Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

News from Free Expression Network members can now be found at NCAC.org

Monday, March 24th, 2014

You can browse the new feed at ncac.org/our-network.

The Free Expression Network (FEN) is an alliance of organizations dedicated to protecting the First Amendment right of free expression and the values it represents, and to opposing governmental efforts to suppress constitutionally-protected speech. FEN members provide a wide range of expertise, resources and services to policy-makers, the media, scholars, and the public at large. Members meet on a quarterly basis to share information and strategies.

We also create public programs and events on current free expression issues. This website provides information and descriptions of each member organization, as well as a brief look at the services they provide and the primary issues on which they focus. It is also a means of providing information about First Amendment issues to the public at large and to facilitate private communication among FEN members. FEN meetings and other activities are planned and organized by the FEN Steering Committee, which is composed of volunteers from member organizations. All FEN members are eligible to participate in the steering committee.

Organizational requests to join FEN or nominations for membership will be addressed by the steering committee, which will consider whether the mission of the organization seeking inclusion in FEN is consistent with FEN’s goal to protect the First Amendment and promote free expression. FEN is coordinated by the National Coalition Against Censorship. For Inquires Contact the FEN coordinator, Michael O’Neil.

Dixie State’s Refusal to Recognize First Amendment Gains More Attention

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Last week, a new semester began at Dixie State University, and while the classes may have changed, the school’s refusal to uphold its students’ First Amendment rights to free expression and free association remains the same. 

After senior Indigo Klabanoff re-applied for official recognition for her student group, Phi Beta Pi, FIRE wrote a third letter to the school on December 18 explaining—again—why Dixie State cannot ban Greek letters in club names just to avoid a “party school” image. We sent the letter to Dixie State’s trustees, as well as the Board of Regents of the Utah System of Higher Education.  

Disappointingly, Indigo’s group was denied recognition—again—on January 8, reaffirming Dixie State’s placement on FIRE’s 2013 list of the “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech.” With continuing media coverage of the case, Dixie State administrators’ supposed efforts to protect the school’s reputation are achieving the opposite effect. 

On Monday, the Dixie Sun News student newspaper reported on the university’s inclusion on FIRE’s dishonorable list and relayed remarks from two communication professors at Dixie State. Professor Eric Young said that Dixie State’s restrictions on club names “interdicts what free speech is all about.” Professor Randal Chase also questioned ...

CBLDF Joins Coalition Opposing Book Rating Proposals in Pennsylvania, Virginia

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Updated-CBLDF-Bone-Email-264x300This week, CBLDF joined the other sponsoring members of the Kids’ Right to Read Project to support students’ and teachers’ free expression rights in two separate but similar cases that would restrict the right to read. CBLDF joins coalition efforts like these to protect the freedom to read comics. Censorship manifests in many ways, and the unique visual nature of comics makes them more prone to censorship than other types of books. Taking an active stand against all instances of censorship curbs precedent that could adversely affect the rights upon which comics readers depend.

In the first letter, KRRP responds to a proposal in the Muhlenberg School District in Pennsylvania that would require teachers to flag any books in their classrooms with content that could be considered “mature, sexual, violent or religiously offensive.” Obviously, these labels are highly subjective and could conceivably be applied to many books considered classics. Addressing the Muhlenberg School Board, KRRP points out:

Recent news reports tell of efforts to ban or restrict  books like The Diary of Anne Frank, Persepolis, The Invisible Man, The Family Book,and The Dirty Cowboy – to name only a few – because someone considered something in ...

Did you catch it? NCAC Allies Shine in Al Jazeera Conversation About Book Censorship

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Last night, Al Jazeera America’s The Stream dedicated its show to a topic near and dear to NCAC’s work and hearts: book challenges and bans in the U.S. Joining the show was author Carolyn Mackler, whose works NCAC has defended throughout the years, as well as partners-in-activism Isaiah Zukowski and Lynn Bruno.

Isaiah spoke out as a high school senior when a school board member tried to ban books from the high school summer reading list in his district. Lynn, an 8th grade literacy teacher from Glen Ellyn, was on the front lines of the battle over classroom libraries and access to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Stream is very social media integrated leading to lively commentary and debate on the issue. It was great to see that so much of the tweeting was supportive of the freedom to read!

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Universities Must Not Intrude Upon Freedom of Conscience in ‘Values’ Statements

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
This winter, FIRE is running a series of blog posts about what makes a “green light” policy. So far, we have examined how universities can craft policies on harassment, civility, and computer usage that achieve their aims while still respecting students’ right to freedom of speech. Today we are going to talk about policies that infringe on students’ right to freedom of conscience, and about how universities can share their values with students without crossing the line into mandating agreement with those values. 

Just as the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, it also protects freedom of conscience—the right to keep our innermost thoughts free from governmental intrusion and to be free from compelled speech. As the Supreme Court declared in the landmark case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943): “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” The Court concluded in Barnette that “the purpose of the First Amendment to ...

Supreme Court Hears Case Testing the Intersection of Free Speech and Abortion Rights

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog has written two excellent “ […]

The post Supreme Court Hears Case Testing the Intersection of Free Speech and Abortion Rights appeared first on Thomas Jefferson Center.

Virginia Legislature Considers Bills to Safeguard Student Rights

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Yesterday, we reported on Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter’s bill that would prohibit public colleges in Virginia from misusing “time, place, and manner” restrictions in violation of the First Amendment. Today, we’re happy to bring you news of yet another Virginia bill that would safeguard the rights of students at Virginia’s public institutions of higher education. 

Following in North Carolina’s footsteps, Delegate Rick Morris has introduced a bill that would grant students facing serious non-academic disciplinary charges the right to be represented by an attorney or other advocate of the student’s choosing. 

