Remember that California law aimed at curbing forgeries of autographed collectibles, which bookstores worried would make it nearly impossible to hold book signings? Scrivener’s Error (found via The Digital Reader) was of the opinion that the law was written in such a way as to leave bookstores out, because it was aimed at dealers who sold mainly “collectibles” (e.g. autographed books) rather than stores that sold mainly regular books and occasionally dealt in “collectibles.”
However, bookstore owners and civil liberties organizations are apparently not reassured. Publishers Weekly reports that nonprofit law firm the Pacific Legal Foundation is bankrolling a lawsuit on behalf of bookstore Book Passage, seeking to get the law overturned.
According to the lawsuit, the new paperwork and penalties “significantly burdened and seriously threatened” Petrocelli’s efforts to sell books autographed by their authors. Book Passage hosts around 700 author events every year, as well as a “Signed First Editions Club” for dedicated members. These programs, under the new law, would generate thousands of pages of paperwork, as well as the potential for massive liabilities.
As Scrivener’s Error pointed out, the law is easy to misread. Does it, in fact, apply to bookstores after all? If SE is right about the law, I expect the defense to bring that up when the lawsuit gets to court. But one way or another, there will surely be some clarification forthcoming when the case works its way through the court.