Maryland Gives Up on Its Library E-book Law

“Maryland’s library e-book law is effectively dead. In a court filing this week, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said the state would present no new evidence in a legal challenge filed by the Association of American Publishers, allowing the court’s recently issued preliminary injunction blocking the law to stand, and paving the way for it to be converted into a permanent injunction. …

First introduced in January 2021, the Maryland law required any publisher offering to license “an electronic literary product” to consumers in the state to also offer to license the content to public libraries “on reasonable terms” that would enable library users to have access. The bill passed the Maryland General Assembly unanimously on March 10, and went into effect on January 1, 2022.

The law emerged after a decade of tension in the digital library market, with libraries long complaining of unsustainable, non-negotiated high prices and restrictions. More specifically, however, the law emerged as a direct response to Macmillan’s (since abandoned) 2019 embargo on frontlist e-book titles, which prompted numerous appeals to both federal and state legislators to protect basic access to digital works in libraries. …”

Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books – Sludge

“According to a recent survey by the library group ReadersFirst, e-book prices for libraries have tripled over the past nine years, with publishers charging between $20 and $65 for an e-book copy that libraries cannot own permanently. For popular e-books, libraries pay $55 for a copy that expires after two years, or $550 for a copy for 20 years, compared with the about $15 that a consumer would pay, according to the American Library Association (ALA).

The Maryland law passed 130 to 0 in the General Assembly and 47-0 in the Maryland Senate, and took effect on the first day of this year. Last month, however, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction, siding with AAP’s argument in their lawsuit that the law interferes with federal copyright law. The Maryland attorney general will defend the state’s law, a stance applauded by the ALA. …

As it fights against these bills, the AAP and its affiliated groups, backed by massive corporations, have far more money and resources to apply to their legal work, and have spent far more on lobbying efforts and political contributions. …”

Case Study of Open Access practices: Limitations and Opportunities in Public Libraries in Nigeria | by Isaac Oloruntimilehin | Creative Commons: We Like to Share | Mar, 2022 | Medium

“Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)…

Institutional Repositories…

The Nigerian Copyright Act…

Expressions of Folklore…

Nigerian Language Oral History Documentation Project…

Challenges…”

 

Maryland Defends Its Library E-book Law, Seeks Dismissal of AAP Lawsuit

“In a January 14 filing, the Maryland Attorney General defended the state’s new library e-book law, rejecting the Association of American Publishers’ contention that the measure runs afoul of federal copyright law.

“This case is not about copyright protection—it is about the unfair and discriminatory trade practices of publishers at the expense of public libraries,” reads the first line of the state’s brief. “[When] a publisher elevates its own reward to the detriment of the public, the state has a legitimate interest in remedying the situation,” the brief later states. “Maryland decided to remedy such a situation, and chose a remedy that is fully consistent with the purpose of copyright.” 

The Maryland e-book law went into effect on January 1. It requires that publishers offering e-books to consumers in the state must also offer to license the works to public libraries on “reasonable” terms.

The filing comes after the AAP on December 9 sued Maryland state officials in federal court, arguing that the law is preempted by the federal Copyright Act. The AAP also claims the law violates interstate commerce laws, and is unconstitutionally vague. The heart of the case, however, is that the Maryland law allegedly functions as a “compulsory license” that infringes on the exclusive rights granted to publishers and authors under copyright. The AAP is seeking an order declaring the Maryland law is preempted, as well a preliminary and permanent injunction against enforcement of the act.

In their 42-page legal memorandum, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and his team counter that the state’s library e-book law is constitutional, does not touch upon the exclusive rights granted under copyright, and is in fact a “modest” consumer protection statute enacted to prevent some publishers from “capitalizing on the digital revolution at libraries’ expense.” …”

With AAP Reply, Legal Battle Over Maryland Library E-book Law Intensifies

“In a January 28 court filing, lawyers for the Association of American publishers doubled down on their claim that Maryland’s library e-book law is clearly preempted by the federal Copyright Act, and said supporters of the law are seeking to “unravel decades of federal legislation and jurisprudence that delineate the contours of copyright law.”

In their 37-page reply filing, AAP lawyers asked the court to reject Maryland’s recently filed motion to dismiss the AAP’s case, and to grant the AAP’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the law….

Maryland attorneys argue that publishers “continue to enjoy complete control over the rights granted by the Copyright Act,” and insist that the law does not compel a license, only a reasonable “offer to license” and only when a work is also available to consumers. No publisher, the state insists, will be “forced to enter into involuntary and uneconomic licensing agreements.”

Furthermore, Maryland attorneys argue there is an “extra element” that augurs against federal preemption—the state’s authority to regulate against unfair and discriminatory contracts….”

