10:48 PM

Publishers Oppose Hawaii Third-Party Liability Legislation

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has issued a strong protest against legislation making its way through the Hawaii State Legislature that would hold travel writers and publishers of visitors’ guides (and visitor guide websites) liable for injury or death suffered by readers who trespass on privately-owned land. A committee of the Hawaii House of Representatives has already given unanimous approval to the measure.

In a letter to the Hawaii Senate Economic Development and Technology Committee, which is holding a hearing on the bill today, AAP called the legislation “ill-conceived.” Pointing out that such a statute would inevitably be struck down on First Amendment grounds, AAP urged the legislature to find alternative ways to address the problem of trespassing.

AAP’s Freedom to Read director Judy Platt said: “The approach taken by this legislation would have a profound and unacceptable chilling effect not only on AAP members who publish travel guides, but on the robust free marketplace of ideas that the First Amendment is intended to protect. The courts have simply not allowed this to happen, and the Hawaii legislature needs to be reminded of that.”

About AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents about four hundred member organizations including major commercial, digital learning and education and professional publishers alongside independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies. We represent the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.