Robert Corn-Revere: The First Amendment and the End of History: Does Media Convergence Mean the End of Regulation or is it Just the Beginning?

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A Lecture by Robert Corn-Revere

Monday, April 5, 2010 at 4 p.m.

Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Lead Counsel for CBS in CBS Corporation v. FCC
Argued United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group
Co-counsel in United States v. Stevens  

Room 120 George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Va.
Admission is free, but seating limited. Reception to follow.
To reserve your spot, please email: iep.gmu@gmail.com

This lecture will explore whether the emerging world of broadband communications, in which print, video and audio media are all combined, will receive the full protection of the First Amendment. Despite the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging freedom of speech, or of the press,” electronic communications technologies historically have been accorded a lower level of constitutional protection based on their technical characteristics.

But as the limitations that once gave rise to justifications for government control fade into the background, will regulatory impulses recede as well? The Supreme Court has found that the Internet is fully protected by the First Amendment, but the debate over broadband policy has revived some old arguments for government regulation of the media and spawned some new ones as well. Will traditional First Amendment protections continue for the new media, or will we face a brave new world of government regulation?

The Tullock Lecture, with Big Ideas About Information, is made possible through the generosity of Gordon Tullock, Professor of Law and Economics, emeritus.


Robert Corn-Revere is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, specializing in First Amendment and communications law. He has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White), SuperLawyers Washington, D.C., and by Chambers USA (Chambers & Partners) as a leading media law practitioner. In 2007 he was named as one of the Top Ten Communications Lawyers in the D.C. Area by Legal Times, and in 2008, the Hollywood Reporter designated him as one of the “Top 100 Outside Counsel Power Lawyers” in the United States.

Mr. Corn-Revere has served as counsel in litigation and regulatory proceedings involving broadcast and cable regulations, the Communications Decency Act, the Child Online Protection Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and Internet content filtering in public libraries. He is lead counsel for CBS in CBS Corporation v. FCC, challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s $550,000 fine levied against CBS for the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show featuring Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Mr. Corn-Revere also argued United States v. Playboy Entertainment Group, Inc., in which the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a violation of the First Amendment. He is co-counsel in United States v. Stevens, currently pending before the Supreme Court, which involves a First Amendment challenge to a federal law that prohibits depictions of animal cruelty. In 2003, he successfully petitioned Governor George E. Pataki to grant the first posthumous pardon in New York history to the late comedian Lenny Bruce.

He writes extensively on First Amendment and communications-related issues and has provided expert testimony before various congressional committees and the FCC. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is co-author of a three-volume treatise entitled Modern Communications Law, published by West Group, and is editor and co-author of the book, Rationales & Rationalizations, published in 1997. Mr. Corn-Revere formerly served as Chief Counsel to FCC Chairman James H. Quello, and previously was Commissioner Quello’s legal advisor on mass media issues.


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