Research Paper Ideas


Supreme Court

“The First Amendment in the Supreme Court in last year’s term”
“First Amendment Cases before SCOTUS in the current term”
“Justice Scalia’s Free Speech Decisions”
“Calls to Televise Supreme Court Hearings”

Free Speech/Prior Restraint

“Prior Restraint and the 2011 British Super Injunction Scandal”
“Texas’ Free Speech Clause v. The First Amendment: Which is Stronger?”
“Is Videotaping Police Officers Protected?”
“License Plate Free Speech”
“Free speech and College Campuses”
“How is Freedom of the Press distinguished from Freedom of Speech.” Start with an article I have by Eugene Volokh.
“Industry Self regulation under the threat of government regulations: Video games”
“Industry Self regulation under the threat of government regulations: Comic books”
“Industry Self regulation under the threat of government regulations: Movies”
“Industry Self regulation under the threat of government regulations: Cigarette Advertising”
“Industry Self regulation under the threat of government regulations: Television”
“The Christian Case for Free Speech”
“The Secular Case for Free Speech”
“Is the Campus of a Private University a Public Forum?”
“William Blackstone’s Influence on Prior Restraint Rule”
“Fiction and First Amendment Law”

Symbolic Speech

“A Comparison of R.A.V. and Virginia v. Black.” How did the court treat the two cross-burning cases differently?
“Comparative Study of Nations’ Flag Protection Laws”
“Headlight Flashing: A Free Speech Issue?”

Student Speech

“The Forum Theory and University Publications”
“Kincaid and Hosty and College Student Publications”


“The MARR Group: A Case Study of the Largest Libel Verdict in U.S. History.”
“The Rise and Fall of Libel by Implication in Texas”
“Comparative Study of U.S. and (other nation) Libel Law”
“Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb v. Sports Illustrated and Libel Law”
“Texas and the libel remedy of Internet removal”
“The State of Libel Law in Texas”

“False Light vs. Libel by Implication in Texas.” Distinguish the Texas Supreme Court holdings in Cain v. Hearst and Turner v. KTRK and discuss the ramifications for media outlets.
“Privacy and the Church: Comparing Guinn v. Collinsville with Penley v. Westbrook”
“Is the Right of Publicity Really a Privacy Tort?”
“The State of Privacy Law in Texas”

Free Press/Fair Trial/Shield Laws

“Texas Judge Ted Poe and PBS Video of Murder Case”

Open Records/Open Meetings/Open Government

“A Study of First Amendment Rights and Crime Scenes”


“Copyright and the phenomenon of Fan Fiction”
“Disney and the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act”
“Use of Trademarks in Movies and Television: Are There Limits?”
“The Saga of SOPA: How the Internet Killed Copyright Legislation?”
“Challenging Copyright: Why Some Argue It’s Time to Tear Down the Walls of Copyright Protection”


“Comparison of the Roth and Miller Obscenity Rules”
“Virtual Child Pornography and the Perils of Regulation”
“Regulation of adult-oriented businesses”


“When are Media Liable for Damages When Criminal Ideas Come from Media Usage?” Start with Eimann v. Soldier of Fortune; follow all leads that can be detected in this case. Then go to a network case involving a California rape allegedly caused by a movie and the Florida TV intoxication murder case. Follow all leads you can identify from the cases cited in these two cases’ footnotes. Consult Media Law Reporter and LEXIS for cases, LEXIS for law reviews.

Commercial Speech

“Cigarette Advertising and the First Amendment”
“The Saga of Commercial Speech Protection: How Advertising Gained Protected Status”
“Campaign Finance and the First Amendment.”
“Advertising, CPAs, Doctors and Lawyers”
“Pat Boone: His Troubles with Advertising Endorsements”
“Public Relations Practice and the First Amendment”
“The FDA v. the Surgeon General: Brown v. Williamson”

Broadcast Regulation

“The Curious Case of the Fleeting Expletives: FCC v. Fox I and II”
“Comparison of Public Inspection Files of Abilene Radio and TV Stations.” All radio and TV stations are required by FCC regulation to maintain open, public inspection files. Learn from Communications Act of 1934 and all subsequent FCC regulations (available in Brown Library federal documents section) about current standards for public inspection files. Check children’s programming files. Use LEXIS for law review articles. Visit all Abilene stations and examine files. Write a comparative paper on findings.
“Children and Television Regulation”
“Death of the Scarcity Theory in Broadcast Regulation”

Media Ownership

“The Legal Case for Cross-Ownership in the Same Market”

Religious Freedom

“Hosanna v. Tabor and the New Religious Exception”
“Historical Study of the ‘Wall of Separation’ Idea”

Other Topics

“The Petition for Redress Clause and Its Day in Court”