William K Jones reviews the seminal US Supreme Court decisions that restrict the First Amendment in order to protect persons against defamatory falsehoods, invasions of privacy, and related psychic harm. Covering cases ranging from a restaurant owner driven out of business over a veal chop to a University of Georgia football coach accused of sharing plays with an opponent before a game, Jones examines the many subtleties of the law, its interpretation, and its restrictions. Although the author concludes that the accommodations struck by the courts are appropriate, he nevertheless argues that there are serious deficiencies in the complex legal edifice that has been erected. After reviewing the relevant cases, Jones recommends a comprehensive new framework for dealing with the problem of defamatory falsehoods -- a framework designed to afford greater protection for expressions on public issues while also providing more meaningful relief to the victims of harmful speech.
With material covering the impact of the internet and related electronic means of expression, Insult to Injury is sure to be of interest to current practitioners in the media bar, law students, and journalism students alike.
William K. Jones is the Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law (Emeritus) at Columbia University.