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In April 2012, the School of Law began publishing the Journal of Media Law & Ethics (ISSN1940-9389), an online, peer-reviewed journal exploring current legal issues facing the media including copyright, defamation and reporters' privilege.

Published quarterly, JMLE seeks theoretical and analytical manuscripts that advance the understanding of media law and ethics in society. Submissions may have a legal, historical, or social science orientation, but must focus on media law or ethics.

In the current issue of UB’s Journal of Media Law & Ethics, our first two articles deal with privacy-related issues, although from very different perspectives.  Patrick File from the University of Nevada-Reno discusses the concept of “practical obscurity,” the idea that a privacy interest exists in information that is not secret but is nonetheless difficult to obtain. This concept animates an active discussion about data privacy, including the much-debated “right to be forgotten,” File says, but he questions the conventional wisdom that the idea comes from United States Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a landmark 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that sought to balance personal privacy and public records. His article provides a history of practical obscurity as a concept of privacy in law and society, drawing on the decisions, motions and briefs that preceded the Reporters Committee ruling as well as discourse on information privacy that provided the social background for the case.

Holly Hall of Arkansas State University probes the privacy impact of smart devices, including those utilizing speech recognition that are “always-on.” While they are operated to make household tasks easier, they also pose unique Fourth Amendment questions, she says. Arkansas v. Bates presented distinct legal challenges when police in the case sought the murder suspect’s home Amazon Echo data, which streams to the cloud, where the data is stored. Amazon fought release of the information. While the defendant ultimately agreed to turn over the data housed on his Echo device, this case highlights the need to re-think privacy standards, the third party doctrine, and the conflict between the government/law enforcement and home devices categorized as “the Internet of Things.”

Our next article turns back the clock to examine the career of Jacob Frohwerk, whose 1918 Espionage Act conviction was one of the first three cases to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Frohwerk was the editor of a German-language newspaper known for his editorials critical of American involvement in World War I. He was sentenced to ten years in Leavenworth for those editorials, a sentence upheld by the Supreme Court. According to authors Kenneth Ward and Aimee Edmondson of Ohio University, Frohwerk has been overlooked by legal scholars and journalism historians. Their historical analysis utilizes archival documents, newspaper articles, and court and prison records to provide the first thorough consideration of Frohwerk’s career, trial, and lasting impact.

Finally, we present an unusual case study of the role of cultural values in the legal regime of Botswana.  A photoshopped picture of an almost naked President Khama caused a seismic uproar in the country when it was published online. Letshwiti B. Tutwane, Media Law lecturer at the University of Botswana and Fullbright Fellow in Residence at Illinois Central College, locates the controversy within the milieu of Botswana’s Constitution and the Penal Code and argues that, in light of freedom of speech guarantees in the Constitution of Botswana, the picture flouted no law, however distasteful and impudent it may have been. The courts would reject arguments based on culture, Tutwane says.

All theoretical perspectives are welcome. All manuscripts undergo blind peer review. Access to JMLE is available to the public at no charge.


All manuscripts must be original and must not be under consideration at other journals.

Peer Review:

All manuscripts will undergo blind peer review. The normal review period is three months or less.


The ideal length for submitted papers is 20-30 double-spaced pages (6,000 to 8,000 words using 12-point Times Roman or equivalent type), including footnotes, tables, and figures. Longer manuscripts will be considered when space is available.The submission and review process will be electronic; all manuscripts should be prepared using Microsoft Word or converted to that format. Email should be sent to the editor, Eric B. Easton, professor of law.

Manuscript Preparation:

All footnotes should be in Bluebook form. All text must be double-spaced except tables and figures, which must be "camera-ready." Microsoft Word is the required software program for formatting manuscripts. The title page should include the title of the manuscript, names and affiliations of all authors, as well as their addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. Five key words for referencing the document in electronic databases are also required. Only the title page should contain identifying information. The second page should include the manuscript title and an abstract of 150 to 250 words. All figures and tables must be formatted to 5.5 inches in width and no more than 7.5 inches in height.

Copyright and Production Notes:

All works submitted must be original and must not have been published elsewhere. Authors of works that are selected for publication shall retain the copyright in their works. However, authors should give the Journal of Media Law & Ethics and the University of Baltimore School of Law a nonexclusive right to publish the work in journals, books, or any other collections that it may publish at the same time or in the future. Authors shall be given credit in such works and will continue to control the copyright in their own works. After a manuscript is accepted for publication, the author or authors are expected to proofread and edit the page proofs when they are provided.


Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright owners to use lengthy quotations (450 words or more) or to reprint or adapt a table or figure that has been published elsewhere. Authors should write to the original copyright holder requesting nonexclusive permission to reproduce the material in this journal and in future publications of the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Email an electronic copy of manuscripts to: Eric Easton, Editor.