Mitigating the Library Ebook Conundrum – Library Advocacy and Funding Conference

“Current eBook licensing practices are eradicating the central mission of libraries, with grave repercussions for equity and access to the world’s knowledge. The root of the issue is that while libraries buy print books in order to lend them to patrons, they can’t actually buy eBooks. Instead, they license the content from publishers. This means that publishers can set whatever terms they want in eBook licenses to libraries—or refuse to license them at all.

Library Futures supports legislation that aims to equitize the eBook marketplace. To that end, we have developed model legislative language that avoids the problematic Maryland language and that we therefore believe will hold up against legal challenges. In short, we propose model legislation grounded in state consumer protection, state contract law, state procurement law, and contract preemption.”

A Study of Publicly Available Resources Addressing Legal Data-Sharing Barriers: Systematic Assessment

Abstract:  Background:

United States data protection laws vary depending on the data type and its context. Data projects involving social determinants of health often concern different data protection laws, making them difficult to navigate.

Objective:We systematically aggregated and assessed useful online resources to help navigate the data-sharing landscape.

Methods:We included publicly available resources that discussed legal data-sharing issues with some health relevance and published between 2010 and 2019. We conducted an iterative search with a common string pattern using a general-purpose search engine that targeted 24 different sectors identified by Data Across Sectors for Health. We scored each online resource for its depth of legal and data-sharing discussions and value for addressing legal barriers.

Results:Out of 3710 total search hits, 2721 unique URLs were reviewed for scope, 322 received full-text review, and 154 were selected for final coding. Legal agreements, consent, and agency guidance were the most widely covered legal topics, with HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 2 being the top 3 federal laws discussed. Clinical health care was the most prominent sector with a mention in 73 resources.

Conclusions:This is the first systematic study of publicly available resources on legal data-sharing issues. We found existing gaps where resources covering certain laws or applications may be needed. The volume of resources we found is an indicator that real and perceived legal issues are a substantial barrier to efforts in leveraging data from different sectors to promote health.

Open data to achieve the EU green transition |

“To achieve the EU Green Deal and a to achieve a fair green and digital transition across Europe, access to data (open as well as private) is crucial. These data can provide users with information, e.g. through interactive maps or dashboards. It can also be used to create services that open the way to and speed up the process towards, for example, climate neutrality, reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improvement of energy efficiency and restoring biodiversity….

Across Europe, public institutions and private companies are using (open) data to develop services. Some examples are:…”


Publishers, authors and booksellers should not become your librarians – Knowledge Rights 21

“Reading nurtures our right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression, including to receive and impart information, as enshrined in Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR)[1]. Germany adheres to the ECHR’s values since it joined the Convention as an original member 71 years ago[2].

However, leaving the right to read and borrow eBooks through libraries to the vagaries and differing priorities of the commercial publishing market makes individual publishing companies, rather than librarians, the real decision makers about what eBook titles libraries may buy and how they may lend them. This provides a poor guarantee of access to the full breadth of culture and scientific knowledge in the 21st century.

The efforts by publishers, booksellers and author associations in Germany to prevent progress towards a legal right for citizens to borrow any eBook title from libraries look to block the proper implementation of EU law as it now stands[3]. Moreover, their campaign against Germany’s proposed eLending legislation, will, if successful, undermine libraries’ independence and their important function in a democratic society and the economy. It is not the place of publishers, authors or booksellers to decide how and if libraries have a role in the digital world….”

Study on the Open Data Directive, Data Governance and Data Act and their possible impact on research – Publications Office of the EU

“This study analyses the possible impact of three major legislative instruments in the European Sstrategy for data (the Open Data Directive, the Data Governance Act and the proposed Data Act) for the field of research, especially for research performing organisations and research funding organisations. It does so against the background of the European Open Science policy pursued, in which the development of a European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is a major undertaking. Although the impact is difficult to assess at this stage, the study identifies and makes recommendations about key legal issues that need to be resolved. These have to do with ambiguities in the scope of application to research data, the interpretation of provisions, and the consistency between the instruments from the perspective of open science research policy.”

