The Ongoing Vitality of Free Speech in the United States
Item: South Pittsburg, Tennessee, has prohibited its employees, elected officials, and contractors from making negative comments about the city and its public officials in social media. Dig the money quote:
The first thing everyone wants to say is ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook … Well, you can. Just not [anything] that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board or things of that nature. You can go ahead and post all you want.
Item: Sony Pictures, disregarding that there was no credible threat of violence but recoiling from its proprietary intellectual property being hacked, withdraws the planned Christmas release of its movie The Interview, which plays for laughs the idea that James Franco and Seth Rogen might conceivably be considered “journalists.” Here’s the money quote from Sony:
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
Feel free to use whatever liberty of speech you may enjoy in the comments section.
Burt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.
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