HB 1123 provides, in part:

Any student enrolled at a public institution of higher education who is accused of a violation of the insitution's rules and regulations for the conduct of students that is punishable by a suspension of more than 10 days or expulsion shall have the right to be represented, at the student's expense and per the student's sole discretion, by a licensed attorney or a nonattorney advocate who may fully participate during any disciplinary procedure or other procedure adopted and used by the educational institution regarding the alleged violation. 

After North Carolina passed a similar law back in August, FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley ...

Happy Hour! Reason Hosts Virginia Postrel and Welcomes FIRE to D.C.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Join FIRE at Reason’s Washington, D.C., headquarters to meet columnist and author Virginia Postrel, who will sign copies of her new book, The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion

Virginia—described in Vanity Fair as “a master D.J. who sequences the latest riffs from the hard sciences, the social sciences, business, and technology, to name only a few sources”—is a regular columnist for Bloomberg View, former Reason magazine editor in chief, and a current member of FIRE’s Board of Directors. Copies of her book will be available for purchase. 

Reason will also give FIRE a big “Welcome to D.C.!” shout-out, as we are setting up our first-ever satellite office in the District. Come out, enjoy food and drinks, and join in the fun!

What: Happy hour with Virginia Postrel, FIRE, & Reason
When: Tuesday, January 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Reason’s D.C. headquarters, 1747 Connecticut Ave., NW (map).

Attendance is free, but an RSVP is required. Please let us know if you plan to attend

If you have questions about the event, please contact Alisha Glennon at alisha@thefire.org or Cynthia Bell at cynthia.bell@reason.org.

We look forward to seeing you!

Explore Comics Censored in China

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Cartoon by @粥长-大鹏

(c) @粥长-大鹏

We’ve told you before about a few examples of memes, cartoons, and other images being censored on China’s Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo. An army of 150 censors police Weibo’s 500 million users, deleting anything they find that might displease the government. But because images are more difficult than keywords to detect and block, cartoons and photos often manage to go viral before the censors catch on; eventually, however, they too are deleted. Yesterday BuzzFeed’s Kevin Tang featured 14 images, mostly cartoons, that got caught in the Great Firewall.

The censored images (which still only represent a fraction of those blocked every day) paint a portrait of topics the government–and its proxies, the censors employed by Weibo–would prefer its citizens not discuss. These include air pollution, food safety, arrest of activists, official corruption and graft, and the trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. Most of the blocked pictures were identified through an ongoing project by ProPublica, which has been tracking images deleted from a sample of 100 prominent Weibo accounts since July. Check out Tang’s post with translations and background information over here!

We need your help to keep fighting for the ...

Trial Date Set for Whistleblowing Professor’s Retaliation Lawsuit Against UCLA

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Last March, Dr. James E. Enstrom won an encouraging victory in court when United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal refused to dismiss some of his First Amendment claims against various University of California, Los Angeles and University of California system administrators and granted him leave to amend the remaining defective claims. Professor Enstrom has since filed a revised complaint addressing the defects noted in the judge’s ruling.

The Daily Bruin reports that on Monday, Judge Bernal set a trial date of November 18, 2014, for Dr. Enstrom’s case. We will continue to bring you updates as the case progresses. 

Not caught up on Professor Enstrom’s story? Look below to check out a ReasonTV video highlighting his case.

Announcing Two New FIRE Job Opportunities in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

FIRE is pleased to announce two new exciting job opportunities, both located in Washington, D.C.. The two openings are Executive Assistant to the President and Communications Coordinator. These positions, described in full at their respective links, are excellent opportunities for anyone interested in working to protect student and faculty rights on college campuses.

Not to worry, Philadelphia: FIRE is still keeping our headquarters in Philly, just blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell! We just realized that it’s time for us to open a small satellite office in our nation’s capital. We’re in the process of looking for office space in the district, so if you have any leads, please let us know

If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to submit your application! Positions at FIRE tend to fill quickly. Also, if this job opportunity is not for you, but you know someone who may be interested, please pass along this announcement.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Image: “Now Hiring Sticky Note” -Shutterstock

Two Months Left to Apply to FIRE’s Paid Summer Internship!

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Even though the new semester is just starting, it’s not too early to make summer plans. If you’re a college student and you’re passionate about students’ First Amendment rights, then you should consider spending your summer with FIRE!

FIRE’s Summer Internship is an eight-week, paid program that offers current undergraduates the opportunity to assist FIRE in defending civil liberties on campuses all across the country. FIRE interns do substantive work and participate in weekly seminars with FIRE staff and other experts on freedom of expression, due process, and much more.

The internship takes place in FIRE’s Philadelphia office from Monday, June 9, through Friday, August 1. We will accept applications until March 14, 2014 and consider them on a rolling basis. Click here for more information or email internships@thefire.org with any questions.

And law school students, be sure to check out our Legal Internship

All eligible students are encouraged to apply for this great opportunity!

Image: FIRE's 2013 intern class 

Court of Appeals Ruling Kills Net Neutrality

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

locking-internet-access2In a 2-1 ruling today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals effectively ended net neutrality, striking down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order.

The FCC’s order was intended to keep broadband providers from interfering with traffic on the Web. The issue of who should regulate internet access has been the subject of much debate in the last decade.

NCAC believes net neutrality allows us to access and share content in a fair and open environment. Our society has come to rely on that ability in order to communicate with friends, customers and constituents.

Net neutrality advocates (including NCAC) are concerned about what might happen, now that government oversight no longer exists to keep broadband providers honest. As this report on CNET explains:

“a broadband provider, such as Comcast, may purposely slow down traffic from an Internet company, such as Netflix, that uses its network to deliver services. In this case, Comcast could slow down the video streams of Netflix, making it impossible for Comcast broadband customers to use this service, which competes against Comcast’s own on-demand video service.”

The absence of net neutrality opens the danger of a hierarchy of access based on levels of payment, or – worse – ...

