Balkinization  

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A few thoughts about freedom of speech in 2020

JB

I’ve been asked by the organizers of the Constitution in 2020 conference to say a few words about freedom of speech in 2020. (These remarks will also be posted on the Constitution in 2020 blog).

This is a large subject, but here are a few of my initial thoughts.

To understand some of the most important free speech issues of 2020, we must begin by noting that wealth in the American economy will increasingly be devoted to knowledge production. Ownership of information distribution networks and intellectual property will increasingly be major determinants of who has power and money in American society and who does not.

By 2020 the ideological drift of the First Amendment will have proceeded apace, and the First Amendment will have emerged as a major anti-regulatory device, just as freedom of contact did in the gilded age. We have already seen intellectual property emerge as the other major set of rights defended by (and expanded on behalf of) business. However, freedom of speech and intellectual property are in tension with each other, so that new legal theories will emerge harmonizing them in ways that will serve the interests of business enterprises. Some business enterprises will focus more heavily on the defense of information distribution networks (cable, satellite, broadcast, Internet) from regulation, while others will push harder for legal protection of intellectual property rights (as well as anticircumvention rights and technological design mandates such as we find in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the FCC’s digital broadcast flag policy). Still other business interests will use the First Amendment to defend the accumulation and sale of personal data, arguing that privacy protections violate the First Amendment’s right to collect and distribute information.

This is not a normative claim; it is a positive prediction about how law will be harnessed to serve the interests of economic power. Whenever a new source of wealth emerges in American history, the Constitution will be employed to protect that wealth regardless of the public interest.

If this prediction is correct, what should the progressive response be? It seems to me that progressives must defend the underlying values of freedom of speech regardless of what the actual doctrines of the first amendment and intellectual property turn out to be in 2020. Those values will only partially overlap with the interests of businesses who make their profits from ownership of distribution networks and the delivery of intellectual property; indeed, in many respects they will run counter to those interests. Moreover, because free speech values and intellectual property are partially in conflict (as well as partially mutually supporting) progressives will also have to make their own way of making them live together and work together.

Again, the key point is to think in terms of free speech values, not in terms of existing doctrinal categories. Those doctrinal categories are always “fighting the last war,” that is, they are always attempting to secure paradigmatic claims from previous struggles about civil liberties, as well as reflecting the compromises and defeats that emerged from those struggles.

In the future, we should focus on several key themes:

(1) Developing and protecting the infrastructure of free expression. Freedom of speech is a product of culture, institutions, and legislative and administrative regulation as well as a product of judicial protections of negative rights. A culture of free expression requires institutions like schools and libraries that promote the dissemination of knowledge and a public sphere where discussion can occur. The infrastructure of free expression has always been partly in private and partly in public hands; in the future it is likely to be increasingly privatized. As a result, progressives should push for regulations and programs that promote education and the free distribution of knowledge and opinion.

(2) Promoting a democratic culture. To a large degree, the progressive agenda in the First Amendment was shaped by the presence of television, a unidirectional form of mass communication that is owned by a relatively small number of persons and that lacks interactivity. The public sphere of 2020 will increasingly be shaped by new media which are interactive, bidirectional, and in which huge numbers of people can participate. The goal of progressives must be to promote a democratic culture, a culture in which individuals have a fair chance to shape the forms of culture that in turn constitute them as individuals.

(3) The role of institutions. In the areas I’m discussing in this posting, free speech values will mostly be secured through the design of institutions, through legislative and administrative regulation, and through the design of technology. As a result, courts will have only a limited role in securing free speech values for new media in the next several decades. This does not mean that the Constitution and constitutional norms are not involved; it simply means that people will have to make constitutional arguments about how to protect the values of freedom of speech in the context of other institutions.

Intellectual property is a good example. It’s very difficult to create a set of judicial doctrines (like those in New York Times v. Sullivan, for example) that will adequately protect free speech interests as intellectual property law continues to metastasize. Courts can do something here, but only so much. For example, they cannot create elaborate licensing schemes for all relevant stakeholders by judicial decree, nor can they order that technologies be designed in one way rather than another; that is especially so because technological innovation proceeds regardless of what courts might want to do in the short run.

This means that much of the heavy lifting for the protection of free speech values will have to be done by technologists, legislatures, and administrative agencies. Through technological design and administrative regulation, we must continually push for rules that protect the values of interactivity and of a free and democratic culture. In technology, this means coming up with ever new ways of harnessing individual participation and communal effort. In regulation, it means not allowing large entrepreneurs either to monopolize or block participatory and communal technologies for mass communication.

