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Beyond the First Amendment: Shaping the Contours of Commercial Speech in Video Games, Virtual Worlds and Social Media

33 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2011  

Jon Garon

Shepard Broad College of Law

Date Written: November 20, 2011

Abstract

In Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011), the Supreme Court stated unequivocally that video games are entitled to the same broad First Amendment protections as those afforded to other media. But just as laws and regulations distinguish newspaper, magazine and television content from the advertising sold in those media, new policies are required to distinguish the communicative content of video games, virtual worlds and social media from the advertising and commercial purpose activity conducted in those media. Particularly in the area of publicity rights, states and courts have struggled to delineate those contours.

This article outlines the emerging contours of commercial speech under recent First Amendment jurisprudence, highlighting the free speech rights of publishers, participants and players while shielding individuals from unfair commercial exploitation and protecting the public from misleading advertising.

Keywords: First Amendment, Commercial Speech, Free Speech, Video Games, Virtual Worlds, FTC, Endorsement Guidelines, FCC, commercials, advertising, in game, video games, social media

JEL Classification: K2, K20, M1, M3, M37, Z1, Z10, L96, K13, K39

Suggested Citation

Garon, Jon, Beyond the First Amendment: Shaping the Contours of Commercial Speech in Video Games, Virtual Worlds and Social Media (November 20, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1962369 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1962369

Jon M. Garon (Contact Author)

Shepard Broad College of Law ( email )

3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
United States

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