BOOKS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Free Speech Threatened Again (POLL)

Publishers, librarians, booksellers, and authors have banded together this summer in rejection of a government claim that there can be exceptions to the First Amendment right of free speech based on its "value." Today, October 6, the case of U.S v. Stevens will be brought to the Supreme Court.

Robert J. Stevens was convicted to a prison sentence this summer for selling educational videos that showed pit bulls fighting. According to a grand jury, this falls under a federal statute prohibiting depictions of animal cruelty unless they are deemed as having "significant value."

The writing community worries that this kind of broad language -- what does "significant value" really mean? -- might put authors and other media creators at risk for depicting, among other things, slaughterhouse practices, bullfighting, and poaching if they were not deemed as being valuable enough.

What do you think? Should free speech be without exception?