Cambridge, MA – The Berkman Center’s Online Media Legal Network (OMLN) announced today that it is collaborating with the Investigative News Network (INN) to help INN member organizations find pro bono and low-cost legal help.
Based at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, OMLN is a legal assistance and referral service made up of law firms, law school clinics, in-house counsel, and individual lawyers throughout the United States willing to provide free and reduced-fee legal assistance to qualifying independent journalists and journalism ventures. The network’s 100+ law firms and law school clinics comprise nearly 7,000 lawyers with expertise in media law, intellectual property law, and business advising.
INN was founded in July 2009 at a conference in Pocantico, N.Y. to bring together the strengths of a growing number of nonprofit news organizations, including The Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, and others. INN pools resources among its 51 nonprofit members, widens distribution of their work, works on sustainable business models, and fosters the highest quality investigative journalism.
"Investigative and public service journalism is under threat, not just from declining revenue streams but also from government and other powerful institutions that use the law to avoid public accountability," said David Ardia, Director of the Online Media Legal Network.
He added, "The OMLN is dedicated to leveling the playing field and to helping independent journalists and journalism organizations find the legal assistance they need to thrive. I can't think of a more important partner for our work than INN, whose members are engaged in some of the most exciting and innovative forms of accountability journalism today.”
OMLN is operated by lawyers with extensive backgrounds in law and journalism. Their intake attorneys will help INN's nonprofit member organizations identify existing legal needs, anticipate future legal issues, and match them with a participating attorney in their area. The assistance provided covers a wide range of legal support including copyright licensing and fair use, freelancer agreements, access to government information, website terms of service, pre-publication review of content, and representation in litigation.
"We are very pleased to work with the OMLN to help address the ongoing legal needs of our member organizations," said Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of the Investigative News Network. "By working closely together with resources like the OMLN, INN is helping provide our nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organizations with necessary resources to produce sustainable, high quality accountability journalism."
Both INN and OMLN are supported by generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.