FEPP Archives - Commentaries
Banning in the 21st Century: What's at Stake in the CIPA Case
(March 20, 2002; updated May 31, 2002, June 23, 2003) - The "Children's
Internet Protection Act" - or CIPA - mandates that all public schools
and libraries using federal funds for Internet use or connections must
install a filtering system. Given the well-documented fact that all Internet
filters mistakenly block thousands of sites that don't even have sexual
content, CIPA poses a major threat to intellectual freedom, and indeed,
to the very function of libraries.
Children's Hearts, Minds, and Libidos: What's at Stake in the COPA Case
(April 18, 2002) - Salon.com and the Kama Sutra screen saver were
just a few of the sites threatened with censorship as the Supreme Court
prepared to rule in Ashcroft vs. ACLU.
Free Expression Network: The Making of a Movement
(May 22, 2002) - A Report on the May 3, 2002 Colloquium, "Strategies
for Advancing the Free Expression Rights of Youth."
Delicate Balance Between Copyright and Free Expression
(June 3, 2002) - How a battle over the public domain became a major Supreme
Court free expression case.
Next Frontier: "Intellectual Property" and Intellectual Freedom
(October 2002) - FEPP Director Marjorie Heins's Julie M. Boucher Memorial
Lecture to the Colorado Association of Libraries, outlining threats to
art and culture posed by current copyright law.
Miracle: Film Censorship and the Entanglement
of Church and State
(October 2002) - How the Catholic Church pressured New York State into
banning a short Italian film in 1951, leading to a major Supreme Court
case and reflecting church-state problems that plague American politics
to this day.
Censorship and Media Democracy: A Report on the ACME Summit
(November 2002) - Stephanie Elizondo Griest describes this major meeting
of media democracy and media literacy activists in October 2002, and on
the ways that consolidation in the media industry threatens free expression.
on Trial: The Story of 3 Landmark Censorship
(Winter 2002) - The trial that freed James Joyce's Ulysses; the
case that broke the Catholic Church stranglehold over American movies;
and the McCarthy Era case that ended teachers' loyalty oaths.
Frozen Public Domain
(January 17, 2003) - The Supreme Court's January 15, 2003 decision upholding
the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was a disappointment for those
who believe in a vibrant public domain.
Strange Case of Sarah Jones
(January 24, 2003; updated February 20, 2003) - Where does the federal
government get the power to ban a feminist rap poem?
on Fire: Book Censorship in America Today
(March 13, 2003) - At the opening of Boston's Words on Fire festival commemorating
the 70th anniversary of the first Nazi book burnings, a survey of book
censorship in America today.
Impact of the USA PATRIOT Act on Free Expression
(May 5, 2003) - FEPP Senior Research Fellow Nancy Kranich surveys the
chilling effects of the government's broad, new, secret surveillance powers.
the Irrationality of Internet Filters, the Supreme Court Upholds CIPA
(June 24, 2003) - The Supreme Court's decision allowing Congress to mandate
Internet filters in public libraries as a condition of federal aid ignores
or understates the massive censorious effects of filters. In many ways,
they are more insidious than flat bans on "indecent" speech.
Than Seven Dirty Words
(August 4, 2003) - The FCC's threat to revoke broadcast licenses because
of vulgar radio content focuses on a truly gross call-in show describing
such bizarre sexual practices as "the Rusty Trombone," but the
broader issue is the unconstitutionality of the agency's vague "indecency"
Government Report is a Sales Pitch for Internet Filters
(August 20, 2003) - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's
flawed new report naively accepts the claims of filter manufacturers.
on the Perils of the "USA PATRIOT Act"
(August 27, 2003) - An update from Senior Research Fellow Nancy Kranich
on the chilling effects of the government's new surveillance powers.
and the New Surveillance States
(October 16, 2003) - Senior Research Fellow Nancy Kranich describes
the perils of our newest data-mining technology.
Crumbling Wall of Church-State Separation
(October 29, 2003) - Why the Pledge of Allegiance case is not the most
important church-state issue before the Supreme Court in the 2003 term.
Media Democracy Movement Goes to Madison
(November 14, 2003) - A report from the front lines on the movement for
media reform, diversity, and an end to corporate domination of public
(November 21, 2003) - Why did two media violence researchers back out
of their scheduled appearance at the FTC?
is the Fuss About Janet Jackson's Breast?
(February 3, 2004) - How do mini-culture wars get started, when there
are so many more pressing issues on the public-policy agenda?
and Corporate Censorship
(May 21, 2004) - What's the real problem with the Walt
Disney Company's refusal to distribute Michael Moore's film, Fahrenheit
Right Result; the Wrong Reason
(July 1, 2004) - In ruling that Internet filters are a "less restrictive
alternative" to COPA, a criminal law restricting sexual material online,
the Supreme Court endorsed a technology with the potential for far greater
Free Expression Issues
(September 10, 2004) - How the copyright system, media regulation, and
government funding affect free speech.
the Copyright Balance
(September 21, 2004) - A new court decision outlaws rap music's unauthorized
sampling of even one chord from another sound recording.
Attack on Science
(December 7, 2004) - From environmental hazards to sex
education, the federal government in the past several years has been twisting
science to political ends.