Censorship

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web

Vint Cerf: SOPA means 'unprecedented censorship' of the Web
Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who's known as one of the fathers of the Internet for his work on TCP/IP, is the latest technologist to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Cerf, a onetime DARPA program manager who went on to receive the Turing Award, sent a letter yesterday warning of the dangers of SOPA to its author, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The House Judiciary chairman, also Hollywood's favorite House Republican, has scheduled discussion of the bill to resume at 7a.m. PT today.

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects.

Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

Free Speech Matters: Anti-Censorship Video from Leading Contemporary Authors

From Penguin via GalleyCat:

Stick around for the final commentary from author Heather Brewer about how a librarian changed her life.

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

Portsmouth to overturn 80 year book ban

It will be 200 years since Charles Dickens birth next year, but this week the city of Portsmouth will pardon author Carl Roberts for his book 'This Side Idolatry' which was banned from Portsmouth libraries for its criticism of the Dickens.

Ross Solly spoke to Dom Kippin, Literature Development Officer, from the Portsmouth City Council about the book on 666 ABC Canberra Breakfast.

Do Salt Lake City Librarians Have a Censorship Problem?

Salt Lake City Library employees say the latest chapter on staff turmoil is rich with irony: a clampdown on free speech inside the very institution that celebrates the principle.

A just-launched crackdown on any opinionated email — and on criticism of management expressed via social media — has some veteran librarians fearing for their jobs and a chorus of others crying censorship.

Even Friends of the Library members are openly questioning the library’s direction and its “chronic problems.”

The uproar started last week after the human resources manager unveiled new guidelines for all-staff email. It is only appropriate, Shelly Chapman wrote, to send pertinent, work-related information such as available shifts and job announcements. “It was also determined,” Chapman wrote, “that employees would not use all-staff email to voice opinions or express concerns.”

“Appropriate” all-staff email must be reviewed by two staffers before sending, the edict reads. And “any other” all-staff email must be approved by the employee’s manager.

That prompted veteran librarian Ranae Pierce — via an all-staff email — to point out the irony of the rule, given the library’s free-speech mission. Story from the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Alabama Inmate Sues to Read Southern History Book

From The New York Times

A convict’s lawsuit says he was told by a prison official that an award-winning book about the heinous treatment of black prisoners after the Civil War was “too incendiary” for him to read.

http://nyti.ms/n2kjCL

Banned Book Week is A-Comin'

For Banned Books Week, which will be held September 24-October 1 this year, readers, booksellers and librarians around the world can participate by posting videos of themselves reading from their favorite banned books on a special YouTube channel. Excerpts may be up to two minutes long, and people who talk about battles defending banned or challenged books make speak for up to three minutes.

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is encouraging booksellers to film their customers as part of this effort and will provide instruction on how to create the videos. Booksellers can send the videos to ABBFE, which will edit them, add store names and logos and post them. The videos will be tagged so that stores can put them on their websites, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

ABFFE is also helping booksellers participate in more traditional ways: its Banned Books Week handbook offers tips on promotions, including making displays, as well as listing posters that can be downloaded and reproduced at copy shops. The American Library Association has promotional information, too.

"Banned Books B.S."

Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, has some harsh words for Banned Books Week and for the American Library Association itself too.

(h/t)

Making Room for Readers

From The Millions, an excellent article by Steve Himmer:

One recent morning, my almost four year old daughter started crying out of the blue. I asked her what was wrong, and she wailed, “I don’t have a library card!” So with a proud paternal bibliophile’s heart swollen in my chest, I strapped her into her car seat and we set off for the library in search of a library card and — at her request — in search of Tintin books like those I’d told her were my favorite stories at the library when I was young.

We went first to the branch library in our end of town, a small, round building with walls almost entirely of glass. All those windows, and the books behind them, make it look pretty inviting, and we parked our car in the lot and I held my daughter’s hand as she skipped to the door, bubbling over with excitement. Unfortunately, it was closed; I’d known municipal budget cuts had reduced the hours of all library branches, but I’d thought that only meant it was closed on Fridays. Instead, it meant this branch — and all others, apart from the main library downtown — were open only a couple of hours four afternoons through the week. No mornings, no evenings, no weekends. -- Read More

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