Free Expression

06 Mar

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in CIPA Case

The American Library Association's (ALA) and American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) legal challenge of a federal library filtering law continues.

On March 5, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the government's appeal of a lower court's ruling last May that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is unconstitutional. CIPA would require public libraries seeking government subsidies to install filtering software to block materials considered obscene, child pornography, or "harmful to minors."

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04 Mar

Demonstrating Real Patriotism

By Linda Ramsdell

New England Booksellers Association President Linda Ramsdell recently wrote NEBA members about her concerns over the USA Patriot Act, the importance of the First Amendment, and her beliefs about the full definition of the word "patriot." BTW is grateful to Ramsdell and to NEBA for permission to reprint her letter from the February issue of NEBA News.

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04 Mar

Harry Potter and the Order of the Cedarville School Board

Author Judy Blume

On March 3, a dozen national groups and author Judy Blume filed an amicus brief in support of two Arkansas parents who are challenging in federal court the decision by the Ced

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20 Feb

House Agrees to Bar Total Information Awareness Program

On Thursday, February 13, Congress passed a $397.4 billion omnibus spending package that includes an amendment that would bar deployment without congressional oversight and approval of a Pentagon project called the Total Information Awareness program (TIA). This represents good news for civil liberty groups, which contend that TIA could severely affect the privacy of American citizens.

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19 Feb

Northshire's Poetry Event Honors the Right to Protest and Dissent

On February 16, a crowd of approximately 650 people gathered at the First Congregational Church in Manchester, Vermont, to attend a poetry reading held to "honor the right to protest and dissent." The event, which was organized by Northshire Bookstore of Manchester Center, not only attracted a massive turnout and an impressive array of poetry talent, but also media from around the country.

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13 Feb

ALA Files Response to Government's Appeal in CIPA Case

Arguments to Be Heard in the Supreme Court on March 5

The American Library Association's (ALA) and American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) legal challenge of a federal library filtering law, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in March, continues. On Monday, February 10, ALA and the ACLU filed their response to the U.S. government's brief appealing a lower court's ruling that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is unconstitutional.

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30 Jan

Senate Unanimously Votes to Stop Defense Department's Total Information Awareness Program

The U.S. Senate has voted unanimously to adopt an amendment that would stop deployment of a Pentagon project that civil liberty groups contend could severely affect people's privacy.

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28 Jan

What Are You Reading?

By Bernie Sanders

A half a century ago, George Orwell used the famous phrase "Big Brother is watching you" in his novel 1984. Today, under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, Big Brother will indeed be watching us every time we use a public library. Or buy a book.

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16 Jan

New York Education Department Flunks … Again, Say Anticensorship Groups

Free speech groups, educators, parents, librarians, authors, and publishers continue to criticize New York State's Education Department, Board of Regents, and legislature, for the altered and deleted wording in literary passages on the state-mandated English Language Arts Regents Exam. In a letter dated January 6, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and many others, restated their objections.

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15 Jan

Vermont Gives Nation a First Amendment Christmas Present

By Chris Finan, ABFFE president

With only five shopping days remaining before Christmas, Vermont bookseller Linda Ramsdell took a day off. It was not a mental health day. In fact, she longed to stay in her store selling books.

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15 Jan

Supreme Court Will Hear Nike Case

On Friday, January 10, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear Nike v. Kasky. The court's decision is good news for a group of prominent media and free expression organizations that filed an amicus brief in support of Nike in mid-November. The groups, which include the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), contend that the case has serious First Amendment implications. "I think it's good that the Supreme Court will be hearing [Nike v. Kasky]," Theresa Chmara, counsel for ABFFE, told BTW.

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09 Jan

BEA Benefit to Feature Performance by Ellen DeGeneres

Emmy-winning writer and comedian Ellen DeGeneres will address the book industry in a solo comedic benefit performance Saturday evening, May 31, 2003, at BookExpo America (BEA) in Los Angeles. The appearance was announced by BEA show management on January 9, and the news was the first update on BEA's headline Author Events.

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30 Dec

Vermont Congressman Will Seek to Eliminate Parts of USA Patriot Act

When the new congressional session opens, Vermont Congressman Bernard Sanders will be working to introduce legislation to eliminate provisions of the USA Patriot Act that threaten librarian and bookstore patrons' constitutionally guaranteed right to read and to access information without government intrusion or monitoring.

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19 Dec

Forum on Government Secrecy and the First Amendment Features Daniel Ellsberg

Writer and activist Daniel Ellsberg arrived at a recent panel co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the Free Expression Network (FEN) just moments before the scheduled 5:30 p.m. start. With a winning smile and a mien that combined bookish uncle with friendly academic, Ellsberg looked engaging and relaxed, especially for a man who had been arrested that day at a Manhattan anti-war rally at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

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18 Dec

Congressman Set to Introduce Legislation to Address Constitutional Concerns About the USA Patriot Act

Vermont Congressman Bernard Sanders will be holding a press conference on Friday, December 20, at 11:00 a.m., at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, to announce his plans to introduce legislation that eliminates what he believes are unconstitutional provisions in the USA Patriot Act.

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