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ABFFE, Media Coalition To File Case Against Indiana Registration Law

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April 17 – April 24, 2008 Edition

ABFFE, Media Coalition

To File Case Against

Indiana Registration Law

NEW YORK, NY/4/15/08–The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has joined the Media Coalition, to prepare a court case against an Indiana law requiring booksellers to register with the state if they intend to sell "sexually explicit materials."

"The vague definition of the law would have a chilling effect on mainstream novels and other artistic works with sexual content as well as books that provide information about sexuality and health," the ABFFE said. “Some booksellers will be reluctant to identify themselves as sellers of ‘explicit’ books and magazines and will choose not to carry them, depriving adults and older minors of works they have a First Amendment right to purchase.”

The Media Coalition is a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of publishers, booksellers and other media. Both entities have filed amicus briefs. Other organizations joining the two entities are the ACLU of Indiana and Indiana booksellers. ABFFE president Chris Finan said: "In America we don’t let government license bookstores."

The case is expected to be filed in May, just two months before the new law is expected to take effect.

In March, the ABFFE sent a letter to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels urging him to veto the bill that would require bookstores to register with the state if they intend to sell "sexually explicit materials." Local government officials and zoning boards would be notified of the booksellers’ registration. There would be a $250 fee to register, and failure to do so would be a misdemeanor.

In the letter, ABFFE declares that the vague definition of will have a chilling effect on mainstream novels and other artistic works with sexual content as well as books that provide information about sexuality and health. The letter was cosigned by the Great Lakes Booksellers Association (GLBA), 15 independent Indiana booksellers, and Borders.