Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo [New York Times]
“The decision by PEN American Center to give its annual Freedom of Expression Courage award to the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has prompted six writers to withdraw as literary hosts at the group’s annual gala on May 5, adding a new twist to the continuing debate over the publication’s status as a martyr for free speech. The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi have withdrawn from the gala, at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.”[more inside]
Mangling an author's text is a clear violation of the author's Moral rights, an element of copyright which is very weak in the United States and very strong elsewhere (primarily in civil law jurisdictions). (The moral right is the right of an author to be identified as the creator of a work, and for the work represented as their creation to be unaltered by other hands, so that the relationship between creator and created work is clear.)Charlie Stross and Cory Doctorow argue about the legality if not morality/desirability of the Clean Reader app, that strips swearwords from ebooks.
The doctrine of Moral Rights varies from territory to territory, but it's a heck of a stretch to extend it to this activity. It's one thing for a publisher or retailer to send out copies of your books in which words are changed around without your permission. It's another thing altogether for the reader themself to decide to read their legally acquired books in such a way as to change the text.
UK should consider ban on Mein Kampf, says Scottish Labour MP [The Guardian]
Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day, Scottish Labour MP Thomas Docherty has written to culture secretary urging a ‘sensitive debate’ on allowing its sale.
“The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups,” writes Niamh McIntyre on a proposed, protested, and then cancelled debate on abortion organized by Oxford Students for Life. The Oxford abortion controversy, argues Lizzie Crocker, is the latest example of an increasingly common instinct among certain feminists to argue that certain subjects and certain arguments are either off limits or simply not up for debate.
In the wake of a questionable article about feminist programming languages, a group of trolls leapt on the idea to create a parodic implementation. GitHub promptly removed the code repository, as did BitBucket, but the latter restored it amid the controversy. More commentary from Slashdot and Twitter.
Defense Distributed, creators of the controversial printable AR-15 receiver, have now released CAD files and video of the first firing of the Liberator, a real plastic pistol capable of firing between one and 10 .380 calibre rounds before exploding. [more inside]
The Delete Squad: Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
The Complaints Choir phenomenon, started by the Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, has spread all over the world since last we paid it any attention, from Birmingham to Helsinki, Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Poikkilaakso, Bodø, Penn State, Canada, Juneau, Gabriola Island, Sointula, Jerusalem, Melbourne, Budapest, Malmö, Chicago, Florence, Copenhagen, Vancouver (2), Philadelphia, Sundbyberg, Milano, Åland, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam, Basel, Umeå, Ljubljana, Gdansk, Arizona State University, Washington, DC, Horace Mann School, Durham-Chapel Hill, Auckland, Toronto theatre students, Kortrijk, Cairo (2), St. Pölten, Maribor, Port Coquitlam, Ústí nad Labem, Columbus & Kauhajoki (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). For more information, including a 9 step guide to forming your own complaints choir, go to the Complaints Choir website. Finally, here's the Singapore Complaints Choir, whose performance was banned by the Singapore government.
Al Jazeera English's "Listening Post" on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a proposal that could turn Iceland into a "journalism haven."
Whu? Bill O'Reilly does a respectably good interview with... Marilyn Manson! This is surprising on so many levels. And the content, superb. Well worth the viewing. [video link] via Cyberdork via Reddit
Poetry isn't free speech for these students. Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated because he refused to censor a student's poetry that was "un-American."
Free Speech Button Police -- Chicago-area schools debate ban on teachers wearing "No War" buttons vs. the ubiquitous flag lapel pins. What are the limits to teachers' political fashion statements -- are students a captive audience? More inside.
SinoFilter.com Can I resume drinking from the made in China Metafilter coffee mug yet?
Censorware.org one of the best censorware pages, has died. "Due to demands from some of the people who contributed, in however minor a fashion, to this site, it has been taken down." Dagnabit! Anybody have any idea why? The site had one of the neatest pages on the net, estimated how fast it was going to show how impossible it was to keep up. Free spxxch loses an important defender.
Police State 2000. "What makes you think you can edit content?" the federal judge asked city officials. "Isn't that classic censorship and prior restraint?"
speed limit -- A bill banning Internet sites which publish or even link to drug-making information looks set to sail through Congress