TVR 31200: Government & Media

Suggested Research Method

When doing Legal Research follow this path:
  1. Background Information: Read an overview, find definitions and key cases, and focus your topic
  2. Secondary Sources:  Read book chapters and law review articles that cite case law and statutes/codes/regulations
  3. Primary Sources: Having identified case law and statutes/codes/regulations from your reading, use a law database (LexisNexis) or government information (ex. FDsys, the Federal Digital System -- formerly GPO Access) to access them.

1. Background Information

Your class texbook also serves as an introduction to key cases and areas of media law.  The following resources are additional places to look for background:
  • Advertising and public relations law
    New York : Routledge, 2011.
  • Black's Law Dictionary
    Standard dictionary that provides basic definitions of legal jargon. 9th ed.  This is the best law dictionary and is used by practitioners and scholars. Find it in the Reference section of the library (the back right corner beyond the Ref desk)
  • Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation
    The most commonly used citation guide for legal researchers. Sometimes called the Harvard Bluebook. 19th ed.
  • CQ Researcher
    Comprehensive reporting and analysis on current issues in the news. Each report includes an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
  • Legal Guide to Broadcast Law and Regulation
    Is designed to give the broadcaster a more comprehensive analysis and understanding of the many rules, regulations, and laws that effect broadcasters in their day to day operations.
  • LexisNexis Academic Go to "US Legal" in the left menu.  Click on the "Legal Reference" link.  Includes: Am Jur 2nd, Ballentine's Law Dictionary, Bieber's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession, & Martindale-Hubbell directories.
  • Media and American Courts: a reference handbook
    by S.L. Alexander. ABC-CLIO, 2004.
  • New York Legal Research Guide
    3rd ed., 2004. The basic information needed to understand legal practice in New York state.
  • Oyez : U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia
    User friendly website that contains biographies of Supreme Court justices, case decisions, and some audio transcripts of select cases.
  • West's Encyclopedia of American Law, 2nd ed.
    Is a reference devoted to the terms and concepts of U.S. law. It covers a wide variety of persons, entities, and events that have shaped the U.S. legal system.

2. Secondary Sources

Secondary law resources are books and articles that discuss cases and issues in the law. 
  1. BOOKS
    a.  Search the "Catalog" (on the library's homepage).  I prefer the Advanced Search form.
    b.  Look at the "Subject Heading" section in to the right column of this guide.  These link to subject headings in the library's catalog.
    c.  ebrary is a collection of fulltext ebooks available 24/7.  The titles are in the library's catalog as [Electronic Resource] -- but if you go into the database you can search across the contents of the entire collection.
    d. WorldCat (via FirstSearch) Use this to identify books IC Library does not own. Use the ILL request link to borrow the item for free (must login to the ILL server "ILLiad"). Books can take a week or two to arrive. 
  2. ARTICLES
    a. LexisNexis Academic Search US Legal  > Law Review (left menu).  Law review articles are lengthy scholarly examinations of specific points of law.  Cases and codes are heavily cited in the footnotes. Sample search: atleast5(indecency) AND atleast5(television)
    b.
    c. Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC) .  CMMC has scholarly and trade articles on all areas of communication including legal matters.  It is a good place to find updates on law and policy trends written in plain language.
    d. Academic Search Premier   Another database that can provide updates in plain language (as opposed to legal jargon).  ASP is a broad database that covers key journals and magazines.
    e. Business Source Premier (Original Interface) BSP may be especially useful for advertising / commercial speech issues.
    f. CQ Weekly
    Weekly info on Congress: reports on upcoming issues, wrap up of news, status of bills, behind-the-scenes action, committee and floor activity, debates and all roll-call votes.
  3. THINK TANKS
    a. see the list to the right, "Advocacy Groups, Organizations & Think Tanks"
    b. PolicyArchive
    Digital library of public policy research with more than 12,000 policy documents from about 220 think tanks and research groups.
  4. AUDIO-VIDEOS
    C-SPAN The Communicators
    PBS: Online NewsHour: Media
    NPR: On the Media

3. Primary Sources

Cases, codes, and regulations can be considered Primary sources.  You can usually access a free version of cases and codes through government resources such as Thomas or FDsys, or, through a subscription database such as LexisNexis Academic.   LexisNexis has "added value" information such as annotations and is updated more frequently than government documents.
  1. BILLS
    a.  Thomas - Legislative Information Bills by the U.S. Congress. Use the Search Bill Summary & Status box for the current Congress. To see bills from prior Congresses, Click on "Search Multiple Congresses" under "Find More Legislation"
    b. New York State Legislature: Bills and Laws Click on Search: NY Legislative Bills
    c.  Govtrack This a free non-governmental website that is useful for tracking the status of federal legislation.
     
  2. CASES
    a. LexisNexis Academic   US Legal  > Federal & State Cases.  Use the "Jurisdiction" drop-down to choose all federal & state cases, Supreme Court cases, cases from one state, etc.
    b.FCC Encyclopedia: FCC and the Courts, Recent Court Opinions 1996+  Fulltext of most cases that involved the FCC listed by year. 
    c.Media Law reporter (print) REF KF2750 A513 (1977 to present) Contains a topic index to find current case law in media law.  Older cases are bound by year. 
    d. NARC Online Archives
    Case reports of the National Advertising Division (NAD), Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).  NOTE: See the reference desk; A reference librarian will sign you in to access the fulltext of the cases.
    e.Digestible Law: Perkins Coie's Internet Case Digest Alerts of current cases. Fiind the fulltext in LexisNexis or the Media Law Reporter.
    f. Google Scholar: Advanced Scholar Search: Legal opinions and journals.  If the cases and codes you need are found here, this search works well with Zotero (downloading into a bibliographic manager).
     
