Free Speech is a fundamental right of democratic society. It is also an horribly abused right. Every imaginable depravity is cloaked with the defense of free speech. This abuse is tolerated for fear of the proverbial “slippery slope”. Although we approvingly chuckle at the famous quote by a supreme court justice: that he knew obscenity when he saw it; it does expose the problem with any encroachment on free speech. We might agree with that particular judge as to his view on obscenity, but what about the next one? And when they decide that condemning homosexuality is obscene, what then? And yet our society is awash in depravity and its effects are monumental and disastrous. Something must be done, but we fear that the medicine might become worse than the disease. Perhaps an answer lies in apprehending the full meaning of FREE speech.
For too long it has meant freedom to speak; and that it is. But it also should mean free speech, or speech gratis. It would go a long ways to solving the problem if freedom of speech only applied to speech that was offered for free. Peddlers of depravity would be in a catch-22. Accept the protection of the first amendment and go out of business for lack of income, or decline that protection and be put out of business for indecency.
Also it should mean speech for free. In other words, copyright should not apply to anything that claims protection under the first amendment. This would be the teeth to the bite of the previous point. It seems improper to grant copyright privilege to something that demands society’s protection. If our society is to bleed and die to afford any content protection, then it must belong to society. If an author or artist wish to place their “works” in the public domain, then they can shelter them under the first amendment, but if they wish to profit from them, then it isn’t FREE speech.
No doubt this will not obliterate the problem, but it would quash the majority of it.