"Over the last year, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked officials from hundreds of school districts around the country to make changes in their Internet screening systems to eliminate bias, said Anthony Rothert, a civil liberties lawyer based in St. Louis.

All have agreed to, he said, except Camdenton, which the A.C.L.U. sued last summer.

The lawsuit — believed to be the first of its kind — does not claim that this rural district of 4,200 students purchased the software with the intent of discriminating. Rather, it says, once there were complaints about the filter last year, school officials refused to replace it. An investigator for the A.C.L.U. has been able to figure out how the filter works, but not who developed it.

… Judge Laughrey noted that the URLBlacklist filter was even bad at doing its primary, legal job: blocking pornography. Tested on its ability to recognize 500 sexually explicit sites, it missed 30 percent of them. CIPAFilter, one of the leaders in the field, missed 3 percent.”

(via Library Stuff)

"A number of companies have protested against the bill, several of which wrote an open letter that was subsequently co-signed by AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga.

As reported by TorrentFreak, Wikipedia is considering the most audacious protest yet, blanking out all of its pages. The article reports that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has asked for community input; additionally, he ‘fears the bill could seriously hurt the Internet and thinks that blanking out Wikipedia will send a strong message to lawmakers’.”

(via LISNews)

"What’s this all about? In short, Universal stops believing in an artist’s right to free speech if that speech might hurt the label’s bottom line. The RIAA, which represents the major record labels, is predictably worried about Megaupload because, you know, the service is used to illegally share copyrighted material. On the other hand, Megaupload says it blocks users who illegally share copyrighted material and that offending material is promptly taken down."

And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

"The gay penguins that ruffled feathers in Loudoun County school libraries and became the darlings of gay rights advocates and intellectual freedom fighters everywhere have taken to the stage. A play that premiered in Fairfax this summer at the Hub Theatre is based on a controversial children’s book about Roy and Silo, the real-life male penguins who hatched and raised a chick together at the Central Park Zoo. The play chronicles their family life, their rise to stardom and, as one character describes it, ‘the bird-brained behavior they caused.’"

(via Library Stuff)

Amazon may be capriciously banning Kindle erotica, but it will want to be careful before it pisses off its main customers: sexy-book readers. According to a new study, the average e-book “power buyer” is a 44-year-old female purchasing romance/erotica books.

Looks like Amazon is allowing itself to get caught up in the “censorship vs. selection” debate.

(via Library Stuff)