October 8, 2015

University Presses, Booksellers File Briefs Opposing Patriot Act

By LJ Staff

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) and other publishing industry groups have joined with librarians and free-speech groups in filing amicus briefs supporting the suit, MCA v. Ashcroft, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of six Michigan-based groups challenging the constitutionality of section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. That provision gives the FBI access to bookstore or library records without a warrant, subpoena, or probable cause. In addition to the AAUP, industry groups signing the amicus brief include the Association of American Publishers, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. The brief comes in response to a U.S. Justice Department motion seeking to dismiss the ACLU case. “The right to engage in expressive activities without revealing one’s identity to the government or the public at large is critical to the protection of First Amendment rights,” states the brief.

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