New York Legislature Passes Library E-book Bill

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New York has now become the second state to pass a bill that would ensure public libraries the right to license and lend e-books that are available to consumers in the state.

After votes on successive days this week in the Assembly and the Senate, the bill crossed the finish line just before the June 10 close of the legislative session and is now headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk. If signed, the law would be the second such piece of digital library legislation to pass, following Maryland’s.

New York bills require publishers who offer to license e-books to the public would also offer them to libraries on reasonable terms. The bill’s summary states that the law would ensure that “widely accepted and effective industry practices remain in place while prohibiting harmful practices that discriminate against libraries and harm library patrons.” And, also like the Maryland legislation, New York’s bill passed unanimously in the Assembly.

Notably, New York’s legislation would go into effect just 19 days after it is signed into law. The governor has 10 days to sign or veto a bill if that bill was passed during the legislative session—which this bill was. And if the governor doesn’t sign or veto the bill within the allotted time frame, the bill automatically becomes law.

Jeremy Johannesen, executive director of the New York Library Association, said he was “absolutely cautiously optimistic” that Cuomo will sign the bill, “But until it is signed, it’s not signed, and we will continue to advocate.”

Johannesen also said “We’re just so grateful to our partners on both sides of the aisle, in both houses of the legislature,”.

Source: Publishers weekly

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