NY Governor Hochul Vetoes Bill Requiring Copyright Owners to License Content to State Libraries

On December 29, New York Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill that would have required electronic book publishers to issue licenses to state libraries on “reasonable terms.” The bill – opposed by various industry groups, including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the News Media Alliance – defined the terms “electronic book” and “publisher” broadly while leaving the term “reasonable terms” vague. In the message accompanying the veto, Governor Hochul noted that the bill is pre-empted by federal copyright law. The bill resembled a recently adopted Maryland law that explicitly includes newspapers in its definition of a “publisher.” AAP has filed a lawsuit against the Maryland law, arguing, among other issues, that it is preempted by the Copyright Act, which gives copyright owners the exclusive right to decide whether and on what terms to make their works available. The Alliance commends Governor Hochul for her decision and continues to work together with other industry stakeholders to ensure that creators’ federal protections are protected in other states. Read more about the issue here.

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