New Hampshire Free Speech

Skynet Corporation d/b/a v. Slattery
May the government restrict the speech of real estate advertising websites?

This is the question the Institute for Justice seeks to answer with a federal court lawsuit filed on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 in U.S. District Court in Concord.  It challenges New Hampshire’s onerous licensing regime on behalf of, an Internet real estate advertising company.  Current State law requires Internet advertising companies like to become licensed real estate brokers in order to provide their service. was started by Ed Williams and Frank Mackay-Smith, former mortgage lenders who quickly recognized the power of the Internet to transform real estate transactions.  Their company uses the Internet to distribute listings to a large audience—providing consumers maximum choice and flexibility in selling or buying their home without paying high broker commissions. 

In its court papers, the Institute for Justice contends that New Hampshire’s law is an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech, an invalid regulation of commercial speech and improperly discriminates against certain companies and individuals based solely on the media they use to convey information. 

Founded in 1991, The Institute for Justice has successfully defended First Amendment rights nationwide and is committed to reinforcing and expanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition that “the free flow of commercial information is indispensable” to a free society.   In 2004 the Institute for Justice freed online advertisers from complying with California’s onerous real estate licensing regime.  


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Battling the Real Estate Establishment: New Hampshire’s Free Speech Rights Not For Sale

Client Photo - none available

Client Video - none available

Latest Release: Free Speech Victory for Real Estate Websites: Federal Court Rules Websites Don’t Need Real Estate Broker’s License (April 1, 2008)


Launch Release: Lawsuit Challenges New Hampshire’s Free Speech Restrictions On Advertising Websites (June 13, 2006)

Legal Briefs and Decisions


Order on Motions for Summary Judgement (March 31, 2008)



Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


June 13, 2006

Court Filed:


U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire



March 31, 2008, U.S. District Court rules that web-based
publishers of real estate advertising and information are exempt from the
licensing requirements of New Hampshire's Real Estate Practice Act



Victory for & IJ!

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: First-Round Victory for Real Estate Websites: Federal Court Orders NH Real Estate Commission to Stand Trial (March 14, 2007)


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Release: Lawsuit Challenges New Hampshire’s Free Speech Restrictions On Advertising Websites (June 13, 2006)

Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Victory for Speech:IJ Once Again Secures Freedom For Online Real Estate Advertisers; Liberty & Law (June 2008)

Article: IJ Defends Free Flow of Information In “Live Free or Die” State, Liberty & Law (August, 2006)

Email Address
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Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
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