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In the book The Phantom Tollbooth, one of the characters, Milo, declares that he comes from a faraway land called Context. After a circuitous journey through many strange cities, bearing names that have meanings Milo struggles to understand, he finds himself back at home in his bedroom.

Context, by and large, is the home base for courts in defining the boundaries between actionable and nonactionable speech. Often, after circuitous travels through precedent and logic, courts meander back to the simple notion that the meaning and legal significance of words are determined by their context.


2014, Published in Communications Lawyer 30, no. 3, Summer (2014), by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association