Bumfights and Copycat Crimes... Connecting the Dots: Negligent Publication or Protected Speech?
30 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2014
Date Written: December 13, 2008
Bumfights symbolizes a frightening trend leading to the emergence of bum-bashing as sport. The Bumfight videos have spawned a copycat phenomenon where young people, usually males in their teens or early twenties, attack the homeless just for fun.
The article presents a constitutionally permissible means for legislatively prohibiting the production and sale of Bumfights and for opening the door for negligent-publication claims against the producers and distributors of Bumfights. The article goes on to describe recent attempts by municipalities to enact ordinances that restrict the use and purchase of violent video games and other violent material and it categorizes Bumfights as unprotected speech falling outside the First Amendment umbrella of protection. The author suggests that a carefully drafted ordinance prohibiting the sale and distribution of Bumfights can pave the way for third-party liability claims under the theory of negligence per se and concludes by finding that the regulation of Bumfights through legislative prohibitions and civil-damage claims is consistent with free speech and tort principles.
Keywords: Bum-bashing, Constitutional law, municipal ordinances, First Amendment speech, violence
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation