Adhering to Domestic and Foreign Laws and Regulations Concerning Media

19Sep11

As societies get more and more networked across the globe, media producers have to not only deliver content that adheres to the laws of their home country, but also to the laws of the country in which they intend on distributing their content. Management must be aware of the legal framework surrounding their particular media outlet. These legalities can relate to regulatory obligations, intellectual property protection, standards for content decency, etc. Every jurisdiction, if you will, has its own laws that global media producers must be aware of in order to avoid trouble.

It is one thing to have to understand the legal environment in one country, and quite another to have to understand the legal environment in multiple other countries. Though such a task can be daunting, it is necessary for any media producer wanting to compete in the global market. As a student aiming to be a communications lawyer, I expect many of the media outlets I deal with will have global operations. In this regard, it will be very important to understand the laws that pertain to media industries in various countries. A much more in depth task, but that much more helpful, would be to understand why various counties have different standards so as to better assist media producers in creating products that will reach the highest number of consumers across the globe. One reason that stands out to me is cultural protectionism.

Take for example Twitter. Twitter has been blocked from China for 2 years. China is a big market that media outlets like Twitter really desire to enter. Since China blocked Twitter, a similar online network (Weibo) started and was able to get more users in less time than Twitter was able to do when it launched. Twitter just started offering its web service in Simplified Chinese to attempt to penetrate the Chinese market, but it will be difficult for Twitter to compete with Weibo. Even if Twitter regained access to China, it would be difficult for it to handle the pressures of the government to censor. ( see A Free Twitter Has Lost In China To A Booming But Censored Weibo

Another recent example is Apple withdrawing the “Jew or Not Jew” app from its French Online Store. The Wall Street Journal published an article last week discussing Apple’s decision explaining that France has “laws that ban disclosing people’s religion without their consent as well as compiling data about people’s religions.”

These are the types of issues those in media management will have to deal with when managing the content and distribution processes within their companies.

–Sadé Oshinubi

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