Association of American Publishers Statement on Important Valancourt Books Decision

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled today in favor of Valancourt Books, a small Virginia publisher and AAP member company, in an important copyright case that rejects the Government’s argument that depositing books with the Library of Congress without compensation and under threat of substantial penalties is a condition of copyright protection. In reversing the lower court, the Appeals Court also rejected the Government’s position that abandoning one’s copyrights within the current legal framework is a viable alternative to avoiding the deposit requirement.

The opinion found “mandatory deposit” (section 407 of the Copyright Act) unconstitutional as applied to physical books. In the case, the Library made repeated demands for copies of Valancourt titles under the pain of fines despite Valancourt’s objections that they would be costly to provide. The Court did not address the publisher’s First Amendment claim because it was unnecessary to do so. AAP’s amicus curiae brief in support of Valancourt was cited in the opinion.
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