January 15, 2022
AAP Statement Regarding Maryland’s Defense of Unconstitutional Shadow Copyright Act
On January 14, 2022, the Maryland Attorney General’s office filed an answer to AAP’s lawsuit, Association of American Publishers v. Brian Frosh, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of Maryland. As the lawsuit explains in great detail, Maryland has enacted a state copyright law that seeks to govern transmissions of literary works within its borders—a law that clearly conflicts with the United States Copyright Act, unconstitutionally interferes with interstate commerce, and violates the Constitution’s Due Process clause by mandating vague and unspecified licensing requirements.
Following is a comment from Maria A. Pallante, President and CEO, Association of American Publishers in response to Maryland’s filing yesterday.
“The Maryland Attorney General’s arguments are unresponsive and unpersuasive as to the legal problems presented in our lawsuit. By interfering with the exclusive rights that are the basis of copyright transactions in online markets, including library markets, the Maryland Act creates confusion in a vibrant digital economy, undermines publishing contracts, and preposterously threatens copyright owners with penalties for following the uniform authority of the U.S. Copyright Act. The state has also badly misunderstood the premise and operation of the copyright framework and its constitutional origins, in which public access to original works of authorship is not achieved by government fiat or manipulation of terms, but rather through a system of economic incentives that foster investment, rewards, and continuous market innovations during a statutory term of protection.
“AAP will continue to pursue this case forcefully in federal court because a uniform and effective Copyright Act is essential to sustaining a vibrant and independent publishing industry in the United States. We also take this moment to recognize the countless authors across numerous creative disciplines that make this world more interesting, knowable, and inspiring, and for whom literature, music, movies, art, and other creative works are a life-long, intellectual endeavor marked by a combination of risk and remuneration.”