Monday, October 18, 2010

What Do You Think About This?

Note: Due to the recent increase of lawsuits against bloggers over copyright infringement by news outlets I have been hesitant to cut and paste sections of articles into my blog.

Read this article. It is about a gentleman who has a large political sign attached to the bed of his pick-up. A mall in Florida has banned him from their parking lot because they call it solicitation. He is claiming that his first amendment right to free speech is being infringed upon.

Which is it? Free speech rights or private property rights?

Does it make a difference if the mall is applying the rule unequally? Is the private owner of a mall required to be fair in enforcing it's non-solicitation rules? To be fair to the mall, there is no indication they are doing this. Just as a hypothetical question, is there an obligation?

What are your thoughts?


Phill Senters said...

I have to agree with the mall owner...It is his/her property and they have the final say as to who may do what on it. If it was public property, then I'd have to agree with Mr Klein.

jadedfellow said...

Don't know bout other folks, but I just post and truck around with what I iz thinking. If I sue myself I win either way.

Helps alot to have a couple of different personalities.

Chuck said...

Phil, I have a tendency to agree

Jaded, um - thanks

jadedfellow said...

You'z welcome.

Just being a free thinker, even if I cain't figger out which one of me is thinkin sometimes.

You'z cool!

Always On Watch said...

This is a tough call because I agree with the sentiments expressed in the sign.

However, if the mall has private-property rules which are consistent, I have to side with the mall.

Randy said...

Does the mall ban people with bumper stickers? How about the van with "Al's Plumbing" written on the side?

I'm not sure Freedom of Speech fits. Is the truck driver speaking to mall patrons? (No indications of that). But I still can't see them banning him unless they ban all forms of "advertising".

Mustang said...

Mr. Klein does not have the Constitutional right of free speech to park his truck in my driveway whilst the neighbors gawk at his sign. There may be no better illustration of what the Progressive left has done to education in America than Mr. Klein. They have created the world’s best under-educated citizens. First Amendment protection means the federal government cannot suppress your right to speech, to assemble peacefully, to redress grievances to the Congress, to worship as you see fit; it does not mean you can yell fire in a crowded movie theater or violate the private property rights of others.

As for copyright issues, you are the owner of original writing. Others may not legally reproduce this writing, or artwork, or video, or other intellectual property without your permission. People who violate this ownership subject themselves to civil suits. This is why I have a “copyright notice” posted at my blog. The law allows “fair use” of material, however, and I assert this right. I can quote the New York Times writer and give proper attribution, but I cannot copy and paste an entire article and repost it on my blog. I think what has happened here is that many bloggers, schooled in America of course, are incapable of writing an original essay. They resort instead to cutting and pasting the work of others into their template, publish it as their own work, and/or fail to give proper attribution. In my view, these people have brought civil actions upon themselves.

cube said...

This is a touchy issue. Of course we must comply with public property rights, but as Randy pointed out, does the mall ban all advertising or just that with which it does not agree? I've got a hunch it's the latter.

Z said...

are they really getting a lot of bloggers for posting things on their blogs? Yikes. Ah, well.
Seems like the sentiment on the truck's fairly bipartisan, wouldn't you say?
Pretty scary that a mall can say what our eyes see is illegal.

MK said...

So long as the mall enforces it equally, i don't mind. I have a feeling though that if the fellow had been trucking around with a sign that says oh i don't know - i love homos, or something like that, they wouldn't be whining and crying.

i think it's a bit stupid, the sign is in no way offensive, neither is it solicitation. Does the mall ban the fedex truck from delivering there, after all Fedex is soliciting for Fedex with it's sign isn't it.

Sounds to me like the mall is being run by a stupid liberal(s) who see racism in every closet and on every sign.

Chuck said...

AOW, that is kind of where I come down on this. I do have to wonder though if they really have to be fair. They should be but legally...

Randy, good point on the bumper stickers. A lot of malls already ban solicitation, it's often a move to block unions

Mustang, dead on about the 1st. It is a requirement of government.

As far as the copyright bit, I tend to agree. I do not use another article as my blog. I may paste in a section but I have always given due credit. From what I learned in college, this is legal. The problem is that some news outlets are pushing the boundaries on what they sue over.

Cube, it is likely they do. What I wonder though is are they required to be fair?

Z, as I said to Mustang, I am erring on the side of caution. Some are getting pretty aggressive though

MK, interesting point on Fed-Ex

Ticker said...

R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992)
I believe would apply to this case even though they are a bit different in the "speech" definition in some ways.
The issue was: Whether a municipality may constitutionally enact an ordinance that makes it a crime to place a symbol on public or private property that arouses anger in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or gender.

Please note that the ordinance includes PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Given the facts that the man's sign did not arouse anger in the definition of the law which is construed to mean "fighting words" his sign was perfectly legal and the mall owner was wrong regardless of how they enforce it or don't enforce it. They have no right to enforce such even if there is an ordinance which would give them the right according to this case law.
There are several other cases which are similar to this and the Court has found that the individual has the right of Freedom of Expression as guaranteed under the 1st amendment.

Chuck said...

Ticker, thanks for the info.

A part of me though still sides with the mall owner.

While I am a strong defender of freedom of speech, even speech we disagree with, I think something has to be said about private property rights.

Though I cannot say I completely disagree with the case law you mentioned, I find it to be a bit of a Pandora's box. Can they extend this to my front yard?

I am obviously being facetious but I just think that sometimes cases like this can have undesirable consequences when placed into the wrong judge's hands. Look at some of the rulings by judges that, until handed down, we could have never imagined they could happen.