Free Expression

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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31 May

Live from BEA -- Day Three

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22 May

Judge Sides With Government Regarding Advocacy Groups FOIA Patriot Act Request

On Monday, May 19, a federal judge in U.S. District Court in Washington ruled that the government had adequately replied to four advocacy groups' Freedom of Information Act request and was not required to submit any further information regarding its use of new surveillance powers granted under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.

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21 May

ABFFE Urges Booksellers to Contact Their Representatives in Support of H.R. 1157

This week, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is sending booksellers a letter urging them to contact their Congressional representatives in regards to the Freedom to Read Protection Act. The bill, H.R. 1157, was introduced into Congress by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and would remove a threat created by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy of bookstore and library records. The bill has already garnered the support of 101 members of Congress. (For a full list of co-sponsors, click here.)

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21 May

Government Drops Attempt to Incarcerate Witness for Telling His Story in a New Book

In a decision that the Authors Guild, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), and Association of American Publishers (AAP) hailed as a victory for free expression, Assistant U.S. Attorney David C. Esseks dropped an attempt to jail a cooperating witness who shared his story in a recently published book. "We're very happy with [the decision], it's a great result," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "This time the law worked the way it ought to."

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20 May

Chuck Robinson Honored With Liberty Bell Award

On May 7, Chuck Robinson, owner of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, was presented with this year's Liberty Bell Award by the Whatcom County Bar Association. The award acknowledges outstanding community service to the legal system by a non-attorney, including encouraging a sense of civic responsibility and contributing to good government.

A member of the Board of Directors of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Robinson served on the American Booksellers Association Board and was its president from 1992 - 1994.

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15 May

Book Industry Issues Statement of Strong Support for Sanders' Freedom to Read Bill

On Thursday, May 15, thirty-five organizations -- including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), American Booksellers Association, American Library Association (ALA), Barnes & Noble Booksellers, and Borders Group Inc. -- issued a statement supporting the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157). The bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 6 by Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would remove a threat created by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy of bookstore and library records.

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15 May

Taxing Book Sales to Fund Libraries Considered in Rhode Island

In an unfortunate illustration of taxing Peter to pay Paul, on May 1, members of the Rhode Island Senate proposed an additional one percent sales tax on all books sold in Rhode Island by any retailer. According to the amendment offered by State Senators Rhoda Perry, Frank Ciccone, and Juan Pichardo, the tax generated would be used by cities and towns exclusively for free public libraries.

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14 May

Free Speech Groups Urge Judge to Overturn Book Ban

In Las Vegas, several free speech groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLUN), are asking a federal judge to lift a ban on a book written by an anti-tax activist.

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