Virginia Bill Would Eliminate Unconstitutional ‘Free Speech Zones’

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

As Torch readers know, too many public colleges and universities are confused about what it means to regulate the “time, place, and manner” of student and faculty speech on campus, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has explicitly set forth the requirements for such regulations. Recognizing the critical importance of free speech on college campuses, last week Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter introduced a bill to be considered by the Virginia House of Delegates that would explicitly prohibit Virginia’s public universities from misusing the “time, place, and manner” rubric to confine expressive activity to small or remote areas of campus.

HB 258 reads:

Public institutions of higher education shall not impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of student speech that (i) occurs in the outdoor areas of the institution's campus and (ii) is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution unless the restrictions (a) are reasonable, (b) are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, (c) are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and (d) leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information.

The language of provisions (b)–(d) tracks the Supreme Court’s decision defining “reasonable time, place, or ...

Teachers: Don’t Miss These 2013 Graphic Novels

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

boxersaintsOne of our missions here at CBLDF is promoting the use of comics and graphic novels in schools — hence our publications Raising a Reader and CBLDF Presents Manga: Introduction, Challenges, and Best Practices, as well as Meryl Jaffe’s column Using Graphic Novels in Education. So, we were thrilled to see the Washington Post’s comics blogger Michael Cavna recently feature 10 graphic novels from 2013 that should be embraced by educators to “smartly employ the resources of visual learning.”

Cavna’s essay is inspired by the experience of a young relative, whose grade school teacher forbade her from doing a book report on David Hall’s Stitches – or even reading it in the classroom — because “Graphic. Novels. Aren’t. Books.” Although he notes that this attitude is increasingly rare, Cavna argues that more graphic novels deserve to be not simply tolerated as leisure reading, but incorporated into the curriculum. After all, he says:

Why not use every effective teaching tool at our disposal? Decades of studies have shown the power of visual learning as an effective scholastic technique. Author Neil Gaiman…recently noted that comics were once falsely accused of fostering illiteracy. We now know that comics ...

It’s a Bad Week to be a Patent Troll: Big Updates from New York and Newegg

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Patent trolls are having a bad week. Today the New York Attorney General announced it had reached a settlement with MPHJ, the so-called scanner troll. That deal, not entirely unlike the one already in place in Minnesota, is great news for New Yorkers who have found themselves facing the notorious patent troll as well as anyone planning to do business in the Empire State. The settlement itself requires that the scanner troll actually investigate before it sends threatening demand letters and prohibits it from bothering businesses it has already contacted. Even better, the settlement allows those who've already taken a license from MPHJ to get a refund.

The actual settlement document itself is quite an interesting read—it lays out in some detail just how shady MPHJ really is. For instance, MPHJ sent more than 1,000 demand letters to New Yorkers alone (which means it must have sent at least tens of thousands of letters nationwide!) and more than 300 draft complaints despite the fact that it has never sued anyone in that state.

New York's Attorney General deserves credit for protecting its state's businesses and creators by shutting down one of the worst patent trolls. It joins not ...

Grand Valley State Administrators Attack Newspaper Staff for Criticizing Donor Handling

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

It is no secret that many colleges and universities are heavily reliant on the financial generosity of alumni, and often even large corporate or institutional interests. While this is not itself necessarily problematic, it can serve as a terrible incentive for administrators to stifle speech that might offend financial supporters or otherwise dissuade them from giving. The very real nature of this risk was made clear with a startling report today from the Grand Valley Lanthorn, a student newspaper, about the reprehensible actions of administrators at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan. 

On December 5, the Lanthorn published an editorial opposing GVSU’s increasing practice of naming buildings, rooms, and other objects on campus after private donors. The editorial raised concerns that excessive entanglement with private money could result in the school prioritizing donor relationships over the primary educational mission of GVSU, and perhaps even inhibiting freedom of speech and academic freedom for the sake of appeasing private donors.

Apparently, some GVSU administrators lack a sense of irony. Shortly after the Lanthorn ran the editorial, three high-level administrators reportedly contacted Editor-in-Chief Lizzy Balboa via her personal cell phone and her student email account in order to register their displeasure. ...

The Law Belongs In the Public Domain

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself. Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.

For nearly two centuries it has been a basic precept that the law lives in the public domain. It’s simple: in a democratic society, people must have an unrestricted right to read and speak their own laws. Full stop.

Of course, that principle means the law can never be subject to copyright restrictions. If any single entity owns a copyright in the law, it can buy, sell or ration the law, and make all sort of rules about when, where, and how we share it. People should never have to pay a fee to review and compare the rules and regulations they must ...

Cartoonist Challenges Authority in Tunisia

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Tunisian blogger and cartoonist _Z_ didn’t sit back when he saw his government catering to the wealthy elite at the risk of the general public and fragile ecosystem in Tunis. Not long after _Z_ began his crusade against government corruption, authorities tried to shut him down. Fortunately, _Z_ and his followers proved more technically savvy than the government.

_Z_ has chosen to remain anonymous because Tunisia has a history of censoring cartoonists, bloggers, and those who oppose the government. In 2012, Tunisian citizen Jabeur Mejri was sentenced to seven years in jail after sharing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on Facebook. Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 (real name, Ala Yaakoubi) fled the country after he was targeted for a video that protested the use of excessive force by police. He was sentenced to two years prison in absentia.

Authorities thought they had caught _Z_ when they arrested a female blooger named Fatma after she posted several of his cartoons. Fatma was released after _Z_ released a cartoon featuring a flamingo — _Z_’s symbol — declaring “I am not Fatma.”

PRI’s The World recently spoke with _Z_ about his cartoons, which frequently target Tunisia’s overwhelmingly Islamic government that was elected in ...

TomDispatch on Surveillance Abuses, Past and Present

Monday, January 13th, 2014

This is a good, concise history of abuses by the intelligence community and offers a great argument against warrantless surveillance.

