north carolina press association | supporting the public's right to know since 1873
FIRST FOR A REASON
Info & Ideas About the First Amendment & Media Law
DEFAMATION & PRIVACY
North Carolina’s libel law is fairly standard.
The most significant defense against libel claims for newspapers is the fair report privilege. This privilege applies to reporting on official records of the government and arguably also applies to statements made by public official and statements made related to official proceedings.
To enjoy the fair report privilege, a report of an official record or report must be substantially fair, accurate and complete.
INVASION OF PRIVACY
What is most noteworthy about North Carolina’s invasion of privacy laws is that our courts have explicitly rejected two of the four traditional invasion of privacy torts. We do not recognize invasion of privacy for public disclosure of private facts, nor do we recognize false light.
The two invasion of privacy torts that persist are (1) misappropriation – using someone’s name or likeness for a commercial purpose without consent and (2) intrusion – intruding, physically or otherwise, into the space in which someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Because most information is now published online, we cannot be cavalier in our reliance on North Carolina law to define the scope of potential liability. However, courts generally confer jurisdiction only when the publisher of information has deliberately and “purposefully” published in another state, not mere incidental publication through the internet.
RECORDING PHONE CALLS
North Carolina is a one-party consent state, meaning that one party has the power to consent to a call being recorded.
You must take care when calling individuals in other states, because some states require all parties’ consent before a call may be recorded.
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