Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rejection is a Violation of Constitutional Rights? What?

This is a new one: I recently entered into an argument with a writer over submission guidelines and Constitutional law. This writer claims that it is a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech for a publication to reject a work based solely on the fact that the work appeared previously on a Facebook page or other personal on-line venue. In this person's own words, "denying publishing based on freedom of speech is highly illegal", "editors will never have the right to violate constitutional law", and "the laws, including international law, states that sharing on something like FB is freedom of speech and peaceful assembly."

While I agree that editors never have the right to violate constitutional law, and I think the policy of "no works that appeared previously on-line" is rather silly at times, I do not believe that such a policy rises to the level of violating First Amendment freedom of speech. There are always other outlets out there, including self-publishing ones. Besides, a venue that contracts for First Rights does have the contractual right to be the first to publish a piece.

Taken to extremes, this argument could be used to suggest that ANY rejection is a violation of constitutional law. Maybe I should use that argument the next time a receive a rejection. What do you all think of that? Should I? ;)

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