Hearing in AAP lawsuit against Maryland eBooks law as clock ticks on New York bill

The Maryland Library E-Books Act will go into effect after all, but for how long remains to be seen. Following a Dec. 21 status conference, Federal Judge Deborah L. Boardman set a briefing schedule that will take the Association of American Publishers’ offer to block the law in February, and may -be longer.

Per the court order, Maryland state attorneys must file a consolidated motion by Jan. 14 that includes their next motion to dismiss the AAP lawsuit and their motion to oppose the offer of the AAP for a preliminary injunction. The AAP’s response is expected by January 28. A remote hearing is scheduled for February 7. The timing means that the Maryland law, which was unanimously passed by the Maryland General Assembly in March, will take effect on January 1, 2022, as stated in the law. text.

The order comes after the AAP filed a lawsuit against Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh in federal court in Maryland on Dec. 9, claiming that Maryland law is preempted by the federal law on the right to author, among other issues. And on December 16, lawyers for the AAP filed a subsequent motion for a preliminary injunction, saying the law would cause “immediate” and “irreparable” harm if allowed to go into effect.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is now on board after the New York Libraries eBook Act was delivered for signature or veto on Dec. 17. By law, Hochul has 10 days from delivery – until Dec. 29 – to sign or veto the bill. . If Hochul takes no action by then, the bill becomes law.

Like Maryland’s law, New York’s bill requires that “publishers that offer e-book licenses to the public” also offer those e-books to libraries on “reasonable” terms. The bill’s summary states that the law is designed to ensure that “widely accepted and effective industry practices remain in place while prohibiting harmful practices that discriminate against libraries and harm library users.”

However, a cohort of industry groups, including the AAP and the Authors Guild, urged Hochul to veto the measure in a recent letter, calling the bill “an unwarranted attack” that would “negatively impact important on the economy and employment” in New York.

“The copyright industry and New York’s economy are directly linked,” the letter states. “The publishing industry alone provides tens of thousands of jobs in New York City, where it has been proudly headquartered for two centuries. Additionally, publishing creates many jobs for distribution partners, such as bookstores, and works closely with business partners like the motion picture and television industry, which together are directly responsible for more than one hundred thousand New York jobs and some $13.1 billion in wages.”

A spokesperson for the New York Library Association said TP supporters remain hopeful that Hochul will sign the bill, adding that the bill has strong grassroots support in the state. In June, despite opposition from the AAP, the bill passed unanimously in the New York Assembly 148-0 and the New York State Senate 62-1.

“Last week, nearly 1,000 advocates sent letters of support and emails to the governor’s office,” NYLA spokeswoman Briana McNamee said.

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