On March 15 2023 authors, publishers, and copyright businesses from across the United States have formed the Protect the Creative Economy Coalition in response to efforts to weaken intellectual property protections and damage digital markets. The Coalition represents small and independent business owners as well as major creative industries.
The Coalition is combatting a series of unconstitutional state bills (including in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Kentucky) that would artificially depress the value of literary works and the contracts that govern intellectual property licenses. Putting aside the chaos of enforcing state-specific rules within a far-reaching, global IP framework, the bills directly conflict with the federal Copyright Act, including the responsibilities of federal lawmakers to determine the Nation’s IP laws. Proponents continue to push their bills after a similar effort in Maryland was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2022 and bills in both New York and Virginia were also rejected.
Maria Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers “The problem is not theoretical. The state bills would subject authors and publishing houses of all sizes to serious liabilities and financial penalties for exercising the very rights that the Copyright Act so clearly affords them—the definition of a constitutional conflict. Moreover, they would forge a concerning precedent for downstream appropriation of IP investments by actors well beyond the states, especially as to already precarious digital copies. We stand by our time-tested copyright system, and we are deeply dubious of assertions that devaluing the Nation’s creative output is in the public interest.”
Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association said “For independent publishers and self-published authors, these bills are especially harmful. The legislation would undermine the intellectual property of authors and publishers by manipulating fair market compensation for their creative work. It also places an outsized and unsustainable financial burden on small business owners. The bills would lead to a patchwork of differing rules across the country creating mass confusion, disrupting access, and undermining future investments. This is the reason why copyright is under the purview of federal law in the first place.”
Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild added “These bills are unconstitutional and for good reason. They target the federal copyright system that authors depend on to earning a living. And they’re doing this at a time when the writing profession is already facing existential threats. Writers’ incomes have become precariously low, forcing talented writers to leave the profession; as a culture, we lose their books and their important insights. By forcing pricing limits and other restrictions on not just publishers but thousands of self-published authors, the bills exhibit total disregard of the reality that authors in the commercial marketplace have to earn enough money to stay in the profession. The Authors Guild is fully committed to libraries having access to all books and in all formats to meet their communities’ needs. We regularly lobby for increases in library funding. It is unfair to put the cost of libraries’ needs on authors.”
The initial members of the Protect the Creative Economy Coalition include the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, the National Music Publishers Association, News Media Alliance, and Independent Book Publishers Association as well as the Copyright Alliance, which represents the interests of more than two million authors, photographers, performers, artists, software developers, musicians, journalists, directors, songwriters, game designers, among others, and more than 15,000 related organizations.
Learn more about the coalition at https://protectthecreativeeconomy.org