Those picking up a 500-plus-page book filled with examples and discussions of laws regulating speech by advertising and public relations practitioners could be pardoned for being somewhat puzzled. After all, the language of the First Amendment to the federal constitution clearly mandates that "Congress [and by extension any lesser unit of government] shall make no law . . . abridging freedom of speech or of the press. . . ." 1 How can there be laws regulating any speech, let alone advertising or public relations, in the face of the constitution's emphatic statement that there can be "no law?" This puzzle requires us to begin with a brief overview of the First Amendment and how it is interpreted before we turn our attention to the principal subject matter of this book.
Courts faced with cases challenging the constitutionality of laws and regulations affecting speech and press have developed a body of mass media law by weighing and balancing the interests of those supporting freedom of expression against those favoring competing interests. The dilemma faced by the courts in such situations today is that it is almost impossible to believe that those who created the First Amendment to the federal constitution more than 200 years ago meant to protect speech that is, for example, treasonous or criminally threatening, despite the emphatic "no law" language of the amendment. Yet judges and justices cannot simply ignore the First Amendment because they