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Freedom of Speech$
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Eric Barendt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199225811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199225811.001.0001

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Commercial Speech

Commercial Speech

(p.392) XI Commercial Speech
Freedom of Speech


Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the case for free speech coverage of commercial speech in general, and advertising in particular, is weak. The best argument derives from the interests of consumers in product information, coupled with the disinclination, in this area as in others, to exclude from coverage communications that convey a meaning. After considering the arguments for the coverage of commercial speech by freedom of expression, the chapter looks at some types of advertising regulation, focusing on the protection of advertising, the quintessential type of commercial speech. Tobacco advertising is also examined, along with whether commercial speech should be covered by free speech clauses; the public interest in the free flow of commercial information; and paternalism (the attempt to prevent consumers from buying drugs from low-cost, low-quality pharmacies in order to keep high-quality pharmacists in business).

Keywords:   commercial speech, free speech, freedom of expression, commercial information, consumers, public interest, advertising, tobacco advertising, paternalism, regulation

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