Media & First Amendment

For more than four decades, McGuireWoods lawyers have represented media companies – newspapers, television stations, radio stations, magazines, book publishers and, more recently, publishers of online content and hosts of social media sites – in the full scope of legal issues relating to their businesses.

The firm’s media and First Amendment lawyers – several of them former editors and reporters – are recognized in Best Lawyers in America and in Chambers USA for their First Amendment and media law experience. McGuireWoods is a member of the Media Law Resource Center’s Defense Counsel Section. Our media lawyers have authored and contributed to leading publications on defamation and media related issues, including the North Carolina and 4th Circuit chapters of the Media Law Resource Center’s 50-State Annual Survey of Media Libel Law, The North Carolina Media Law Handbook, and The Law of Defamation in Virginia.

The firm represents a range of media clients, including McClatchy Newspapers Inc., The Charlotte Observer, The Fayetteville Observer, Raycom Media Inc., WBTV, Inc., ITV Studios, Inc., Greater Media, Inc. and the Charlotte Business Journal. We have also represented other national publishers and broadcasters on specific litigation and business-related matters. We counsel our media clients and represent them in court on the full range of issues they face, including:

  • Pre-publication and pre-broadcast review
  • Defamation and privacy claims
  • Access to state and federal courts and court records
  • Resisting subpoenas and search warrants
  • Prior restraints against publication and gag orders on trial participants
  • Access to public records under state statutes and the federal Freedom of Information Act
  • Right of publicity / misappropriation of likeness
  • Print, broadcast, and Internet-related advertising issues
  • Trademark and copyright infringement matters
  • Internet legal issues, including claims involving the Communications Decency Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, among other statutes

We work closely with our regular clients through in-house seminars and pre-publication / pre-broadcast review sessions to help them minimize litigation risks and keep current on legal developments that affect them. We strive to be counselors to our clients at all times, and creative, effective courtroom advocates when necessary. We have helped clients assemble coalitions of media entities in matters involving access to court records and proceedings, as well as to government records under state and federal freedom of information laws.