In December 1997, the Pitt News — the student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh — was notified by a restaurant that advertised with them that the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement of the Pennsylvania State Police noticed an advertisement in the paper regarding alcoholic beverages. Pennsylvania state law, known as Section 4-498, prohibits the advertising of alcoholic beverages if the advertiser pays for it. Pitt News filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in April 1999 claiming that the law violated the newspaper’s First Amendment rights by not allowing it to run advertisements of alcoholic beverages and receive payment from advertisers. In 1998, as a result of not being able to legally collect compensation for such ads, Pitt News lost $17,000 in revenue and had to cut back the size of their publication.
In July 2004, the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, ruled in favor of Pitt News, stating that First Amendment rights to publish advertisements of alcohol overrides the Pennsylvania law. The Pennsylvania law clearly restricts the right to speech, as that is what the law was intended to do.