Commercial Speech

We live in a spam culture.

Our commercial culture is the logical conclusion of the rise of the commercial speech doctrine -- the idea that corporate advertising is protected under the First Amendment.

The commercial speech doctrine is a recent innovation. Not long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that commercial speech was not protected by the First Amendment. In 1942, the Court held in Valentine v. Chrestensen that the constitution allows states to limit commercial speech as they see fit.

The Supreme Court first held that commercial speech deserves constitutional protection in 1975, in Bigelow v. Virginia, and then in 1976, in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc.

Ultimately, to limit the spread of spam, pop-ups, telemarketing and other forms of ad creep, we must curtail the corporationís right to speak.

Corporations are not persons; they do not deserve the protection of the Bill of Rights.

Related Articles and Links

Related Articles

Lawmakers want cost-benefit analysis on child food marketing restrictions
Dina ElBoghdady | Washington Post | December 16th, 2011

The Health of Children and Consumers is Threatened by Conservative Push for Corporate Speech Rights
Steven Rosenfeld | December 13th, 2011

Par Pharma: Free Speech Muffled By The FDA
Ed Silverman | Pharmalot | October 17th, 2011

FDA Defends New Graphic Cigarette Labels
Wall Street Journal, Law Blog | September 13th, 2011

U.K. Ad Police Alter Rules to Include All Online Marketing
Ad Age Global | March 8th, 2011

Tobacco signs still target cityís poorer areas
Stephen Smith | Boston Globe | August 30th, 2010

Judge Upholds Ticket Issued for Portable Signs
Catherine Kavanaugh | Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) | February 8th, 2008

FCC Set to Place Placement on Agenda?
Radio & Television Business Report | February 5th, 2008

US FDA Says Effexor Anti-Depressant Ad Misleading
Kim Dixon | Reuters | December 14th, 2007

Suit Over Tobacco Ad In Rolling Stone
Mark Peters | Hartford Courant | December 5th, 2007

Court: Cities Can Ban Electronic Signs
Associated Press | November 9th, 2007

Dumb Regulators To Legalize Bluetooth Spam
Rob Beschizza | Wired | October 10th, 2007

New Medical-Device Ads; Old Concerns
Brian Steinberg | The Wall Street Journal | April 10th, 2007

Courts Lift Curbs on Kids Buying Violent Games
Christopher Conkey | Wall Street Journal | December 17th, 2005

Will the Right to Pester Hold Up? The First Amendment Protects Marketers. But Spam May Shift the Equation
Lorraine Woellert | BusinessWeek | November 10th, 2003

External Links

The FDA and Commercial Speech Protections
Essential Action |

First Amendment Follies: Expanding Corporate Speech Rights
Robert Weissman, Multinational Monitor | May, 1998

Advertise This!
Russell Mokhiber and Rob Weissman | September 5, 2002