ALA Legal Goons Bring Hammer Down on LITA-L

If you don't read LITA-L you've been missing out on some classic legal decisions. On Wednesday 2 list members posted links to pages about Lawrence Lessig running for congress under the subject "Lawrence Lessig for Congress?" One was Lessig's campaign page, the other, a pointer to the Facebook group "Draft Lessig for Congress." There were no follow-up messages, there was no discussion, nothing more than 2 list members pointing to a few web sites under a subject that ended with a question mark. 7 hours later, LITA-L readers were told to:

"discontinue this discussion. Our legal counsel has advised that "the Internal Revenue Code prohibits ALA from supporting or opposing a candidate for public office. Treasury regulations define the phrase "candidate for public office" as meaning "an individual who offers himself, or is proposed by others, as a contestant for elective public office.""

Most surprising, this message closed with this warning:

"I will be removing all messages on this topic from LITA-L. Please do not continue this discussion."

By now you're probably thinking of all the lawyer jokes you know, but don't finish that thought! The punch line came yesterday afternoon:

"And then in today's American Libraries Direct, which is surely more directly connected to ALA as an organization than lita-l, we see a similarly informational blurb, "Lessig considers a run for Congress"
(linking to a C|Net article and also to his blog). Presumably, AL Direct thought that this was news of interest to its readers (and they're probably right), given Lessig's deep involvement in scholarly communication issues."

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