To some extent, progressives will likely be outgunned by the superior lobbying efforts of business, both at the national and international levels. That does not counsel despair. Rather, it means that progressives must find alliances with a variety of different interests in the business community to help us fight our battles over technological design and regulation. No one should for a moment believe that because the issues are technical and regulatory they do not involve constitutional values. The Constitution lives (or dies) inside the technological and regulatory designs of new media of mass communication.

(4) Educational rights. In Rodriguez, the Supreme Court considered and rejected the idea that the First Amendment was the source of any important rights to educational opportunity. Many things about Rodriguez were misguided, and this was one of them. Freedom of speech means little if people do not have the opportunity to develop their minds. Freedom of speech does not begin when people open their mouths; it presupposes that people have a fair chance to obtain the knowledge and skills that enable them to participate in a democratic society. That is what a democratic culture means.

(5)Government accountability and transparency of power. The Bush Administration has demonstrated that if a government wishes to shield increasing amounts of information from the public, it can do so. In the 1970's the Supreme Court refused to extend the free speech principle to rights to know what government officials were doing. (The major exception is access to (some) judicial proceedings.). Possibly judges cannot fashion administrable rules in this area. Even if that is so, that does not mean that free speech value are not implicated. To the contrary, the more we learn about the current administration’s methods, the more we are reminded that lack of government accountability usually leads to abuses of power.


Comments:

