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Re: Censorship protest relevance (was: Re: Continuation of my previous m

From: DJ Delorie
Subject: Re: Censorship protest relevance (was: Re: Continuation of my previous mail)
Date: Thu, 13 May 2021 01:56:04 -0400

Jacob Bachmeyer <> writes:
> Since GNU is based in USA, is this particular protest obsolete, as any 
> such censorship applied to us would be clearly unconstitutional,

For those outside the USA (and probably many inside too ;) ...

The USA laws don't work that way; the first amendment *only* prevents
the government from censoring the non-government, it has no power over
private people or organizations from censoring their own speech.  There
is no such thing as a "free speech right" in the USA *outside of* the
laws themselves.

  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
  or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
  speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
  assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Note the "Congress shall make no law" part.  That's all there is.
Nothing else is covered, nothing else is prevented, nothing else is

So no, censorship in the USA is NOT unconstitutional.  Only laws that
cause censorship are.

(as an amusing twist, laws that try to *prevent* private censorship
could be considered unconstitutional, since that's also government
trying to control speech)


USA law doesn't stop private individuals or organizations from entering
into contracts that limit speech, and providing for damages etc if
violated, as long as the contract is fair and valid.  The government can
thus offer a contract whereby a clinic (for example) receives funds in
exchange for an agreement to limit speech.  This is not considered
censorship since the clinic may choose to not enter in to the contract
and thus not be limited.  Voluntary is OK, involuntary is not.  This is
no different than, for example, an NDA you must sign in exchange for

That such clinics may in fact go out of business without government
funding, while relevent in reality, is irrelevent in this context.

[and I couldn't tell if you were referring to the manual, or the federal
program referred to therein, so I tried to cover both, as neither is
legally considered "censorship"]

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