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California Rescinds Autograph Mandate for Booksellers

25 October 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

California’s controversial law that requires booksellers to obtain a certificate of authenticity before they could sell books autographed by authors has been rescinded.

The move follows a lawsuit filed in May by Book Passage owner Bill Petrocelli and backed by the Pacific Legal Foundation that argued that common bookstore practices like guest author lectures and book signings “are fundamental to First Amendment freedoms.” The original law was enacted to require that store owners certify that any autographed item over $5 carry an authentic signature. The law was passed to fight against the sale of fake memorabilia, but included books.

Petrocelli, as well as other California booksellers, argued that the paperwork involved to meet the new law would make selling copies of autographed books too expensive. Book signings are an important part of booksellers’ business model, with Book Passage, for example, hosting more than 800 signings a year.

. . . .

California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that exempted books from the law.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly and thanks to Chris for the tip.

PG is a member of the California Bar. He must admit that the California legislature certainly does its bit to support California lawyers by regularly delivering large bundles of new laws that require litigation before anyone knows what the laws actually mean.

However, on a higher philosophical plane, he thinks a great many of new California laws are silly. And drafted without adequate sanity checks in the real world.

Books in General

6 Comments to “California Rescinds Autograph Mandate for Booksellers”

  1. “However, on a higher philosophical plane, he thinks a great many of new California laws are silly. And drafted without adequate sanity checks in the real world.”

    Uh, PG? I don’t mean to tell you your business, but I’m not really sure it’s legal to try to use ‘California laws’ and ‘sanity checks’ on the same page – and surely not with ‘real world’ thrown in.

    Unless maybe it’s part of a screenplay for a Monty Python’s (US) Flying Circus update? 😉

  2. I’m starting to wonder if the dice used for SAN checks in Sacramento are loaded, because seen from outside the state, the Solons of Sacramento seem to lose the check so very often.

  3. got an email from a reader asking if one of my ‘autographed’books on ebay was authentic as seller was asking a rather astronomical amount for it.

    I looked. No way woud I write a paragraph by hand in a book and then sign it with a sig that was my name, but not in my .

    So contacted the seller and he could not have been nicer, said he bought it at an estate sale with other books. And we figured if he razored out the fly page, noted such was missing, he could sell it for a reasoned amount.

    ITs not the first time but in this case it was just an accident.

  4. My father, who sold used and rare books, was once given the opportunity to purchase a book about Marilyn Monroe that was autographed by her. Interesting, since the book wasn’t published till several years after her death.

  5. Occasionally common sense prevails over the laws of Socialist Republic of California.

  6. Just Another Curmudgeon

    “California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that exempted books from the law.”

    So they didn’t FIX the bad law, they wrote a new law to undo its bad effects but only for books.

    Sacramento, it is a very silly place.

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