News/Media Alliance Files Testimony in Opposition to New Hampshire’s Library Licensing Bill

On January 9, 2024, the News/Media Alliance submitted written testimony to a committee of the New Hampshire House of Representative in opposition to a bill designed to regulate the licensing terms for electronic written materials to public libraries. The bill, H.B. 1342, resembles bills previously proposed in other states and would impose several limitations on contracts and licenses between publishers and libraries. The Alliance’s testimony notes that these requirements would be “ill-informed, unnecessary, preempted, and unconstitutional.” While the Alliance shares concerns over the wellbeing of the nation’s public library system, H.B. 1342 and similar bills would severely undermine the federal copyright framework, which reserves the right to decide to whom and on what terms to license copyrighted works solely to the author or copyright owner and preempts state laws that would impose license restrictions or requirements. In 2022, a federal court in Maryland declared a similar bill unconstitutional, while New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed another bill in 2021 for the same reason. The Alliance will continue to work with other creative sector organizations to ensure that the careful balance created by the Copyright Act is not threatened and creators retain the right to protect and manage their works. Read the full testimony here.


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