Free Expression

05 Aug

Patriot Act Petitions: Customers Keep Signing; Booksellers Keep Collecting

Catherine Price of Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont, called Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act -- a provision that gives the FBI broad authority to search bookstore and library records -- "a form of censorship -- subtle, but censorship nonetheless…. It could inhibit people from reading books they might want to read."

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03 Aug

Celebrate Reader Privacy -- Banned Books Week Set for September 25 - October 2

Banned Books Week, the national celebration of First Amendment rights, now in its 23rd year, will be held from September 25 - October 2.

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28 Jul

Freedom to Read Protection Act Co-Sponsors Now at 151

Although Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders' (I) Freedom to Read Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill was recently voted down, support for the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) continues to grow, with six new sponsors signing on in the wake of the amendment's defeat. Democrats Robert Brady (PA), Chaka Fattah (PA), Gene Green (TX), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ), Robert C. Scott (VA), and Gene Taylor (MS) are the newest sponsors of H.R. 1157, which now has a total of 151 co-sponsors, including 15 Republicans.

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21 Jul

Chorus of Editorials Chastise Congress for Sanders Amendment Vote

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14 Jul

Template Letters Regarding Historic Vote on Sanders' Amendment Now Available

To help booksellers respond to last week's historic tie vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the Freedom to Read Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill, ABA has prepared template letters that can be adapted by booksellers to send to their representative based on his or her vote on the measure. The sample letters are posted online and can be accessed by clicking here.

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13 Jul

Rep. Sanders Vows to Continue Fight to Amend Patriot Act

On Monday, July 12, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a press conference at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, to announce that he would continue his efforts to get Congress to pass an amendment of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act to protect the privacy of bookstore and library patrons' records. Congressmen Sanders, addressing a crowd of approximately 50 reporters, librarians, and booksellers, said, "I have no doubt that we are going to win this fight, and when we do it, we're going to strike a tremendous blow for the U.S.

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08 Jul

Freedom to Read Amendment Fails on Tie Vote

On Thursday, July 8, the Freedom to Read Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill, died in a tie vote -- 210 - 210 -- in the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment had been introduced by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and would have barred the Justice Department from using any of the money appropriated under the CJS bill to search bookstore and library records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

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08 Jul

Public Support for First Amendment Freedoms Makes a Comeback

According to this year's annual State of the First Amendment survey, conducted by the First Amendment Center in collaboration with American Journalism Review magazine, although deeply shaken by the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001, Americans' support for their First Amendment freedoms has bounced back to pre-9/11 levels. The survey, conducted by the Center for Survey Research & Analysis at the University of Connecticut, includes 1,000 respondents contacted by telephone between May 6 and June 6, 2004.

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30 Jun

Free Speech Victory: High Court Bars Enforcement of COPA

On Tuesday, June 29, the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, upheld a lower court ruling barring enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) and remanded the case back to District Court. A broad group of plaintiffs -- including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco and West Hollywood, City Lights in San Francisco, and Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon -- hailed the decision as a victory for the First Amendment.

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17 Jun

Free Speech Defeat: Supreme Court Sides With Littleton, Colorado

A recent unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision -- in a case in which chain store Christal's challenged a Littleton adult-business licensing ordinance on the grounds that it violated the retailer's First Amendment rights by not allowing for prompt judicial review -- ruled in favor of the city ordinance. And, while the judges' decision confirmed that First Amendment cases required a prompt review and ruling, they noted that accelerated procedures with two-to-three day time limits do not apply to city ordinance licensing.

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16 Jun

ABFFE Online Auction Closes Friday

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression's (ABFFE) online auction will close Friday, June 18, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.

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10 Jun

ABFFE Launches Online Auction

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has launched an online auction featuring many unique items from BookExpo America (BEA), including posters autographed by bestselling authors and hundreds of new autographed books. Like the three-day Silent Auction that ABFFE runs during BEA, the online auction offers bargains on the latest books, book sidelines and services, and a wide variety of entertainment items, ranging from DVDs and video games to airline tickets and hotel stays.

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05 Jun

Live From BEA -- Day 3

Politics and business mixed on Saturday, June 5, at BookExpo America, as Day 3 featured a political lunch, an update on the Campaign for Reader Privacy, and a presentation of petitions to Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, as well as ABA's comprehensive seminar exploring ways to improve profits.

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27 May

Senators Introduce Bill to Repeal Patriot Act Sunset Provisions

On Friday, May 21, 10 Republican senators, led by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), introduced a bill (S. 2476) that would repeal the sunset clauses of the USA Patriot Act, essentially making the entire bill -- including Section 215 -- permanent, as reported by Secrecy News. While civil liberties groups and some members of the Senate decried the bill, many believe that the senators lack the support necessary to pass the bill.

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