Illinois, Rhode Island Introduce New Library E-book Bills

“Illinois has become the latest state to introduce a library e-book bill, with state legislators last week introducing the Equitable Access to Electronic Literature Act. In addition, Rhode Island legislators have re-introduced their library e-book bill in the new legislative session after a previous effort stalled last year.

The Illinois bill provides that publishers that offer “a contract or license for electronic literary product acquisition to the public shall offer to license the electronic literary product to libraries, if purchased with public funds, on reasonable terms and under reasonable technological protection measures that will permit libraries to provide their patrons with access to the electronic literary products.” 

The bill in Rhode Island is similar, although it specifically expands the law to cover “elementary and secondary schools and educational institutions” in the state.

The bills are also similar to efforts passed in Maryland and New York last year (although New York governor Kathy Hochul vetoed the bill last month.) Similar bills are being considered in several more state legislatures, library leaders tell PW….”

Update: AAP Sues Maryland Over E-Lending Law | Authors Alliance

“Yesterday, the Association of American Publishers (“AAP”) announced it had filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the state of Maryland seeking to block the state’s new e-book lending law from taking effect on January 1st, 2022. This year, Maryland was the first of several states to pass a bill requiring publishers to license e-books to libraries on “reasonable terms,” and is the only state in which such a law is set to go into effect. Authors Alliance has written about this type of state legislation in the past, and we have been following these developments closely throughout the year.

In 2021, multiple states proposed—and in some cases, passed—state legislation requiring publishers to license e-books to libraries on reasonable terms. The legislation responds in part to publishers’ trend in recent years of charging libraries higher prices for e-book licenses than they do consumers: in some cases, libraries must pay up to five times as much as an individual consumer for an e-book license. Moreover, these licenses often come with restrictive terms, such as limits on the number of times an e-book can be checked out before the license is terminated. The issue gained particular salience during the COVID-19 pandemic, as libraries across the country shuttered in-person operations, and patrons were forced to turn to e-books and other digital services in order to access library resources.

In March of this year, the Maryland state legislature unanimously passed the Maryland library e-book lending bill. Before the bill could become law, it faced last-minute opposition by the AAP, which claimed the bill was unconstitutional. Nevertheless, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the bill had become law in May, and would go into effect in January of next year. Described by its proponents as “fairly mild,” the Maryland legislation requires “a publisher who offers to license an electronic literary product to the public to also offer to license the product to public libraries in the State on reasonable terms that would enable public libraries to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product.” “Reasonable terms” are not explicitly defined in the statute, leaving Maryland libraries and publishers to negotiate these terms….”

Library Futures | Statement on the Association of American Publishers Suit Against the State of Maryland

“We are dismayed, but ultimately unsurprised, by the Association of American Publishers’s decision to file suit against the State of Maryland for their ebooks law, passed unanimously by the General Assembly on March 10th, 2021. This law is set to go into effect on January 1, 2022. It represents the Maryland Library Association’s efforts to simply request equal access and pricing in digital content. Nevertheless, the AAP’s complaint calls Maryland’s law “radical.” 

What is “radical” is the lawsuit’s multiple spurious claims regarding the intention of the law, attempting to deflect the blame for the price gouging and rent-seeking behavior for library digital content on technology companies rather than its own members’ behaviors in the market. Public libraries are spending upwards of three times consumer pricing for econtent from the big publishing companies. Further, libraries must continually re-buy their collections over and over or risk having their titles disappear from their collections after the licenses expire or stop being offered.

The AAP’s suit does not represent the view of authors, creatives, or even most publishing companies other than a minority of the biggest media corporations in the world. This famously litigious trade organization has tried to stop libraries before, and they have lost every time. Ultimately, the lawsuit represents a pattern of behavior that demonstrates the commercial publishing industry’s continued disdain for the librarians, educators, and the public who simply want resources to provide access to materials, combat misinformation, and provide quality education in the State of Maryland and beyond….”

The Association of American Publishers Files Suit Against the State of Maryland Over Unprecedented Encroachment Into Federally Protected Copyrights

The Association of American Publishers (AAP), the national trade association for the U.S. publishing industry, today filed suit against the Maryland Attorney General seeking to enjoin and overturn an unconstitutional Maryland law that directly conflicts with the federal Copyright Act by forcing any publisher, domestic and foreign, to make their literary works available to Maryland public libraries in electronic book and audiobook formats according to timing, pricing, and other terms mandated by the state under threat of penalty.

An empirical examination of open source software adoption in US public libraries | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

Similarly to Choi and Pruett (2019), which addressed open source software (OSS) adoption in the academic library context, this study aims to examine barriers and drivers to OSS adoption and to provide a snapshot of the current state of OSS adoption in US public libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey of the public library staff members who oversee information systems/technology in their library was conducted. A total number of 288 valid responses were used for data analysis.

