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FEPP provides news briefs explaining developments in free expression cases and controversies:

Social Media Censorship
(November 19, 2015) - offers information and help to people whose postings have been taken down by social media sites.

The Settlement in Steven Salaita's Case
(September 13, 2015) - Victory or defeat for free speech?

Federal Court Denies U. of Illinois Motion to Dismiss Salaita's Lawsuit
(August 7, 2015) - Judge rejects university's argument that there was no contract and that it didn't violate Prof. Salaita's First Amendment rights.

Koch Foundation Buys Academic Slots
(November 13, 2014) - The Charles Koch Foundation's massive funding of university programs and professors comes with big ideological strings attached.

Harvard Law Review Censors Link to Nan Goldin Photograph
(June 26, 2014) - And in a forum celebrating free expression, no less.

Academic Freedom or Harassment?
(April 14, 2013) - Appalachian State University has punished a professor for showing an anti-pornography film in class.

FCC Proposes Easing Up on Censorship of "Indecency"
(April 12, 2013) - After years of controversy and litigation, the agency seems poised to abandon its rule on "fleeting expletives" and return to square one.

AAUP Challenges Yale
(December 6, 2012) -In an open letter to the Yale University community, the American Association of University Professors asks 16 questions about academic freedom, discrimination, and working conditions on its planned new campus in the repressive city-state of Singapore.

Battles Continue Over Internet Filters
(November 11, 2012) - Two recent court cases have challenged discriminatory blocking of web sites that support gay and lesbian rights and that provide information on nonmainstream religions.

Justices Are Split on Broadcast "Indecency"
(January 11, 2012) - Only two justices at the January 10 Supreme Court argument expressed First Amendment concerns about the FCC's vague and shifting standards.

Court Strikes Down Penalty for "Nipplegate"
(November 2, 2011) - The decision represents one more judicial rejection of the FCC’s dramatic escalation, in recent years, in the censorship of programming it perceives as “indecent.”

Shrinking the Public Domain: the Supreme Court Revisits Copyright Law
(October 24, 2011) - The October 5 oral argument in Golan v. Holder gave few clues to the outcome of the case, except that it will not be unanimous.

Back to the Past: the Government's Strategy in the "Fleeting Expletives" Case
(September 19, 2011) - The government's recently filed brief tries to dissuade the Supreme Court from considering the vagueness of the FCC's definition of "indecency" or the chilling effect of its censorship regime.

FCC Censorship of "indecency" is Unconstitutional
(July 13, 2010) - Three judges have finally struck down the "fleeting expletives" rule.

Banning Political Speech in the Name of Fighting Terrorism
(June 22, 2010) - The Supreme Court has upheld a law that some consider the most significant repression of political speech in recent memory.

Justices Strike Down Animal Cruelty Censorship Law
(April 10, 2010) - In a rare display of near-unanimity, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that attempted to create a broad new exception to the First Amendment for depictions of “animal cruelty.”

Sarcasm Reigns as Court Revisits the FCC's "Fleeting Expletives" Rule (January 13, 2010) - Three Court of Appeals judges subjected the Federal Communications Commission to a barrage of withering sarcasm during oral argument in round 3 of Fox Television v. FCC.

Can the Government Ban Political Speech in the Name of Fighting Terrorism?
(December 10, 2009) - In February 2110, the Supreme Court will hear argument in what is probably the most significant case about government repression of political speech in recent memory.

Justices Are Skeptical of a Law Criminalizing Pictures of Cruelty to Animals
(October 7, 2009) - What about cockfights? Bullfights? Hunting? Stuffing geese to make foie gras? The examples are not far-fetched in the case of U.S. v. Stevens.

Fleeting Expletives Redux: Court of Appeals Sets New Briefing Schedule
(August 4, 2009) -The Court of Appeals has set a new briefing schedule in the case challenging the FCC's rule against "fleeting expletives." Will this finally lead to the end of government censorship of the airwaves?

Will the Supreme Court Create a New Exception to the First Amendment?
(May 6, 2009) - The case the Court has agreed to review concerns an odd law criminalizing "depictions of animal cruelty," but the case has big implications for free speech.

