• Legal Hotline: Right to Know response time calculation

      • Oct 29, 2015
    Q: I submitted a RTKL request to a local agency on Monday morning via email, but didn’t hear back from them until Friday, when the RTKL officer “acknowledged receipt” of my request via a reply email. Their message also said they are beginning the RTKL time calculation beginning Friday rather than the day I actually emailed my request. Is that right? A: The Right to Know Law’s response time provision has been interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to start running against an agency when the agency’s RTKL officer actually receives the written request.
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  • Legal Hotline: Last minute political ads

      • Oct 22, 2015
    Q: Isn't there a rule in Pennsylvania that restricts last-minute political ads? A: Yes, but it was declared unconstitutional and is unenforceable.
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  • Legal Hotline: Email deliberation

      • Oct 15, 2015
    Q: A local borough is facing a large and unexpected invoice. Borough council president emailed co-council members about the budget shortfall and asked for proposed spending cuts and opinions on each proposal. Does this solicit “deliberation” outside of a public meeting, and can elected officials use email to deliberate outside a public meeting? A: There is no exception to the Sunshine Act that allows deliberations by a quorum to take place in the manner described, and the email discussion raises Sunshine Act compliance issues.
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  • Kevin Slimp column: Critiquing pages

      • Oct 08, 2015
    In October, I traveled to Albuquerque, where I gave the Saturday keynote address at the New Mexico Press Association Convention. On Sunday morning, I caught a flight to Orlando, where I spoke at an international conference made up of newspaper and magazine publishers.
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  • Legal Hotline: Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

      • Oct 08, 2015
    Q: Occasionally, readers will post copyright-protected material on our Web site. Is there any way to avoid a potential copyright infringement claim in this situation? A: Yes, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. §1201, et seq., offers website operators a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability resulting from third party postings, if certain conditions are met.
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  • Use the right advertising tool

      • Oct 01, 2015
    You may have heard the story about the man who asked the clerk at the hardware store for a wrench. “What kind of wrench?” the clerk asked. “Just show me what you’ve got,” the man replied. Not quite knowing what to do, the clerk pulled a socket wrench from the shelf. “I think I’ll try it,” the man said.
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  • Legal Hotline: HUD Fair Housing Notice

      • Oct 01, 2015
    Q: Are newspapers required to run an equal opportunity notice as part of the real estate classified section? A: There is no Pennsylvania or federal law that requires newspapers in Pennsylvania to publish a fair housing notice, but federal fair housing regulations encourage publishers to do so.
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