Robert A. Bertsche and Peter J. Caruso II Presenters at ASME Program

December 12, 2008

This year’s legal update focused on how the law can help you as you try to do more with less. Experienced magazine lawyers discussed the cutting-edge legal issues facing magazines today, and offered practical advice for keeping your magazine out of court – without losing your competitive edge or sacrificing your editorial mission.

Through interactive presentations, reports on legal developments, and discussions of hypothetical (and not-so-hypothetical) case studies, this popular and information-packed workshop gave editors the opportunity to share concerns, swap solutions, and get legal questions answered by experienced magazine lawyers.  Attendees who signed up for the morning session learned about business issues, including contracts with freelancers and dealing with reader comments.  The afternoon session included editorial issues, including libel, privacy, and fair use. Participants also received comprehensive written materials.


Topics include:

  • Website privacy policies.  When and how can you use personalized information provided by readers.
  • How to protect your copyright in the digital world against assaults from “Mygazines,” “Topix,” and aggregator sites.
  • What’s all the fuss about “orphan works,” and why should you care?
  • What are the perils of podcasting and Twitter?  How can you insulate your site from copyright infringement claims?
  • Why your magazine needs a policy about what writers can say in their blogs.
  • An update on what to watch out for when sponsoring an online sweepstakes.
  • When do you have liability for ads you run: The “” decision and online speech.
  • Seven things to tell your writers before they appear on radio or TV talk shows.
  • Are non-competes appropriate for editorial staff?  Are they legal?
  • What does the resolution of the Google Books case mean for your magazine?


Topics include:

  • This year’s five best and five worst legal developments for magazines.
  • How much can you edit reader comments?  How can you use them to help your brand, not hurt it?
  • How to investigate plagiarism and fictionalizing without getting sued for it.
  • What to watch for when creating photo illustrations and manipulating photos.
  • Dealing with celebrity sources; a.k.a. Can Angelina and Brad sue you for calling them “Brangelina”?
  • Do fact-checkers help or hurt?  How can you optimize their value?  When should a fact not be checked?
  • “It’s a Little Bit Funny”: Elton John, Naomi Campbell, European privacy laws – and why you should worry about them.
  • Online journalism:  How can you reduce the chance of being sued in England, Australia, or Singapore?
  • The latest developments in libel law.  An in-depth discussion of some key cases.
  • What are the limitations on promotional reuse of already-published photos or content?
  • What to watch out for when posting your online archives.
  • Precautions to take when interviewing or photographing children.
  • Should you keep your writers’ notes and source materials?
  • Last-minute fixes:  Dealing with those legal threats that arise on the eve of ship.

Questions will be welcome throughout the presentation as well as afterwards, encouraging open and informal discussion.  Prospective attendees are encouraged to submit in advance (to any specific questions, concerns, or areas of interest, which the presenters will then try to integrate into the workshop.

ABOUT THE PRESENTERSRobert A. Bertsche and Peter J. Caruso II represent several national magazine publishing companies that publish dozens of magazines sold nationwide.  They are lawyers in the Media and Intellectual Property Group of the Boston-based law firm, Prince Lobel Tye LLP.  Bertsche specializes in representing magazines, newspapers, and other fields of media and First Amendment law.  He is a former magazine editor, having served on the founding staff of New England Monthly, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.  Caruso is a business and intellectual property lawyer with particular expertise in copyright, trademarks, sweepstakes, and art law. 

Prince Lobel Tye LLP, a 60-plus lawyer full-service law firm located in downtown Boston, is home to the largest media law practice in New England.  The firm represents magazines, newspapers, television and radio broadcasters, book publishers, cable television operators, advertising agencies, and internet sites and content providers-as well as reporters, editors, producers, authors, and artists.  Several of its lawyers have worked as reporters, editors, or in broadcast.   The depth of the practice group, and the lawyers’ familiarity with the field, ensure that Prince Lobel has a team of experienced lawyers available at all times to respond to clients’ needs, under breaking deadlines when necessary.

Prince Lobel also specializes in serving the labor and employment needs of media clients, and other practices within the firm address the special intellectual property, insurance, real estate, business, and corporate needs of the media.  The firm also has strong estate planning, domestic relations, and telecommunications practices.

*Space is limited.  Only the first 50 registrants will be accepted.

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