Banned Books Week starts today!

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

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Don’t pay attention to the flier – Banned Books Week starts today and runs through October 6th this year! I used an older graphic because, hello!, His Dark Materials. MY FAVORITE!

From the ALA’s website:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning.

Banned Books Week 2012 marks its 30th anniversary (see timeline). Thousands of individuals and institutions across the United States participate in Banned Books Week each year, and it has grown into a premier literary event and a national awareness and advocacy campaign around censorship. In honor of the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, the Office for Intellectual Freedom delivers the 50 State Salute to Banned Books Week in coordination with ALA Chapters. The 50 State Salute consists of videos on how each state celebrates the freedom to read. For more information on how your organization can participate, please visit the 50 State Salute page. And for the second year in a row, we are cosponsoring the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out, where readers can declare their freedom to read by uploading videos of themselves reading from their favorite banned/challenged books. The critieria and video submission information has been updated. Please check out the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out page for more information.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Don’t be shy, people! Take a quick (no more than two minutes) video of you or your BFF reading from your favorite banned or challenged book to be a part of the virtual read-out.

I’ll show you my book pile if you show me yours.

The plot thickens…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Earlier this week, I mentioned in passing that the Anna Nicole Smith anti-fur PSA that I’d favorited on You Tube had been inexplicably removed, and the uploader’s account suspended. Additionally, You Tube also appears to have an issue with atheists; Nick Gisburne, for example, is one in a long line of heathens to have their accounts suspended by You Tube. In this case, Nick’s reading of select (violent) passages of the Koran, sans commentary, seems to have offended You Tube’s delicate sensibilities. So I guess they no likey likey atheists or animal rightists. (My oh my, I wonder how they’d feel about yours truly, then? )

Now, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

As an RIAA spokesperson famously put it when asked about the spectacle of file-sharing lawsuits against innocent grandparents, “when you go fishing with a driftnet, sometimes you catch a dolphin.”

Well, with its 100,000 DMCA takedown notices aimed at YouTube users, now it’s Viacom that is netting its share of dolphins. Among the 100,000 videos targeted for takedowns was a home movie shot in a BBQ joint, a film trailer by a documentarian, and a music video (previously here) about karaoke in Singapore. None of these contained anything owned by Viacom. For its part, Viacom has admitted to “no more than” 60 mistakes, so far. Yet each mistake impacts free speech, both of the author of the video and of the viewing public.

If they are making these kinds of blatant mistakes, who can tell how many fair uses of Viacom content they also targeted in their 100,000 takedowns? Hundreds? Thousands? If Viacom made a clear mistake and your clip contains no content from Viacom-owned copyrighted works, sending a simple DMCA counter-notice to YouTube may be enough to do the job. But if you’re attempting to make a fair use of Viacom’s works, it may make more sense to go to court to assert your rights. More information about your options is available at the Fair Use Network.

Has your video been removed from YouTube based on a bogus Viacom takedown? If so, contact information [at] eff.org — we may be able to help you directly or help find another lawyer who can. In this situation, as in so many others, EFF will work to make sure that copyright claims don’t squelch free speech.

Quite fittingly, the EFF recorded their call and uploaded it to You Tube:

Spread the word.

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