 Without that break-in by the Media 8, J. Edgar Hoover’s “shadow FBI,” a criminal conspiracy at the heart of a developing national security state, might never have been revealed.  (The CIA, officially banned from domestic spying on Americans, turned out to be involved in massive surveillance as well.)

As a reporter at the Washington Post, Betty Medsger received some of the stolen documents and helped break the story back in 1971.  Now, in her new book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, several of those involved in the Media 8 break-in have finally identified themselves. In her personal account in the Guardian, one of the eight, Bonnie Raines, writes this of her modern counterpart: “Snowden was in a position to reveal things that nobody could dispute. He has performed a legitimate, necessary service. Unlike us, he revealed his own identity, and as a result, he’s sacrificed a lot.”

We particularly like the last part, debunking 10 myths about the NSA’s activities.

2) If I’ve done nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide. So ...

Pre-Order the Paperback Edition of ‘Unlearning Liberty’ Today at a Discounted Rate!

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Amazon.com is currently offering pre-orders for the paperback edition of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate—at a steep discount. The new edition will be released on Tuesday, March 11, and features new content not found in the hardcover edition, including a picture section and an afterword. Order your copy today to take advantage of Amazon’s amazing deal! 

EFF Calls Out DOJ for Failing to Provide Crucial Public Information in NSA Case

Monday, January 13th, 2014
Latest Filing in Jewel v. NSA Demands Documents Government Is Trying to Conceal

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a federal court on Friday to order the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release more thorough information about the dragnet electronic surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). The filing in EFF's long-standing case, Jewel v. NSA, also argues that the DOJ must stop pretending that information revealed and publicly acknowledged about government surveillance over the last seven months is still secret.

"The government has now publicly admitted much about its mass spying, but its filings before the court still try to claim broad secrecy about some of those same admissions," EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said. "It's long past time for the Department of Justice to stop using overblown secrecy claims to try to prevent an open, adversarial court from deciding whether the NSA's spying is constitutional."

Since the Jewel case was first filed in 2008, the government has used claims of state secrets to fight court review. Last year, documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirmed many of the case's allegations. As a result of the Snowden disclosures, Judge Jeffrey White ...

Pittsburg State President Unintentionally Concedes Problem with Kansas Social Media Policy

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Facing mounting criticism that its new policy on “improper use of social media” endangers not just academic freedom but potentially also the University of Kansas’s accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, the Kansas Board of Regents is continuing with its plan to form a “workgroup” that will review the policy. Faculty rights advocates are concerned about the policy’s broad and vaguely-worded prohibitions on, among other things, “impair[ing] harmony among co-workers” or making a communication that is, according to a university’s CEO’s judgment, “contrary to the best interest of the university.” And in trying to alleviate faculty concerns, Pittsburg State University (PSU) President Steve Scott has illustrated exactly why the policy is problematic.

According to a PSU press release, Scott said in a meeting with faculty and staff on Monday that members of the PSU community, at least, have nothing to worry about:

“The new policy authorizes me to do something,” Scott told representatives of key campus groups at a meeting in Russ Hall. “It puts the burden on me and I think I have a pretty good track record. I want to reassure faculty and staff about my intention to continue to act as I have in the past. ...

Supreme Court to Tackle Big Questions in Patent and Copyright Law

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Last Friday the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three important cases. This means a busy spring for EFF as we will likely file amicus briefs in all of them.

In ABC, Inc., v. Aereo, Inc., the Court will decide whether Aereo “publicly performs” television programs it streams over the Internet to users from individual antennas. TV networks complain that Aereo is "retransmitting" free-to-air stations without a license. They insist that while Joe Citizen can put an antenna on his roof and run a wire to his TV, he can't rent an antenna from Aereo and replace the wire with the Internet. The case raises a number of complex legal questions. But, as we have explained before, it is a classic example of legacy industries demanding that the law protect their business model from competition. We hope the Supreme Court will affirm the Second Circuit’s pro-innovation decision.

In Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies, the Court will decide whether a company can be found liable for inducing patent infringement when no single entity infringes the patent. When this case was before the Federal Circuit, we filed an amicus brief explaining that allowing divided infringement was contrary to the ...

Transparency Is Fundamental to Good Copyright Policy

Monday, January 13th, 2014

In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself. Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.

In the days after millions of Internet users banded together to derail the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and just as millions of others were organizing to stop the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd told the New York Times that he would “welcome a summit meeting between Internet companies and content companies, perhaps convened by the White House, that could lead to a compromise." The former Senator apparently hoped for a return to the traditional game, where law and policy are written by lobbyists, sold through back-room deals negotiated behind closed doors, and passed with little ...

Copyright Week: Taking Copyright Back

Monday, January 13th, 2014

In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself. Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.

Copyright used to be a pretty specialized area of law, one that didn’t seem to affect the lives of most people. But with the proliferation of digital technologies and the Internet, a funny thing happened: copyright policy became speech policy, and it started to show up in all sorts of unexpected and unwelcome places.

It's no longer the case that copyright is only a concern if you run the kind of company that has its own theme parks. Instead, copyright policy can have an effect on any user posting to her favorite sites, sharing videos she's captured or photos she's taken. It can ...

President’s Review Group Puzzler: Why is Massively Overbroad Surveillance Wrong under 215 but OK under Section 702?

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

The report from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies on the U.S. government’s mass spying—domestically and around the globe— has much that’s good in it. As the folks handling the only ongoing case where National Security Letters have been declared unconstitutional, we also especially appreciate the recommendation that NSLs may only be issued after judicial review and subject to significant additional limitations. We appreciate their strong endorsement of strong, non-backdoored encryption. And we never thought we’d see a presidential panel explain the risks posed by the government’s stockpiling of Zero Days rather than making sure that they are fixed.