Library Futures | Library Futures Releases Policy Statement and Draft eBook Legislative Language: Mitigating the Library eBook Conundrum Through Legislative Action in the States

“Library Futures supports legislation that aims to equitize the eBook marketplace. To that end, we have developed model legislative language that avoids the problematic Maryland language and that we therefore believe will hold up against legal challenges. In short, we propose model legislation grounded in state consumer protection, state contract law, state procurement law, and contract preemption. Our policy statement document explains the legal rationale behind our proposed model bill. You can also view an interactive map of current legislation and sign up for updates on Library Futures’s policy activities. Thank you to our community of experts for their edits, feedback, and input into this statement and bill, and thank you to Readers First and the community of library advocates who have worked for equitable ebook legislation in their states….”

121/000092 Proyecto de Ley por la que se modifica la Ley 14/2011, de 1 de junio, de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación – BOCG-14-A-92-4.PDF

Brief summary via Pilar Rico-Castro on Twitter, see tweet.

English translation via

Published Draft Law amending Law 14/2011, of June 1, on Science, Technology and Innovation.
It is maintained:
1. The obligation to deposit scholarly publications in open access repositories.
2. That the results deposited in open access may be used in the evaluation process of research merit.
??Data, codes and methodologies are recognized as research results.
??Embargoes disappear: the deposit will be immediate.
??FAIR attributes for research data management are introduced.


?Publicado el Proyecto de Ley por la que se modifica la Ley 14/2011, de 1 de junio, de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación.
Se mantiene:
1. La obligación de depósito de las publicaciones académica en repositorios de acceso abierto
2. Que los resultados depositados en acceso abierto podrán ser empleados en los procesos de evaluación del mérito investigador
??Se reconocen los datos, códigos y metodologías como resultados de investigación.
??Desaparecen los embargos: el depósito será inmediato.
??Se introducen los atributos FAIR para la gestión de datos de investigación.

Judge strikes down Maryland law requiring publishers to make ebooks available to libraries | WJLA

“In a legal case closely watched by libraries and the publishing industry, a federal judge in Maryland struck down a state law requiring publishers to make e-books available on “reasonable terms” to libraries if they were also being offered to the general public.

The Association of American Publishers, the industry’s trade organization, had contended that the bill violated the United States Copyright Act by allowing states to regulate publishing transactions. The Maryland law was passed with overwhelming support a year ago, and included provisions for fines up to $10,000 and higher.

Maryland U.S. District Judge Deborah L. Boardman issued her decision Monday, four months after she had enjoined the Maryland Act, writing at the time that the law’s “practical impact” would force publishers “to offer their products to libraries — whether they want to or not — lest they face a civil enforcement action or criminal prosecution.” …”

Court Seeks Proposed Declaratory Judgment in Maryland E-book Case

“In a paperless order issued on May 26, Judge Deborah Boardman asked lawyers for the state of Maryland and the Association of American Publishers to submit proposed language for a declaratory judgment to end the parties’ dispute over the state’s library e-book law. But in filing the proposed language, the parties dispute whether the request means the court is preparing to deny the AAP’s bid for a permanent injunction.

“The Parties met and conferred to discuss the Order and agree that a declaratory judgment may be entered. The Parties disagree, however, in their view of whether a permanent injunction may still be granted,” reads an AAP brief filed last week. “Plaintiff interpreted the Order to refer only, ‘at a minimum,’ to the Court’s determination that a declaratory judgment should be entered, but understood that the Court was still considering whether a permanent injunction is also necessary. Plaintiff still believes a permanent injunction is necessary and appropriate here. The State interpreted the Order to mean that a permanent injunction will not be granted, and that “at a minimum” referred to the relief on which the parties could agree.” 

However the court ultimately rules, Maryland’s library e-book law is a step closer to its end. In February, Boardman issued a preliminary injunction barring Maryland’s library e-book law from being enforced, holding that the state’s law is likely preempted by the federal Copyright Act. And in an April filing, the AAP asked federal judge Deborah L. Boardman to convert her preliminary injunction blocking the law into a permanent injunction.

Maryland attorneys, meanwhile, have argued that a permanent injunction is not necessary, telling the court that the state would no longer defend the law in court, and had no intention of invoking or enforcing the law….”


