Levin College of Law

Clay Calvert

Professor of Law and Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication
Director, Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project

Mailing Address:
2060 Weimer Hall
University of Florida



Clay Calvert is the Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication and Director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida.

In Spring 2011, Professor Calvert served as Visiting Professor of Law at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, where he taught two sections of Constitutional Law II, covering equal protection, substantive due process and freedom of expression.

Calvert has authored or co-authored more than 150 law journal articles on topics related to freedom of expression. He has published articles in journals affiliated with the law schools at Arizona State University, Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Georgetown, New York University, Northwestern, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington & Lee, and William & Mary, among others.

In April 2017, he presented a talk at TEDxUF called “Catching Cops on Camera: A Gray Area.” Additionally in 2017, Calvert was awarded a University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship and he was one of the eight inaugural recipients within the College of Journalism and Communications of UF’s new term professorships recognizing academic achievements and supporting the University’s preeminence initiative.

In 2019, Calvert won the Top Faculty Paper award for the Law & Policy Division at the AEJMC’s annual convention in Toronto.   Additionally, in 2019 he published the article “Certifying Questions in First Amendment Cases: Free Speech, Statutory Ambiguity and Definitive Interpretations” in the Boston College Law Review.  Furthermore, in 2019 Calvert was a panelist on “Fifty Years After Brandenburg v. Ohio” at the ABA Forum on Communications Law’s annual conference in Miami.

As director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, Calvert has filed, as counsel of record, multiple friend-of-the-court briefs with the United States Supreme Court in cases such as Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Elonis v. United States and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Since 2015, his op-ed commentaries have appeared in CNN.com, Fortune, Huffington Post, Newsweek, New Republic, Tampa Bay Times, Time and The Conversation.

Professor Calvert is co-author, along with Dan Kozlowski and Derigan Silver, of the market-leading undergraduate media law textbook, Mass Media Law, 21st ed. (McGraw-Hill 2020), and is author of the book Voyeur Nation: Media, Privacy, and Peering in Modern Culture (Westview Press, 2000).

He received his J.D. with Great Distinction in 1991 from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law and then earned a Ph.D. in 1996 in Communication from Stanford University, where he also completed his undergraduate work with a B.A. in Communication in 1987.  He is a member of both the State Bar of California and the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.


J.D., University of the Pacific
Ph.D., Stanford University

Teaching and Scholarship

Communications Law, First Amendment Law, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, Mass Media Law



Media Law - LAW 6841
  • Focuses on bodies of law regulating the gathering and dissemination of information by the media, including constitutional, statutory, and common law. Specific topics covered include defamation and privacy, liability for physical and economic harms caused by the media, copyright, subpoenas and searches, media access to information, and regulation of broadcasting. Special attention given to the problem of regulating new technologies and to adapting first amendment theory to deal with these.


Calvert, C. (2017). Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress & the Hulk Hogan Sex Tape: Examining a Forgotten Cause of Action in Bollea v. Gawker Media, the Gap It Reveals in IIED’s Constitutionalization, and a Path Forward for Revenge Porn Victims. New England Law Review: On Remand, 51 (1), 1 – 26 (2017), available at: https://newenglrev.com/volume-51-on-remand/calvert-intentional-infliction-of-emotional-distress-the-hulk-hogan-sex-tape/

Calvert, C., Minchin, M., Billaud, K., Bruckenstein, K., & Phillips, T. (2017). Indecency Four Years After Fox Television Stations: From Big Papi to a Porn Star, an Egregious Mess at the FCC Continues. University of Richmond Law Review, 51 (2), 329 – 369. http://lawreview.richmond.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Calvert-512.pdf

Calvert, C., Shumate, R., McNeff, S.A., & Waters, S. (2017). Speech v. Conduct, Surcharges v. Discounts: Testing the Limits of the First Amendment and Statutory Construction in the Growing Credit Card Quagmire. N.Y.U. Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, 20 (1), 149 – 189. http://bit.ly/2octzDo

Calvert, C. (2016). The Right to Record Images of Police in Public Places: Should Intent, Viewpoint or Journalistic Status Determine First Amendment Protection? UCLA Law Review Discourse, 64, 230 – 253. http://www.uclalawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Calvert-D64.pdf

Bunker, M.D., & Calvert, C. (2016). Video Games and the Right of Publicity: The Courts Drop the Ball. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93 (3), 627 – 643.

Calvert, C. (2016). Counterspeech, Cosby and Libel Law: Some Lessons About “Pure Opinion” & Resuscitating the Self-Defense Privilege. University of Florida Law Review, in press

Calvert, C. (2016). Underinclusivity and the First Amendment: The Legislative Right to Nibble at Problems After Williams-Yulee. Arizona State Law Journal, 48 (3), 525 – 577. http://arizonastatelawjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Calvert_Final.pdf

Bunker, M.D., & Calvert, C. (2016). Copyright in Inanimate Characters: The Disturbing Proliferation of Microworks and the Negative Effects on Copyright and Free Expression. Communication Law and Policy, 21 (3), 281 – 300.

