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Lying Is A First Amendment Right

(credit: Gail Oskin/Getty Images)

(credit: Gail Oskin/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Let’s talk about lying. After all, it’s our first amendment right, right?

A group of readers of Lance Armstrong’s books, It’s Not About The Bike and Every Second Counts, sued Armstrong for fraud and false advertising earlier this year, claiming that they wouldn’t have bought the book if they’d known he was a big liar. Those readers recently lost most of their claims.

The Judge in the case said that the book is protected speech under the First Amendment, and that includes the right to speak untruthfully. The court also said that the publishers didn’t mislead the public because they said only that this was a work of non-fiction by Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France winner. It’s true that he was stripped of the title, but he did win it originally.

And, the Judge said that just because he said things in the book that turned out not to be true didn’t turn the whole book into fiction – a few lies in a non-fiction book is still a non-fiction book.

So the law here is buyer beware: if you’re buying a book because you want to learn the lessons imparted by a hero of yours, one may sadly be “don’t believe everything you read”.

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