The kickstarter-funded doc. reminds us all free speech protections are shallow when the subjective view of the few is brought to bear on the many.
A California government official removed an artwork from a public building because he determined that it was "obscene." The First Amendment exists to prevent this kind of thing, and the piece is back up.
Edward de Grazia, a lawyer, professor, playwright and staunch defender of free speech died on April 11 at the age of 86. de Grazia represented famed banned writers Arthur Miller, William S. Burroughs, and Normal Mailer among others and served as counsel on important cases which ultimately led the Supreme Court to loosen restrictions on obscenity. The obscene, Mr. de Grazia [...]
Last Monday the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to strike down a California law that banned the selling of violent video games to minors. The Supreme Court ruled that video games are allowed the same protection under the first amendment as books, plays, and movies. The ruling also distinguished the California statute from the Ginsburg vs. New York decision, in which [...]
Censorship incidents on the web are more and more common, but it's still rare when they happen to an anti-censorship organization like the NCAC. Network Solutions, a company providing web services, has threatened to remove TheFileroom.org, an interactive archive of worldwide censorship cases administered by the National Coalition Against Censorship, unless a photograph of two naked children by Nan Goldin, [...]
Beat-icon Allen Ginsberg is getting a resurgence of attention, 13 years after his death at the age of 70. A movie based on the story behind Ginsberg's signature poem, HOWL, opens this Friday, September 24. It stars James Franco as the young poet embroiled in a 1957 obscenity trial over the poem, which ended in a landmark win for free [...]
John Stagliano had his case thrown out by Judge Richard Leon early this week. Rather than having been found not guilty based on the First Amendment, it was thrown out because the prosecution bungled their case, and the judge determined that not enough evidence was given to prove that Stagliano was involved with Evil Angel Productions. The counsel for the [...]
Massachusetts has become the latest state to try to try to protect minors from sexual content online at the expense of First Amendment rights. Like many states, Massachusetts has long had laws on the books making it a crime to provide minors with material deemed “harmful to minors.” But the law did not extend to electronic communications. Concerns about minors [...]
The Rancocas Valley School Board in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, chose to remove one of the three challenged books at its meeting on May 4. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology and two other books were challenged because they appear on a list of books on GLBTQ themes created by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The objectors [...]
Mothers International Lactation Campaign (MILC) protested in front of Facebook headquarters after photos of mothers breastfeeding their children were removed from Facebook. Facebook said the images violated the terms of agreement (see also: Lori Drew). Heather Farley, a protest organizer, responded that Utah state law, for example, doesn't consider breastfeeding obscene and that Facebook should change its policy to allow [...]
Following Barney Rosset's National Book Award in November (and NCAC's honoring Rosset as a Free Speech Defender), Newsweek has published a long piece on Rosset, his work and his role in bringing new literature and thought to the American conversation. An excerpt: Before Rosset challenged federal and state obscenity laws, censorship (and self-censorship) was an accepted feature of publishing. His [...]