Calvert, C., & Bunker, M.D. (2016). Fissures, Fractures & Doctrinal Drifts: Paying the Price in First Amendment Jurisprudence for a Half-Decade of Avoidance, Minimalism & Partisanship. William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 24 (4), 943 – 994. http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/wmborj/vol24/iss4/2/

Calvert, C., Tobin, C.D., & Bunker, M.D. (2016). Newsgathering Takes Flight in Choppy Skies: Legal Obstacles Affecting Journalistic Drone Use. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, 26 (3), 535 – 571. http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/iplj/vol26/iss3/1/

Calvert, C. (2016). Protecting the Public from Itself: Paternalism and Irony in Defining Newsworthiness. New England Law Review, 50 (2), 165 – 190. https://newenglrev.com/volume-50/calvert-protecting-the-public-from-itself-paternalism-and-irony-in-defining-newsworthiness/

Bunker, M.D., & Calvert, C. (2016). “Defamation Live”: The Confusing Legal Landscape of Republication in Live Broadcasting and a Call for a “Breaking News Doctrine.” Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, 39 (4), 497 – 512. https://journals.cdrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2016/06/2-39.4-Calvert.pdf

Calvert, C. (2015). The First Amendment Right to Record Images of Police in Public Places: The Unreasonable Slipperiness of Reasonableness & Possible Paths Forward. Texas A&M Law Review, 3 (1), 131 – 178.

Calvert, C. (2015).  Difficulties and Dilemmas Regarding Defamatory Meaning in Ethnic   Micro-Communities: Accusations of Communism, Then and Now. University of Louisville Law Review, 54 (1), in press

Calvert, C., Morehart, E., Billaud, K., & Bruckenstein, B. (2015).   Access to Information About Lethal Injections: A First Amendment Theory Perspective  on Creating a New Constitutional Right. Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal, 38 (1), in press

Calvert, C. (2015). Content-Based Confusion and Panhandling: Muddling a Weathered  First Amendment Doctrine Takes Its Toll on Society’s Less Fortunate.  Richmond Journal of Law and the Public Interest, 18 (3), 249 – 289, available at:  http://rjolpi.richmond.edu/archive/Calvert_Formatted.pdf

Calvert, C. (2015). Legal Lessons in On-Stage Character Development: Comedians, Characters, Cable Guys & Copyright Convolutions. Berkeley Journal of Entertainment and Sports Law, 4 (1), 12 – 37, available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/bjesl/vol4/iss1/2/

Calvert, C., & Bunker, M.D. (2015). Know Your Audience:  Risky Speech at the Intersection of Meaning and Value in First Amendment Jurisprudence. Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, 35 (2), 141 – 210.

Calvert, C. (2014). Public Concern and Outrageous Speech: Testing the Inconstant Boundaries of IIED and the First Amendment Three Years After Snyder v. Phelps. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, 17 (2), 437 – 478.

Calvert, C., Morehart, E., & Papadelias, S. (2014). Rap Music and the True Threats Quagmire:  When Does One Man’s Lyric Become Another’s Crime? Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, 38 (1), 1 – 27 (2014), available at:  http://lawandarts.org/articles/rap-music-and-the-true-threats-quagmire-when-does-one-mans-lyric-become-anothers-crime/

Calvert, C., Minchin, M., & Morehart, E. (2014). Gruesome Images, Shocking Speech and Harm to Minors: Judicial Pushback Against the First Amendment After Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association? Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, 13 (2), 127 – 166.

Calvert, C., Axelrod, D., Papadelias, S., & Riedemann, L. (2014).  Bag Men and the Ghost   of Richard Jewell: Some Legal and Ethical Lessons About Implied Defamation,  Headlines and Reporting on Breaking Criminal Activity From Barhoum v. NYP Holdings. Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal, 36 (2), 407 – 449.

Calvert, C. (2014). The Future of the Press and Privacy.  Communication Law and Policy, 19 (1), 119 – 128  Clay Calvert    Dec. 1, 2015 3

Calvert, C. (2014). Revenge Porn and Freedom of Expression:  Legislative Pushback to an  Online Weapon of Emotional and Reputational Destruction. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal, 24 (3), 673 – 702.

Calvert, C., Morehart, E., & Papadelias, S. (2014). Plausible Pleading & Media Defendant Status: Fulfilled Promises, Unfinished Business in Libel Law on the Golden Anniversary of Sullivan. Wake Forest Law Review, 49 (1), 47 – 86.

Calvert, C., Carnley, K., Link, B., & Riedemann, L. (2014). Conversion Therapy and Free Speech: A Doctrinal and Theoretical First Amendment Analysis. William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, 20 (3), 525 – 571.

Bunker, M.D., & Calvert, C. (2014). The Jurisprudence of Transformation: Intellectual Incoherence  and Doctrinal Murkiness Twenty Years After Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music.  Duke Law and Technology Review, 12 (1), 92 – 128, available at: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1248&context=dltr

Calvert, C. (2013). Fringes of Free Expression: Testing the Meaning of “Speech” Amid Shifting Mores and Changing Technologies. Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, 22 (3), 545 – 590.

Calvert, C. (2013). A Familial Privacy Right Over Death Images: Critiquing the Internet-Propelled Emergence of a Nascent Constitutional Right that Preserves Happy Memories and Emotions. Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, 40 (3), 475 – 523.

Calvert, C., & Bunker, M.D. (2013). An “Actual Problem” in First Amendment Jurisprudence? Examining the Immediate Impact of Brown’s Proof-of-Causation Doctrine on Free Speech and Its Compatibility with the Marketplace Theory. Hastings Communications & Entertainment Law Journal, 35 (3), 391 – 428.

Bunker, M.D., & Calvert, C. (2013). Could Wild Horses Drag Access Away From Courtrooms? Expanding First Amendment Rights To New Pastures. Communication Law and Policy, 18 (3), 247 – 264.