Freedom of Commercial Expression

Freedom of Commercial Expression

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The U.S. Supreme Court extended constitutional protection to commercial expression or speech in 1976. The European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of Canada subsequently did likewise. Historically, however, as Chief Justice Rehnquist memorably remarked in dissenting from the 1976 decision, freedom of expression relates to public decision-making as to political, social, and other public issues, rather than the decision of a particular individual as to
whether to purchase one or another kind of shampoo. For all that, courts are now granting constitutional protection to the commercial advertizing of organizations such as tobacco manufacturers, breweries, and discount liquor stores.

In this book, Roger Shiner subjects to critical examination the history of and reasoning behind the extension to commercial expression of the principles of freedom of expression. He examines the institutional history of freedom of commercial expression as a constitutional doctrine, and argues that the history is one of ad hoc, not logical, development. In examining the arguments used in support of freedom of commercial expression, he shows that even from within the borders of liberal democratic
theory, constitutional protection for commercial expression is not philosophically justified. Commercial corporations cannot possess an original autonomy right to free expression. Moreover, the claim that there is a hearers' right to receive commercial expression which advertisers may borrow is
invalid. Freedom of commercial expression does not fit the best available models for hearers' rights. Regulation of commercial expression is not paternalistic. The free flow of commercial information is not automatically a good, and in any case commercial expression rarely in fact involves information.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 380 pages
  • 160 x 240 x 24mm | 708g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0198262612
  • 9780198262619

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; THE CONTINGENCIES OF INSTITUTIONAL HISTORY ; 2. Commercial Speech in the United States 1900-76 ; 3. Commercial Expression in the United States 1976 - 2002 ; 4. Commercial Expression in Canada ; 5. Commercial Expression in Europe ; 6. Conclusion ; THEORETICAL INTERLUDE ; 7. The Conceptual Background ; 8. The Importance of Theory Determined ; 0HE ARGUMENTS ASSESSED ; 9. Original Autonomy Rights ; 10. Hearers' Rights ; 11. Commercial Expression and the self-realization value ; 12. Autonomy, Paternalism, and Commercial Expression ; 13. The Free Flow of Commercial Information ; 14. Lifestyle Advertising and the Public Good ; 15. Retrospect and Prospect
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Review quote

Shiner presents his case forcefully and, in the main, entirely persuasively ... Shiner's is a work of conceptual dissection, done with the kind of care that forestalls the hypnotic effects. The book is filled with extremely precise formulations ... Anyone interested in the philosophical underpinnings of the arguments about protecting commercial expression must now start with this book. * Law and Politics Book Review *
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About Roger A. Shiner

Roger Shiner spent most of his career at the University of Alberta, becoming Assistant Professor of Philosophy in 1966, Associate Professor in 1972 and Professor in 1977. He also taught as Sessional Lecturer in Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law. He is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy.
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