Free Expression

16 Dec

Still No Word on Whether Supreme Court Will Hear Nike Case

Contrary to expectations, the U.S. Supreme Court did not announce on Monday, December 16, whether it will hear Nike v. Kasky. The case did not appear on the day's order list, and now it is expected that the Supreme Court will announce its decision on or after January 13.

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11 Dec

ABFFE and Media Groups Support Nike's First Amendment Rights

On Monday, December 16, the U.S. Supreme Court will announce whether it will hear a case that a group of prominent media and free expression organizations, including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), believe has serious First Amendment implications.

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05 Dec

A Young Reader Stands Up for the First Amendment

By Molly Widmer

A few weeks ago at my school, I went to the library to check out a book by my favorite author. But as soon as I arrived, I stopped dead in my tracks. There, locked in the glass cases, were the fantasy books I was planning to read!

I ran straight to the school librarian, terribly mad, demanding to know how it happened. He told me that someone had sent a complaint to the school about fantasy books, so they were all locked up and would be taken away.

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03 Dec

It's All in a Name -- Library Discovers the Perils of Filtering Software

When the director of the Piqua, Ohio, public library called his colleagues together to demonstrate the library's new public Web site, things did not go quite as planned. When he entered the new URL -- -- the library's computer refused access. Puzzled, he tried again and was denied again, before he realized the problem: The library's software filtered the site because the word "flesh" was included with the word "public."

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27 Nov

Department of Justice Agrees to Respond to Info Request

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would respond by January 15 to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed in August by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and three other advocacy groups, as reported by the Associated Press.

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26 Nov

Post-9/11 Civil Liberties Resources and Web Sites

Nancy Kranich, chair of the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee

As bookseller concern continues to grow regarding the current state of civil liberties in a post-9/11 world, here's a comprehensive resource list of Web sites

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25 Nov

Vermont Booksellers and Librarians Seek Support in Opposition to Patriot Act Provisions

In a letter to Vermont's congressional delegation, Vermont booksellers and librarians contend that the USA Patriot Act contains provisions that "undermine" Americans' constitutionally protected right to read and to access information without government interference. The letter, which is being distributed to Vermont-based bookstore members of the New England Booksellers Association (NEBA) for signature, urges Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords and Congressman Bernard Sanders to introduce legislation to eliminate these provisions.

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20 Nov

Pro-Potter Protesters Picket as Minister Destroys Book

The release of the new film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has again sparked protests from those who claim that the writing of best-selling author J.K. Rowling promotes witchcraft and pagan religion. The movie adaptation of Rowling's second title in the series opened nationwide on November 15 and grossed an estimated $87.7 million in its first three days.

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14 Nov

Advocacy Groups Seek Injunction to Compel Justice Dept. to Respond to Questions Regarding USA Patriot Act

On November 13, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and three other free expression groups filed a preliminary injunction asking that a federal court order the Department of Justice (DOJ) to respond immediately to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the groups on October 24. The free expression groups are seeking information on how the government is using the widespread surveillance powers it has been granted under the USA Patriot Act (for a related article, click here.)

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14 Nov

Opposition to USA Patriot Act Is Growing

By Chris Finan, ABFFE President

There were no booksellers or librarians singing "Happy Birthday" when the USA Patriot Act celebrated its first anniversary on October 26. Concern about the potential chilling effect on free speech of some of the provisions of the law has grown sharply over the last 12 months.

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06 Nov

Booksellers Challenge South Carolina Internet Statute

On Wednesday, November 6, booksellers and free speech advocates filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina a complaint asking that a South Carolina law be permanently enjoined. The statute criminalizes any work communicated on the Internet that is accessible in South Carolina and contains a depiction of nudity or sexual conduct considered to be "harmful to minors." Booksellers are concerned that the law could be construed to include material with sexual content sold on their Web sites.

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30 Oct

Virginia Seeks to Reinstate Internet 'Harmful to Minors' Law

On Monday, October 28, Virginia's Internet "harmful to minors" statute was back in court. Before a three-judge panel in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, the state of Virginia asked that a U.S. District Court's judgment that permanently enjoined a statute criminalizing Internet communications deemed harmful to minors be overturned and the statute reinstated.

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24 Oct

ABFFE Sues Justice Dept. Over Freedom of Information Request

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has joined three other free expression groups in suing the Department of Justice to learn how many subpoenas have been issued to bookstores, libraries, and newspapers under the USA Patriot Act. The suit was filed on October 24 and comes after a lack of response from the Department of Justice to a Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) request, filed in August, for the information.

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10 Oct

U.C., San Diego Admits First Amendment Mistake After ABFFE and FEN Protest

In the face of a challenge from the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and other national free expression organizations, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has dropped its demand that two student groups -- one a collective that runs a bookstore -- pull links from their Web sites. The university had called for Groundwork Books and the Che Café Collective to make the changes to the Web sites because the links allegedly violated the USA Patriot Act.

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