A User's Guide
to Free Speech
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 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."
LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
Freedom Forum's First Five Now series features The Fight for Free Speech
Tenement Museum Book Talk - The Fight for Free Speech with Ian Rosenberg
Instructor's Guide (with chapter summaries; discussion questions; primary source documents and multimedia links; and teaching Power Point slides)