Free Speech

"Free Speech Rules," My New YouTube Video Series—Episode 1 (Speech in Schools) Now Out

Please share it widely -- there will be at least nine more in the upcoming months.


Thanks to a generous grant from the Stanton Foundation, and to the video production work of Meredith Bragg and Austin Bragg at, I'm putting together a series of short, graphical YouTube videos—10 episodes to start with—explaining free speech law. We hope that they will be accessible to everyone, though we're particularly interested in reaching students (from elementary school on up). And the first video, "7 Things You Should Know About Free Speech in Schools," is now out!

We'd love it if you

  1. Watched this.
  2. Shared this widely.
  3. Suggested people or organizations whom we might be willing to help spread it far and wide (obviously, the more detail on the potential contacts, the better).
  4. Gave us feedback on the style of the presentation, since we're always willing to change the style as we learn more.

Please post your suggestions in the comments, or e-mail me at volokh at

Future videos in the series will likely include most of these, plus maybe some others:

  • Fake news.
  • Alexander Hamilton: free press pioneer.
  • Free speech at college.
  • Hate speech.
  • Free speech on the Internet.
  • Money and speech / corporations and speech.
  • Speech and privacy.
  • Who owns your life story?

The YouTube playlist link is here; future videos will be posted there as well. Thanks also to Prof. Joel Gora, for suggesting the title, and Prof. Mark Lemley, for letting me borrow his "This isn't legal advice / if it were legal advice, it would be followed by a bill" line.

NEXT: Court Sets Aside USC Student's Expulsion for Alleged Rape

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  1. Alexander Hamilton or Andrew Hamilton?

    1. Alexander — though, oddly, the cases were on the same topic (truth as a defense in libel cases).

      1. Oh, I see – Alexander had a musical, but then so did Zenger:

        1. Man, Bill Cosby making the news two and a half centuries ago.

  2. Do we get credit if we submit a 3 – 5 page paper afterwards?

    I figure I’m about 40% complete on my Volokh Conspiracy University J.D.

  3. Well done! Thoughtful, entertaining, and even footnoted!

    (Except for the scary law professor at the end, of course)
    (He should have been footnoted. Self-identification is not a sufficient citation.1)

    1. Volokh, Eugene, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, Third Edition (Foundation Press, New York, New York, 2007)

  4. I thought the Cinco de Mayo flag case came from California and Eugene said California was different.

    What are the rules for speech inside the classroom? I’m guessing the teacher can force you to stop saying, “I don’t like math” during class time, even though they likely can’t outside of class during school.

    I would like to see more references to support each claim.

    I much prefer Eugene to narrate the video. His accent is very pleasing to the ear.

    1. I was hoping to hear Prof. Volokh as well.

    2. Josh R: 1. The Cinco de Mayo flag case was from California, but for some reason the California state law claims weren’t made, so the court focused just on the First Amendment claim.

      2. I plan on having references on a Web page that will eventually accompany the videos. I might also throw in some caveats, such as about speech inside the classroom; but 7 rules is already a lot of rules for the reader to grasp. Sometimes one has to trade off completeness (and even perfect precision) for clarity.

      3. I thought about narrating the video, more for having the these-are-a-professor’s-words authority than for the accent. But I learned from a past video that doing good voiceover is hard and unpleasant, and if I had to do it all myself, making the videos would be a chore rather than a joy, and fewer would get made.

      1. I did not hear anything. Is there sound??

  5. From Buzzfeed-esq Listicle headline to a message at the end stating “Please Use Responsibility.” Congratulations on packaging and marketing constitutional law in the same manner that Anheuser Busch sells alcohol. Get them hooked to your product/message while they’re young (and of course deny responsibility if anyone misuses it).

    1. Is too much Constitution bad for the constitution?

  6. 1. You give *A Lot* of information in only 3-4 minutes. And I guess that is by design. The only way around this might be to have the Web page prepared before doing the videos, so you can spend 3 seconds on the video referring to the web page instead of ripping through a ton of material in 20 seconds (e.g., how California–and a few other states–differ from the federal baseline of protections).
    2. Making a video that appeals to–and is accessible/understandable to–both 3rd or 4th graders and also high school students seems to be an impossible task. (“I’m Just A Bill” being the exception that proves the rule.) I guess that making one video aimed at younger students and one aimed at older students would almost double the workload for you guys.

    Having said that; I quite enjoyed the video. Nice use of graphics, and the voice-over guy’s voice was clear and pleasing. And I did like the ending…I think high school student will get that joke a bit more than younger viewers, who may not have been already saturated by political ads.

  7. I predict that you’ll get banned by YouTube.

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