First Amendment Right

February 4, 2023




First Amendment Right: Free Speech




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First Amendment Right: Free Speech

           Publishing is not a discrete legal subject with its own set of laws. However, a plethora of laws including torts, contracts, and intellectual property are pulled together to govern publishing. The First Amendment of the US constitution forms a profound legal basis that aids in regulating matters of publishing in the US. Paradin Press, as a publishing company ought to have a basic understanding of the legal restrictions and boundaries they can work within. By creating a website, there are always copyright concerns. In a nutshell, an individual will be guilty of copyright infringements in case they violate any of the rights guaranteed to the copyright owners under the Copyright Act. While creating their online web, the company ought to ensure that they do not violate any of the five exclusive rights by simply posting works that are not copied from other people. Subsequently, original works published on the website by the developer may be used without copyright concerns. However, it is illegal to appropriate texts from third parties without permission. The issues of domain originating with web creation must be tackled in a manner that does not infringe trademarks. 

          The publishing company also needs to designate an attorney to review whether a particular work is publishable or not. Furthermore, the lawyer herein described as a legal liaison may direct on relevant legal concerns regarding the publication. The employees such as editors of Paradin Press ought to be trained on legal matters concerning publications. The motive behind this is to enable them to identify with the legal perils of publishing works that are in a position of hurting the core value of the company.

          A publishing company will be legally liable for mistakes, transgressions, and omissions of its authors. The position is directly the same where the omission is a result of the publisher’s negligence. This atrocity can be attributed to the lack of profound editing before publishing. (Clark, G., & Phillips, A., 2019) The publishing company ought to ensure that appropriate copyright notice has been asserted on every work. This means the work must own authentic copyrights that are legally registered. In a summary, the work before publishing should be consistent with the Copyright Amendments Act of 1992.

          Eventually, the works of the company must not violate the trademark and copyrights of another publishing company or author. This can be maintained through a simple search on the Trademark search. The work should not defame or tint the image of a third party in a negative perspective. The work being published ought not to violate an individual’s right to privacy and other constitutional rights. The company must honor its part of the contract with authors, employees, and creators. Moreover, publishers ought to confirm information from unverified sources before publishing. Failure of publishing companies to enforce legal issues surrounding the subject may result in violations. This position was affirmed in the case of Masson v. New Yorker Magazine Inc. (1991).

Reno v. ACLU: An analysis of section one of the proposed business plan

          In Reno v. ACLU (1996), the Supreme Court declared the Internet to be a free speech zone. The court amicably agreed that the First Amendment protection of books, newspapers, and magazines ought to be extended to the internet. The government under the circumstances ought to allow individuals to access information on the internet freely as they would have done in a library or viewed the image of a naked woman in a museum. (Yoo, C. S, 2009). This decision was supported by the decision in Ashcroft v. ACLU (2004), where the court elaborated on the importance of free internet speech. The books being sold by the website do not form part of the ones restricted by the law under the First Amendment of the US constitution.  However, Paradin Press ought to be more cautious before selling print copies that are illegal since a publishing company will be legally liable for omissions of its authors. The book ought to be original and not in violation of copyrights and trademarks.

Position of section two of the plan

          From a legal perspective, a publishing company will be legally liable for mistakes, transgressions, and omissions of its authors. This duty extends to the creators of a website. Therefore, a duty is imposed on the owner of a web page to ensure that content that flows through the website is regulated. If such content committed in publications violates another person’s constitutional rights or rather leads to tortious acts against others, then the owner of the website is liable for an offense even if the content is not originally its. (Weiser, P. J, 2009). This means there is a necessity for a regulatory framework concerning the use of websites by members of the public. Content on such platforms ought to be consistent with the written law. 

          The Federal Communications Commission in the US is obligated to control all forms of electronic communication. Aside from the provisions of the First Amendment of the US Constitution, there are minimal regulations of online content. The US Supreme court had struck out the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA). This was a federal law that had outlawed indecent communications online. The court majored on the extent of its vagueness describing it as violating the provisions of free speech. This proposition however does not mean that the US has no regulation on the internet. The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech. The significance of this right was maintained by the Supreme Court in Gitlow v. New York (1925). This constitutional right however is not absolute. 

          The category of speech that is restricted by the First Amendment includes speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless actions, obscenity, child pornography, speech that violates intellectual property rights, and defamatory speeches. This was retaliated in Schenck v. United States (1919). In the case where Paradin Press fails to regulate and monitor content on the peer-to-peer sharing format, some of the foregoing atrocities will likely be committed and thus leading to violation of the First Amendment. The content is likely to invoke illegal conduct and incite imminent lawless actions among its consumers. When individuals post obscene material then such filthy and disgusting materials are not protected by the constitution as it was in the United States v. One Book Entitled Ulysses (1934). The other content that violates Federal law sums up the need to regulate content on the website by the publishing company. In instances where the company does not regulate such content, they are criminally liable as it was stated in Abrams v. United States (1919). An owner of a website ought to regulate content to ensure it conforms with written laws and provisions of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. 

Components of section three of the proposed business plan

          The website “ultimate shady” will vastly amount to a violation of provisions of the First Amendment. The constitution does not protect defamation. For one to prove defamation they have to mention the third parties by name and that is provided for by the website. Such actions amount to slander as it was in the case of TXO Production Corp v. Alliance Resources Corp (1993). The website will also allow for libel which is defamation in writing. The necessities of libel were provided for in the New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964). The website allows for the publication of false news which amounts to criminal libel and this position was highlighted by the court in Ashton v. Kentucky (1966). Criminal libel violates provisions of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Public officials and celebrities have a legitimate right to protect their reputations like any other people. So a platform where people may post unverified information that may injury their reputation also leads to criminal defamation. (Post, R, 1986). This was stated in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988).

           The Paradin Press ought to refrain from creating the website “ultimate shady” since they will be liable for offenses of defamation that arise. Under the circumstances where they are liable for defamation, they are obliged to compensate the victims for the injury suffered.  Criminal libel may lead to imprisonment of the party at fault.  


          A publishing company will be legally liable for the mistakes of its authors. Activities of the company concerning the operations of the website ought to be consistent with provisions of the First Amendment and other written laws. 



  1. The US Constitution, the First Amendment.
  2. Clark, G., & Phillips, A. (2019). Inside book publishing. Routledge.
  3. The Copyright Amendments Act of 1992.
  4. Yoo, C. S. (2009). Free Speech and the Myth of the Internet as an Unintermediated Experience. Geo. Wash. L. Rev.78, 697.
  5. Weiser, P. J. (2009). The future of Internet regulation. UC Davis L. Rev.43, 529.
  6. The 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA).
  7. Post, R. C. (1986). The social foundations of defamation law: Reputation and the Constitution. Calif. L. Rev.74, 691.

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