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  • Today Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee, released the Digital Copyright Act of 2021, his much anticipated discussion draft of legislation to modernize and reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Below is a comment from Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), on the draft legislation:

    “On behalf of the publishing industry, we thank Chairman Tillis for his purposeful efforts to evaluate and improve the DMCA framework by conducting a year-long series of hearings and releasing a discussion draft today aimed at possible legislative reforms. The DMCA has a tremendous impact on everyone who drives and benefits from the whirl of modern commerce—from copyright owners to online services providers to consumers and users of creative content.” 

    “Regrettably, the once-innovative DMCA safe harbor system is now deeply damaged and no longer separates lawful copyright transactions from egregious online infringement. Rather, the safe harbors provide broad and unwarranted immunity to bad faith actors—some of whom monetize piracy—unfairly burdening copyright owners to locate and identify infringements and, worst of all, to engage in an interminable game of whack-a-mole that provides little, if any, relief from the pervasive violation of their rights. This is not a small problem, it is a crisis, and it was thoroughly documented by the U.S. Copyright Office in a 250-page report on its comprehensive five-year study of the DMCA’s safe harbor framework, released in May of this year.” 

    “In releasing the discussion draft, Chairman Tillis has taken an important step forward in addressing a serious problem. We look forward to working together with Chairman Tillis and Members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees as this legislative dialogue progresses.”

    A link to the draft legislation can be found here.

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  • New Law Permits Justice Department to Pursue Blatant Criminal Streaming Services 

    The United States Congress yesterday passed the Protecting Lawful Streaming Act (PLSA) as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and sent it to the President’s desk for his signature. The bill gives the Department of Justice long-overdue authority to pursue illicit, commercial, digital transmission services that stream copyrighted works with impunity.

    Below is a comment on the passage of the PLSA from Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and former Register of Copyrights:

    “Today, Congress addressed the harmful ‘streaming loophole’ in the Copyright Act, giving the Department of Justice long-overdue authority to pursue felony charges against criminal organizations that stream copyrighted content to the public in blatant contravention of the law.

    “Piracy is a perpetual challenge that affects every kind of creative work: it does not happen by accident and it inflicts serious economic harm on the legitimate interests of copyright owners and lawful markets for creative works.  We applaud this major modernizing amendment, which gives prosecutors the tools and discretion that are necessary to combat streaming piracy in the digital age, including bringing felony charges when felony charges are appropriate, much as they are able to do when pursuing large-scale, illegal reproduction and distribution under the law. As many have concluded, this narrowly crafted bill is a commonsense measure that goes a long way toward protecting the valuable, vibrant, and ever-evolving copyright economy. 

    “We thank Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for leading this effort, and extend our thanks as well to Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), David Perdue (R-GA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) for their support.”

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  • Support Voluntary Alternative to Federal Court for Small Copyright Disputes

    The United States Congress yesterday passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and sent it to the President’s desk for his signature. By establishing a small claims tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office, the CASE Act provides an entirely voluntary but sorely needed alternative to the high costs and considerable complexities of federal litigation.

    Below is a comment on the passage of the CASE Act from Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and former Register of Copyrights:

    “Today, Congress established an innovative, voluntary tribunal for resolving copyright claims of relatively low economic value, and, in doing so, has stated unequivocally that the copyright economy depends on the inspired whirl of countless small transactions, which in turn depends upon clarity and confidence in the rule of law.  Hats off to the many current and former Members of Congress, Senate and House counsel, Copyright Office experts, and multitude of stakeholders who came together so productively to press for and create a more meaningful legal system.

    “A big achievement, the CASE Act represents years of reasoned analysis, public feedback, and bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill.  In 2013, I had the honor of delivering to Congress the Copyright Office’s comprehensive policy report, Copyright Small Claims, which concluded that, taken in the aggregate, the problem of lower-value infringements is not a small one for our copyright system.  Rather, small claims are a limitless frustration that deprive creators and their business partners of time, attention, income, and opportunity, to the ultimate detriment of the public good.

    “We thank all of the bill’s supporters in Congress, and we are especially grateful for the leadership of the bill’s four lead sponsors, Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA), for their unwavering efforts to pass this bill. We thank Senate and House leadership for recognizing the critical importance of this legislation and including it in today’s legislative package, and we also extend a special thank you to the bill’s additional original co-sponsors, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Martha Roby (R-AL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).”

