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Library Ebook Licensing Bill Vetoed by Governor Kathy Hochul


The Authors Guild applauds today’s veto by New York Governor Kathy Hochul of Bill 5837-B, the library ebook licensing bill, which would have forced book authors, publishers, and other copyright owners to involuntarily grant licenses to New York public libraries for their digital works on terms decided by the state of New York.

The Author Guild and its members are staunch supporters of public libraries for all they do both as community gathering spaces and through their unique services and offerings that educate, inform, inspire, entertain and assist millions of children, teens, adults and seniors throughout the United States and the world. We strongly believe that public libraries deserve and require adequate public funding, and we regularly advocate on behalf of the New York Public Library to ensure that branches throughout New York City can meet the growing needs of library patrons, including access to an adequate number of ebook licenses.

However, the proposed library ebook licensing bill, while well-intentioned, was not the right solution. Federal copyright law grants authors exclusive rights to determine how and to whom they provide access to their works and on what terms. As Governor Hochul states, “the provisions of this bill are preempted by federal copyright law,” which is precisely why she had to veto it.

We thank Governor Hochul for recognizing that this bill was neither legal nor tenable.  We also acknowledge those Authors Guild members who responded to our call to action and the Association of American Publishers who led the effort to veto the bill, as well as the Copyright Alliance, the New York News Publishers Association and other like-minded organizations which helped us educate lawmakers about the problems the bill posed and joined us in helping to defeat it.   

Read Governor Hochul’s Veto