The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research center, provided an article titled "Overview of Free Speech Protection" on its website, www.epic.org: (accessed June 23, 2010) that stated:
"Although adopted as part of the Bill
of Rights in 1791, most First Amendment doctrine is a result of
twenty-century litigation. It wasn't until 1925, inGitlow v.
New York, that the [US] Supreme Court extended the First Amendment
freedoms of speech and the press to the states through the Fourteenth
Amendment due process clause. Ancillary rights - those integral to but
not explicit within the First Amendment - were not doctrinally
recognized until the 1960s, when the [US Supreme] Court decided cases determining the laws of
libel and commercial speech, and establishing rights of privacy, access,
and anonymity. The meaning of the First Amendment has continued to
develop rapidly, in part because of changes in and the increasing
importance of new technology.
Unlawful Restriction on Speech:
Vagueness.The Court has ruled unconstitutional laws
that are so vaguely written that persons of average intelligence must
guess at (and likely differ as to) its meaning and application...
Overbreadth.The Court has ruled unconstitutional laws
that are so broadly written as to prohibit protected speech as well as
Prior Restraint.Attempts to exercise prior restraints of
speech or publication are almost always illegal, because such a
restraint is an irreversible sanction on expression...
Content Regulation.Any regulation based on the content of
expression is subject to strict scrutiny: the Court will permit the
regulation of content of speech only so long as the regulation is
narrowly tailored to further a compelling government interest, and there
is no less restrictive alternative...
Compelled Speech.The government cannot compel an individual
to speak a message...
Lawful Regulation on Speech
Obscenity.Speech defined as obscenity is outside the
boundaries of First Amendment protection.
Fighting Words. Speech likely to
provoke an average listener to retaliation, and thereby cause a breach
of peace, falls outside the protection of the First Amendment...
Commercial Speech... The government can ban deceptive or illegal
Incitement ('clear and present
danger'). The government can regulate speech that is intended and likely
to incite 'imminent lawless action,' or where the speech presents a
'clear and present danger' to the security of the nation.
Time Place and Manner.Content-neutral regulation of the time,
place, or manner of speech that does not interfere with the message
being delivered and leaves open adequate alternative channels of
communication is permissible...
Times Co. v. Sullivan, the
[US] Supreme Court [held
that]... the First Amendment requires
public officials and public figures prove 'actual malice' (knowing or
reckless disregard for the truth of the statement)... Private figures
must prove that a statement is false, and that the speaker engaged in
some degree of negligence (mere falsity of the statement is
insufficient). Laws vary state to state."