But there’s also a strange disconnection in the report when it comes to mass surveillance. On the one hand, the report seems to take a strong stance against the government’s “review it all” strategy. It explains that ensuring privacy of communications is part of creating security in a free society, noting:

  •  “In a free society, one that is genuinely committed to self-government, people are secure in the sense that they need not fear that their conversations and activities are being watched, monitored, questioned, interrogated, or scrutinized." 
  • “If people are fearful that their conversations are being monitored, expressions ...

Remembering Aaron

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

One year ago, we lost Aaron Swartz, a dear friend and a leader in the fight for a free and open Internet. The shock was, and remains, a profound one. It's a testament to the power of his commitments and ideals that both in life and in death he has inspired millions around the world, including all of us at EFF, to redouble our own efforts to advance the causes that he believed in, and to untangle the twisted and brutal computer crime laws that were used to persecute him.

Aaron was a passionate activist, but he also stood out as a technologist whose ambitions were always aligned towards a better, more just future. His pioneering work demonstrated a passion for harnessing technology to advance the public interest. As the Internet community confronted massive new challenges to free speech and privacy in 2013, there were many moments when we wondered quietly about what Aaron would have said and done.

Sadly, we are left to wonder. We know from his work on the software that would become SecureDrop that Aaron believed in making the world a safer place for whistleblowers to expose injustice and wrongdoing. We are all worse off without ...

California Bill Would Require Reporting of Violent Campus Crimes to Police

Friday, January 10th, 2014

California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced legislation Monday that, if passed, would require college campus police to report violent crimes to local law enforcement unless the alleged victim explicitly asks that his or her report not be shared. The bill, AB 1433, would govern reports of homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and hate crimes. It was drafted in response to allegations that Occidental College violated the Clery Act when it failed to properly disclose information about campus crimes. Some Occidental students also claimed that they were discouraged from reporting assaults to the police. By making reporting a crime to the local police the default procedure, the bill is intended to increase the number of cases that are decided by the criminal justice system, as opposed to just a campus disciplinary hearing.

University of California at Berkeley students Sofie Karasek and Aryle Butler, who identified themselves as sexual assault survivors, persuaded Gatto to add the opt-out clause, explaining that many sexual assault victims prefer not to report their cases to the police. Butler said that she would have chosen not to file a report in her case if she knew that reporting would result in a police investigation. ...

Tell President Obama To End Mass Spying at His Upcoming Press Conference

Friday, January 10th, 2014

In the next week or two, President Obama will give a press briefing where he plans to announce his plans to reform the NSA's spying activities—which include the collection of users' phone calls, emails, address books, buddy lists, calling records, online video game chats, financial documents, browsing history, and calendar data. The briefing comes in response to a report by his own review group recommending the government stop collecting every single Americans' calling records. Now is the time to tweet, email, and call the White House telling Obama to demand he end the government's use of the Patriot Act to collect any bulk records of users' information.

This is a key opportunity to push President Obama and his Press Secretary Jay Carney to end one major aspect of the NSA's spying program. Since June, one goal of EFF and the StopWatching.Us campaign—a group of over half-a-million people and hundreds of civil liberties organizations—has been to stop the NSA's illegal and unconstitutional mass spying. And today, we're asking the Internet to call, email, and tweet at President Obama and his Press Secretary. We need to put as much pressure on the ...

Freed from a UAE Prison, Shezanne Cassim Returns Home

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Shezanne Cassim, the US citizen charged under the UAE's Cybercrime Act and sentenced to a year in prison, has returned home. According to a statement from the US Department of State, Cassim was released and deported after getting credit against his sentence for time served and for "good behavior."

Upon returning home to Minnesota, Cassim spoke out against the actions of the UAE's government: "Due to the political situation there, they're scared of democracy. They wanted to send a message to the UAE public, saying, 'Look what we'll do to people who do just a silly YouTube video, so imagine if you do something that's actually critical of the government.' It's a warning message, and we're scapegoats."

We are thrilled to hear that Shezanne Cassim is back with his family and doing well and we honor his courage in speaking out.

While Cassim is now free, his co-defendants remain behind bars. Furthermore, an Emirati human rights defender, Obaid Al-Zaabi, has been arrested after giving an interview to CNN in which he commented on Cassim's case. Al-Zaabi was previously detained for using his Twitter account to call for political reform and urge Emiratis to stand up to authorities. After his ...

Victory: Prof Returns to Class after CU ‘Harassment’ Claim Fails

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Here’s today’s press release:

BOULDER, Colo., January 10, 2014—The University of Colorado (CU) has backed down from last month’s cancellation of Professor Patti Adler’s popular and long-running “Deviance in U.S. Society” class after claiming that a lecture on prostitution that involved voluntary student participation could be seen as “harassing.” The rowback comes only days after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, and the Student Press Law Center issued a public statement to the university warning of the cancellation’s consequences for academic freedom. Adler will teach the course again this spring. 

“While we’re glad that Professor Adler will return to campus this spring, CU should never have attempted to force her out in the first place,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “This is yet another example of an institution misusing harassment policies to silence expression it finds inconvenient. After this embarrassment, CU must assure faculty and students that teaching and learning are CU’s primary concerns, not stripping the curriculum of any controversial matter in a misguided attempt to avoid liability.”

As the Boulder Daily Camera reported, “During a Nov. 5 lecture on prostitution, some ...

Utah Art Center Gets $60k Settlement from City for Eviction, Censorship

Friday, January 10th, 2014

After cries of censorship, an eviction and a lawsuit, The Central Utah Art Center (CUAC) will receive a $60,000 in a settlement with the city of Ephraim, it was announced Friday. The lawsuit was filed in early 2013 after the CUAC was evicted from the space they had inhabited for 20 years.

cuacThe city alleged the CUAC hadn’t fulfilled its promise to build community engagement programs; the CUAC said the eviction was censorship, retaliation for shows in 2011 and 2012 that investigated themes such as sexuality and gender identity. Art center Director Adam Bateman said he felt it was an identity issue: the contemporary works strayed from the norm for the town.

