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2005

Constitutional Law

First amendment

Santa Clara Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Speech Showdowns At The Virtual Corral, Eric Goldman Jan 2005

Speech Showdowns At The Virtual Corral, Eric Goldman

Faculty Publications

INTRODUCTION

This article considers the tension between free speech rights and private property/contract rights. Neither free speech rights nor private property and contract rights are absolute. Where they intersect in the physical world, confusing legal doctrines usually emerge, such as the U.S. Supreme Court cases addressing private speech at privately owned company towns and shopping centers. Though a bright-line rule has emerged-the First Amendment pertains only to stateactors-the rule provides little prospective guidance because private actors can be characterized as state actors in some circumstances.

In the online world, the speech/rights dichotomy also raises complex issues. Online ...