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.

    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.

    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.

    Colorado Supreme Court Says Tattered Cover Doesn't Have to Turn Over Customer Records

    The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on April 8 that Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store does not have to turn over customer records that had been sought by local law enforcement officials, who had argued that the information would assist in a case involving the manufacture of methamphetamines.

    CIPA Trial Closes; Decision Due in May

    Final arguments in the case that will decide the constitutionality of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) were heard on April 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The legal challenge was brought by the American Library Association (ALA) -- together with 10 other plaintiffs -- and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (whose own legal challenge to the law was consolidated by the court and heard together with ALA’s case). Indications are that the panel of three judges will rule by early May.

    Virginia Festival of the Book Rooted in a Community of Rich Culture

    For two centuries, Charlottesville, Virginia, has drawn men and women of letters to live in its cultured environs: from Thomas Jefferson (whose Monticello is three miles east of the city) to current residents John Grisham, Rita Mae Brown, and National Book Award-winner John Casey.

    And for the past several years, Charlottesville's annual Virginia Festival of the Book has attracted thousands of visitors to a five-day menu of some 150 literary panels, talks, and readings staged in venues all around town.

    ABFFE Author Auction Launches Online

    Thirty booksellers will win the opportunity to visit with top New York authors during BookExpo America by entering the first ABFFE Author Auction. The online auction kicked off Wednesday, March 26, at 9:00 a.m. EST on the Web site of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), www.abffe.com. The auction ends on Friday, March 29, at 3:00 p.m.

    Blume, Hamill, Rosenblatt, Zelinsky Join ABFFE Author Auction

    Bestselling authors Judy Blume, Pete Hamill, Roger Rosenblatt, and Paul Zelinsky have added their names to the list of authors who will participate in next week's online auction sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE).

    The ABFFE Author Auction will give booksellers a chance to get to know 15 of their favorite authors, including Michael Moore, author of Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation, which is now topping many bestseller lists.

    ALA's Court Fight Against Library Filtering Set to Open

    Starting on Monday, March 25, in Philadelphia, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will begin hearing a case that will decide the constitutionality of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Monday’s trial will be the culmination of a legal challenge by the American Library Association (ALA) and 10 other plaintiffs -- including the Freedom to Read Foundation and a number of state library associations -- to CIPA. Last July, a three-judge federal district court ruled against the U.S.

    Ohio Governor Bob Taft Will Sign House Bill 8

    Ohio Governor Bob Taft will sign House Bill 8 [H.B. 8], according to a number of sources close to the situation. The proposed legislation amends Ohio's sex offence law to include computer-based material that is deemed harmful to minors. This could include such things as sexually explicit content or movie violence. There is concern among booksellers that this could be construed to include material with sexual content sold on their Web sites. (For earlier coverage, click here).

    Rock Bottom Remainders All-Star Band Reunites to Play BEA

    Move over Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The latest reunion news in rock ‘n’ roll is that BookExpo America’s house band is returning.

    Michael Moore Joins ABFFE Author Auction

    BEA Free Speech Panel Features Moore, Kingsolver, and Hentoff

    Filmmaker Michael Moore, author of the bestselling Stupid White Men, is joining novelist Barbara Kingsolver and distinguished journalist Nat Hentoff on the BEA panel "'911': Civil Liberties in a Time of Crisis," set for Friday, May 3, from 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 a.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The panel will examine the state of free speech in the U.S.

    Arizona Court Win May Affect Fate of Similar Bill in Ohio

    On February 19, Arizona U.S. District Judge Alfredo C. Marquez permanently enjoined the Arizona statute criminalizing the intentional transmission over the Internet of materials considered to be "harmful to minors." The court found the statute to be unconstitutional under both the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment.

    ABFFE Supports Maryland Bookstore Privacy Bill

    The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) spoke out in favor of the privacy of bookstore customer records in a February 26 hearing before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee. State legislation was introduced earlier this month that would limit the circumstances in which police can seek search warrants or subpoenas for purchase records.

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