Free Speech Limitations

Today I will discuss speech limitations by private groups.

Michael W. Flynn
3-minute read

First, a disclaimer: Although I am an attorney, the legal information in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, I do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with any listener.

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Today I will discuss speech limitations by private groups. Rob wrote:

I registered an account at http://godtube.com. I posted a couple comments to 2 videos and a few hours later my account disappeared from their website.

I went back and read the Terms closely and I'm not sure their terms are legal. They've created a public forum and then limit what [you’r allowed to say.

[One term states]: “You agree not to submit or post any User Submission to the Site, or transmit any User Submission through the Site, that (a) is contrary to the evangelization of Jesus Christ and His teachings, or constitutes blasphemy, or is otherwise offensive to our online Christian community.”

Do they have the right to limit what I say on their website? Can they really tell me that I can't be contrary to Jesus Christ in their public forums?

Thanks, Rob. Free speech is a fundamental right enjoyed by Americans under the First Amendment. But, free speech does not mean that every private group must let you speak. The rules that godtube imposes are perfectly legal due to the state action doctrine.