Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech


Welcome to LawShelf’s video-course on the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech. This course details the freedoms we enjoy under the First Amendment to the Constitution, including freedoms of speech, the press, assembly and petition.

This is an introductory level course and no prior knowledge of law is required.

The course starts with a discussion of freedom of speech and the ways in which government may regulate speech. We will discuss the protections afforded to political speech and how viewpoint discrimination by the government is almost universally prohibited.

In module 2, we will discuss various types of speech and the different levels of protection they are afforded. These include religious speech (where freedoms of speech and religion intersect), student speech, anonymous speech and even some forms of “hate” speech. We will also discuss non-verbal forms of expression that are protected by the First Amendment.

In module 3, we will turn to unprotected speech that the government may control or prohibit. This includes some forms of commercial speech (such as dishonest or misleading advertising), incitement, obscenity, criminal conspiracies and copyright infringement.

Module 4 covers the freedoms of assembly, petition and association, all protected under the First Amendment. We will cover the extent of these freedoms and when the government can place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech, assembly and protest.

Finally, module 5 covers freedom of the press. We will look at how freedom of the press intersects with defamation and the interests of the government in conducting criminal investigations. We will also look at the constitutional right to privacy and how it relates to the freedoms in the First Amendment.

When you complete this course, you will understand the First Amendment rights, their frameworks and limitations. You should also understand how these rights have developed and been interpreted by the Supreme Court in many series of landmark cases.

Best of luck and we welcome your feedback.

What is a video-course?

A LawShelf video-course is an in-depth series of presentations on a discreet legal topic. LawShelf video-courses focus on practical legal information and applications and are each designed to familiarize the viewer with a legal topic quickly and efficiently.

Who should take a video-course?

Our video courses are designed for professionals such as attorneys, paralegals, corporate officers and financial professionals, as well as laypeople looking to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of law. The courses allow you to acquire the specific knowledge and skills that you need without the expense and time commitment of going “back to school” for a degree. 

How do I learn?

Video courses are divided into 5 or 6 modules.  Each module contains a video lesson (usually about 15 minutes long) and a series of self-test questions that you can use to practice and make sure that you understand the material.

How do I complete a video-course?

To complete a video-course, you must pass a 10-question multiple-choice examination by scoring 70% or higher.  The questions on the exam are randomly selected from the self-test question sets for the various modules. You can retake an exam as many times as you need to, though you will not get the same questions each time since the questions are drawn from an exam bank.

Is there limit to how many video-courses I can take or complete?

No. A LawShelf subscription enables you to access any and all LawShelf content, including all video-courses. You can take courses as quickly or slowly as your time allows.

Do I receive any recognition for completing a video-course?

Once you complete the course by passing the final exam, you will be awarded a digital badge to display as evidence of your training and accomplishment.

How will a digital badge help me? 

Modern educational trends are moving away from traditional classroom-based course completion models and towards skills-based education. Employers today care more about skills than ever before. LawShelf digital badges conform to the Open Badge standard and are verifiable records of your skills that can easily be shared online.

How long do I retain access to the course materials?

You retain access the modules and take the final exam as long as you are a subscriber to LawShelf.

Introduction to the Freedom of Speech - Module 1 of 5

Protected Speech and Expression - Module 2 of 5

Unprotected Speech, Module 3 of 5

First Amendment Rights of Assembly, Petition and Association, Module 4 of 5

Freedom of the Press and the Right to Privacy, Module 5 of 5

Final Exam only needs to be taken by those seeking to earn the Digital Badge credentials for this course.