While the settlement is on its face a victory for the CUAC, some of the damage was already done. Though it found a new home in downtown Salt Lake City, the brouhaha caused the center to lose a year of grant applications for new exhibitions. So while Ephraim did not silence the Center for good, it did successfully force it out of the town. A new art center will soon move into the old CUAC building, presumably with walls full of tame, pastoral works.


February 11th: The Day We Fight Back Against NSA Surveillance

Friday, January 10th, 2014

In January 2006, EFF filed our first lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of NSA mass surveillance.

In January 2012, the Internet rose up to protest and defeat SOPA, legislation that sought to censor the Internet in the name of copyright enforcement.

And in January of last year, we lost a dear friend and fierce digital rights advocate, Aaron Swartz. We vowed to defend the rights of Internet users everywhere in his memory.

Now we have a new challenge: ending mass surveillance by the NSA.

The Snowden revelations have provided us with disturbing details and confirmation of some of our worst fears about NSA spying. The NSA is undermining basic encryption standards, the very backbone of the Internet. It has collected the phone records of hundreds of millions of people not suspected of any crime. It has swept up the electronic communications of millions of people indiscriminately, exploiting the digital technologies we use to connect and inform.

But we aren’t going to let the NSA ruin the Internet. Inspired by the memory of Aaron, fueled by our victory against SOPA, EFF is joining forces with a coalition of liberty-defending organizations to fight back against NSA spying.

Today, on the eve ...

What Makes a ‘Green Light’ Computer Use Policy?

Friday, January 10th, 2014

FIRE has recently been examining some of the best “green light” university policies here on The Torch, including policies regarding harassment and civility. The policies discussed in those entries, maintained by Mississippi State University and North Carolina State University, respectively, are ideal examples for other schools to follow in crafting their own policy. Today, we examine computer and Internet usage policies. 

Many universities maintain broad restrictions on students’ ability to express themselves online and over email. Frequently, this occurs because computer use and network use policies are issued by university IT departments with little to no oversight from university administrators who may have a better understanding of the need to protect students’ free speech rights. Whatever the reason, the result is that these policies frequently prohibit wide swaths of constitutionally protected speech, such as “sexually, ethnically, racially, or religiously offensive messages,” any and all “rude” expression, and discussion of “religious or political causes.” Indeed, one need look no further than January’s Speech Code of the Month, a policy maintained by the University of West Alabama that bans “harsh text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, ...

Mine, Not Thine: Somalia’s Al Shabaab Bans the Internet

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Somali rebel group (and US-designated terrorist organization) Al Shabaab has reportedly banned the use of the Internet through mobile handsets and fiber optic cables throughout Somalia, giving telecommunications companies 15 days to comply with the order.

Connectivity in Somalia is low, but growing: Fiber optics were introduced to the country last year, and 22.5 percent of the population has a mobile phone subscription. However, only 1.38 percent of the country's population uses the Internet, according to a 2012 statistic from the International Telecommunications Union.

Ironically, Al Shabaab has made prolific use of the Internet, sparking debate last year after emerging on Twitter. While Sen. Joseph Lieberman called for the group to be banned from the platform, EFF stood up for their right to tweet. The group was allowed to stay on for awhile, but ultimately banned after tweeting in support of the Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi this past September that killed 72 and injured hundreds. They nevertheless appear to have reemerged on the platform.

An authoritarian group using the Internet to spread propaganda while barring their citizens from the same access is no new thing: Iran's leaders enjoy engaging on Twitter while the platform remains banned in ...

Using Graphic Novels in Education: Squish

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Welcome to Using Graphic Novels in Education, an ongoing feature from CBLDF that is designed to allay confusion around the content of graphic novels and to help parents and teachers raise readers. In this column, we examine graphic novels, including those that have been targeted by censors, and provide teaching and discussion suggestions for the use of such books in classrooms.

covers

“Earth. Our planet hosts a rich diversity of life…from lush rain forests to dry deserts.
But underneath this world lies another one. A microscopic world.
This is the home of the amoeba…”
Jennifer and Matthew Holm, Squish (Random House), pp.7–9

So begins the adventures of the amoeba Squish and his friends, Pod and Peggy (an amoeba and a paramecium) in their microscopic world of Small Pond. In this column, we take a closer look at Squish, written by Jennifer and Matthew Holm, (Random House), providing teaching suggestions for the first four books in the series.

Squish1Squish is a comic book-loving, Twinkie-eating, blubbery, super-swell amoeba “kid” who wrestles with good and evil in life around him and learns about life’s responsibilities. He faces all sorts of challenges with his friends Pod, a nerdy, mooching amoeba who’s always ...

Why is this artist’s work “too controversial” for an art center exhibition?

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
LindaCunningham

Paul Carter/The Register-Guard

As a dues-paying member of the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, OR, Linda Cunningham prepared a piece of work for the monthly members’ show. The “pastoral” works of other members were accepted without incident, but Cunningham’s three-dimensional piece was deemed “too controversial” and rejected by the executive board of the Art Center, according to The Register-Guard

The piece conveys Cunningham’s response to recent school shootings, in particular the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT in December 2012. It features Dick-and-Jane-type illustrations and wording in a frame filled with used ammunition casings.

Though her first reaction was dismissal of the board’s action, now Cunningham is speaking out against the action of the board: “This is just plain censorship. At first I got mad, and then I tried to laugh it off. Then I thought, ‘Wait, this is important to me — this is censorship of my art.’”

Naturally, representatives of the art center do not feel the decision constitutes censorship (hint: they never do), saying instead that the exhibit “tries to steer away from controversy.” Case in point, the rest of the art is tame: “Everything else in this show is much more mild — very pastoral,” said ...

