American Bar Association
Forum on Communications Law


For the fifth year in a row, I came from the Forum's Annual Meeting, held February 11-13 in San Bernardo, California, with a renewed appreciation for the breadth of the interesting topics that fall within the broad subject of "communications law" and renewed respect for the qualifications of the Forum members who practice in this area. Once again, cochairs George Freeman, Lee Levine, and Barbara Wall put together a terrific program, combining interesting plenary sessions with small-group workshops on a variety of topics from Internet law to ethics. On behalf of the Forum, I congratulate them on another successful meeting and thank the speakers and facilitators who worked so hard to make the program a reality. It was a remarkable event that will be reported in depth in the next issue of Communications Lawyer.

Notwithstanding the impressive credentials of the people whose names appeared in the program, it is in the workshops that I always am most impressed with the wide range of experience and talent of our colleagues in the communications bar. This part of the program is designed to elicit comments and experiences from everyone, not just the facilitators. It provides a valuable learning and collaborative opportunity that simply does not exist at most conferences. I could have easily attended the Internet workshop several times, for example, and learned new things each time; the same can be said of the other workshops. And for those of you who were not able to join us for dinner at SeaWorld on Saturday night, you missed a treat-appetizers with the sharks and dinner with the manatees-it was something quite special.

Next year's meeting will return to Boca Raton, Florida-details to follow.

The Internet continues to be a primary focus of articles in this quarter's issue, with Kurt Wimmer's thoughtful piece on reconciling the tension between Internet privacy and free expression, and Jeremy Mishkin's look at the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. In addition, John Edwards examines the feasibility of implementing a journalist's privilege against newsgathering liability in the wake of the Food Lion case. Courtside offers something of an international perspective. Paul M. Smith, Deanne E. Maynard, and Bruce J. Ennis, Jr., of Jenner & Block examine the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC. On the other side of the Atlantic, Marietta Cauchi of Finers Stephens Innocent looks at a House of Lords decision, Reynolds v. Times Newspapers and Others.

Of particular interest to those planning to be in England this summer, the Forum is sponsoring a program at the ABA's special annual meeting in London in July 2000, which will highlight the differences in English and American libel law. Jim Borelli of Media Professionals has taken on the yeoman's task of putting together this July 18 program, which will include practitioners from both the United States and England. I hope you will attend.

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