AAP Vows to Protect Copyright from All Challengers

From Publishers Weekly:

(The Association of American Publishers held its annual meeting via Zoom.)

[Maria Pallante, CEO of AAP] said that the financial results of publishers, particularly for trade publishers, during the pandemic proved that readers have never lost interest in good stories, and that the importance of books to people was highlighted during the lockdown. That publishers were able to quickly meet the increased demand for books reflects the resiliency of the industry, Pallante said, and also shows that “there has never been a better or more important time to be in publishing.”

To make sure that publishing remains a good business to be in, AAP’s job, Pallante said, “is to ensure that you can compete fairly in the modern marketplace.” Regrettably, she continued, “there are actors who seek to weaken your legal protections in order to advance their business interests, whether that interest is in bloating the fair use doctrine to illogical boundaries or, more blatantly, appropriating and monetizing your works without permission.”

In Pallante’s view, the exclusive rights delineated in the Copyright Act are under assault, as is an effective enforcement framework, and she said the DMCA, which governs how infringing content on websites can be taken down, “is badly in need of updating.” She also lamented the lack of a competitive marketplace in which authors’ works can be discovered and publishers can compete “without unfair control or manipulation from dominant tech giants.”

Challenges to copyright protection are also happening at the state level, Pallante warned, where library lobbyists and “tech-funded” special interest groups are working to “divert copyright protection away from Congress to state assemblies,” an apparent reference to Maryland’s passage of a law late last week that would force publishers to make any digital content they license to consumers available as “an electronic literary product” to public libraries in the state “on reasonable terms.” The AAP opposed the law, and in her remarks, Pallante argued that these state efforts “are clearly preempted by the express language of the federal Copyright Act,” while also spinning a “false narrative.”

Pallante said libraries are an important part of the publishing ecosystem, but added that, “authors, publishers, and bookstores also have policy equities, which is why Congress enacted a singular cohesive federal copyright system that has address the ownership and sale of books since 1790.” She also hit back against what she said are lobbyists pushing states to fund open educational resources “through ugly misinformation campaigns aimed at publishers” and designed to replace publishers’ materials.

In a final point about copyright, Pallante said that the lawsuit the association filed a year ago against the Internet Archive for copying 1.3 million scans of books is still in discovery, but said the IA’s activities “are well outside the boundaries of both the law and copyright commerce, and ultimately pose an existential threat to the copyright framework on which authors and publishers rely.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

4 thoughts on “AAP Vows to Protect Copyright from All Challengers”

  1. One wonders if this includes the AAP reexamining internal copyright misuse by its members, such as assertion of “work-for-hire” status over works outside the statutory definition of those eligible to be treated as works for hire. One also wonders whether the AAP will also reexamine its members’ policies toward notices provided pursuant to § 203 and/or § 304(c) of the Copyright Act, and in particular policies that equate to ignoring such notices. One further wonders whether the AAP will establish policies and systems to simplify its members’ compliance with the wishes of copyright holders who notify those members of rampant pirated e-book and audiobook editions. And…

    OK, that was too generous. One need not wonder at all, and particularly not given Ms Pallante’s various proclamations in her prior job. This is strictly about protecting the revenue stream; it has nothing whatsoever to do with copyright-holders’ rights. Unless, that is, the publishers themselves are the copyright holders… under whatever rubric however unlawful.

    • You don’t understand that the AAP are the good gals and guys, C.

      Whatever trivial shortcomings they may display, their hearts are always in the right place.

      • Well, I’m not worried about their hearts. I’m a heartless scoundrel myself.

        I’m much more concerned with the whereabouts of their brains and their ethics. Especially with their hands in my pockets (and libraries’ pockets). Although if I’m that lost, I’m sure they’ll be happy to show me which way to the egress, especially once they’ve emptied my pockets.

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