User-Generated Comments and Your Publication’s Liability

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In the latest report from the SPLC, the Center gives an in-depth look at “Understanding Cybershield Law.” It’s a great read for any publication that is currently online or ones that are thinking of moving online. It talks about what the courts have said regarding a publication’s liability of content posted on its site. It talks about the difference between staff created content and user-generated material and gives some advice on what should or shouldn’t be edited from user-generated material.

The piece discusses everything from Cybershield’s background and court interpretations to source of challenged content and implications for the student media. It really is worth a look for advisers and students who oversee content on scholastic media Web sites.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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