Whether we’re advocating for strong copyright policies, protecting free speech, or promoting the advancement of research and scholarship, our focus is on the central role that publishers play in enhancing our culture, education, workforce, and democracy.
Our work covers several key areas:
Advocating for Strong Copyright Laws
Copyright is the foundational building block of a vibrant publishing industry, enabling authors, scientists, educators, and many others to produce the books, articles, educational materials, and other literary works that define our culture, support our democracy and enhance our daily lives. In short, copyright empowers creators to change the world, one word at a time.
AAP advocates for a modern and effective copyright system that enables publishers to create, market, and distribute a wide array of high-quality books, journals, and educational materials that support a well-informed public, and enrich American culture.
Laws & Agreements Must Preserve the Value of Copyright to the U.S. Economy
Intellectual property is the backbone of modern trade: America’s core copyright industries – including publishing – collectively contribute $1.3 trillion in annual value to the U.S. gross domestic product. In order to preserve and grow the creative industry’s critically important economic contributions we must:
- Demand strong domestic policies and international agreements that require technology platforms to take an active role in preventing piracy and in establishing a fair and transparent online marketplace.
- Ensure that international trade agreements include robust copyright protection and enforcement mechanisms.
- Return to the longstanding policy of not imposing tariffs on educational, scientific, and cultural materials, where books and informational materials can flow tariff-free in and out of the United States – no matter where they happen to be printed.
Related Links and Documents:
A Modern and Effective Copyright System Includes:
- A Digital Millennium Copyright Act that’s fair to creators
- Freedom to contract
- Meaningful enforcement of the law
Promoting a Free and Transparent Marketplace
Publishing has been at the forefront of the digital revolution, embracing the unprecedented opportunities of the online economy, exploring new ways of distributing and marketing books, eBooks and audio books, and developing innovative new digital materials for education, research and scholarship.
At the same time, many publishers have been negatively impacted by the emergence of dominant platforms that operate at a scale which often makes it impossible to do business without them. And even as these players, including Google and Amazon, have built their platforms into a defining force in global commerce, they have also enabled counterfeiting and deceptive marketing practices to proliferate.
At AAP, we advocate for a regulatory framework that encourages innovation and competitive-market choices for both consumers and suppliers. The marketplace of ideas will be irreparably diminished if the government permits it to be served only—or even predominantly—by a very small number of dominant platforms.
Protecting Freedom of Expression and the Free Exchange of Ideas
Freedom of speech and freedom to publish are twin pillars of our democracy, and together they play a central role in creating and sustaining an essential element of any free society: an informed citizenry. As the Supreme Court has explained, “[t]he right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.” Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002).
As publishers, AAP members identify, nurture and promote authors working in a wide range of disciplines, and representing a broad array of perspectives. In the process they help ensure that our democracy benefits from a vibrant marketplace of ideas. When governments seek to censor expressive content or constrain independent scholarship, it affects the ability of publishers to disseminate important educational, scientific and literary works; contribute to the economy and the culture; and support authors.
While it is inevitable that some books will be unpopular, upsetting, or even offensive to some audiences, American law and policy have long recognized that censorship strikes at the very heart of our democratic ideals. In the context of public schools, parental input and community standards have always played an important role in developing local educational practices, but the Supreme Court has made clear that these practices must be consistent with the First Amendment and must not infringe on the rights of other students. See Island Trees School District v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982) (“[W]e hold that local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books”); Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) (“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate”). AAP is particularly disturbed by the growing attempts across the nation to ban wide swaths of books from schools, in blatant violation of the First Amendment.
At AAP we believe that it is only by exposing, confronting, and addressing controversial speech, not by hiding it, that the merits of that speech can be tested. As a result, we promote the vigorous exchange of ideas and opinions through books and other publications.
We are also proud members of the Media Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship—two critically important organizations dedicated to protecting First Amendment rights—and we work closely with them and other coalition partners to ensure that freedom of speech and freedom to publish continue to play a central role in our democracy.
- AAP joins National Coalition Against Censorship to Condemn Virginia Legal Action that Threatens Freedom to Read (June 1, 2022)
- AAP joins National Coalition Against Censorship and Hundreds of Associations, Publishers, and Authors in Opposing the Attack on Books in Communities Across the Country
- AAP Statement on the Texas House of Representatives Committee on General Investigating October 25, 2021 Letter to the Texas Education Agency
- Statement from AAP President and CEO Maria Pallante on the Justice Department Lawsuit Against John Bolton for the Publication of His Book ‘The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir’
- AAP Supports a Free Press
- AAP Opposes Censorship of the Book ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the White House’
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Missouri State Conference of National Association for Advancement of Colored People v. Wentzville R-IV School District
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Porco v. Lifetime
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Robert S. Trump v. Mary L. Trump and Simon & Schuster
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in United States v. Bolton
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Minnesota v. Casillas
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Austin v. Illinois
- AAP Joins Amicus Brief in Ex Parte Jones
AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award
- F&G Editores, Guatemala, Receives 2021 AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award
- Jagriti Publishing House, Bangladesh, Receives 2020 AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award
- South African NB Publishers Receives 2019 AAP International Freedom to Publish Award for ‘The President’s Keepers’
- Publisher of Censored Iranian Authors Receives 2018 AAP International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award
- Gui Minhai Receives 2017 International Freedom to Publish | Jeri Laber Award