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  • The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today awarded Jagriti Publishing House, Bangladesh,the 2020 AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award. Given annually, the award recognizes a book publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. In bestowing this award, AAP has long been guided by the principle that if one of us is denied the right to publish, that threat affects us all.

    “On behalf of AAP’s Board of Directors, member houses, and staff, I am honored to present this year’s International Freedom to Publish Award to Jagriti Publishing House,” commented Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers. “We congratulate Razia Rahman Jolly and everyone associated with Jagriti on their extraordinary commitment to promoting books, knowledge, and the lawful exchange of ideas.”

    “Jagriti’s founder, Faisal Arefin Dipan, paid the ultimate price for having the audacity to exercise his fundamental right to publish,” said Terry Adams, Digital and Paperback Publisher, Little Brown and Company, and Chair, AAP Freedom to Publish Committee. “In the wake of his murder, Razia Rahman Jolly refused to be silenced, insisting that Jagriti would not only continue but expand its operations with a bookstore and cultural center dedicated to helping young people explore the world of books. To stand so bravely in the face of such ongoing danger, and to continue the fight in the wake of tragedy, is an example of extraordinary valor that deserves the respect and admiration of publishers and protectors of free speech the world over.”

    “I am delighted on getting awarded with the 2020 'Jeri Laber Award' and express my heartfelt gratitude to the Association of American Publishers, its Board of Directors, member houses and staff,” commented Razia Rahman Jolly, accepting the award. “This award reminds me of the struggle and sacrifice of my late husband Faisal Arefin Dipan to promote and uphold the right of freedom of speech. After the brutal murder of Dipan, it was my commitment to myself and society that I must stand for the cause and decided I will leave no stones unturned to continue the activities of Jagriti publishing house against all odds.  I express my gratitude to my family, friends and well wishers who extended their support in various forms during this period of struggle ultimately to uphold the right of lawful freedom of speech even being faced with adverse situations."

    Razia Rahman Jolly’s acceptance speech can be viewed here.

    About Jagriti Publishing House, Bangladesh

    Jagriti Publishing House of Bangladesh is currently run by Razia Rahman Jolly.

    Razia Rahman Jolly is the widow of Faisal Arefin Dipan, who was the owner of Jagriti Publishing House in Bangladesh. In 2015 Dipan was brutally murdered by religious extremists because of his association with the secular science writer Avijit Roy and other freethinking, secular, and atheist writers. Dipan received a posthumous IPA Prix Voltaire special award in 2018.

    Subsequent to Dipan’s murder, Razia Rahman Jolly took over the Jagriti Publishing House, and also established a bookshop and cultural center in her husband’s memory, saying that “Publishing books is the only way of protesting Dipan’s murder in a region where freedom of speech is severely challenged and fundamentalism has seen many publishers and authors hurt or killed.”

    IPA set up an online fundraiser for Ms. Jolly in July 2020 after it became apparent that the publishing house and bookshop she now runs may not survive the coronavirus pandemic.

    Nine authors and publishers have been murdered in Bangladesh since 2013, with almost no progress on any of the murder investigations. In 2018 Ms. Jolly was quoted as saying, “My husband studied economics, while I studied medicine. His love for books led him to the publishing sector. He was murdered simply because he was supporting a religious critique by an American author. While I continue his legacy and pay my respects to him, I do so knowing that my family is under police protection.” She added, “In Bangladesh, publishers are still fearful of publishing freely as they continue to be attacked by radical groups and non-thinking individuals."

    Top photo: Razia Rahman Jolly stands in front of a mural of her late husband, Faisal Arefin Dipan, at Jagriti Publishing House in Bangladesh. Photo courtesy of Razia Rahman Jolly.

    About the AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award:

    The International Freedom to Publish Award, which was established in 2002, recognizes a book publisher outside the United States who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in defending freedom of expression. The Award, which includes a cash prize, is named in honor of Jeri Laber, a co-founder of Human Rights Watch and founding member of AAP’s Freedom to Publish Committee. Each year, members of the Committee consult with colleagues from around the world to review the actions of publishers who have faced censorship, political persecution, or personal peril in their work, or have otherwise taken a stand to defend the cause of freedom of expression and the written word. In many instances, the honoree’s particular circumstances may prevent him or her from accepting the award or communicating in person.

    Previous recipients of the award include South Africa–based NB Publishers in 2019; and in 2018 Azadeh Parsapour, a London-based publisher of censored Iranian authors.

