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Careful: Posting Flyers May Not Fly With the Law

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

Flyers seem like an innocent and easy way to get some extra buzz around your business or advertise your new promotion. But don't do it without taking some time to think first.

How many flyers for a company would you want to see if it wasn't your business? And more importantly, is it even legal to distribute them?

There aren't any hard and fast rules when it comes to hanging up flyers and notices around town. Few states have laws on the topic, and banning them entirely would cause some First Amendment problems. But many cities do have restrictions on flyers, and for good reason.

City Limits on Flyer Posting

While flyers can be useful and informative, they also can cause litter. Too many of them in one place can be an eyesore. Regulations that put limits on flyers generally target these issues.

To deal with the problem of too many flyers, many cities enforce limits on where flyers can be placed.

It's not that everyone loves putting flyers on lamp posts. In some cities that's the only place they can be displayed. In other cities, hanging flyers on utility poles is forbidden because it can make it more difficult to fix problems with the poles.

But no matter where you are, it's illegal to hang flyers on mailboxes. Those boxes are for mail only. Another place where you can't hang flyers is on private property. Or at least, you can't hang them without permission.

Since the rules of flyer posting are generally left up to local laws, you'll need to check with your local city or county to figure out where you can post flyers.

You probably don't have to worry about complete prohibitions on flyers because while they are advertising, the postings are still protected under the First Amendment.

It's difficult for the government to put any complete bans on any speech-related activities. Instead, they can put limits on where, when, and how you can get your message out.

Thinking about breaking the rules? Think again. The punishments for violating city ordinances generally include fines and may include other penalties as well. Since the flyers are for your business, they probably have your contact information on them. Don't risk ruining your reputation.

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