beer, Santa, and commercial speech

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6 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    This is going to throw off the whole slogan for the FSF

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    I think your conclusion basically is right. “Commercial speech” (i.e., advertising and product publicity) today (and probably historically) contains some of the best artistic, political, and social expression, commentary, and parody/satire (such as in the beer label). That parody exists separate from the “proposal of a commercial (or market) transaction.” And it cannot lose its full protection simply because it appears on a product label, rather than in, say, a protest against government-sponsored Christmas displays.

  3. Heidi Kitrosser says:

    It is interesting, by the way, that the R.A.V. doctrine has not clearly altered step 3 (which effectively serves as the content regulation analysis step) of the Central Hudson test. And the Court’s had an opportunity to take that step since R.A.V., but they haven’t done it. Perhaps, ironically, the fact that commercial speech generally gets much more protection than “unprotected” speech like obscenity, incitement, etc., has made the Court feel that it’s unnecessary to leap to the extreme of strict scrutiny for regulations of content within the commercial speech category. Or perhaps there’s an unspoken sense that content within categories like incitements, threats, etc. are more likely to be of “high value” (say, political).

  4. I’d like to have some level of taste and decorum to balance out cruder expressions, but as always, who is to judge for us? The Santa’s Butt label is humorous and harmless, to me.

    On a semi-related note and along the lines of John’s comment, have you heard about the truly free as in free speech beer? Lawrence Lessig wrote about it for Wired: “Free, as in Beer”

  5. Heidi Kitrosser says:

    Ann, now I know what to do for my holiday shopping! :)