The Association of American Publishers (AAP) – Who are they?
According to their web site:
“The 300 members of AAP are building the future of publishing. We are America’s premier publishers of high-quality entertainment, education, scientific and professional content – dedicating the creative, intellectual and financial investments to bring great ideas to life. We are also at the forefront of publishing technology – delivering content to the world’s audiences in all the ways they seek it.”
So the AAP has 300 member publishers. How much of a percentage is that? According to PublishersGlobal.com, there are 2,674 publishers in the US, but it doesn’t break them down into types or sizes. Dan Poynter’s ParaPublishing tells us that there are six very large publishers in the US (all based in New York), between 3-400 medium publishers, and roughly 86,000 small or self-publishers. If the AAP has 300 publisher members, assuming they are medium or large, then they represent ¾ of the American publishing industry.
The AAP has been involved in copyright activities for many years. Their web site states:
“Book publishers are addressing enormous challenges worldwide in the protection of intellectual property. Their critical efforts include securing copyrighted works against unauthorized use in print and electronic formats, protecting the integrity and use of copyrighted works in the digital environment and developing viable compensation.”
The AAP has secured “copyrighted works against unauthorized use” by supporting the publisher’s side of the Google Books case, helping to fund the Georgia State E-reserves lawsuit, and now the Kirtsaeng case (First Sale).
The AAP is a strong supporter of free speech and consequently, the freedom to read. It has been party to some lawsuits and numerous publicity campaigns in support of this cause.
The Authors Guild
“The Authors Guild has been the nation’s leading advocate for writers’ interests in effective copyright protection, fair contracts and free expression since it was founded as the Authors League of America in 1912. It provides legal assistance and a broad range of web services to its members.” (http://www.authorsguild.org/) The AG provides members with free legal and business advice on book contracts, periodical and literary agency contracts, subsidiary licensing, royalty and copyright issues and other matters relevant to publishing (Wikipedia).
In recent years the Authors Guild has taken part in the lawsuit against Hathi Trust and against the Google Books project. It is active in cases in which authors’ rights may be abused.
Both organizations – the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild (AG) have demonstrated that they see strong copyright control as essential to an author’s success. They support that worldview through lawsuits, promotional materials, and author education. Both organizations have every right to do as they do.
For those interested in alternatives to strict copyright enforcement, check these organizations:
Open Educational Resources Commons