Mon 5th December 2011, 11:54pm
QUOTE(powercorrupts @ Mon 5th December 2011, 2:51pm)
I'm not saying we are particularly 'free' in the west (we are hardly at all in many ways), but gomi is somewhat misleading you here - though he does say contracts can "attempt" to ristrict free speech.
I am sorry if I was misleading, but I was really just trying to be brief. Here is a slightly longer guide:
1) Your employer may ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or other agreements as a condition of employment. When you depart you may be asked to sign another such non-disclosure agreement, or (for example) a non-disparagement clause. You can decline to sign these agreements, but you may not get the job, or if leaving, you may not get some benefit that you would otherwise get. If you violate these agreements, you can lose you job and/or be sued for civil damages.
2) Anyone who is giving you something in exchange for an agreement from you -- for example, Wikipedia in their (nascent) Terms of Service -- can put conditions on that. So Wikipedia can say, in their ToS, that you may not post on the Review
. Now, the only remedy that they likely have if you violate this term is to terminate your account, but they can certainly do that. They probably cannot (successfully) sue you, because there has been a tort (damage) to them.
3) If you are engaged in any legal action that gets settled (e.g. sexual harassment (as in the recent Herman Cain scandal), employment discrimination, etc), then the settlement can include a "gag order" or similar clause that conditions your settlement on your silence. This can be broken in some ways, but not others.
I could go on, but I keep reminding people that their U.S. First Amendment "Right to Free Speech" is in fact no such thing. It is a prohibition on the government
from passing laws restricting your right to speak. After all, the text is:
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ...
And even this is subject to all sorts of subsequent interpretation, as there are various Secret categories and other things that can be very, very closely protected. Courts have ruled on some differences between political speech and commercial speech, and so on.
I just meant that if you think you have a "freedom of speech" that is essentially unlimited, you are mistaken.