Court Rules in Favor of Publishers in Maryland E-Book Lawsuit, Preliminary Injunction Granted
We will update this post with reactions, media coverage, and other documents as they become available.
The lawsuit was filed on December 9, 2021, (Association of American Publishers (AAP) vs. Brian E. Frosh, in His Official Capacity Attorney General of the State of Maryland)
From the Opinion
Libraries serve many critical functions in our democracy. They serve as a repository of knowledge-both old and new and ensure access to that knowledge does not depend on wealth or ability. They also play a special role in documenting society’s evolution. Congress has underscored the significance of libraries and has accorded them a privileged status on at least one occasion, legislating an exception to the Copyright Act’s regime of exclusive rights that permits libraries to reproduce copyrighted material so it may be preserved in the public record across generations. See 17 U.S.C. § 108. Libraries face unique challenges as they sit at the intersection of public service and the private marketplace in an evolving society that is increasingly reliant on digital media. Striking the balance between the critical functions of libraries and the importance of preserving the exclusive rights of copyright holders, however, is squarely in the province of Congress and not this Court or a state legislature.
A statement from the AAP is available here.
From the Statement
“We also thank the court for moving decisively to protect the integrity of the exclusive rights that vest with authors, for preserving a uniform and effective federal Copyright Act, and for recognizing the long-term criticality of a vibrant and independent publishing industry in society.
This infoDOCKET post includes links to media coverage, the complete court docket, and statements.
Our office is currently reviewing the decision to determine next steps. We think publishers should not be able to unfairly take advantage of Maryland public libraries. We will continue to pursue fair treatment for Maryland public libraries.
UPDATE 2: Statement From ALA
ALA unequivocally supports the Maryland law and stands by the Attorney General’s defense of Maryland libraries’ right to buy licenses for digital content on reasonable terms. We look forward to the next steps in this court proceeding toward the goal of equitable library access to digital books and fairness for all stakeholders in the publishing ecosystem.
As always, libraries and library associations are willing and ready for discussions with rights holders—the publishers—and hope discussions may advance, irrespective of the legal directions or policy context.
UPDATE 4: Statement From Readers First
- Direct to Maryland Library Association Response
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.