AAP Statement On Final Judgement in AAP v. Frosh

NISO Member News

Washington, DC. | June 13, 2022

“Today the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued an unequivocal, final ruling in the case of Association of American Publishers v. Brian Frosh in AAP’s favor.  In so ruling, the Court reiterated that the Maryland Act is unconstitutional because it “conflicts with and is prempted by the Copyright Act” and “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purpose and objectives of Congress.” 

“We thank Judge Deborah L. Boardman for delivering a clear decision that protects the exclusive rights that are the basis of the United States Copyright Act and the means by which authors and publishers make so many intellectual and economic contributions to society and the long-term public interest.  The ruling underscores the fundamental legal tenet that was never in doubt to those who respect and rely upon our copyright system, and which Judge Boardman stated succinctly in her February analysis: it ‘is only through the protection of copyright that books and other creative works may be generated and distributed at all.’

“As AAP’s lawsuit explained in great detail, Maryland enacted a shadow copyright law that would have forced authors and publishers to transmit literary works to public libraries within its borders according to regulated terms imposed by the state.  The encroachment was astonishing for its direct conflict with two centuries of federal law and its upheaval of an Internet economy in which authors, artists, publishers, and producers from around the world make their intellectual property available to consumers through a plethora of innovative formats and access models that also include more than a half a billion digital loans for library patrons in the United States alone.  Every day, thanks to the protections and reciprocity afforded by international treaties, such transactions are carried out seamlessly and rapidly across borders and permit the incredible innovation of home browsing.

“Today’s decisive ruling, combined with Governor Kathy Hochul’s December, 2021 veto of a nearly identical bill in New York on constitutional grounds, sends a two-fold message to other legislatures being similarly lobbied: there is nothing judicious about undermining authors or the viability of an independent publishing industry.”