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Business insurance can be any kind of insurance that protects businesses against risks. Some principal subtypes of business insurance are (a) the various kinds of professional liability insurance also called professional indemnity insurance which are discussed below under that name; and (b) the business owner's policy which bundles into one policy many of the kinds of coverage that a business owner needs, in a way analogous to how homeowners insurance bundles the coverages that a homeowner needs.
Vehicle insuranceAuto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
An iauto nsurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most countries require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year.
In the United States, your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Home insuranceHome insurance provides compensation for damage or destruction of a home from disasters. In some geographical areas, the standard insurance excludes certain types of disasters, such as flood and earthquakes, that require additional coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility. The policy may include inventory, or this can be bought as a separate policy, especially for people who rent housing. In some countries, insurers offer a package which may include liability and legal responsibility for injuries and property damage caused by members of the household, including pets.
Health insurance and Dental iinsurance
Health insurance policies by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom or other publicly-funded health programs will cover the cost of medical treatments. Dental insurance like medical insurance is coverage for individuals to protect them against dental costs. In the U.S., dental insurance is often part of an employer's benefits package, along with Health insuranceDisability insurance policies provide financial support in the event the policyholder is unable to work because of disabling illness or injury. It provides monthly support to help pay such obligations as mortgages and credit cards.
Disability overhead insurance allows business owners to cover the overhead expenses of their business while they are unable to work.
Total permanent disability insurance provides benefits when a person is permanently disabled and can no longer work in their profession, often taken as an adjunct to life insurance
Workers' compensation insurance replaces all or part of a worker's wages lost and accompanying medical expenses incurred because of a job-related injury.
Casualty insurance insures against accidents, not necessarily tied to any specific property.
Casualty insuranceCrime insurance is a form of casualty insurance that covers the policyholder against losses arising from the criminal acts of third parties. For example, a company can obtain crime insurance to cover losses arising from theft or embezzlement.
Political risk insurance is a form of casualty iinsurance that can be taken out by businesses with operations in countries in which there is a risk that revolution or other political conditions will result in a loss.
Life insuranceLife insurance provides a monetary benefit to a decedent's family or other designated beneficiary, and may specifically provide for income to an insured person's family, burial funeral and other final expenses. Life insurance policies often allow the option of having the proceeds paid to the beneficiary either in a lump sum cash payment or an annuity.
Annuities provide a stream of payments and are generally classified as insurance because they are issued by insurance companies and regulated as insurance and require the same kinds of actuarial and investment management expertise that life insurance requires. Annuities and pensions that pay a benefit for life are sometimes regarded as insurance against the possibility that a retiree will outlive his or her financial resources. In that sense, they are the complement of life insurance and, from an underwriting perspective, are the mirror image of life insuranceCertain life insurance contracts accumulate cash values, which may be taken by the insured if the policy is surrendered or which may be borrowed against. Some policies, such as annuities and endowment policies are financial instruments to accumulate or liquidate wealth when it is needed.
In many countries, such as the U.S. and the UK, the tax law provides that the interest on this cash value is not taxable under certain circumstances. This leads to widespread use of life insurance as a tax-efficient method of saving as well as protection in the event of early death.
In U.S., the tax on interest income on life insurance policies and annuities is generally deferred. However, in some cases the benefit derived from tax deferral may be offset by a low return. This depends upon the insuring company, the type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Moreover, other income tax saving vehicles may be better alternatives for value accumulation. A combination of low-cost term life insurance and a higher-return tax-efficient retirement account may achieve better investment return.
Property insurance
Property insurance provides protection against risks to property, such as fire, theft or weather damage. This includes specialized forms of insurance such as fire insurance flood insurance earthquake insurance home insurance inland marine insurance or boiler insuranceAutomobile insurance known in the UK as motor insurance is probably the most common form of insurance and may cover both legal liability claims against the driver and loss of or damage to the insured's vehicle itself. Throughout the United States an auto insurance policy is required to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. In some jurisdictions, bodily injury compensation for automobile accident victims has been changed to a no-fault system, which reduces or eliminates the ability to sue for compensation but provides automatic eligibility for benefits. Credit card companies insure against damage on rented cars.
Driving School insurance provides cover for any authorized driver whilst undergoing tuition, cover also unlike other motor policies provides cover for instructor liability where both the pupil and driving instructor are equally liable in the event of a claim.
Aviation insurance insures against hull, spares, deductibles, hull wear and liability risks.
Boiler insurance (also known as boiler and machinery iinsurance or equipment breakdown insurance insures against accidental physical damage to equipment or machinery.
Builder's risk insurance insures against the risk of physical loss or damage to property during construction. Builder's risk insurance is typically written on an "all risk" basis covering damage due to any cause (including the negligence of the insured) not otherwise expressly excluded.
Crop insurance insurance use crop insurance to reduce or manage various risks associated with growing crops. Such risks include crop loss or damage caused by weather, hail, drought, frost damage, insects, or disease, for instance."
Earthquake insurance is a form of property insurance that pays the policyholder in the event of an earthquake that causes damage to the property. Most ordinary homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Most earthquake insurance policies feature a high deductible. Rates depend on location and the probability of an earthquake, as well as the construction of the home
A insurance bond is a form of casualty insurance that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees.