Chicago State Tries to Censor Faculty Blog … Again

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Last November, in a blatant attempt to censor faculty speech, Chicago State University’s (CSU’s) legal counsel sent a cease-and-desist letter to Professor Phillip Beverly, claiming that Beverly’s CSU Faculty Voice blog infringed on the school’s trademarks and created the false impression that the website reflected CSU’s views as an institution. We at FIRE shared the blog contributors’ views that the site, with its frank criticism of the school and its banner reading “Crony State University” and “Where we hire our friends,” was clearly not CSU’s institutional website. However, CSU renewed its objections last week in a second letter demanding that pictures of the campus and references to CSU be removed from the site.

Like CSU’s first letter, the second one does not pass the laugh test. Among CSU’s complaints are the allegation that the URL, csufacultyvoice.blogspot.com, was chosen to confuse readers into thinking that it was an official CSU site. Nevermind the fact that university websites have their own top-level domain suffix—.edu—distinct from the masses of blogspot.com web pages. Hilariously, the letter takes issue with the blog’s use of an image depicting some “widely recognized CSU hedges,” which CSU claims is part of the university’s “trade dress.” Trade dress—a ...

Do Kansas Regents’ New Social Media Restrictions Threaten Accreditation?

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Professor Susan Twombly, chairwoman of the University of Kansas’ (KU’s) Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, believes that the Kansas Board of Regents’ new social media restrictions on faculty threatened the accreditation of KU. Why? The Lawrence Journal-World (Kan.) reports:

Her concerns largely center on one of the criteria for accreditation through the HLC, which requires that the university be “committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning,” as stated in an HLC accreditation guide. Another component requires the university to establish and follow “fair and ethical policies for its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.”

For those not up on the lingo of higher ed accreditation, the HLC refers to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In the United States, universities (and even K–12 schools) are accredited by regional bodies that each cover several states, and the North Central Association is the one that covers Kansas. Virtually every college is accredited by a regional body (with some for-profit schools being exceptions). If your college is not accredited, the odds are very low that any other accredited college will accept a diploma or ...

FIRE’s Joe Cohn in ‘RealClearPolicy’: ‘A New Year for Student Rights’

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

2014 presents new opportunities for student rights advocates, argues FIRE’s Joe Cohn over at RealClearPolicy today.

After surveying 2013’s shocking rights violations on campus, Joe says that 2014 offers real promise: 

As legislatures reconvene in this new year, lawmakers will have more opportunities to tackle threats to campus rights. Congress, for example, will begin the process of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, which expired at the close of 2013. Hopefully, the new bill will include provisions to put an end to the type of rights abuses that are too common on our campuses.

Check out the full article over at RealClearPolicy.

Image: “White 2014 Sign” - Shutterstock

NY District Court Upholds Government’s Right to Search Laptops at the Border

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
PascalAbidor

Pascal Abidor
(Source: Huffington Post)

In 2010, a graduate student named Pascal Abidor was traveling from Canada to New York when he was removed from his train and detained by American border agents. In addition to being handcuffed and questioned, his laptop was also seized. Abidor brought suit on the grounds that the seizure of his laptop was an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Abidor, represented by an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union, was also joined by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Press Photographers Association as plaintiffs. In one of the last court decisions of 2013, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued its decision and upheld the government’s right to perform laptop searches at the border.

This decision is so crushing because the judge upheld the decision on multiple grounds. Judge Korman found that the plaintiffs actually did not have standing for their lawsuit because of how rare these types of searches are. The judge believed that these laptop border searches happen so infrequently that there is not a “substantial risk” of being subjected to one of these searches. Judge Korman explained :

“While ...

Convicted Ex-Vietnamese Shipping Firm Boss Drops Bombshell in Court

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The former head of a beleaguered Vietnamese state shipping company sentenced to death for corruption has dropped a bombshell at a court hearing, saying he paid bribes to top officials of the ruling Communist Party in a futile bid to avoid arrest and prosecution, according to state media Wednesday.

Duong Tri Dung's testimony that he paid U.S. $500,000 to Deputy Minister of Public Security Pham Quy Ngo and unknown amounts to other senior officials has triggered calls for a new probe following the near collapse of Vinalines under U.S. $3 billion of debt, the media reports said.

"I think they need to put the trial on hold and send the whole case to the prosecutors’ office to look into what Pham Quy Ngo said [on the issue]," a Vietnamese lawyer, Tran Vu Hai, told RFA's Vietnamese Service as he analyzed the media reports, which had described Dung's revelations as "shocking."

Dung made the charges in a Hanoi court during the trial of his brother Duong Tu Trong, a former senior police official in the northern port of Hai Phong, who was on Wednesday sentenced to 18 years in prison for aiding his escape.

The high-level bribery claims are surely to ...

Democracy Campaigners Propose Nomination System for Hong Kong Polls

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong proposed on Wednesday a system in which the people of Hong Kong and their elected political parties could nominate candidates for 2017 elections for the city's top leadership job an approach likely to be highly unpopular with Beijing.

The Alliance for True Democracy, an umbrella group comprising academics and 26 pro-democracy legislators and their parties, laid out details of a proposed three-tier nomination system, which has been among the most sensitive areas of debate surrounding the election process.

Under the system, a candidate can be nominated by either the endorsements of at least one percent of registered voters, by political parties who have won at least five percent of votes in the previous legislative election or directly by members of the Nominating Committee, which is heavily influenced by Beijing.

The move came just one week after thousands of people took to the streets to call for universal suffrage in the 2017 race for chief executive.

Currently, Hong Kong’s chief executive, who replaced the British-appointed colonial governor after the 1997 handover of sovereignty, is elected by a committee of 1,200, rather than by a direct vote.

