Free Expression

25 Jun

Congress to Ashcroft: Has FBI Requested Bookstore Records?

The House Judiciary Committee wants to know how many subpoenas the Justice Department has issued to bookstores, libraries, and newspapers under a provision of the USA PATRIOT Act.

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20 Jun

Barry Trotter Done Gone: Parody and Free Speech Discussed at ALA

Author Michael Gerber is not afraid of being sued over the publication of his new book, Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody. He is a first-time author who is still working a day job to make ends meet. "The worst thing that could happen to me is my cats would be jointly owned by Warner Brothers and Scholastic," Gerber said during a program at the American Library Association convention in Atlanta on Monday.

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10 Jun

Wyoming School Book Ban Controversy May Signal a Change in District Policy

On April 25, Wyoming's Teton County Board of Education (TCBE) voted 4-2 to ban Julius Lester’s When Dad Killed Mom (Silver Whistle) from the Jackson Hole Middle School (JHMS) library. However, after much attention from local media and the book’s author, district policy is being "reviewed and re-written so that incidents like this will not happen again," Board member Zia Yasrobie told BTW via e-mail.

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05 Jun

Anti-Censorship Groups Say New York's Department of Education Fails Free Expression Test

This week, a number of free speech advocacy groups revealed that the New York State Education Department (NYSED), which prepares the New York English Language Arts Regents examinations, is altering literary selections in its Regents exam. In a letter sent Friday, May 31, to Dr. Richard P. Mills, commissioner of education for NYSED, the groups noted that, of 24 prose excerpts used in the exams in the last three years, 19 had been altered in ways that distorted the authors’ intent and message.

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31 May

CIPA Declared Unconstitutional

On May 31, a panel of three federal judges ruled that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) violated the First Amendment. In a press statement regarding the decision, the American Library Association said it applauded, "the panel of judges for their thoughtfulness and clear understanding of the issues at stake….Americans cannot afford to lose access to the thousands of Web sites offering legal, useful, and valuable information blocked by…filters.

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22 May

Tattered Cover's Joyce Meskis Receives ALA's Immroth and Roll of Honor Awards

This week, the American Library Association (ALA) announced that Joyce Meskis, owner of Denver, Colorado’s Tattered Cover Book Store, is the recipient of the 2002 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award and the 2002 Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) Roll of Honor Award. Meskis and her colleagues at the Tattered Cover Book Store have won widespread acclaim as a result of the store’s legal battle in which it successfully defended the privacy rights of its customers.

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13 May

A No-Decision Decision: Supreme Court Sends COPA Back to Court of Appeals

In a complex decision that provided neither side with exactly what it wanted, on May 13, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling that had declared the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) unconstitutional. In a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court vacated a decision of the Third U.S. Court of Appeals, which had held that COPA was unconstitutional because the law’s use of "community standards" to identify material that was harmful to minors was "substantially overbroad."

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09 May

ABFFE Online Auction Extended; Adds Autographed Items From BookExpo

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has announced that it is extending its online auction and adding many autographed items from BookExpo America, including concert posters signed by the Rock Bottom Remainders -- Stephen King, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, and Kathi Kamen Goldmark. The Remainders performed at New York's Webster Hall on Saturday, May 4.

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03 May

Day 2 at BookExpo America -- Book Sense Round the Clock

And the Winners Are….

At this year's Celebration of Bookselling at BookExpo America, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River (Atlantic Monthly) won the Book Sense Book of the Year award as best adult fiction title.

The winner for adult nonfiction was Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House), and the winner of the rediscovery award -- presented for the first time this year -- was given to My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (Random House).

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29 Apr

On Capitol Hill, Free Expression Groups Question the USA Patriot Act

On April 25, at noon, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and other free expression organizations gathered on Capitol Hill in the Senate Hart Office Building to voice their concern over some of the anti-terrorist measures adopted by the federal government following 9/11. The group -- which included Senator Russell D.

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23 Apr

Judge Strikes Down Vermont Cyber-Censorship Statute

On April 19, in the case of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) v. Dean, U.S. District Judge J. Gavan Murtha enjoined a Vermont statute criminalizing any material posted on Web sites considered to be "harmful to minors." The complaint challenging the law was first filed on February 7, 2001, by a diverse array of individuals, businesses, and civil rights groups. 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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18 Apr

Tattered Cover Decision Receives Widespread Coverage -- and Strong Support

The Colorado Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding the right of the Tattered Cover Book Store to ensure the confidentiality of the book-purchase records of customers from law enforcement scrutiny has received widespread national attention, and the strong support of the bookstore’s community.

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15 Apr

Ohio Governor Will Sign H.B. 8 on May 6

Ohio Governor Bob Taft will publicly sign House Bill 8 on May 6, 2002, almost three months after the bill passed the state’s legislature. The proposed legislation amends Ohio’s sex offense law to include computer-based material that is deemed harmful to minors. There is concern among booksellers and others in the industry that the law could be construed to include material with sexual content sold on their Web sites.

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