Free Expression

13 Nov

BTW News Briefs


Another Poll Predicts Happy Holidays for Retailers

If predictions equal sales, then this holiday season will be an extremely profitable one for retailers. The Gallup Organization recently released a new Gallup Poll, conducted November 3 - 5, that indicated consumer optimism is now "at its highest level in more than 18 months" and that "consumer spending intentions are more positive than they have been at any point since 9/11."

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13 Nov

Booksellers Called to Action to Protect Customer Privacy

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging booksellers to add their store names to the growing list of those endorsing the Book and Library Community Statement Supporting The Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157); The Library and Bookseller Protection Act (S. 1158); and The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Data Privacy Act (S. 1507).

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12 Nov

Wisconsin Bookstore's Fight for Free Speech Victorious

On Thursday, November 6, Madison, Wisconsin's Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative and a local newsweekly were able to convince Madison Area Technical College (MATC) to reverse its decision to impose restrictions on a speaking event about the Middle East, featuring noted writer and University of Chicago researcher Ali Abunimah. MATC had attempted to limit the scope of the talk and to deny Rainbow's request to sell books in conjunction with the event after some residents protested the talk due to Abunimah's pro-Palestinian point-of-view.

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06 Nov

ABFFE Urges Booksellers to Sign Statement Supporting Legislation to Protect Customers' Privacy

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging booksellers to add their store names to the Book and Library Community Statement Supporting The Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157); The Library and Bookseller Protection Act (S. 1158); and The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Data Privacy Act (S. 1507). ABFFE is hoping that all ABA member stores will sign the statement, which is posted at www.bookweb.org/read/6565.

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05 Nov

AAP, ABFFE File Brief in Support of Americans' Right to Parody

The Association of American Publishers (AAP), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), and a broad coalition of free speech groups went to court to defend Americans' right to parody and satirize public officials without fear of being sued for defamation. On Tuesday, November 4, the groups filed an amicus brief in support of the Dallas Observer, an alternative newsweekly that is being sued for libel by two elected officials for a satirical article it published in November 1999.

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05 Nov

Free Speech Groups Support ACLU's Challenge to Patriot Act

On Monday, November 3, a coalition of free speech groups led by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) filed an amicus brief in support of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) legal challenge to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The ACLU filed its lawsuit in July 2003 in Detroit federal court on behalf of six nonprofit organizations that provide a wide range of religious, medical, social, and educational services to various communities around the country.

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16 Oct

ABFFE Endorses Security and Freedom Ensured Act

On Wednesday, October 15, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) endorsed the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) of 2003, which was introduced in the Senate on October 2 by Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). The legislation (S. 1709) would amend parts of the USA Patriot Act, including Section 215, which gives law enforcement officials broad authority to demand that libraries or bookstores turn over books, records, papers, and documents.

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16 Oct

High Court to Hear Child Online Protection Act Case Again

On Tuesday, October 14, the Supreme Court agreed to again hear a case to determine whether a law that looks to protect children from online pornography is constitutional. The bill, the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), signed into law in 1998, makes it a crime for any commercial Web site to distribute to a minor material considered to be "harmful to minors." It will be the second time in two years that the Supreme Court will hear the case.

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10 Oct

Independent Bookseller Takes on USA Patriot Act

In this op-ed piece, which appeared in the October 8 edition of the Boston Globe, Frank Kramer, owner of the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, discusses the inherent dangers in the broad powers granted the FBI under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

Why the Patriot Act worries booksellers

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02 Oct

Senators Craig and Durbin to Introduce Bill to Amend Patriot Act

At press time, it was expected that on Thursday, October 2, Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) would introduce the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) of 2003 in the Senate. The legislation would amend parts of the USA Patriot Act, including Section 215, which gives law enforcement officials broad authority to demand that libraries or bookstores turn over books, records, papers, and documents.

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02 Oct

Booksellers Bring Banned Books Into Limelight

Banned Books Week, observed this year from September 22 - 27, resonated profoundly with booksellers and others concerned about our civil liberties.

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18 Sep

Ashcroft to Declassify Data Collected Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act

In response to strong criticism from the American Library Association (ALA) for derisive remarks he made about ALA and other critics of the USA Patriot Act during a September 15 speech to restaurateurs, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed ALA President Carla Hayden by phone on Wednesday, September 17, that he would declassify data showing how often the Justice Department has sought the records of libraries, bookstores, and other businesses under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

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About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.

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