The First Amendment protects all Americans’ Freedom of Speech. To this end, you can say anything publicly on any platform without worrying that the government will punish you. Despite that, Americans have to exercise this freedom responsibly.
Otherwise, you may find yourself the subject of litigation. For this reason, it’s worth stating that the First Amendment, as highly significant as it is, doesn’t guarantee protection against all types of speech. Below are the kinds of speech that the amendment does not protect.
Any kind of speech that is likely to incite somebody to fight another is not covered under the First Amendment. Therefore, you should only make such speech if you are ready for the consequences.
Avoid the kind of speech that inflames physical retaliation. Any language whose goal is to convince people or a person to participate in lawless acts isn’t catered for under Freedom of Speech.
Violating Copyright Rules
This right here refers to offences such as plagiarism. The First Amendment does not give you the freedom to plagiarize somebody’s work or copyrighted stuff. All intellectual property enjoys this protection. Freedom of Speech doesn’t apply where you have flouted:
Freedom of Speech ends where threats begin. For this reason, do not expect to enjoy this right if your speech is full of threats towards a specific person or group of people. Threatening somebody with death or bodily harm makes you ineligible to enjoy this right.
However, it’s worth stating that not all threats are exempted. The courts will have to determine if the threat was credible or not. You are also entitled to enjoy this freedom if you threaten anyone with boycott or social ostracism.
Did you commit perjury? Has anyone accused you of extortion or harassment? If the accuser can prove that you committed these offences, then the courts will not let you go free. In such cases, Freedom of Speech cannot be your defense.
Similarly, any time you solicit or convince somebody to commit a criminal act, you would not enjoy the freedom envisaged in the First Amendment. Has your speech threatened anyone with violence? Here, Freedom of Speech doesn’t apply to you!
Libel and Slander
Anytime you publish something untrue about anyone, you would not be able to cite Freedom of Speech as your defense. That is because the First Amendment does not protect or cover libelous or slanderous acts. That applies when referring to individuals or groups.
Libel and slander apply in all forms of communication. Therefore, you would be susceptible to a lawsuit whether you write or speak something untrue about somebody or a group of people. The constitution allows you to speak freely without spreading lies about other people.
Freedom of Speech ends where minors are concerned, especially when the language used depicts the little ones performing sexual acts. On top of that, any language used show a minor’s private parts would never qualify for protection under Freedom of Speech.
It’s worth stating that the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech protects certain aspects of pornography. Nevertheless, child pornography enjoys no such protection. The goal here is to keep minors away from any form of sexual exploitation.
For the most part, all aspects of obscenity are covered under Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment. However, a few omissions exist. More specifically, the threshold put in place for exempting certain acts of obscenities is quite high.
Typically, a person who engages in the following would not be eligible for this freedom:
- Using language that promotes voyeuristic interest in sex
- Using language that is offensive to the standards of a contemporary community
- Using language that has no artistic, scientific, or literary value
As shown here, Freedom of Speech is enshrined in the First Amendment. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For this reason, you are better off exercising your freedom to speak as freely as you want in a responsible manner.