Free Expression

31 Jul

ACLU Files Challenge to Section 215 of USA Patriot Act

On Wednesday, July 30, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed on behalf of six advocacy and community groups a legal challenge to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act in federal court in Detroit. Members and clients of the six groups contend that they are currently the targets of investigation because of their ethnicity, religion, and political association, according to an ACLU press release. The lawsuit names Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller as the defendants.

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24 Jul

Senator Feingold Expected to Introduce Act to Protect Bookstore Privacy

As Bookselling This Week went to press, it was expected that Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI) would introduce the Library, Bookstore, and Personal Records Privacy Act into the Senate early next week. Feingold's bill would narrow the universe of people whose bookstore or library records could be searched under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

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24 Jul

Banned Books Week, September 20 to 27 -- Let Freedom Read

Banned Books Week, the national celebration of First Amendment rights, will be held this year from September 20 - 27. With the theme "Open Your Mind to a Banned Book," the event marks its 22nd year.

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24 Jul

Sanders' Patriot Act Amendment Charged With Technical Foul

On Tuesday, July 21, civil liberty advocates received a mix of some good news and some bad news from the House of Representatives.

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21 Jul

ABFFE Calls on Booksellers: Contact Your House Rep Now!

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging members of the book and library communities to contact their congressional representatives this week in support of an amendment that cuts off Justice Department funding for searches of bookstore and library records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will offer the measure as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary Appropriations Bill of 2004. The bill, which has no number yet, is co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and C.L.

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16 Jul

ABFFE Gets on a Soap Box

On Wednesday, July 16, six national free expression groups, led by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), demanded that the All-American Soap Box Derby cease efforts to censor a new history of the Derby, Champions, Cheaters, and Childhood Dreams: Memories of the All-American Soap Box Derby, by Melanie Payne (University of Akron Press).

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08 Jul

Patriot Acts, Then & Now: Protect Our Freedom to Read

Patricia S. Schroeder, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers and a former Democratic representative from Colorado's 1st Congressional District, calls for the passage of the Freedom to Read Protection Act in this Op-Ed piece, which was published in the July 6 edition of the Denver Post.

By Patricia S. Schroeder

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02 Jul

U.S. Supreme Court Wants Nike Lawsuit to Run Its Course in California

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear Nike v. Kasky -- a case that could have produced an important ruling on whether or not the First Amendment protects corporate commercial speech. Now, the Supreme Court says it won't hear the case after all. On June 26, the high court issued a one-sentence order declaring it had changed its mind -- that Nike's appeal had been "improvidently granted." The case will head back to California's state court, though experts believe there's a good chance that it will end up at the door of the U.S.

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25 Jun

Booksellers Mount Petition Drive for the Freedom to Read Protection Act

At Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado, owners Peter Schertz and Andrea Avantaggio are speaking out about keeping secrets. The secrets are the purchases made by customers, and the books and Web sites used by library patrons. They do not believe any of that information should be released to government agents without explanation. However, under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, passed in the wake of 9/11, federal investigators can demand that information of booksellers and library personnel, who are then forbidden to inform patrons of the disclosure.

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23 Jun

Supreme Court Upholds Children's Internet Protection Act

On Monday, June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6 - 3 to uphold the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires public libraries seeking government subsidies to install filtering software to block materials considered obscene, child pornography, or "harmful to minors." The American Library Association (ALA) and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had challenged the law, contending that it violated the First Amendment. "We are disappointed with [the decision]," said Jenner & Block attorney Theresa Chmara, counsel for ALA.

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19 Jun

Ingram and Baker & Taylor Join Groups Supporting Freedom to Read Protection Act

Support for the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) within the book, library, and publishing industry continues to grow.

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18 Jun

Wisconsin Booksellers to Request Meeting with House Judiciary Chairman Re: H.R. 1157

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is asking Wisconsin independent booksellers to sign a letter that will be sent to Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the House Judiciary Committee chair, regarding the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157). In the letter, the booksellers express their support for the Act and also request a meeting with the congressman.

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12 Jun

Bookseller Inspires Others to Lend Support to ABFFE

When Cammie Mannino, owner of Halfway Down the Stairs in Rochester, Michigan, encouraged booksellers to donate part of the proceeds from the sales of the new Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), she spurred Betsey Detwiler, owner of Buttonwood Books & Toys in Cohasset, Massachusetts, to also allow customers to either donate 20 percent to ABFFE or their local schools.

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10 Jun

The Son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Writes of An Execution in the Family

June 19, 2003, marks the 50th anniversary of the executions of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for "conspiracy to commit espionage." Although the highly publicized case has always been referred to as a trial for treason and high-level atomic espionage -- passing the secret of the atom bomb to the Soviet Union -- those crimes were not charged. No one has ever proven that the Rosenbergs, left-wing, Jewish parents of two young boys, living on the lower east side of Manhattan, passed any classified materials of any kind.

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05 Jun

House Coalition Asks House Judiciary Committee for a Hearing on H.R. 1157

Ingram Distribution Joins Group of Over 30 Book-Related Organizations Supporting H.R. 1157

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