Free Expression

16 Jan

New York Education Department Flunks … Again, Say Anticensorship Groups

Free speech groups, educators, parents, librarians, authors, and publishers continue to criticize New York State's Education Department, Board of Regents, and legislature, for the altered and deleted wording in literary passages on the state-mandated English Language Arts Regents Exam. In a letter dated January 6, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), and many others, restated their objections.

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15 Jan

Vermont Gives Nation a First Amendment Christmas Present

By Chris Finan, ABFFE president

With only five shopping days remaining before Christmas, Vermont bookseller Linda Ramsdell took a day off. It was not a mental health day. In fact, she longed to stay in her store selling books.

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15 Jan

Supreme Court Will Hear Nike Case

On Friday, January 10, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear Nike v. Kasky. The court's decision is good news for a group of prominent media and free expression organizations that filed an amicus brief in support of Nike in mid-November. The groups, which include the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), contend that the case has serious First Amendment implications. "I think it's good that the Supreme Court will be hearing [Nike v. Kasky]," Theresa Chmara, counsel for ABFFE, told BTW.

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09 Jan

BEA Benefit to Feature Performance by Ellen DeGeneres

Emmy-winning writer and comedian Ellen DeGeneres will address the book industry in a solo comedic benefit performance Saturday evening, May 31, 2003, at BookExpo America (BEA) in Los Angeles. The appearance was announced by BEA show management on January 9, and the news was the first update on BEA's headline Author Events.

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30 Dec

Vermont Congressman Will Seek to Eliminate Parts of USA Patriot Act

When the new congressional session opens, Vermont Congressman Bernard Sanders will be working to introduce legislation to eliminate provisions of the USA Patriot Act that threaten librarian and bookstore patrons' constitutionally guaranteed right to read and to access information without government intrusion or monitoring.

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19 Dec

Forum on Government Secrecy and the First Amendment Features Daniel Ellsberg

Writer and activist Daniel Ellsberg arrived at a recent panel co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) and the Free Expression Network (FEN) just moments before the scheduled 5:30 p.m. start. With a winning smile and a mien that combined bookish uncle with friendly academic, Ellsberg looked engaging and relaxed, especially for a man who had been arrested that day at a Manhattan anti-war rally at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

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18 Dec

Congressman Set to Introduce Legislation to Address Constitutional Concerns About the USA Patriot Act

Vermont Congressman Bernard Sanders will be holding a press conference on Friday, December 20, at 11:00 a.m., at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, to announce his plans to introduce legislation that eliminates what he believes are unconstitutional provisions in the USA Patriot Act.

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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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