In 2018, Christie’s auction house in New York sold a painting, Portrait of Edmond Bellamy, for $432,500. This sales price was significant. Not because it was exceptionally high—Christie’s has had many sales that would dwarf this price—but because the painting was not made by a human being. It was created by a computer using artificial intelligence (AI).
For much of our nation’s history, the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech did not clearly protect art from government censorship. Over the course of the 20th century, however, courts gradually extended speech protections to a broader range of artistic expression, including film, dance, theater, and fine arts. Today, public officials can censor art only in limited circumstances. What are those circumstances, and what protection does the First Amendment provide?
“The public health crisis provides authoritarian governments with an opportunity to implement the notorious ‘shock doctrine’ – to take advantage of the fact that politics are on hold, the public is stunned and protests are out of the question, in order to impose measures that would be impossible in normal times,” Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement.
"We need PEN America more than ever to achieve this objective and I am so honored to be part of its mission,” Boutrous said in a statement.
The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on June 13, 2019, on the Newseum blog, […]
A Florida man who was arrested for refusing to alter a car decal a deputy claimed was “obscene” will not […]
Updated 3/25/2020: District court rejected Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss PEN America’s lawsuit, says the case can proceed. PEN America […]
Catherine J. Ross, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, explains the possible issues that could arise if President Trump signs an executive order requiring colleges to support free speech on their campuses in order to receive federal research funds. "Ultimately, the central constitutional risk inherent in Trump’s proposed executive order is all too familiar: it will chill protected speech. What’s more, it will likely violate central tenets of the Speech Clause when enforced," she writes.