    About AAP:

    AAP | The Association of American Publishers represents the leading book, journal, and education publishers in the United States on matters of law and policy, advocating for outcomes that incentivize the publication of creative expression, professional content, and learning solutions. As essential participants in local markets and the global economy, our members invest in and inspire the exchange of ideas, transforming the world we live in one word at a time. Find us online at, or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.

  • Trade (Consumer Book) Sales Up 2.4% in October; 6.9% Year to Date

    The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today released its StatShot report for October 2020 reflecting reported revenue for all tracked categories, including Trade (Consumer Books), K-12 Instructional Materials, Higher Education Course Materials, Professional Publishing, and University Presses.

    Total revenues across all categories for October 2020 were up 7.3% as compared to October 2019, coming in at $1.2 billion. Year-to-date sales were down 1.0% as compared to the first ten months of 2019, with a total of $12.4 billion.

    Trade (Consumer Books) Revenues

    Trade (Consumer Books) sales were up 2.4% year-over-year, coming in at $960.6 million. Year-to-date (January-October 2020) Trade sales were up 6.9% as compared to the same period last year, coming in at $6.9 billion.

    In terms of physical paper format revenues during the month of October, in the Trade (Consumer Books) category, Hardback revenues were down 1.8%, coming in at $456.8 million; Paperbacks were down 0.7%, with $246.3 million in revenue; Mass Market was down 2.7% to $19.8 million; and Board Books were up 19.7%, with $27.0 million in revenue.

    On a year-to-date basis, Hardback revenues were $2.6 billion, up 6.9%; Paperbacks were $2.1 billion, up 3.3%; Mass Market was $187.7 million, a decline of 0.9%; and Board Books were $154.8 million, up 18.3% as compared to the first ten months of 2019.

    eBook and Downloaded Audio revenues continued to grow in October, as well as on a year-to-date basis:

    eBook revenues were up 20.4% for the month as compared to October of 2019 for a total of $96.9 million. On a year-to-date basis, eBooks were up 16.5%, coming in at $956.3 million for the first ten months of 2020.

    The Downloaded Audio format continues the long-standing trend of seeing continuous growth every month since 2012.  Downloaded Audio revenues saw a 14.3% increase as compared to October of last year, reaching $56.9 million in revenue. Physical Audio, however, was down 32.4% coming in at $3.0 million.

    On a year-to-date basis, Downloaded Audio was up 17.3% as compared to the same period in 2019, with a total of $553.6 million for the year so far. Physical Audio was down 33.7%, with $19.8 million in revenue.

    Religious Presses

    Religious press revenues were down 1.0% in October, coming in at $59.6 million. The category was basically flat on a year-to-date basis with an increase of 0.3%, and revenues of $537.2 million for the first ten months of the year.


    During October 2020 Education revenues were $248.3 million, up 31.9% compared with October of 2019. Year-to-date Education revenues were down 9.3% as compared to the first ten months of 2019, coming in at $5.5 billion.

    Revenues from Higher Education Course Materials were up 280.2% for the month, as compared to October of 2019, coming in at $93.4 million. On a year-to-date basis, Higher Education revenues were up 2.3% to $2.6 billion.

    PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 14.0% for October 2020, at $103.9 million. PreK-12 Instructional Materials revenues were down 21.1% at $2.4 billion on a year-to-date basis.

    Professional Books, including business, medical, law, technical and scientific, increased 22.0% during the month, coming in at $47.0 million. The category was up 3.3% for the first ten months of the year, with $500.5 million in revenue.

    University Presses were down 7.6% as compared to October of 2019, bringing in $4.0 million in revenue. On a year-to-date basis, University Presses rose 2.2%, bringing in $41.2 million for the first ten months of 2020.

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    AAP’s StatShot

    Publisher net revenue, including sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer, online retailers, etc., is tracked monthly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and includes revenue from about 1,360 publishers, with participation subject to change over time.

    StatShot reports are designed to give an up-to-date snapshot of the publishing industry using the best data currently available. The reports reflect participants’ most recent reported revenue for current and previous periods, enabling readers to compare revenue on a year-to-year basis within a given StatShot report.

    It is not, however, possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons to StatShot reports issued in previous years because: a) The number of StatShot participants fluctuates over time, with the pool of participants growing or shrinking in each report and b) It is a common accounting practices for businesses, including publishers, to restate revenue numbers based on updated information. If, for example, a business learns that its revenues were greater in a given year than its reports indicated, it will restate the revenues in subsequent reports, providing information that is more up-to-date and accurate.