Free Expression

27 Mar

Congressman Ron Paul Urges Booksellers to Rally in Support of H.R. 1157

In early March, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157), federal legislation that would remove a threat to the privacy of bookstore and library records posed by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Though the bill has 58 co-sponsors thus far, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), one of the sponsors of the bill, urged booksellers to rally behind H.R. 1157 so that more members of the House would support the bill.

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27 Mar

Freedom to Read Protection Act Now Has 58 Co-Sponsors

At present, 58 fellow members of Congress have joined Rep. Bernie Sanders in introducing federal legislation that would remove a threat created by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy of bookstore and library records. The bill, H.R. 1157, the Freedom to Read Protection Act, would prevent the FBI from seeking "personally identifiable information concerning a patron of a bookseller or library." However, the government could still attempt to subpoena this information if it can make sufficient legal showing.

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19 Mar

Support the Freedom to Read Protection Act!


Chris Finan

By Chris Finan, ABFFE President

Political courage is usually in short supply, but there was a lot of it on display at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 6.

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13 Mar

Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Declares COPA Unconstitutional … Again

On March 6, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled for the second time that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) is unconstitutional. The court found that COPA violates adults' right to free speech, is overly broad, and fails "the strict scrutiny test." It is expected that the Justice Department will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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12 Mar

26 in Congress Join Sanders in Co-sponsoring the Freedom to Read Protection Act

Twenty-six fellow members of Congress have joined Rep. Bernie Sanders in introducing federal legislation that would remove a threat to the privacy of bookstore and library records, created by the USA Patriot Act. Under the provisions of H.R. 1157, The Freedom to Read Protection Act, the FBI would be barred from seeking "personally identifiable information concerning a patron of a bookseller or library." The government may still attempt to subpoena this information if it can make sufficient legal showing.

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12 Mar

Rep. Sanders Comments on the Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003

On March 6, 2003, Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003, federal legislation that would remove a threat to the privacy of bookstore and library records that was created by the USA Patriot Act. At present, the proposed amendment has 26 co-sponsors, including Ron Paul (R-TX) and John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

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06 Mar

Congressman Sanders Introduces Patriot Act Amendment

At a press conference held today in Washington, D.C., Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced federal legislation that would remove a threat to the privacy of bookstore and library records, created by the USA Patriot Act. At present, the proposed amendment, called the Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003, has 24 co-sponsors, including Ron Paul (R-TX).

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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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About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

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