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Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal

Abstract

Cyberbullying became a major news story after a MySpace message took a deadly toll on a teenager. This paper examines how injurious speech case law in traditional print and broadcast media balances protecting victims who suffer emotional or physical harm while still preserving publisher's First Amendment rights. These cases provide a framework within which the injurious speech jurisprudence can be applied to emerging forms of communication, including the Internet.

By exploring the injurious speech cases from broadcast and print, this Note deals with the following issues: Can a public figure sue the press for intentionally inflicting emotional distress? What are the limits of parody's special First Amendment status as courts transition in the digital era? And finally, if a person is physically injured as a result of reading published information, may he or she sue the publisher for damages? This paper addresses these emerging issues at the intersection of law and technology by providing answers to these important questions.

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