Legal Hotline

LEGAL HOTLINE: (717) 703-3080

One of PNA’s most popular services to our members is the free Legal Hotline. PNA members may contact the hotline with legal questions about laws that impact journalists and the publishing industry as well as for quotes, background information, pre-publication review and for litigation-related resources.

PNA attorneys routinely provide members with advice on the Right to Know Law and other public records laws, the Sunshine Act, libel and invasion of privacy, court access issues, First Amendment, copyright and trademark, independent contractors, the Pennsylvania Shield Law, publication of notices, and advertising issues to name a few. In addition, many reporters from PNA member news organizations also rely on PNA’s attorneys for quotes in stories involving media law issues. PNA attorneys also routinely provide pre-publication review of advertising as well as editorial and news content.

PNA also participates as amicus curiae (friend of court) in litigation involving PNA members and in cases that impact the media industry. We also maintain a robust list of attorneys, law firms and clinics with media law expertise for referrals. The Legal Hotline can address requests for amicus participation, referrals, and other litigation-related resources.

You can reach the PNA Legal Hotline at (717) 703-3080 or melissam@pa-news.org.

Access the Legal Hotline Archive

Legal Hotline: Out-of-State Recreational Marijuana Ads

Q: Neighboring states have made recreational marijuana legal, and we’ve gotten proposed ads from out-of-state dispensaries trying to reach our readers in Pennsylvania. Should we publish these ads? A: Publishing this kind…

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Legal Hotline: Complex Data Fees Media Exemption

Q: My reporting focuses on data, and I routinely request complex data sets like geographic information systems (GIS) records from public agencies. A few agencies have responded with fee estimates based on…

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Legal Hotline: Election Code – Access to Candidate Information

Q: The county election office is removing political candidates’ addresses from election records like nominating petitions before they release them to us. We use this information for numerous purposes, including verifying residency…

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Legal Hotline: Political Ads – State and Local Elections

Q:  We’re getting a lot of political ads for local and state candidates as we approach the midterm election. What are some of the issues we need to consider when reviewing political…

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Legal Hotline: Clery Act

Q: There are several colleges and universities in our circulation area, and there have been several crimes reported on and near campus. We requested access to information about the crimes from campus…

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Legal Hotline: Employment Ads – Basic Rules

Q: Can you give us a refresher on the general rules that govern employment ads? A: Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and a number of federal laws, it is unlawful…

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