The lawyers in Sidley’s Technology, Media and Privacy Law area handle litigation, counseling and regulatory work for both media and non-media clients on issues arising from the collection, publication, dissemination and protection of data and information assets. Our lawyers help clients advance and protect their reputations, publications, networks, databases and other information assets. We represent clients in court and before enforcement and regulatory agencies. We also provide compliance counseling and analysis and advice on how information may be communicated to the public, shared with or extracted from third parties or insulated against unauthorized access.
Our clients face a convergence of traditional media and content providers into an information economy driven by Internet technologies. In light of this environment, our Technology, Media and Privacy Law team is interdisciplinary and international in scope. The group includes litigators, intellectual property lawyers and regulatory counsel as well as appellate and white collar lawyers. Members of the team practice in all of the firm’s domestic offices and function as a global practice group with colleagues based in the European Union and Asia. In particular, our lawyers in Los Angeles and Chicago have done extensive work on traditional media law issues, such as defending defamation, privacy, copyright and trademark lawsuits and seeking access to information on behalf of media law clients. Our lawyers in Washington, D.C. have extensive experience in issues involving privacy, data protection, information security, records retention, E-commerce, Internet law and cybercrimes. Another group of lawyers in Washington, D.C. has a strong record of handling regulatory issues before the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of media clients. Our lawyers in Dallas have extensive experience in copyright, trademark and trade dress issues.
While information law is necessarily a broad concept, the group’s lawyers are focused on complex and fast-evolving legal areas involving First Amendment rights, defamation, privacy, the use or abuse of data, the Internet, information technologies and computer systems, and copyrights and trademarks.
Privacy. This area involves litigation as well as compliance and enforcement counseling. The group’s work includes defending clients in class actions arising from data breaches or alleged unfair or deceptive acts and practices. Representations also involve advocating for clients before the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys General and Data Protection Authorities in the EU, among other governmental bodies. The privacy group works with numerous clients to develop their international data protection programs and cross-border data practices, including EU-compliant “model contracts,” “Safe Harbor” and binding corporate rules. The group actively monitors policy developments and advises companies about the protection of personal information in connection with the EU Data Protection Directive, U.S. medical privacy laws (HIPAA, state health and pharmacy statutes, etc.), financial privacy (Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Fair Credit Reporting Act, etc.), communications privacy (ECPA, consumer proprietary network information, etc.) and workplace privacy, among other areas.
Media and Communications Law. The group’s media and communications lawyers represent book, magazine and newspaper publishers, broadcasters, satellite carriers, cable programming networks, wireless and PCS companies and mobile satellite service providers in all areas of law affecting their businesses. We have handled hundreds of cases involving defamation, privacy, copyright, theft of ideas and trademarks, and we have helped clients gain access to courtrooms and documents, resist prior restraints and defend against subpoenas served on our media clients and their reporters. Mindful that delay itself impinges on First Amendment rights, we are prepared to respond immediately as issues arise, and we often conduct proceedings on an expedited basis. Our lawyers actively participate in the legal publishing community and in organizations that support the First Amendment.
Sidley’s lawyers appear regularly before the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and district and appellate courts on significant matters affecting established and emerging communications companies. Our broadcast clients look to us for day-to-day regulatory compliance advice on such matters as FCC content regulation, ownership restrictions, political broadcasting, Equal Employment Opportunity requirements, children’s television, copyright and technical rules. We advocate on media clients’ behalf to obtain rulemaking and adjudication policy outcomes. Our lawyers routinely provide legal services for transactions (including negotiation and preparation of contracts, preparation of FCC applications and pre-merger filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, and advocacy at the FCC and antitrust agencies), as well as assisting in tax planning for such transactions. Our lawyers are experienced in the policy, technical and business issues posed by the transition to digital television, and we advocate client views at the FCC concerning the digital television roll-out.
We represent wireless companies in licensing, litigation, policy and transactional matters. Our lawyers secure government approval for the acquisition and sale of national, regional and local commercial mobile radio service systems and providers. We handle complex litigation involving a number of providers’ legal qualifications and counsel wireless clients on federal regulatory policies affecting their industry, including the FCC’s auction process, emergency 911 service, local number portability and interconnection.
Technology and Other Information Law. Sidley’s Technology, Media and Privacy Law group also represents clients in a broad range of Internet and computer litigation. The group assists clients in cases and counseling involving the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and cybercrimes, and in responding to government information requests under the PATRIOT Act and other surveillance or investigative statutes. The group’s lawyers represent clients in consumer protection and unfair trade practice matters arising under the Federal Trade Commission and Lanham Acts, as well as state “Little FTC Acts.” In addition to advocacy before the FTC and state agencies or law enforcers, the group’s lawyers also represent clients on marketing issues before the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. The firm advises clients in connection with various E-commerce and online marketing laws and policies, including the CAN SPAM Act, “Do Not Call” registries, “junk fax” prohibitions, telemarketing sales and electronic signatures. We also help clients protect their Internet domain names by filing actions against “cybersquatters” under federal law or ICANN rules.