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Government Regulation of Content

Federal and state governments regulate media content in a growing number of areas that encompass a range of media, including the traditional press, broadcasting, cable and satellite communications, and the Internet. Such regulations may run afoul of the First Amendment’s basic command that “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” When that occurs, we vigorously help companies and individuals protect their First Amendment rights.

Davis Wright Tremaine attorneys actively represent clients in regulatory proceedings before federal and state agencies that threaten to impose restrictions on speech. We have represented clients in proceedings involving Internet regulation, broadcast indecency, restrictions on cable and satellite programming, proposed regulations on depictions of violence in the media, political programming, telemarketing restrictions, product placement practices, and a host of other matters. Our attorneys are experienced in this field, and have testified before congressional committees and federal agencies on a range of First Amendment questions.

We have been in the forefront of landmark cases in which courts extended the full protections of the First Amendment to electronic media. Our lawyers argued and won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court that established full constitutional protection for cable television programming. We participated in other Supreme Court cases that extended full First Amendment recognition to the Internet, and we argued the first case to establish that mandatory use of Internet content filters violates the First Amendment. In addition, our lawyers have authored major treatises and numerous scholarly articles on the subject of freedom of expression and new communications technologies.

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