Telling It All: A Legal Guide to the Exercise of Free Speech

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9780836270259: Telling It All: A Legal Guide to the Exercise of Free Speech
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TELLING IT ALL A LEGAL GUIDE TO THE EXERCISE OF FREE SPEECH Since the triumphant days of All The President's Men, investigative reporting, and the public activism that it fuels, have been marked by an aggressiveness that is not without legal risks. Suits for libel and invasion of privacy, threats of jail for protecting sources, claims of copyright violations, and charges of trespass all loom over writers and speakers who dare to tell the truth. Now a well-known media attorney who speaks in plain English offers an eminently practical guide to speaking safely. Telling It All: A Legal Guide to The Exercise of Free Speech, is a concise and easily understood handbook for all who write or speak for an audience. Author Hal Fuson, general counsel for Copley Newspapers, shows how to avoid the pitfalls of free expression and slash through the barriers that shield incompetence and misconduct from public attention. His accessible and irreverent insights on the political process and the role of lawyers help to make free speech a protected right for all, not just those who can afford world-class law firms.

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From Publishers Weekly:

First Amendment lawyer Fuson has done an admirable job of cobbling together an easy-to-read handbook on how to avoid the legal pitfalls that can accompany free expression. Although the author says that his audience is anyone concerned with free speech, he principally addresses journalists in various media. Still, the book offers much to readers whether they're radio talk-show hosts, public activists or members of the general public seeking a basic understanding not only of libel principles but also of matters relating to copyright and access to information (e.g., government documents or a private firm's financial records). The bulk of the book is about libel and it's spoken variation, slander. Both are legally actionable, if among other criteria, they are circulated to a third party. Fuson also points out that since libel law was originally intended to protect the public order, the truth is not always the best defense. ("Thus, the saying, 'The greater the truth, the greater the libel.'") A chapter on news-gathering fouls tells potential investigators what legal pitfalls to avoid. The book also contains other useful tidbits of information like who owns the copyright to a letter (the writer, unless those rights have been transferred) and that many standard homeowner insurance policies already have coverage for libel. One small criticism: an index would have been very useful.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The tone of this book may be witty and conversational, but its purpose is dead serious: to keep practitioners of free speech, especially journalists, out of court. Fuson, a media attorney, takes a how-to approach in guiding the reader through First Amendment-related areas such as libel and slander, privacy, news gathering (especially in dealing with the police), access to information (government records, court proceedings, etc.), subpoenas and search warrants, copyright, and working well with lawyers. He also provides an outline of how the law is structured, a directory of organizations dealing with free speech, a short list of books on the topic, and citations to court cases by subject, e.g., constitutional libel, prior restraint, and reporter's privilege. A good complement to Robert J. Wagman's The First Amendment Book (Pharos, 1991), this is recommended for all media collections.?Bruce Rosenstein, "USA Today" Lib., Arlington, Va.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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