Exploring Communication Law: A Socratic Approach / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


Exploring Communication Law: A Socratic Approach, 1/e
Randy Bobbitt , University of West Florida

Based on the Socratic dialogue method, Talking about Communication Law provides the fundamentals for discussing controversial issues in communication law and asks thought-provoking questions to promote debate.

Providing the basic framework of the law and discussions focusing on the major cases in each area, Talking about Communication Law begins with the material related to the First Amendment's free speech and free press clauses. It then proceeds through the various topics derived from those freedoms, including libel, privacy, access to information, the media and the courts, broadcast regulation, intellectual property, and business communication. Conciseness and clear language are this text’s strengths, as are its readability and engaging approach to teaching. Point-counterpoint essays, frequently asked questions, chapter glossaries, and case problems encourage students to take an active approach to learning and create a running dialogue with the reader.


  • Point-counterpoint essays provide opposing arguments on an issue and force students to look at both sides.
  • Socratic dialogue questions engage students and encourage active learning and discussion.
  • Current controversial issues provide background for class discussion and include cases resolved as recently as the summer of 2006.
  • A separate public relations chapter introduces students to the concerns of working for publicly-traded companies.
  • Frequently Asked Questions anticipate frequently misunderstood topics and offer professional explanations.
  • Case problems provide potential assignments and class discussions so students can articulate and apply legal concepts.

Reviewer Quotations:

“I love the conversational writing style, I love the commitment to keeping the cases lean, and I appreciate the entire approach to using legal concepts as discussion points.” — Genelle Belmas, California State University, Fullerton

"Extremely useful are the Frequently Asked Questions! I love this part. The author anticipates many of the questions my students have asked me, and the author provides good answers — thought-provoking and discussion-provoking ones that can be used in class to stimulate thought and discussion." Tamara Baldwin, Southeast Missouri State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205462315
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 7/31/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 728,818
  • Product dimensions: 7.02 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Getting Started: Basic Concepts and Definitions

  • Learning Objectives
  • Freedom of Expression Around the World
  • Sources of Communication Law
  • Constitutional Amendments That Affect Communication Law
  • Court Systems
  • Understanding the Socratic Dialogue
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 2 An Overview of the First Amendment

  • Learning Objectives
  • The First Amendment in the Abstract
  • Factors to Keep in Mind When Studying the First Amendment
  • Levels of Speech
  • First Amendment Values
  • Hierarchy of First Amendment Protection
  • What Does Press Freedom Mean?
  • Clarifications on the Hierarchy
  • Frequently Asked Questions About the First Amendment
  • Point/Counterpoint: Punishing Hate Speech
  • Chapter Summary
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 3 The First Amendment and Political Speech

  • Learning Objectives
  • First Amendment Tests
  • Supreme Court Tendencies in Cases Involving Political Speech
  • Prior Restraint vs. Punishment After the Fact
  • Examples of Prior Restraint Found to be Constitutional
  • Examples of Prior Restraint Found to be Unconstitutional
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Political Speech
  • Point/Counterpoint: Flag-Burning
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 3-A: Coming to a Bookstore Near You
  • Case Problem 3-B: Roadside Memorials
  • Case Problem 3-C:Political Speech in the Stadium Parking Lot
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 4 The First Amendment and Sexual Expression

  • Learning Objectives
  • Defining Sexual Content
  • History of Obscenity
  • Regulating Indecency
  • The Movie Rating System
  • Banning Books, Movies, and Videos
  • Chapter Summary
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Pornography and Obscenity
  • Point/Counterpoint: Punishing Pornography
  • Case Problem 4: A Miller Test for the 21st Century
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 5 The First Amendment and Campus Issues

  • Learning Objectives
  • Deciding Factors in Campus Speech Cases
  • The K-12 Campus
  • The College Campus
  • Frequently Asked Questions About
  • Campus Speech
  • Point/Counterpoint: Campus Speech Codes
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 5-A:Big Problems in the Political Science Building
  • Case Problem 5-B: You Won’t Believe What I Heard on the Radio
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes


