Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Publishers Hope for Common Ground with Trump

Authors and First Amendment advocates have been lamenting the election of Donald Trump, but the book industry’s trade group believes it can do business with his administration.

In a five-page letter to the Republican president-elect, the Association of American Publishers outlined its views Thursday on copyright, entrepreneurship and other issues.

One reason for the association’s optimism: Trump himself has published many books and may relate to the industry’s concerns about piracy and internet theft. The protection of “novice as well as celebrated authors” is at the core of the industry’s mission, according to the association, which noted that Trump has thrived publishing books through such association members as Simon & Schuster and Random House.

“This is not industry puffery, Mr. President-elect,” the letter reads. “Undoubtedly, your most recent books introduced readers to views and ideas that formed the core of your election campaign.”

Publishers also believe Trump will be sympathetic to the protection of intellectual property rights. The letter notes that Trump himself has developed an international brand that’s been made possible “through trademark representation and enforcement.”

“Your businesses have been active at the U.S. Trademark Office and in the courts when necessary to exercise your statuary rights to prevent infringement or dilution of your brand,” according to the letter.

Individual publishers may feel more comfortable politically with Democratic President Barack Obama, but his administration didn’t always align with the industry, notably on antitrust and In 2012, the Department of Justice sued Apple and five leading publishers for the alleged fixing of e-book prices. The legal action followed Apple’s launching of its iBookstore and a new pricing system that allowed publishers to set the cost of e-books. Publishers feared that Amazon, which has long dominated the e-book market, was charging too little and driving down the value of books. The five companies ended up settling out of court and a federal judge ruled against Apple.

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