New York State Governor Kathy Hochul Vetoes Library E-Book Legislation: Comments, Statements, and Media Reports
We will update this post with additional comments/statements/reactions and media reports as they become available.
On December 29, 2021, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul vetoed a bill put forth by the legislature that posed an unjustified attack on the creative industries of New York. Shockingly, the bill would have forced authors, publishers, and other copyright owners to grant involuntary, digital licenses to New York public libraries under state-imposed terms, in full conflict with the U.S. Copyright Act and the comprehensive purpose that it serves. The bill attached penalties for non-compliance, effectively chilling copyright owners from pursuing the full benefit of their copyright interests and literary properties within the state.
“We thank Governor Hochul for taking decisive action to protect the legal framework that has long incentivized the American private sector to invest in, publish, and distribute original works of authorship to the public, in service to society. The bill that she vetoed was rushed through the state legislature in response to a coordinated, misinformation campaign supported by Big Tech interests and lobbying groups that are notorious for wanting to weaken copyright protections for their own gain.
Read the Complete AAP Comment
The veto comes despite strong grassroots support: in June, the bill unanimously passed the New York Assembly 148-0, and passed the New York State Senate 62-1. But the Association of American Publishers’ December 9 federal lawsuit seeking to block implementation of a similar law in Maryland sparked concern in the governor’s office. And in her brief explanation of the veto, Hochul cited the AAP’s concerns.
“While the goal of this bill is laudable, unfortunately, copyright protection provides the author of the work with the exclusive right to their works,” Hochul wrote. “As such the law would allow the author, and only the author, to determine to whom they wish to share their work and on what terms. Because the provisions of this bill are preempted by federal copyright law, I cannot support this bill. These bills are disapproved.”
- Libraries Enlist States in Fight Over Ebook Rules (via Axios; December 21, 2021)
- New York Legislature Passes Library E-book Bill (by Andrew Albanese, PW; June 11, 2021)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.