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RGMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 16349
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Not sure if this is the right venue. I submitted an order to

Customer Question

Not sure if this is the right venue. I submitted an order to Cafe Press they design shirts. They sent a reply that it violated some agreement they had with the military. I made the design used my own wording. Made no direct reference to the military.
Do I have any grounds to take action for Freedom of Speech violations?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. No, you would not. Freedom of speech, or other Constitutional claims, are claims against the government. Note here that it's a private entity (CafePress is not a governmental agency or actor, but private business) that is saying that it will not print your shirts. A private entity can refuse your business for pretty much any reason. For example (and it's an extreme one, but it illustrates the point) if you were to wear a shirt that says "My Employer Sucks" to work, your employer could tell you to take it off or even fire you for doing so. You can't claim freedom of speech. But if you were to wear "My Government Sucks" in a public park and you were arrested for it, that would be governmental action against you and you could have a free speech claim against the government. The point is that the government has to act against you for you to have a free speech claim. Civil liberties (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, etc...) are between a government and its citizens, not between citizens and citizens or citizens and businesses.

In short, CafePress is entirely within its rights to enter into contracts such as this, or even to refuse to print something that it doesn't want to print for whatever reason.

Note that you can still print the shirt. That's not the issue. But you cannot compel CafePress (or any business) to print it for you. If you can find a business to print it for you, there's no issue in getting it printed. But again, it's not a free speech issue because it's not a matter between you and the government, but rather a matter between you and another private entity.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?
Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  RGMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

Again, please note that you need to rate this answer to close it out. That's what I need from you...