On December 9, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Maryland to block legislation that would force publishers to license literary works to state libraries. The lawsuit asserts that the law, which passed last summer, is unconstitutional.
News Media Alliance Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Danielle Coffey, stated, “Our country’s copyright laws protect publishers from unauthorized uses of their original content and give publishers the right to determine how, when and where their content is used. While state legislation may be well-intended, requiring publishers to license content on specified terms runs counter to these federal protections.”
The News Media Alliance commends and supports the AAP’s efforts to protect these fundamental rights and raise concerns about the constitutionality of efforts to undermine them in Maryland, as well as other states that are considering similar laws.
The legislation, as passed, applies to any “text document that has been converted into or published in a digital format” and requires publishers, including newspaper publishers, to license such works to public libraries on ambiguous “reasonable terms,” thereby affecting a broad range of electronic publishers. The law is expected to go into effect in January 2022.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.