Archive for June, 2007

Eugene Volokh has a nice post up about the Supreme Court’s free speech decision in Morse vs. Frederick, in which the court ruled that school officials are able to restrict speech that can be construed as advocating illegal drug use (“Bong Hits 4 Jesus”) without impacting their right to comment on drug policy. Volokh discusses the unsoundness of Alito’s opinion on the matter:

The trouble is that “speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use” often also “can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue.”

Consider, for instance, “legalize marijuana because marijuana is safe and fun.” While this doesn’t expressly advocate illegal drug use, a reasonable observer might well interpret it as so advocating: After all, the statement does say that marijuana is fun, and fun and safe things are often worth doing. Yet the statement that marijuana is fun is an important part of the comment on the political or social issue. While one might well support legalizing marijuana even if it weren’t fun, the claim that marijuana is fun — and thus, implicitly, that people are losing a good deal of pleasure because of the marijuana ban — is an important argument against the ban.

It’ll be fun to see how this plays out in subsequent student free speech cases.

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Here’s a nice article by Cory Doctorow (hat tip Techdirt) discussing how the American government has put itself at a serious economic disadvantage by embracing stronger IP laws:

The futurists were just plain wrong. An “information economy” can’t be based on selling information. Information technology makes copying information easier and easier. The more IT you have, the less control you have over the bits you send out into the world. It will never, ever, EVER get any harder to copy information. The information economy is about selling everything except information.

The United States traded its manufacturing sector’s health for its entertainment industry, hoping that Police Academy sequels could take the place of the rustbelt. The United States bet wrong.

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