Media and First Amendment

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As the public’s demand for information grows exponentially, so too do the number of content providers in different media. Attorneys in our Media and First Amendment Practice counsel book, newspaper and electronic media publishers, reporters, bloggers, online content providers, news services, and radio and television broadcasters concerning a variety of pre-publication and post-publication issues. Our clients have been involved in a number of important court decisions.

Practice Focus

  • Access to governmental records and proceedings
  • Protection of news gathering materials and confidential sources
  • Prepublication review
  • Review of contracts for authors, journalists, and writers
  • Representation of publishers, authors, and reports in state and federal court litigation including: First Amendment rights; defamation, invasion of privacy and other media torts; and New Hampshire Right-to-Know law and Freedom of Information Act

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Representative Matters

  • In addition to serving as counsel to New Hampshire’s and the nation’s media outlets and book publishers, Orr & Reno lawyers have participated in landmark cases related to the right of Internet publishers to protect anonymous sources and coverage of courtrooms by electronic media.
  • A core First Amendment right is freedom of the press, and we have served as counsel to the press in cases that established the reporter’s privilege, opened court proceedings and records, and successfully defended against claims of defamation and invasion of privacy. 

Our First Amendment lawyers have litigated the following cases:
  • Mortgage Specialist, Inc. v. Implode-Explode Heavy Industries, Inc., 160 N.H. 227 (2010) (Internet publisher’s right to protect anonymous sources)
  • Doe v. Friendfinder Network, Inc., 540 F. Supp.2d 288 (D.N.H. 2008) (Communications Decency Act barred tort claims against website)
  • IMS Health, Inc. v. N.H. Attorney General, 490 F.Supp.2d 163 (D.N.H. 2007) (statute restricting dissemination of information about physician prescribing data violates First Amendment)
  • State v. DeCato, 156 N.H. 570 (2007) (public right of access to court proceedings and records)
  • The Associated Press v. State, 153 N.H. 120 (2005) (public right to financial affidavits in divorce cases)
  • Howard v. Antilla, 294 F.3d 244 (1st Cir. 2002) (defense of defamation and invasion of privacy claims)
  • Petition of WMUR Channel 9, 148 N.H. 644 (2002) (coverage of court proceedings by electronic media)
  • Gray v. St. Martin’s Press, 221 F.3d 243 (1st Cir. 2000) (Defense of defamation and invasion of privacy claims)
  • Hayes v. Valley News, 141 N.H.464 (1996) (fair report privilege)
  • State v. Siel, 122 N.H. 254 (1982) (reporter’s privilege)
  • Thomson v. Cash, 117 N.H. 653 (1977) (public right of access to court proceedings and records)

Industries Represented

  • Authors and journalists
  • Broadcasting
  • Internet publishers and authors
  • Media
  • Newspapers
  • Publishing
  • Radio
  • Reporters
  • Television
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Since 1946, Orr & Reno has strived to provide our clients with high-quality, ethical and valued legal services; foster a collegial work environment; support professional and personal balance; and invest in our community.

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