"What we propose is a single, integrated proposal and ...

UN Rights Envoy to Visit Cambodia in Wake of Deadly Crackdown

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The U.N.’s human rights monitor for Cambodia is set to visit the country next week in the wake of a violent crackdown by security forces on workers’ strikes and opposition protests which the government has stoutly defended in the face of criticism from the world body.

The announcement of Special Rapporteur Surya Subedi’s trip came as the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) threatened to restart mass protests that have been halted since the bloody crackdown last week.

Police on Friday shot dead at least four people during a strike by garment factory workers in the outskirts of Phnom Penh and the next day, security forces violently dispersed supporters of the CNRP from Freedom Park in the capital.

The CNRP had been holding daily protests at the park calling for Prime Minister Hun Sen to resign and hold new elections following July polls which had been tainted by allegations of fraud and other irregularities.

The opposition protests that drew tens of thousands to the streets have posed a major challenge to the government alongside strikes by garment and footwear workers demanding a higher minimum salary.

Subedi’s visit will be his first since before the July elections, in which Hun Sen ...

Court’s Decision Is A Setback, But Not the Final Word, In The Fight Against Secret Law

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

While 2013 was a banner year in the fight against secret surveillance law, the fight in 2014 got off to an unfortunate start. Last Friday, in a case brought by EFF, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. ruled (pdf) that the Department of Justice could withhold from the public a secret legal opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

EFF sought the disclosure of the OLC opinion because it purportedly allows the FBI to access the private call records of phone company subscribers without providing any legal process, in spite of federal laws to the contrary.     

In an editorial published today, the New York Times lamented the Court’s decision, noting:

Withholding the opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal advice to the president and executive agencies, is deeply troubling. The office’s advice often serves as the final word on what the executive branch may legally do, and those who follow that advice are virtually assured that they will not face prosecution.

Over the past decade, OLC opinions have provided the legal basis for some of the federal government’s most controversial (and, ultimately, illegal) practices: torture, warrantless wiretapping, and ...

UCLA Report Suggests Chilling Speech Is the Answer to Offensive ‘Microaggressions’

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Last November, 25 students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) staged a demonstration during a class taught by Professor Val Rust. The protesting students claim Rust contributed to an environment that is hostile to students of color through “microaggressions.” According to researchers who studied the racial climate at the University of California, microaggressions (PDF) are “subtle verbal and nonverbal insults directed toward non-Whites, often done automatically and unconsciously” that can, in the aggregate, negatively affect those who receive them. 

Microaggressions that consist only of speech or expression are protected by the First Amendment unless they also fall into one of the few and narrowly-defined categories of unprotected speech, like true threats or incitement to imminent lawless action. (Since microaggressions are “subtle verbal and nonverbal insults” that are often “done automatically and unconsciously,” this is unlikely.) But the demonstration at UCLA and an investigative report on bias and discrimination at UCLA published in October indicate that microaggressions could be a coming justification for censorship on campus.

During the demonstration at UCLA, students shared their experiences of racial hostility at the school, and a letter co-written by several of the students expressed concern for the safety of students of color. ...

‘Nature News’ Evaluates the Costs and Benefits of Campus Threat Assessment Teams

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Recently, Brendan Maher, an editor for Nature News, interviewed me to get a civil libertarian’s perspective on the growing use of threat assessment teams on college campuses nationwide—a topic I have written about previously. Today, his comprehensive piece, which provides a fair analysis of both the costs and benefits of this new practice, has been published online. Here is what I had to say in the piece:

There are costs to all this watchfulness, however, says Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for [FIRE]. “It's not unusual for universities to engage in behaviours that chill freedom of speech in the name of safety,” he says. He cites recent examples in which a student was expelled for protesting over the construction of a parking garage and a professor was reported to a threat-assessment team for hanging posters with aggressive messages outside his office. He urges teams to include civil libertarians to better ensure that universities do not encroach on people's rights.

Please read the full article in Nature News. For more of my thoughts on how universities are encroaching on students’ privacy interests, you can also check out my recent blog about Yale University’s policy permitting the school ...

Utah Librarian To Receive Downs Intellectual Freedom Award

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

DaNae LeuIn January 2013, a months-long dispute over Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House was finally resolved when the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, returned the picture book to open library shelves. Since April 2012, the book about a lesbian couple and their children had been kept behind the library counter, rather like a controlled substance, and only checked out to students who had parental permission to read it. Now, a school librarian who helped bring media attention to the case and fought to return the book to its rightful place will be honored with a major annual award. Windridge Elementary librarian DaNae Leu will receive the 2013 Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference on January 25.

The purpose of the Downs Award, presented by the faculty of the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science in partnership with publishing imprint Libraries Unlimited, is to “acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas.” (Not to brag or anything, but CBLDF was the 2010 recipient.) A GSLIS press release highlights Leu’s ...

BOOM! Studios Welcomes 2014 as CBLDF’s Newest Corporate Member!

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
boom logoThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) announced today that BOOM! Studios has joined the organization as their newest corporate member!

BOOM! Studios Founder & Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie says, “The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a vital champion for the rights we as publishers, and our retailer partners depend upon to do business. We have always believed that their work helps make it possible for the direct market to support the diversity of content we’re able to publish, and we’re pleased to make a meaningful impact in their important work with this support.”

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “BOOM! Studios has distinguished itself for its commitment to the direct market by publishing one of the fastest rising and diverse publishing lines in comics. As CBLDF’s latest corporate member, they are taking a leadership position in helping us protect the freedom to read comics. We’re thrilled to have them aboard.”

BOOM! Studios joins industry leaders Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Dark Horse, DC Entertainment, Discount Comic Book Service, Diamond Comic Distributors, IDW Publishing , Image Comics, Random House, Valiant, and TFAW.com as Corporate Members in supporting CBLDF’s important work protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics art ...