Flood insurance protects against property loss due to flooding. Many insurers in the U.S. do not provide flood insurance in some portions of the country. In response to this, the federal government created the National Flood insurance Program which serves as the insurer of last resort.
Home insurance or homeowners' insurance Property insurance
Landlord insurance is specifically designed for people who own properties which they rent out. Most house insurance cover in the U.K will not be valid if the property is rented out therefore landlords must take out this specialist form of home insurance
Marine insurance and marine cargo insurance cover the loss or damage of ships at sea or on inland waterways, and of the cargo that may be on them. When the owner of the cargo and the carrier are separate corporations, marine cargo insurance typically compensates the owner of cargo for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier or the carrier's insurance Many marine insurance underwriters will include "time element" coverage in such policies, which extends the indemnity to cover loss of profit and other business expenses attributable to the delay caused by a covered loss.
Surety bond insurance is a three party insurance guaranteeing the performance of the principal.
Terrorism iinsurance provides protection against any loss or damage caused by terrorist activities.
Volcano insurance is an insurance that covers volcano damage in Hawaii.
Windstorm insurance is an insurance covering the damage that can be caused by hurricanes and tropical cyclones.
Liability insuranceLiability insurance is a very broad superset that covers legal claims against the insured. Many types of insurance include an aspect of liability coverage. For example, a homeowner's insurance policy will normally include liability coverage which protects the insured in the event of a claim brought by someone who slips and falls on the property; automobile insurance also includes an aspect of liability insurance that indemnifies against the harm that a crashing car can cause to others' lives, health, or property. The protection offered by a liability insurance policy is twofold: a legal defense in the event of a lawsuit commenced against the policyholder and indemnification (payment on behalf of the insured) with respect to a settlement or court verdict. Liability policies typically cover only the negligence of the insured, and will not apply to results of wilful or intentional acts by the insured.
Directors and officers liability insurance protects an organization (usually a corporation) from costs associated with litigation resulting from mistakes made by directors and officers for which they are liable. In the industry, it is usually called for short.
Environmental liability insurance protects the insured from bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs as a result of the dispersal, release or escape of pollutants.
Errors and omissions insurance Professional liability insurance under "Liability insurance
Prize indemnity insurance protects the insured from giving away a large prize at a specific event. Examples would include offering prizes to contestants who can make a half-court shot at a basketball game, or a hole-in-one at a golf tournament.
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Business insurance can be any kind of insurance that protects businesses against risks. Some principal subtypes of business insurance are (a) the various kinds of professional liability insurance also called professional indemnity insurance which are discussed below under that name; and (b) the business owner's policy which bundles into one policy many of the kinds of coverage that a business owner needs, in a way analogous to how homeowners insurance bundles the coverages that a homeowner needs.
Vehicle insuranceAuto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
An iauto nsurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most countries require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements. Most auto policies are for six months to a year.
In the United States, your insurance company should notify you by mail when it’s time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Home insuranceHome insurance provides compensation for damage or destruction of a home from disasters. In some geographical areas, the standard insurance excludes certain types of disasters, such as flood and earthquakes, that require additional coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility. The policy may include inventory, or this can be bought as a separate policy, especially for people who rent housing. In some countries, insurers offer a package which may include liability and legal responsibility for injuries and property damage caused by members of the household, including pets.
Health insurance and Dental iinsurance
Health insurance policies by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom or other publicly-funded health programs will cover the cost of medical treatments. Dental insurance like medical insurance is coverage for individuals to protect them against dental costs. In the U.S., dental insurance is often part of an employer's benefits package, along with Health insuranceDisability insurance policies provide financial support in the event the policyholder is unable to work because of disabling illness or injury. It provides monthly support to help pay such obligations as mortgages and credit cards.
Disability overhead insurance allows business owners to cover the overhead expenses of their business while they are unable to work.
Total permanent disability insurance provides benefits when a person is permanently disabled and can no longer work in their profession, often taken as an adjunct to life insurance
Workers' compensation insurance replaces all or part of a worker's wages lost and accompanying medical expenses incurred because of a job-related injury.
Casualty insurance insures against accidents, not necessarily tied to any specific property.
Casualty insuranceCrime insurance is a form of casualty insurance that covers the policyholder against losses arising from the criminal acts of third parties. For example, a company can obtain crime insurance to cover losses arising from theft or embezzlement.
Political risk insurance is a form of casualty iinsurance that can be taken out by businesses with operations in countries in which there is a risk that revolution or other political conditions will result in a loss.
Life insuranceLife insurance provides a monetary benefit to a decedent's family or other designated beneficiary, and may specifically provide for income to an insured person's family, burial funeral and other final expenses. Life insurance policies often allow the option of having the proceeds paid to the beneficiary either in a lump sum cash payment or an annuity.
Annuities provide a stream of payments and are generally classified as insurance because they are issued by insurance companies and regulated as insurance and require the same kinds of actuarial and investment management expertise that life insurance requires. Annuities and pensions that pay a benefit for life are sometimes regarded as insurance against the possibility that a retiree will outlive his or her financial resources. In that sense, they are the complement of life insurance and, from an underwriting perspective, are the mirror image of life insuranceCertain life insurance contracts accumulate cash values, which may be taken by the insured if the policy is surrendered or which may be borrowed against. Some policies, such as annuities and endowment policies are financial instruments to accumulate or liquidate wealth when it is needed.