“The European Commission’s proposal for the Data Act has introduced a narrow business-to-government (B2G) data sharing mandate, limited only to situations of public emergency and exceptional need. While being a step in the right direction, it fails to deliver a “data sharing for the public good” framework. 

The policy vision for such a framework has been presented in the European strategy for data, and specific recommendations for a robust B2G data sharing model have been made by the Commission’s high-level expert group.

The European Union is uniquely positioned to deliver a data governance framework that ensures broader B2G data sharing, in the public interest. In our latest policy brief, Public Data Commons. A public-interest framework for B2G data sharing in the Data Act, we propose such a model, which can serve as a basis for amendments to the proposed Data Act.  Our proposal not only extends the scope of B2G data sharing provisions, but includes the creation of the European Public Data Commons, a body that acts as a recipient and clearinghouse for the data made available.”

PUBLIC DATA COMMONS: A public-interest framework for B2G data sharing in the Data Act

“The Data Act represents a unique opportunity for the European legislator to deliver on the “data sharing for public good” narratives, which have been discussed for over a decade now. To make this happen the framework for B2G data sharing contained in Chapter V of the proposal needs to be strengthened so that it can serve as a robust baseline for sectoral regulations. As such, it will contribute to a European Public Data Commons that can serve as a public interest steward for data sharing and use in support of public interest objectives, such as securing public health and education, combatting the climate crisis and ensuring strong and just public institutions.”

AAP Asks Court to Permanently Enjoin Maryland Library E-book Law

“Maryland’s library e-book law is one step closer to its end. In a filing this week, the Association of American Publishers asked federal judge Deborah L. Boardman to close the door once and for all on the law by converting her February preliminary injunction blocking the law into a permanent injunction.

“[Maryland] has provided no assurance that the Maryland Act will never be enforced. The State has not taken any action to repeal the Maryland Act. Moreover, [the state] offers only attorney argument for the proposition that the State ‘does not intend’ to enforce the Maryland Act,” the AAP brief states. “Intentions can change. An injunction precludes the State from enforcing the Maryland Act, period.”

In an April 26 order, Boardman asked Maryland attorneys to respond to the AAP filing by May 9.

The AAP response comes after Boardman in February issued a preliminary injunction barring Maryland’s library e-book law from being enforced, holding that the state’s law is in fact preempted by the federal Copyright Act….

But AAP lawyers told the court that a declaratory judgment is simply not enough to protect publishers….”

Fed judiciary says yes to free PACER searches. Here are the details so far | Reuters

” Federal judiciary policymakers have approved a plan to eliminate costly fees for online docket searches amid debate in Congress about whether to force the court system to make its PACER electronic court record system free for the general public.

A newly released report on the Judicial Conference of the United States’ closed-door March 15 meeting showed that the policymaking body greenlighted making PACER searches free for non-commercial users in any future overhauls of the system….”

What Does My Library Need to Know about Ebook Laws? | American Libraries Magazine

“Minow and guest author Kyle K. Courtney discuss the library ebooks landscape and state-level efforts to institutionalize fair licensing terms….

In the short term, publishers and ebook aggregators are preventing libraries from acquiring ebooks with fair licensing (or purchasing) terms that would allow libraries to adequately provide continual access to them. Current ebook licenses offered to libraries come with many restrictions on use, are often prohibitively expensive, and sometimes are not available at any price.

In the long term, libraries do not own but lease ebook titles, which affects collection development and services like interlibrary loan and preservation as there are no legal terms in the licenses to make them a permanent part of the library collection….”

RE: Copyright Concerns With Public Access Language in U.S. Innovation and Competition Act – Section 2527(b)

“We write to express our serious concerns about Section 2527(b) of the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (“USICA,” S. 1260). Instead of supporting American innovation and competitiveness, this provision—which addresses public access requirements for certain copyrighted works that discuss federally funded research—would undermine copyright protection and weaken American intellectual property exports, ultimately impeding the commercialization of research and stifling American competitiveness. We understand that this language remained in the Senate-passed USICA last year largely because of procedural challenges with amending the bill following its introduction. We were grateful that this language was not included in the House’s America COMPETES Act 2022 (“COMPETES,” H.R. 4521), and we urge you to ensure that Section 2527(b) of USICA is not included in the final legislation following a conference on these two bills….”