PMA’s Commitment to Free Speech: First Amendment Highlights from the Past Year

February 1999
by Lloyd J. Jassin, Esq.

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Lloyd JassinLloyd J. Jassin (photo right) is a publishing attorney specializing in copyright and trademark law. He is the co-author of “The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers” (Wiley Books for Writers). He can be contacted

“Congress shall make no law … abridging
the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
–US Constitution, Amendment I

By enabling smaller publishers to compete more effectively in the marketplace, PMA is protecting an interest closely akin to the First Amendment. While PMA has a long tradition of providing publishers with the tools they need to publish better books more effectively, it also has a decade-long tradition as a champion of free speech. Working with organizations such as the Media Coalition, a trade association made up of publishing, library, bookseller, motion picture, video, recording, and software groups, PMA has taken a leadership role in fighting laws — and practices — that “chill” members’ First Amendment rights.

During the past year, my office has represented PMA at meetings of the Media Coalition in New York City, making recommendations regarding legal challenges to unconstitutional laws involving the First Amendment rights of members. During the year, PMA has had a chance to present its views on free speech, and join in discussions with groups such as the American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, Motion Picture Association of America, and Recording Industry Association of America, and other influential trade associations. Significantly, PMA’s involvement in this broad coalition has allowed it to champion the First Amendment rights of its members. This article covers some First Amendment highlights from the past year.

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