Supreme Court Will Review "Fleeting Expletives" Case
(March 13, 2008) - A showdown is looming over FCC censorship of "indecency" on the airwaves.

The Harry Potter Lexicon Goes to Court
(March 8, 2008) - J.K. Rowling claims copyright infringement while the Lexicon publisher argues fair use. A federal judge will soon decide.

Protecting "PEG" Access
(January 16, 2008) - A federal court stops Comcast's plan to exile public access channels to cable Siberia - at least for now.

Can Music Companies Circumvent the "First Sale" Rule?
(October 8, 2007) - A music company is suing to stop an eBay entrepreneur from selling "promo CDs" - even though the first sale rule prevents copyright owners from restricting the future distribution of their works.

A Proposal to Police "Morality" in Domain Names
(August 24, 2007) - ICANN is considering a plan to ban any "generic top-level" domain names that "undermine religious, family or social values."

A Huge Victory for Free Speech on the Airwaves
(June 4, 2007) - The U.S. Court of Appeals has invalidated the FCC's ban on "fleeting expletives," and in the process, cast doubt on the constitutionality of the entire "indecency" censorship regime.

"COPA" is Struck Down Again
(March 23, 2007) - A federal court's March 22 decision touts Internet filters as more effective than a criminal law in barring minors from sexual speech.

Confusion Reigns At "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" Argument
(March 21, 2007) - Justice David Souter seemed outnumbered at the Supreme Court argument on March 19 in Morse v. Frederick, the most important student free speech case to reach the Court in 20 years.

"Reclaiming the First Amendment"
(Jan. 22, 2007) - A conference sponsored by the Brennan Center and Hofstra Law School explored the viability of a "right of access" along with other reforms that might help democratize the mass media.

Federal Judges Have Hard Questions for FCC Censors
(Dec. 20, 2006) - At oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals, the FCC's lawyer struggled to defend the agency's rules banning "profanity" and "fleeting expletives" on the airwaves.

First Post-CIPA Lawsuit Filed
(Nov. 21, 2006) - The ACLU of Washington has sued a library district for refusing to dismantle Internet filters.

FCC Faces Judicial Challenges to Its Indecency Regime
(Sept. 29, 2006) - Two federal courts are poised to decide whether "fleeting expletives" or "wardrobe malfunctions" can be banned from radio and television.

You Can Play Fantasy Baseball, But Can You Google It?
(August 16, 2006) - Two current "intellectual property" disputes threaten our favorite sit-down sports.

The Joyce Saga: Literary Heirs & Copyright Abuse
(June 15, 2006) - A new lawsuit challenges Stephen Joyce's efforts to control what is said about the Joyce family and the literary works of his famous grandfather.

"Patriot" Act Reforms Are Defeated
(March 17, 2006)
- Despite passionate opposition, the most controversial provisions of the "USA Patriot" Act were renewed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush.

A Big Step on Orphan Works
(February 9, 2006) - The U.S. Copyright Office is recommending new legislation to encourage distribution and use of works often hidden from public view.

New Reports on the Dangers of Our Clearance Culture
(November 22, 2005) - A filmmakers' "Statement of Best Practices" and a study of flawed "take-down" notices from copyright owners highlight the need for change.

A Tone-Deaf Approach to Music Sampling
(June 3, 2005) - The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has again ruled that the "de minimis" rule doesn't apply to sound recordings.

For FEPP News in 2000-2004, go to the Archives Page.


The Free Expression Policy Project began in 2000 as a project of the National Coalition Against Censorship, to provide empirical research and policy development on tough censorship issues and seek free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns. In 2004-2007, it was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Past funders have included the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Open Society Institute, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

All material on this site is covered by a Creative Commons "Attribution - No Derivs - NonCommercial" license. (See You may copy it in its entirely as long as you credit the Free Expression Policy Project and provide a link to the Project's Web site. You may not edit or revise it, or copy portions, without permission (except, of course, for fair use). Please let us know if you reprint!