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The Supreme Court held in the landmark case New York Times v.Sullivan (1964) that lies about the government may be protected completely.For example, libel and slander law are permitted under this category.Third, negligently false statements of fact may lead to civil liability in some instances. It is possible that some completely false statements could be entirely free from punishment.When the government acts as controller of prisons, it has broad abilities to limit the free speech of inmates.
Fighting words, as defined by the Court, is speech that "tend[s] to incite an immediate breach of the peace" by provoking a fight, so long as it is a "personally abusive [word] which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, is, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction".Categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (and therefore may be restricted) include obscenity, fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, speech that violates intellectual property law, true threats, and commercial speech such as advertising.Along with communicative restrictions, less protection is afforded for uninhibited speech when the government acts as subsidizer or speaker, is an employer, controls education, or regulates the mail, airwaves, legal bar, military, prisons, and immigration. Ohio (1969), the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan group for "advocating ... as a means of accomplishing political reform" because their statements at a rally did not express an immediate, or imminent intent, to do violence. United States (1919), which held that a "clear and present danger" could justify a law limiting speech.Things like copyrights or trademarks fall under this exception.
The Supreme Court first held this in Harper & Row v.
The exception for child pornography is distinct from the obscenity exception in a few ways.