Press Release: Copyright Alliance Statement on Maryland Court Granting Preliminary Injunction to Publishers in eBook Licensing Case

Washington, DC—February 17, 2022—Today, the Copyright Alliance released the following statement in response to the news that the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in favor of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), granting a preliminary injunction that suspends the eBook licensing law at the center of the AAP v. Brian Frosh case:

According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “We are thrilled to learn of the Maryland court’s decision in granting a preliminary injunction in the case involving AAP challenging the state’s unconstitutional eBook licensing mandate, and in concluding that AAP has clearly satisfied the four preliminary injunction factors. We have believed all along that the eBook legislation would be preempted and that the court would reach the right decision, as it has clearly done. 

“The bill would have forced publishers to license their eBooks to libraries on terms that are determined by the state of Maryland (not by publishers). The court explicitly recognized that this sort of forced transaction between publishers and libraries would effectively strip publishers of their exclusive right under the Copyright Act to decide whether, when, and to whom to distribute their copyrighted works.

The court also made clear that forcing publishers to offer licenses for electronic literary products on terms that would enable public libraries to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product will not necessarily increase access to those products for library users over time, and that it is only through the protection of copyright law that books and other creative works may be generated and distributed at all.“In its decision, the court recognized that, ‘The economic philosophy behind the [Copyright] [C]lause…is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors’ and that ‘[C]opyright law serves public ends by providing individuals with an incentive to pursue private ones.’ We agree with the court’s decision and offer our thanks for it coming to the right conclusion.”
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ABOUT THE COPYRIGHT ALLIANCEThe Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest and educational organization representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States, across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators. For more information, please visit https://copyrightalliance.org.