Nov 19, 2009

Citizen Media: Pro-Bono Legal Assistance for Online Journalists

The Berkman Center’s Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP) announced today the public launch of its Online Media Legal Network (OMLN), a new pro bono initiative that connects lawyers and law school clinics from across the country with online journalists and digital media creators who need legal help. Lawyers participating in OMLN will provide qualifying online publishers with pro bono and reduced fee legal assistance on a broad range of legal issues, including business formation and governance, copyright licensing and fair use, employment and freelancer agreements, access to government information, pre-publication review of content, and representation in litigation.

“Unlike established media organizations that have the resources to pursue important reporting in the face of legal challenges, many online ventures lack the expertise and financial resources to protect themselves and thrive in an uncertain legal environment,” said David Ardia, director and co-founder of the CMLP. “In order for these new media ventures to survive and flourish, they need a legal safety net, and OMLN aims to provide that safety net with the help of lawyers interested in promoting a vibrant online media environment,” Ardia added. Jay Rosen, a blogger, professor of journalism at New York University, and CMLP advisory board member, concurs: “This network is trying to level the playing field for independent online producers. That's why it matters. That's why I support it.”


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