Do you love Fellini films? How about M.C. Escher drawings, Rachmaninoff concertos or The Lord of the Rings?
All these amazing artworks were in the public domain before a federal law allowed some people to make a profit at the expense of everyone's First Amendment rights.
Other stories include big news on the medical marijuana front and one Michigan college now offers second chances to students.
The Supreme Court Lends an Ear
University Gives Out Second Chances
A college education is an important base upon which to build a career and a bright future. That's exactly why we're applauding Lake Michigan College's decision to revise a policy that banned those with felony records from attending the school. Such blanket bans violate the law, since they ignore individual student’s risk level, age of the offense and rehabilitation efforts and prevent them from moving on with their lives. We hope other colleges and universities that have such policies follow LMC’s lead and create guidelines that keep our campuses and communities safe while giving students a second chance (via the Huffington Post and the South Bend Tribune).
Copyright Restrictions and the First Amendment
The Supreme Court has said that copyright law can be an "engine of free expression," and the ACLU supports copyright law in general. However, we've signed on with a coalition of artists, composers and filmmakers to challenge a federal law that grants copyright protection to foreign works that were previously in the public domain in the United States at the expense of the First Amendment. Before this law, everyone was free to use works in the public domain, like artwork by Picasso and M.C. Escher, without restriction. Now, anyone who would like to perform a symphony by Shostakovich, hold a Fellini film festival or recite T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land will be charged enormous licensing fees (via the Blog of Rights).