US Censorship News

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 Update: Unconstitutional censorship...

Utah tries to defend its law that allowed it to ban a cinema from showing Deadpool


Link Here 22nd March 2017
Deadpool DVD The state of Utah has enacted a censorial local law banning cinemas that sell alcohol from screening R rated movies. And indeed state officials tried to ban such a cinema from showing Deadpool.

This resulted in a challenge to the Utah ordinance on the grounds that censorship is unconstitutional. Utah officials are now trying to get that legal challenge quashed. They are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over liquor and Deadpool , claiming it is somehow not suppressing First Amendment-protected ideas or expression.

The Utah Attorney General's Office argues the law should remain in place because it reduces adverse secondary effects. It claims that:

Judicial opinions and alcohol experts confirm what is commonly known: that combining alcohol and sexual content is an 'explosive combination,' that can lead to sexual aggression and sexual violence, increased drinking, and reported and unreported crime.

The Statute's purpose and effect are to reduce these adverse secondary effects that result from combining alcohol and sexually explicit images.

The state argues that Brewvies' First Amendment free expression rights are only slightly inconvenienced by the law saying:

Plaintiff is free to show whatever sexually explicit R-rated films it chooses, so long as it does not serve alcohol at the same time, and individuals can see the same movies at other theaters. Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to serve beer while showing movies.

 

  Political book censorship...

Threats of a boycott result in book publisher reneging on deal to publish Dangerous by Milo Yiannopoulos


Link Here 23rd February 2017
milo yiannopoulos dangerousBook publisher Simon & Schuster has announced that it has pulled out of its contract to publish Dangerous , a book by Milo Yiannopoulos, a notable figure form America's Alt-Right movement. The company said in a statement that:

After careful consideration, Simon & Schuster and its Threshold Editions imprint have cancelled publication.

According to the New York Times, Yiannopoulos will seek another publisher. His agent is quoted as saying that 50,000 copies of Dangerous have been pre-sold.

Simon & Schuster had been put under pressure for its decision to publish Yiannopoulos. The Chicago Review of Books protested the signing by announcing that it would not review any Simon & Schuster books for the next year, and The Booksmith in San Francisco declared that it would cut its purchases of Simon & Schuster titles by 50% and contribute the profits from the sale of the publisher's other books to the ACLU. One hundred and sixty Simon & Schuster children's authors and illustrators protested in a letter to company CEO Carolyn Reidy about the book's acquisition.

The American Booksellers Association joined a statement by the National Coalition Against Censorship that opposed a boycott of Simon & Schuster. While acknowledging that boycotts are a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment, the statement warned that efforts to damage a publisher with economic sanctions could have a chilling effect, limiting its ability to publish controversial works. The statement was also signed by the Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

 

  In the age of political correctness...

Judge indicates that a Californian law banning IMDb from publishing birthdates is likely to prove uncontitutional


Link Here 23rd February 2017

doj logoA politically correct Californian law targeting age discrimination has failed to win the immediate approval of a judge. The law requires date of births or age to be withheld from documents and publications used for job recruitment. One high profile consequence is that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) would be banned from including age information in the profiles of stars and crew. This has led to the challenge of the law on grounds of unconstitutional censorship.

This week's ruling does not look good for the Californian law as the judge decided that birthday prohibition shall not apply until the full legal challenge is decided. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled:

[I]t's difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment. The statute prevents IMDb from publishing factual information (information about the ages of people in the entertainment industry) on its website for public consumption. This is a restriction of non-commercial speech on the basis of content.

To be sure, the government has identified a compelling goal -- preventing age discrimination in Hollywood. But the government has not shown how AB 1687 is 'necessary' to advance that goal. In fact, it's not clear how preventing one mere website from publishing age information could meaningfully combat discrimination at all. And even if restricting publication on this one website could confer some marginal antidiscrimination benefit, there are likely more direct, more effective, and less speech-restrictive ways of achieving the same end.

Chhabria held that -- because the law restricts IMDb's speech rights -- the site is suffering irreparable harm and enjoined the government from enforcing the law pending the resolution of this lawsuit.