Why is this new law problematic?
It’s redundant and pointless.
SB 1539, Ch. 151 requires that at the start of every sales transaction, to every prospective textbook purchaser, every publisher must provide:
- product prices
- copyright dates of all prior editions
- a list of all products germane to the purchaser’s area of interest
- differences between current and previous textbook editions
And virtually all these requirements already exist in California and federal laws. Students and faculty already have access to this information when considering their course material options.
It will actually increase textbook prices for students.
SB 1539, Ch. 151 will do nothing new to lower textbook prices. Instead, it will increase them. By forcing publishers to produce and provide redundant, excessive information each time a faculty member makes a basic textbook inquiry, costs for these requirements will be passed on to students
It’s burdensome to faculty.
This law will make the textbook-selection process tougher for already-overextended California faculty. If a professor simply inquires about just one title, publishers will now be required to turn over an overwhelming amount of data in every related subject area. TMI = inefficiency and frustration.
- The US Constitution’s Commerce Clause prohibits California from dictating how companies out the state conduct their business.
- First Amendment-protected free speech prohibits any demand, especially made with implied threat of legal consequences, that companies have the right to reconsider their future plans.
- The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits California from forcing companies to divulge highly sensitive trade secrets
Publishers opposed this bill when it was first introduced, due to all the problems it raised. More information about that effort is here
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