Latest Articles

TJI: Mass Pirate Party Conference

Putting the 'Arrrr' in DRM

Forget Talk Like a Pirate Day. In the 2012 elections, November 6 will be Vote Like a Pirate Day — if you happened to have joined a growing number of hackers and Internet activists and registered as a member of the Massachusetts Pirate Party (MAPP).
Booty Call
By ARIEL SHEARER  |  March 09, 2012

The battle over internet piracy

The Internet is angry. Perhaps you've heard.
Rhode Island's congresional delegation splits over the issue burning up the netroots
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  January 20, 2012

Don't read these books!!

The Rhode Island affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union will host its annual Banned Books event on September 23 at 6 pm at the Providence Athenaeum.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  September 23, 2011

Will Kindles kill libraries?

This week, OverDrive itself will host its own conference to help libraries deal with a massive onslaught of patrons clamoring to check out books on their Kindles. Can embattled public institutions handle such a drastic change?
In this corner: libraries struggling to bring in patrons. In the other: Kindles looking to expand their market. Will it be a bloodbath, or can they hug it out?
By EUGENIA WILLIAMSON  |  July 29, 2011

More muzzles

I question whether "soft censorship" is actually a form of literal censorship.
Letters to the Boston editor, August 6, 2010
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  August 06, 2010

Jackie Greene comes alive

It doesn't take much to prove that modern-day Americana owes more to the Grateful Dead than it ever wanted to admit — one listen to Wilco's two most recent albums ought to do the trick.
Guitarist breaks from the Dead
By BRETT MILANO  |  August 06, 2010


2010 Muzzle Awards on campus

Harvard and Yale universities felt the sting of the global economic collapse firsthand in 2009, as the endowments of these stalwart New England Ivy League members dropped by nearly a third. The schools didn’t fare much better in the free marketplace of
Harvard and Yale once again lead the way . . . for academic censorship
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  July 02, 2010

The 13th Annual Muzzle Awards

A year and a half into the Age of Obama, we are learning a lesson we should have figured out long ago — that repression, once in place, is rarely rolled back all the way, and that liberals no less than conservatives are reluctant to give up power.
A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 02, 2010

What Louis C.K. can’t say on FX

OK, we're keeping Comedy Central's caption for this one: "Louis C.K. imagines Jimmy Carter falling to his death, says ‘retarded' like a weatherman, and shares...
By Andrew Cominelli  |  June 29, 2010
On this day in 1926: Boston, H.L. Mencken, and the landmark free-speech case that wasn't

On this day in 1926: Boston, H.L. Mencken, and the landmark free-speech case that wasn't

In 1925, H.L. Mencken delivered a furious torrent of nad-kicks to the "Babbits" of Tennessee with his coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Less than...
By Shaula Clark  |  April 05, 2010

Free speech for me, but not for thee

Last Thursday's Supreme Court opinion striking down corporate campaign advertising restrictions might as well have been divorce papers in the rocky marriage between the political left and the First Amendment.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  January 29, 2010


Critical Mass

If free speech is what gives value to the campus "marketplace of ideas," UMass Amherst would long ago have gone bankrupt.
Over the years, UMass Amherst has proven to be a reliable hotbed for political hypocrisy and squelching of free speech

Courthouse bomber to speak about social change

After it was initially canceled, a controversial talk by a radical activist will go on Thursday at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Ray Luc Levasseur, who grew up in Sanford, Maine, and became a radical in part due to his experiences as a soldier
Censorship averted
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  November 13, 2009

Free speech again quashed at Harvard

It should come as no surprise to readers of “Freedom Watch” that yet another instance of political, intellectual, and academic censorship has sprung up at Harvard, the self-touted pinnacle of higher education.
RSVPeeved Dept.
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  October 23, 2009

Free speechifying

How can Dan Kennedy pick a list of people who trample freedom of expression without listing the mayor of Boston?
Letters to the Boston editor, July 17, 2009

Muzzle Awards: Collegiate Division

In a 1957 Supreme Court decision upholding the free-speech rights of university professors ( Sweezy v. New Hampshire ), Justice Felix Frankfurter quoted prominent South African scholars on the importance of academic freedom.
New England campuses muzzle free speech
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  July 10, 2009


The 12th Annual Muzzle Awards

With the era of repression and secrecy fostered by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney finally over, this should be the best of times for freedom of expression, open government, and civil liberties. Yet change comes slowly.
A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England.
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 10, 2009

Sotomayor's mixed message on free speech

Minutes after President Barack Obama announced that he was nominating appellate judge Sonia Sotomayor for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, battle lines were drawn on the pre-scripted questions of "post-racial" America.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE  |  June 05, 2009

Censorship for Me, Penelope

Lisa Jahn-Clough's young-adult novel Me, Penelope is the subject of a recent dispute at Tavares Middle School in Orlando, Florida.
Girl, Interrupted
By ALEX IRVINE  |  March 04, 2009

Acid tongue

Watch your mouth.
Politics and other mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  February 04, 2009

Speak no evil?

Anthony Lewis's free-speech credentials are impeccable: among other things, the former New York Times columnist is James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues at Columbia University's Journalism School
Why tightening up on anti-Obama speech is a bad idea
By ADAM REILLY  |  January 14, 2009

Equal Time and late-night censorship

Jim Morrison and the Doors were scheduled to play their number one hit, "Light My Fire," on a 1967 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show,...
By Kyle Smeallie  |  October 14, 2008

Ancient text and imminent action

            You need not dig deep into the annals of history to find examples of religious bloodshed. From the Crusades to the Inquisition...
By Kyle Smeallie  |  September 11, 2008

A world safe for parody: Margery Eagan and the crude parade

By Harvey Silverglate              &nb...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  July 08, 2008

This Just In: Take me out to the ballgame, but don't boo

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the owners of the Chicago Cubs  are considering enacting ...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 30, 2008

This Just In: The Right to Travel ... to Israel?

Following up on Harvey's post about the right to travel to Cuba, a few days ago Israeli security ser...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 29, 2008

This Just In: Pandering Porn -- and Romeo & Juliet

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that a law that outlaws promoting or advertising -- "pandering...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 19, 2008

This Just In: Pandering Porn -- and Romeo & Juliet

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that a law that outlaws promoting or advertising -- "pandering...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  May 19, 2008

Anti-Noose Laws

By Wendy Kaminer Reacting predictably to spate of noose hanging incidents in late 2007, New Yor...
By Wendy Kaminer  |  May 19, 2008

This Just In: Colorado College's Injustice Toward Students

Last month, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (disclosure: for which TheFreeForAll b...
By Harvey Silverglate  |  April 29, 2008