  3. CODES
    a.LexisNexis Academic Search by Content Type > Federal Statutes and Regulations.  Use  "Select Source(s)" to choose the USCS (United States Code Service), the Constitution, Public Laws, the CFR or the Federal Register.  I prefer to Browse the USCS or the Constitution.
    Many student refer to the First Amendment: 1) in LexisNexis Academic; 2) research guide
    b. FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System)  > Featured Collections (upper right) > United States Code
          T 15 ch. 36  Cigarette Labelling and Advertising
          T 17 - Copyrights
           T 47 - TV Radio
    c. Thomas - Legislative Information To find a Public Law, Go to "Find More Legislation>Public Laws"  Example:  P.L. 104-104 (104th bill of the 104th session of Congress)
    d. United states code congressional and administrative news (USCCAN)
    REF KF48 .U58
    Contains public laws, legislative histories, executive messages and orders, administrative regulations, lists of committees, indexes & tables, for each session of Congress. Library has 1952+ (lacks 1961, 1963, 1965-66).
    e. Documents of American broadcasting
    KF2804 .D6 1984
    Key documents including: The Wireless Ship Act of 1910; The Radio Act of 1912; The Radio Act of 1927; The Mayflower Doctrine (1941); The Fairness Doctrine (1949); The Red Lion case (1969); the Communication Act of 1934, etc.
    f.  A Legislative history of the Federal Communications Act of 1934
    KF2762.113 .A15 1989
    Oxford University Press, 1989.  Edited by Max D. Paglin. Part One: Commentaries; Part Two:  Documents (Senate and House Reports and Hearings).  The Communications Act of 1934 is included on p. 921-966. There is an index.
    g. New York Consolidated Laws Service (via LexisNexis) NY Statutes codified by topic.
    h. New York State Legislature: Bills and Laws   The Laws of New York are compiled by year.
    i. E-Codes: Municipal Codes on the Internet (via General Code) NY Municipal codes such as the City of Ithaca
     
  4. REGULATIONS
    a.LexisNexis Academic   US Legal  > Federal Statutes, Codes, & Regulations.  Select Sources: check the box for the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or Federal Register (FR)
    b.Federal Register via FDsys The Federal Register updates the CFR
    c.Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
         T 16 Commercial Practices (FTC)
         T 47 Telecommunications (FCC)

    d. Regulations.gov
    Government website for finding regulations issued by U.S. government agencies.
    e. Federal Communication Commission decisions. March 1939+  Searchable through LexisNexis. Includes: Decisions, reports, news, statements, notices and other documents.
    f.  FCC Record
    "The FCC Record is a comprehensive compilation of decisions, reports, public notices, and other documents of the Federal Communications Commission from 1986 to the present." from the UNT Digital Library. 
    f.New York Codes, Rules and Regulations and New York Register (via LexisNexis) contains the administrative agency regulations for New York
     
  5. HEARINGS, SPEECHES, BRIEFINGS, & REPORTS
    a. FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System)
    The Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides public access to government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies. Search or browse  for documents and publications.  Use the Advance Search form to search by date or specific publication title (Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, Bills, Hearings, the United States Code, etc.). Fulltext primary source documents are available in both PDF (downloadable) and XML formats.
    b. Federal News Service
    LexisNexis file containing: White House briefings and Presidential statements. Includes some Congressional hearings, National Press Club Speeches and conferences when they address major topics of current interest.
    c. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    The GAO investigates and reports on the use of government funds for Congress. Full text copies of the reports are available by searching the site.
    d. Open CRS: Congressional Research Report for the People
    Congressional Research Service (CRS) provides background reports to Congress yet they were not distributed to government document collections. Citizens had to write their Congressional representatives to obtain copies. The Open CRS site has indexed and posted copies of these valuable documents. Ex. The Federal Communications Commission: Current Structure and Its Role in the Changing Telecommunications Landscape February 21, 2012 - RL32589
    e. Compilation of Presidential Documents
    The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents are the official publications of materials released by the White House Press Secretary.

Citations: Noodlebib for Chicago: law cites

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Citations: add Bluebook to Zotero

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Contact Us

Picture: Cathy Michael
Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Citation: Chicago/Bluebook Guide

I've attached a 2 page guide to some common legal formats:
Chicago / Bluebook Citation Guide pdf

See also at the Reference Desk: At the base of this guide are some getting started videos for Noodlebib and Zotero.
  • Noodlebib (available through the web from any computer -- you must create a registration -- the login you create can be anything you want).
  • Zotero (works with Firefox and is accessible from the computer you downloaded the software to)
For general information about Chicago -- such as formatting and notes -- refer to Purdue's Online Writing Lab.  It even has a sample paper.

LexisNexis Help: Law searching

LexisNexis maintains a wiki of help screens to their product. It includes a guide to Entertainment Law.

Specific pages of interest include:

Law: Other Guides

Cathy's blog

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JD Supra: Com &Media law

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THR, Esq. (Entertainment law blog)

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Benton Foundation

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B&C Washington

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Broadcasting & Cable (B&C)

Click here to see the library's fulltext access to Broadcasting & Cable.  Paper copies are available for the current year in the Popular Periodicals section at TK6540 .B85 (near the reference desk).  If you need an article right away, email Cathy.