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A User's Guide

to Free Speech

by Ian Rosenberg

Now available everywhere books are sold. Published February 9, 2021 by NYU Press.

A new Paperback Edition, with an Updated Afterword, will released on May 16, 2023.

“Essential reading for journalists, political activists, and ordinary citizens alike."
~Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Americans today are confronted by a barrage of questions about their free speech freedoms. What are libel laws, and do they need to be changed to stop the press from lying? Does Colin Kaepernick have the right to take a knee? Can Saturday Night Live be punished for parody? While people are grappling with these questions, they generally have nowhere to turn to learn about the extent of their First Amendment rights.


The Fight for Free Speech answers this call with an accessible, engaging user’s guide to free speech. Media lawyer Ian Rosenberg distills the spectrum of free speech law down to ten critical issues. Each chapter in this book focuses on a contemporary free speech question—from student walkouts for gun safety to Samantha Bee’s expletives, from Nazis marching in Charlottesville to the muting of adult film star Stormy Daniels— and then identifies, unpacks, and explains the key Supreme Court case that provides the answers. Together these fascinating stories create a practical framework for understanding where our free speech protections originated and how they can develop in the future. As people on all sides of the political spectrum are demanding their right to speak and be heard, The Fight for Free Speech is a handbook for combating authoritarianism, protecting our democracy, and bringing an understanding of free speech law to all.

Ian Rosenberg, Author, The Fight for Fre
Ian Rosenberg

Ian Rosenberg has over twenty years of experience as a media lawyer, and has worked as legal counsel for ABC News since 2003. He graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and magna cum laude from Cornell Law School. Rosenberg began his legal career clerking for a United States district court judge in the Eastern District of New York, and then working as a litigation associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. He is also an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker, and teaches media law at Brooklyn College. He lives in New York City with his wife, Caroline Laskow, and their two children.




Photo: Larry Bercow, NYC



 "This is an important book, elegantly crafted and accessible to all....

The Fight for Free Speech may very well be the best introduction to free speech and freedom of the press.

If only we could get everyone in Congress to read it."


Free Speech Handbook, Cover Image.JPG

Now there is a graphic novel companion to The Fight for Free Speech: Free Speech Handbook


Free Speech Handbook is the latest in World Citizen Comics series, coming from Macmillan 0n November 30, 2021

Written by Ian Rosenberg and Art by Mike Cavallaro


Contact Ian Rosenberg:


Carrie Hannigan

HG Literary

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Nightline interview by co-anchor Byron Pitts with author Ian Rosenberg 

C-SPAN2 BookTV broadcast of The Center for Brooklyn History public program with John Donvan & Ian Rosenberg on "The Rights and Limits of Free Speech" 

Reviews: LA Review of Books; Kirkus (Starred)Library Journal; Rutgers' CLCJB; Political Science Quarterly 

Freedom Forum's First Five Now series features The Fight for Free Speech

Book Soup - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with Lesley Blume

So To Speak Podcast - The Fight for Free Speech with Ian Rosenberg

Windy City Live - Hosts Val Warner & Ryan Chiaverini talk with Ian Rosenberg

Wisconsin Idea Spotlight - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with UW Prof. Don Downs

First Amendment Watch features an excerpt from The Fight for Free Speech

The First Amendment Museum - Ian Rosenberg interviewed by Gene Policinski

Tenement Museum Book Talk - The Fight for Free Speech with Ian Rosenberg

Volumes Book Cafe - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with Jason Knowles

Elliott Bay Book Company - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with Prof. Skover

Family Action Network - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with Mike Signer

The Free Speech Center - Ian Rosenberg in conversation with Ken Paulson

Helene Spring Library Talk - Ian Rosenberg speaks about Mollie Steimer

Public Radio interviews: KPR's Conversations; WAMC's The Best of Our Knowledge

Online Interviews: The Times of IsraelWITH Magazine; The Wisdom Daily;



Instructor's Guide (with chapter summaries; discussion questions; primary source documents and multimedia links; and teaching Power Point slides)

Reading Group Guide

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