Aspects of communications law.
Have you ever stumbled upon a situation and thought “there ought to be a law,” or perhaps “that law should change?” It often happens in class when students learn that a particular type of controversial speech is perfectly legal, or that some sort of conduct that they think should be legal is not.
The final paper assignment for this class will give you a chance to consider what you would do if you had the power to change some aspect of communications law. You will choose a topic from among those we study this semester. It should be narrow enough that you can write a clear, complete, and concise paper about it in four to five typed, double-spaced pages. For example, rather than do a paper about how you would change libel law, you should focus on one aspect of libel law, such as the “actual malice” rule.
You should do research about the current state of the law relevant to your topic. You should cite at least three sources (not including your textbook), and primary sources (court opinions, statutes, federal regulatory agency rules) will be more valuable than secondary sources (law review articles, blogs, news media articles, etc.), although you should feel free to use secondary sources. Your paper should state what the law is now, what you believe is wrong with it (you may also cite various experts, judges, and scholars), and what you believe could be done to fix the problem.
It may be tempting to take this assignment lightly because it seems like a purely academic exercise, but you should avoid that temptation. Laws often change, sometimes dramatically, and one never knows where the catalyst for change will come from.
You grade will be determined as follows:
Quality of writing (Is the writing clear, concise, grammatically correct, free of spelling and punctuation errors?)
Content: (Is the topic sufficiently narrow? Has the writer done a good job of explaining the current state of the law relevant to the topic, what the writer believes is wrong with the law, and what should be done to fix it?)
Sourcing: (Has the writer used appropriate sources for the paper? Has the writer used at least three sources other than the textbook for the paper? Has the writer relied more on primary sources than secondary sources, if appropriate?)