Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: TV & the First Amendment

Author:Jeremy Bowers
Posted:10/26/1999; 2:14:20 PM
Topic:TV & the First Amendment
Msg #:12382 (In response to 12380)
Prev/Next:12381 / 12383

Or rather, it's like playing a record of MLK's speech, in an auditorium with a sign that says "Come hear Martin Luther King speak!", and then broadcasting comments to drown out the speech. How's that for a metaphor? Note that this may not be legal--due to the appropriation of MLK's intellectual property. But not on free speech grounds.

I think that a court would find that playing a MLK speech isn't speech in the same way that a web page, burning a flag, or speaking in public is. A baseball game certainly isn 't speech! As for the Republicans & Democrats, they probably could pull the feed from Comedy Central, but realize that's not such a good idea; they would pay too much for that as they would be laughed at for being too scared. Third Voice isn't commentary; it's right in the web page. Your web page is what other people see; you do not speak of viewing a copy of Scripting News, you speak of viewing Scripting News, and that is exactly what you are doing. If there's something else in the middle, be it something only a few see or something all see, then it is right in the middle of Scripting News, right at, not some hypothetical playback of it.

Why is that? Forget technical reasons. The reason it is to be considered to be right in the speech is that, through whatever technical wizardry it took, it is appearing right in the middle of the webpage, which is (often) protected speech. Details of implementation are unimportent, the effect is that of inturruption, which is extremely uncivil at best.

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