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March 09, 2022 PROFILE

Media, Privacy and Advertising Law Committee

Seth A. Stern

The American Bar Association (ABA) Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Media, Privacy and Advertising Law Committee seeks to bring together practitioners, academics, law students, and other interested parties to discuss all aspects of media, privacy, and advertising law.

The committee’s focus extends to everything from traditional media issues like defamation and public access to cutting-edge topics like digital privacy and laws affecting social media. This year, the committee hopes to explore proposed reforms to section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, biometric information privacy laws, and the various problems posed by the spread of misinformation through social media. The committee also keeps a close eye on Federal Trade Commission developments affecting online advertisers and influencers.

Although the committee has unfortunately been mostly dormant for the last several years, it has a rich history of service to attorneys practicing media, privacy, and advertising law. For example, the committee has long been involved with the annual Media and the Law Seminar sponsored by the University of Kansas School of Law and the Media Law Committee of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. This conference, which was virtual during the pandemic, typically takes place in April in Kansas City. Our committee would help organize a free CLE the day before the conference focusing on insurance issues. Our committee would also hold annual business meetings during the ABA Forum on Communications Law Annual Conference, which was also virtual in 2021 and 2022.

The committee hopes that this year will mark the beginning of a revival. It plans to resume publishing newsletters to update and inform its members regarding topics affecting their practices. Plans are also in the works for the committee to resume sponsoring and cosponsoring programs that will provide networking and educational opportunities for members.

As it rebuilds its membership, the committee will seek opportunities to collaborate with other committees with overlapping interests. While the committee will actively recruit more practicing lawyers to join its ranks, in the meantime, the committee hopes to provide opportunities for future generations by involving law students in its endeavors whenever possible.

The committee’s current leadership includes chair Peter J. Biging of Goldberg Segalla in New York and chair-elect Seth A. Stern of Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn in Chicago. Peter has previously chaired the Professional Liability Insurance Committee (formerly known as the Professionals, Officers & Directors Liability Committee) and cochairs his firm’s nationwide Management and Professional Liability practice group. He is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney with more than 30 years of litigation experience in a variety of commercial and professional liability matters, including a lengthy history of defending against defamation claims and litigating First Amendment lawsuits. Seth is new to ABA/TIPS leadership. A former journalist, his media law experience includes regularly defending defamation and related complaints as well as obtaining access to court records and proceedings for media clients. Peter and Seth are very excited about the year ahead and are looking forward to working with younger lawyers and seasoned practitioners alike who are involved in or are looking to become more involved in media, privacy, and advertising law.

Anyone interested in learning more about the committee, contributing to its publications and events, or otherwise getting involved can contact Peter at [email protected] or Seth at [email protected]. This is a unique opportunity to help shape the future of a small but ambitious TIPS committee dealing with important legal and societal issues that are sure to continue making headlines in both the legal and mainstream press.

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Seth A. Stern is an attorney with Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. He is chair-elect of the Media, Privacy and Advertising Law Committee.