Findings

A range of barriers and drivers to OSS adoption in US public libraries were revealed, but, unlike academic libraries, awareness was found to be a barrier. Additionally, the vast majority of the non-adopters showed very low levels of OSS adoption intent in the near future, more than that which was indicated by academic libraries.

Practical implications

Several practical implications tailored for public libraries are provided, such as promoting OSS awareness among public libraries in rural and town areas, the importance of the initial trial/adoption and funding and marketing towards public libraries with small service population sizes and so on.

Originality/value

Following Choi and Pruett (2019) which examined OSS adoption in the academic library context, this study conducted a similar online survey with US public libraries and made several contributions to the literature and to the public library field.

Wyden, Eshoo Question Big Five Publishers Over Their Library E-book Practices

“In a potentially significant development, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) this week presented a wide-ranging set of questions to the Big Five publishers regarding their practices in the library e-book market.

In their letter to the publishers the lawmakers reference “the exorbitant costs and burdensome restrictions” that they contend “are draining resources from many local libraries,” and “forcing [libraries] to make difficult choices to try and provide a consistent level of service” to their communities.”

An App Called Libby and the Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books | The New Yorker

“I read more books in 2020 than I had in years. I was not the only one; last year, more than a hundred library systems checked out a million or more books each from OverDrive’s catalogue, and the company reported a staggering four hundred and thirty million checkouts, up a third from the year before. (Barnes & Noble, which has more retail locations than any other bookseller in the U.S., has said that it sells about a hundred and fifty-five million print books a year.) The burst in digital borrowing has helped many readers, but it has also accelerated an unsettling trend. Books, like music and movies and TV shows, are increasingly something that libraries and readers do not own but, rather, access temporarily, from corporations that do….

In 2011, HarperCollins introduced a new lending model that was capped at twenty-six checkouts, after which a library would need to purchase the book again. Publishers soon introduced other variations, from two-year licenses to copies that multiple readers could use at one time, which boosted their revenue and allowed libraries to buy different kinds of books in different ways. For a classic work, which readers were likely to check out steadily for years to come, a library might purchase a handful of expensive perpetual licenses. With a flashy best-seller, which could be expected to lose steam over time, the library might buy a large number of cheaper licenses that would expire relatively quickly. …

The high prices of e-book rights could become untenable for libraries in the long run, according to several librarians and advocates I spoke to—libraries, venders, and publishers will probably need to negotiate a new way forward. “It’s not a good system,” Inouye said. “There needs to be some kind of change in the law, to reinstate public rights that we have for analog materials.” Maria Bustillos, a founding editor of the publishing coöperative Brick House, argued recently in The Nation that libraries should pay just once for each copy of an e-book. …”

 

New digital platform empowers public libraries and patrons, boosts equitable access to knowledge – Knight Foundation

“A powerful partnership of industry leaders today announced The Palace Project, a transformational, library-centered platform for digital content and services.   

The Palace Project, with a $5 million award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to LYRASIS, and in strategic partnership with Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), will develop and scale a robust suite of content, services, and tools for the delivery of ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital media to benefit public libraries and patrons.   

The Palace Project will support the mission of public libraries by providing equitable access to digital knowledge, bolstering the direct relationship between libraries and patrons, and protecting patron privacy by enabling libraries to serve content to patrons from all the major e-content providers.  …”

Know your rights: the key to eBook access – CILIP: the library and information association

“Maintaining the status quo for public libraries – to build collections, preserve and lend them – is now seen as a radical and frightening mission, according Ben White, PhD researcher at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University and co-founder of KnowledgeRights21. Here he speaks to Rob Mackinlay about why not challenging the methods used by publishers to protect their content will damage not only libraries, but also threatens research and innovation.

“Publishers can’t refuse to sell paper books to libraries, but they can and do refuse to sell them eBooks. And all we want to do is to be allowed to do what we’ve always done, to keep the status quo, to be allowed to build collections, preserve and lend, so it is strange that the solution sounds a bit frightening and radical,” says Ben White who has been immersed in the legal minutiae of intellectual property across Europe for decades….”

New Digital Platform Empowers Public Libraries and Patrons, Boosts Equitable Access to Knowledge | DPLA

“A powerful partnership of industry leaders today announced The Palace Project, a transformational, library-centered platform for digital content and services.  

The Palace Project, with a $5 million investment by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for LYRASIS, and in strategic partnership with Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), will develop and scale a robust suite of content, services, and tools for the delivery of ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital media to benefit public libraries and patrons.  …”