, privacy issues which may arise out of publishing confidential information and defamation issues which may arise out when the reputation of a person is harmed without any evidence. The purpose of this report is to analyze the legal issues which have come to existence in the given case study. The paper provides a discussion in relation to how such business law and any possible defences in relation to them may be applicable in the situation in the light of cases, legislations and examples. The paper also recommends a course of action for the publisher to publish as much content as possible legally.
- The primary media law issue which has been identified in this situation is related to the defamation. Defamation can be described as a communication from an individual to other individuals other than those whose reputation has been injured and the person communicating such information has no legal defences. The law of defamation has been introduced for the purpose of balancing the protection of a person's reputation against injury and the freedom of speech (Mills 2015). When a person causes harm to the reputation of another person or group of person in from of any other person through making an expression or statement without proper proof than such person is said to have committed defamation. management, there are certain defences in relation to defamation which may be applicable where derogatory statements have been made. The defences if can be identified may exclude the liabilities of the person making the derogatory comment. These defences include that the statement is truth, the statement is a mere opinion, it has been done via the consent of the person who claims defamation, retraction of the statement, absolute privilege and qualified privilege. The provisions in relation to defamations are governed by the provisions of Defamation Act 2006 (Middleton, Lee and Stewart 2017.)
- Another issue may be related to that of copyright. Copyrights are those rights which are provided to those who give rise to an original work such as music or literature. Copyrights may be infringed when a person uses the copyright material belonging to a person without approval. Copyrights do not have to be registered rather they are created as soon as a work has been created. The provisions in relation to copyrights are governed by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Overbeck, Belmas and Shepard 2015)
- Another issue which have been indentified in relation to this post is the issue related to breach of privacy laws. The breach of privacy laws takes place when confidential information in relation to a person is leaked or published without taking approval of the person. There are serious consequences of breach the privacy laws in Australia. The rules in relation to privacy are governed by the provisions of Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Overbeck, Belmas and Shepard 2015.)
In the post in context which has been posted to Celebrity Whispers’s website there are chances of defamation being invoked. Here Oscar-nominated Australian actor Sam Sleeze have been reported to have given an enticing look to a 14 year old and had asked to drop him home. This information is based on the hand-written daily diary of his 14-year-old co-star Tyson Bryson which mysteriously found its way onto our Celebrity Whispers news desk. The reputation has been further damaged by the post as it has attempted to portray before the viewers that Sam is indulging into unethical behaviours with teen agers and have further advised him to be careful in relation to the matter.
The reputation has been further damaged via the comments which have been made in relation to post as it can be clearly depicted that the people have been influenced via the post and have also started to make derogatory comments which are affecting the reputation of the Actor. In a very recent case Reid v Dukic  ACTSC 344, the supreme court of Australian Capital Territory made an order to award the plaintiff $180,000 because it found that the nine defamatory posts have been made against him. In this case the court stated that actions in relation to defamation to social media without any basis either driven by malice or rage may also lead to defamation. Thus the primary element which needs to be analyzed in the given situation is that whether the post in context is made based on a proper source. Here the source which has been used as a basis for making the post is a personal diary of a 14 year old which may not be considered as a reasonable basis by the courts. The provisions in relation to what will be considered as a reasonable basis have been discussed by the court in the case of , Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick (2002) 210 CLR 575. As reported by the Brisbane times a woman had been able to make a claim for $10000 against her husband who stated that she "commits criminal offences". In the case of McDonald v North Queensland Newspaper  1 Qd R 62 the court analysed the defences in relation to a defamation claim. The court stated that if statement is truth, the statement is a mere opinion, it has been done via the consent of the person who claims defamation, retraction of the statement, absolute privilege and qualified privilege than a defamation claim will be dismissed. However in the present situation any of the defences are likely not to apply as it would be difficult to provide that there is any truth behind the allegations which have been made. The defence in relation to a statement of opinion may also not be applicable as it does not reasonably look like an opinion as asked for in the case of Rogers v Nationwide News (2003) 216 CLR 327.
How such laws and any possible defences in relation to them may be applicable in the situation in the light of Cases, Examples and Legislations
The laws in relation to copyrights are provided through Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The legislation provides that Copyrights may be infringed when a person uses the copyright material belonging to a person without approval. Copyrights do not have to be registered rather they are created as soon as a work has been created. Thus in the given situation it can be stated that the diary of the teenager may be a copyright material as it has been created by him and cannot be used without his consent or approval. Provisions of copyright infringement were discussed in the case of SRC IP Holdings Pty Ltd v The Australian Council for Educational Research Limited (ACER)  FCA 779.
The laws in relation to privacy are provided through Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). According to these laws it is illegal to leak or publish the private information of a person without approval of such person. These provisos had been discussed in the case of Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd  HCA 63. In this case it had been stated by the court that any information which is personal in nature can be regarded as private information. Here the post has been made based on the personal diary of a 14 year old. This would be regarded as personal information. Thus publishing such information without proof is a breach of privacy laws.
Form the discussion it can be analyzed that the in order to ensure that the post is legal the illegality in relation to the post as discussed above have to be mitigated. The illegality in relation to defamation can be mitigated by firstly retracting the post and then presenting it in a way like it seems to be a mere statement of opinion rather than allegations. In addition the issues in relation to copyrights and privacy can be mitigated by taking proper consent and approval from the teenager as required by the law (Pearson and Polden 2014).
It can be concluded from the above discussion that there have been various laws which have the potential to be infringed by the post made namely that of defamation, copyrights and privacy laws. The breach of these laws can lead to significant detriments for the publishers as they may be subjected to fines and penalties as done in the above discussed cased. In relation to defamation there are very slim chances that any defences would apply in the situation. In order for publishing as much content as possible the above recommendations have to be considered.
Belmas, G. and Overbeck, W., 2014. Major Principles of Media Law, 2015. Cengage Learning.
Butler, D.A. and Rodrick, S., 2015. Australian media law. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited.
Middleton, K.R., Lee, W.E. and Stewart, accounting, 2017. The law of public communication. Routledge.
Mills, J.L., 2015. Privacy in the new media age. University Press of Florida.
Overbeck, W., Belmas, G. and Shepard, J., 2015. Major principles of media law, 2016. Nelson Education.
Pearson, M. and Polden, M., 2014. The Journalist's Guide to Media Law: A handbook for communicators in a digital world. Allen & Unwin.
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