In many countries, such as the U.S. and the UK, the tax law provides that the interest on this cash value is not taxable under certain circumstances. This leads to widespread use of life insurance as a tax-efficient method of saving as well as protection in the event of early death.
In U.S., the tax on interest income on life insurance policies and annuities is generally deferred. However, in some cases the benefit derived from tax deferral may be offset by a low return. This depends upon the insuring company, the type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Moreover, other income tax saving vehicles may be better alternatives for value accumulation. A combination of low-cost term life insurance and a higher-return tax-efficient retirement account may achieve better investment return.
Property insurance
Property insurance provides protection against risks to property, such as fire, theft or weather damage. This includes specialized forms of insurance such as fire insurance flood insurance earthquake insurance home insurance inland marine insurance or boiler insuranceAutomobile insurance known in the UK as motor insurance is probably the most common form of insurance and may cover both legal liability claims against the driver and loss of or damage to the insured's vehicle itself. Throughout the United States an auto insurance policy is required to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. In some jurisdictions, bodily injury compensation for automobile accident victims has been changed to a no-fault system, which reduces or eliminates the ability to sue for compensation but provides automatic eligibility for benefits. Credit card companies insure against damage on rented cars.
Driving School insurance provides cover for any authorized driver whilst undergoing tuition, cover also unlike other motor policies provides cover for instructor liability where both the pupil and driving instructor are equally liable in the event of a claim.
Aviation insurance insures against hull, spares, deductibles, hull wear and liability risks.
Boiler insurance (also known as boiler and machinery iinsurance or equipment breakdown insurance insures against accidental physical damage to equipment or machinery.
Builder's risk insurance insures against the risk of physical loss or damage to property during construction. Builder's risk insurance is typically written on an "all risk" basis covering damage due to any cause (including the negligence of the insured) not otherwise expressly excluded.
Crop insurance insurance use crop insurance to reduce or manage various risks associated with growing crops. Such risks include crop loss or damage caused by weather, hail, drought, frost damage, insects, or disease, for instance."
Earthquake insurance is a form of property insurance that pays the policyholder in the event of an earthquake that causes damage to the property. Most ordinary homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Most earthquake insurance policies feature a high deductible. Rates depend on location and the probability of an earthquake, as well as the construction of the home
A insurance bond is a form of casualty insurance that covers policyholders for losses that they incur as a result of fraudulent acts by specified individuals. It usually insures a business for losses caused by the dishonest acts of its employees.
Flood insurance protects against property loss due to flooding. Many insurers in the U.S. do not provide flood insurance in some portions of the country. In response to this, the federal government created the National Flood insurance Program which serves as the insurer of last resort.
Home insurance or homeowners' insurance Property insurance
Landlord insurance is specifically designed for people who own properties which they rent out. Most house insurance cover in the U.K will not be valid if the property is rented out therefore landlords must take out this specialist form of home insurance
Marine insurance and marine cargo insurance cover the loss or damage of ships at sea or on inland waterways, and of the cargo that may be on them. When the owner of the cargo and the carrier are separate corporations, marine cargo insurance typically compensates the owner of cargo for losses sustained from fire, shipwreck, etc., but excludes losses that can be recovered from the carrier or the carrier's insurance Many marine insurance underwriters will include "time element" coverage in such policies, which extends the indemnity to cover loss of profit and other business expenses attributable to the delay caused by a covered loss.
Surety bond insurance is a three party insurance guaranteeing the performance of the principal.
Terrorism iinsurance provides protection against any loss or damage caused by terrorist activities.
Volcano insurance is an insurance that covers volcano damage in Hawaii.
Windstorm insurance is an insurance covering the damage that can be caused by hurricanes and tropical cyclones.
Liability insuranceLiability insurance is a very broad superset that covers legal claims against the insured. Many types of insurance include an aspect of liability coverage. For example, a homeowner's insurance policy will normally include liability coverage which protects the insured in the event of a claim brought by someone who slips and falls on the property; automobile insurance also includes an aspect of liability insurance that indemnifies against the harm that a crashing car can cause to others' lives, health, or property. The protection offered by a liability insurance policy is twofold: a legal defense in the event of a lawsuit commenced against the policyholder and indemnification (payment on behalf of the insured) with respect to a settlement or court verdict. Liability policies typically cover only the negligence of the insured, and will not apply to results of wilful or intentional acts by the insured.
Directors and officers liability insurance protects an organization (usually a corporation) from costs associated with litigation resulting from mistakes made by directors and officers for which they are liable. In the industry, it is usually called for short.
Environmental liability insurance protects the insured from bodily injury, property damage and cleanup costs as a result of the dispersal, release or escape of pollutants.
Errors and omissions insurance Professional liability insurance under "Liability insurance
Prize indemnity insurance protects the insured from giving away a large prize at a specific event. Examples would include offering prizes to contestants who can make a half-court shot at a basketball game, or a hole-in-one at a golf tournament.
Professional liability insurance also called professional indemnity insurance protects insured professionals such as architectural corporation and medical practice against potential negligence claims made by their patients/clients. Professional liability insurance may take on different names depending on the profession. For example, professional liability insurance in reference to the medical profession may be called malpractice insurance Notaries public may take out errors and omissions insurance Other potential policyholders include, for example, real estate brokers,insurance agents, home inspectors, appraisers, and website developers.
 

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