Chapter 6 Defamation

  • Learning Objectives
  • Libel vs. Slander
  • A Brief History of Libel
  • Libel Per Se and Libel Per Quod
  • Categories of Libel
  • Components of Libel
  • Who Can Sue — and Who Cannot
  • Private Figures, Public Figures, and Public Officials
  • Defenses Against Libel Claims
  • Libel Cases of National Significance
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Libel and Slander
  • Point/Counterpoint: Libel Reform
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 6-A: Something Fishy
  • Case Problem 6-B: Unhappy Campers at Mudville Technical College
  • Case Problem 6-C: Possible Libel at Enormous State University
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 7 Privacy

  • Learning Objectives
  • The Origins of Privacy Law and Theory
  • False Light
  • Private Facts
  • Intrusion
  • Appropriation
  • Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Privacy
  • Point/Counterpoint: Identifying Rape Victims
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 7: Blast From the Past
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 8 Problems in Newsgathering

  • Learning Objectives
  • The Media and the Courts
  • Confidentiality and Privilege
  • Access to Information
  • Frequently Asked Questions About the Newsgathering Process
  • Point/Counterpoint: Cameras in the Courtroom
  • Point/Counterpoint: Shield Laws
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 8-A: The People v. Joe Loozer
  • Case Problem 8-B: Sally’s Simultaneous Subpoenas
  • Case Problem 8-C: Sex, Lies, and Audiotape
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 9 Broadcasting and Cable

  • Learning Objectives
  • Technology and the First Amendment
  • Philosophy Behind Broadcast Regulation
  • Role of the FCC
  • History of Broadcast Regulation
  • Broadcasting and Indecency
  • Ownership and Concentration Issues
  • Regulation of Cable Television
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Broadcast and Cable Regulation
  • Point/Counterpoint: Regulation of Cable Television
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 9: A Problem With Time Zones
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 10 Cyberspace Issues

  • Learning Objectives
  • Attempts at Internet Regulation
  • Defamation on the Internet
  • Employer Regulation of Internet Traffic
  • Regulating Unwanted Commercial Messages
  • Frequently Asked Questions About the Internet
  • Point/Counterpoint: Regulation of the Internet
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 10: The Internet Communications Commission
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes


Chapter 11 Intellectual Property

  • Learning Objectives
  • History of Intellectual Property Law
  • Areas of Intellectual Property Law
  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Trade Secrets
  • Intellectual Property in the International Marketplace
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright Law
  • Point/Counterpoint: Computer File-Sharing
  • Summary
  • Case Problem Chapter 11: WeHatePhilippeSanTrappe.com

  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
    Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 12 Advertising

  • Learning Objectives
  • Commercial vs. Political Advertising
  • Regulation of Commercial Advertising
  • Regulation of Political Advertising
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Advertising Regulation
  • Point/Counterpoint: Advertising Aimed at Children
  • Chapter Summary
  • Case Problem 12: The Case of the Cable Descrambler
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Chapter 13 Public Relations

  • Learning Objectives
  • Public Relations and the Law: Some General Rules
  • Public Relations and the First Amendment
  • Differentiating Between Advertising and Public Relations
  • Relationships with Freelancers
  • Funding of Government Communication Activities
  • Public Relations Representatives as Lobbyists
  • Legal Problems in Investor Relations
  • Public Relations Materials and Libel Law
  • Public Relations Materials and Appropriation
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Public Relations and the Law
  • Point/Counterpoint: Public Relations Representatives and Privilege
  • Case Problem 12: Public Relations Agencies and Competing Proposals
  • Socratic Dialogue Questions
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Notes

Appendix A Sources / Suggestions for Further Reading

Appendix B Legal Research and Writing

Court Reporters


Internet Sources

Writing About the Law



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