While a federal court is now deciding how to dispatch with Maryland's library e-book law, lawmakers in Rhode Island this week have advanced the state's own library e-book bill. On May 18, the Rhode Island Senate's education committee unanimously voted to recommend passage and advanced the state's library e-book bill, SB2842, out of committee and to the floor for a full vote.
Like Maryland's library e-book law—which was preliminarily enjoined after federal judge Deborah L. Boardman in February ruled that the law is preempted by the federal Copyright Act—Rhode Island's law would also require that publishers who offer e-book licenses to the general public also offer to license those works to libraries and schools on "reasonable terms" that would "permit libraries, schools, and educational institutions to provide their users and students with access."
The Rhode Island bill, however, also includes some potentially significant change, including a provision that explicitly mandates that any e-book and digital audiobook license "that limits the rights of a library or school under the U.S. Copyright Act shall not be enforceable" under Rhode Island state law.
The court in Maryland is currently deciding whether to convert a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Maryland's law into a permanent injunction.
Similar bills, meanwhile, are currently still pending in half a dozen other states, although bills in at least four of those states—Connecticut, Missouri, Tennessee, and Illinois—appear to be stalled. In late December, New York governor Kathy Hochul vetoed New York's library e-book bill.