"Most states are failing
student journalists like me"

In 2018, Neha Madhira was one of the students at Prosper High School in Texas who worked with SPLC to fight back against a principal who repeatedly censored the school paper, banned editorials outright and then ousted the award-winning adviser. Texas law allowed that to happen.

This week, Madhira wrote an opinion piece for CNN about her experience, and how it shows the desperate need for New Voices laws in Texas and across the country. Too often, censorship can chill free speech and lead students to self-censor. We're incredibly proud of Madhira, who is still a student at Prosper High School, for refusing to be silenced. Your principal tried to shut you up, and now you're writing for CNN!

Read her editorial
If you don't remember what happened at Prosper, you can read our story here. The school eventually backed down from its ban on editorials, but the adviser, Lori Oglesbee-Petter still lost her job. The incident also got national attention, including a story by The New York Times.

Madhira joins more than 60 student publications that wrote op-eds about the importance of student press freedom as part of Year of the Student Journalist. We hope you'll join too. 
Tell your story

Make the Year of the Student Journalist yours


Join the conversation throughout Year of the Student Journalist by tagging @splc on Twitter or @studentpresslawcenter on Instagram and using #StudentPressFreedom. Download the logo to use on your masthead, opinion page, social media, etc. 

   This week's featured post comes from Eva D. Coleman and the staff of Frisco ISD TV. 

Q. We want to use soap opera titles, such as "Days of our Lives," to head our yearbook sections. Any problems?

A.  This question has many popular variants. For example, can we use book titles (Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go" is a perennial favorite) as our yearbook theme? Can we use movie titles (for example, "The Sound of Music" to head the band section)? Can we use names of popular songs? The answer to all of these questions is "yes" — as long as you do it right.

The U.S. Copyright Office has determined that certain categories of material cannot be copyrighted because they lack the necessary creativity. Among them: names, titles, short phrases, expressions or catchwords and slogans. NBC, for example, cannot copyright the bare, unadorned words, "days of our lives," and you are free to use them as a section header, a yearbook title or anyplace else without obtaining NBC's permission. However, NBC does own the rights to the daytime soap opera, "Days of Our Lives," and if you want to use other material from the show, such as photos of cast members, scripts, or the show's hourglass logo, that material is copyrighted and (unless you can make a Fair Use claim, as discussed above) you'll need to obtain permission from NBC.  

What should next week's Ask SPLC be?

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SPLC's high school and college press freedom awards 

The submission deadline for both awards (covering stories published during the 2018-19 academic year) is June 14, 2019.
Apply now.

Why we're concerned by the Trump executive order on free speech

Although SPLC agrees with the sentiment of protecting free speech on college campuses, the order lacks clarity both in defining "free inquiry" and in directing implementation.
Read more.

Support the SPLC

Your support helps us to defend the rights of student journalists and their advisers across the country.  
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