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Commercial speech

Commercial speech

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Commercial Speech is speech done on behalf of a company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...

 or individual
An individual is a person or any specific object or thing in a collection. Individuality is the state or quality of being an individual; a person separate from other persons and possessing his or her own needs, goals, and desires. Being self expressive...

 for the intent of making a profit
Profit (economics)
In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total opportunity costs of a venture to an entrepreneur or investor, whilst economic profit In economics, the term profit has two related but distinct meanings. Normal profit represents the total...

. It is economic in nature and usually has the intent of convincing the audience to partake in a particular action, often purchasing a specific product. Generally, the Supreme Court defines commercial speech as speech that "proposes a commercial transaction." Additionally, the Court developed a three factor inquiry in determining whether speech is commercial in Bolger v. Youngs Drug Products; however, those factors have yet to be utilized in any other Supreme Court case dealing with commercial speech.

The idea of "Commercial Speech" was first introduced by the Supreme Court when it upheld Valentine v. Chrestensen
Valentine v. Chrestensen
Valentine v. Chrestensen, 316 U.S. 52 , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that commercial speech is not protected under the First Amendment- Introduction :The case started when the respondent, F.J...

(1942). In upholding the regulation, the Supreme Court said, "We are … clear that the Constitution imposes … no restraint on government as respects purely commercial advertising."

In a 1978 decision, Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Ass'n, the Court offered this defense:
There are those on the Supreme Court that disagree with this "common-sense" distinction, though. Justice Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

 replied, in 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island
44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island
44 Liquormart, Inc. v. Rhode Island, 517 U.S. 484 , was a United States Supreme Court case, which declared that a law banning the advertisement of alcohol except at the place of sale as unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment....

(1996), that "I do not see a philosophical or historical basis for asserting that 'commercial' speech is of 'lower value' than 'noncommercial' speech."

Federal judge Alex Kozinski
Alex Kozinski
Alex Kozinski is Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, an essayist, and a judicial commentator.-Biography:...

stated, in regard to the 1942 ruling, "the Supreme Court plucked the commercial speech doctrine out of thin air."

External links

Further reading

  • Joanna Krzeminska-Vamvaka, Freedom of commercial speech in Europe, Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac 2008 - comparative analysis of commercial speech regulation in the US, EU, under ECHR, in Germany and Poland
  • Stephen M. Worth, "'Do Not Call' Laws and the First Amendment: Testing the Limits of Commercial Free Speech Protection", J. Small & Emerging Bus. 2003