Free Expression

01 Apr

Phase I of Reader Privacy Petition Drive to Conclude May 17

ABA announced today that phase one of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (www.readerprivacy.com/) petition drive would culminate and conclude with a CRP presentation sometime during BookExpo America, which will be held from June 2 - 6 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. Booksellers are urged to continue to collect signatures (and periodically mail them to ABA) through the weekend of May 15, and on May 17 mail all remaining petitions to ABA.

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24 Mar

Still Time to Join Campaign for Reader Privacy

In February, organizations representing booksellers, librarians, and writers launched the Campaign for Reader Privacy (www.readerprivacy.org), a nationwide grassroots petition drive that aims to restore the safeguards for the privacy of bookstore and library records that were eliminated by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

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17 Mar

Boston Globe on Opposition to USA Patriot Act Section 215

In "Reading Over Your Shoulder," a March 9 article by staff writer David Mehegan, the Boston Globe provided readers with a clear picture of efforts to amend Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act by a broad spectrum of groups that spans the left and the right.

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17 Mar

Colorado Senate Committee Restores Display Ban to Minors' Access Bill

On Monday, March 15, the Colorado Senate State Affairs Committee restored to a "minors' access" bill a measure to ban the display of materials considered harmful to minors -- a move that booksellers hope will ultimately backfire because, they contend, it renders the "harmful to minors" bill blatantly unconstitutional. Colorado's House of Representatives had eliminated the display provision from the bill over a month ago.

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11 Mar

With Booksellers' Help, CRP Looks to Resuscitate Reader Privacy

In mid-February, the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, and PEN American Center launched the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP), a petition drive that calls for Congress to amend Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. And booksellers participating in the campaign who spoke to BTW say it is vital that all independent booksellers join the cause -- and now, before it's too late. "I think it's a critical time to do this [petition campaign]," said Neal Coonerty of Bookshop Santa Cruz in California.

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03 Mar

Campaign for Reader Privacy Press Release Template Available

Since the official launch of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) on February 17, the efforts of booksellers and librarians who are gathering signatures on petitions urging Congress to restore safeguards for reader privacy that were eliminated by Section 215 of the Patriot Act have garnered press coverage, ranging from New England to Seattle. Now, ABA has created a press release template that bookstores can use to bring the campaign to the attention of their local media. To access the sample release, click here.

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19 Feb

Customers Eager to Lend a Hand to Reader Privacy Campaign

The Campaign for Reader Privacy (www.readerprivacy.com), a nationwide grassroots effort to restore safeguards for the privacy of bookstore and library records eliminated by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, officially launched this week, but many independent booksellers have been collecting customer signatures on petitions calling for an amendment of Section 215 since early January. And those who spoke to BTW reported that customers do not need to be prompted to lend a hand, literally, to the cause.

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17 Feb

Book, Library Groups Launch Reader Privacy Campaign

On Tuesday, February 17, organizations representing booksellers, librarians, and writers announced the official launch of the "Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP)," a nationwide grassroots effort to restore the safeguards for the privacy of bookstore and library records that were eliminated by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

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05 Feb

V Stands for Victory in Vermont for Booksellers

On January 29, Chief Judge J. Gavan Murtha of the U.S. District Court in Brattleboro, Vermont, issued a judgment and order that permanently enjoined a Vermont Internet law that would have prohibited the distribution on the Internet of non-obscene sexually explicit materials that are defined as "harmful to minors" if these materials could be accessed by persons under 18. The plaintiffs had claimed that the law violated constitutionally protected free speech rights and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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04 Feb

Patriot Act Petition Campaign Gathering Steam

Since early January -- when ABA launched a petition campaign to gather signatures of bookstore customers who support amending Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act -- booksellers have been actively collecting signatures toward an ABA-member goal of garnering at least one million signatures. ABA is now urging booksellers who have yet to join the petition campaign to do so, and is also strongly encouraging those booksellers who are participating in the campaign and are sending back signed petition lists to keep collecting signatures.

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29 Jan

MPBA Wants Minors' Access Bill Voted Down

This week, the Colorado House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of H.B. 1078, a bill that would make it illegal to allow a minor access to any material considered "harmful to minors." The bill has members of the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association (MPBA) up in arms because, MPBA contends, the bill is vague, would be impossible to uphold, and could place severe restrictions on the availability of constitutionally protected materials.

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29 Jan

BTW News Briefs


Michigan Agrees Not to Enforce Minors' Access Law Until Hearing

Last week, Michigan's Solicitor General, Thomas Casey, came to an agreement with a coalition of booksellers, publishers, magazine distributors, and free expression groups not to enforce a minors' access law until a hearing on the coalition's request for a preliminary injunction. In exchange, the plaintiffs will not ask for an expedited schedule.

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29 Jan

Patriot Act Petition Available Online

Booksellers who wish to participate in the campaign to gather more than one million customer signatures on a petition calling for Congressional support of legislation to amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act are reminded that the petition is available in an easily downloadable PDF format on BookWeb.org. The petition, which was sent to bookstores with Book Sense in the February White Box mailing, may also be downloaded by clicking here.

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