Defending California’s booksellers

The Book Passage v. Becerra


Contact: Anastasia P. Boden

Status: Complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 11, 2017. 

Summary:
California’s newly expanded autograph law which formerly applied only to sports memorabilia — now applies to sellers of any signed commodity worth over $5, including books.  The law requires sellers to provide a Certificate of Authenticity that includes detailed information about each sale, as well as personal information about buyers and previous owners — and to store those records for seven years.  Failure to include or maintain a certificate, or making an inadvertent omission on the Certificate, results in a civil penalty of up to 10 times any damages plus attorney fees.  Select sellers, such as some pawn brokers and online retailers, are exempt.

That law threatens Bay Area book store Book Passage, and its owner Bill Petrocelli, who makes a living by hosting author events and selling autographed books.  PLF is challenging this unreasonable law under the First Amendment, because it impedes the free exchange of ideas through book sales and book events.  The lawsuit also argues that the law’s irrational exemptions violate the Equal Protection Clause.

 

PLF Testimonial

"Most people wouldn't stick it out, and since PLF is litigating for principle, we have to thank PLF for doing what they do."
Trevor Burrus, Research Fellow at CATO Institute

Connect with Us       Donate to PLF


PLF Client Highlight

"PLF allowed me to keep operating my business, even in the midst of a crisis. My business means the world to me and my family - PLF saved it for us. Thank you."
R.J. Bruner, Wildcat Moving Co.

Connect with Us       Donate to PLF


PLF Client Highlight

"A 20 year battle is over, thanks to Pacific Legal Foundation.  My father would be proud. Thank you PLF for your support."
Coy Jr. and Linda Koontz

Connect with Us       Donate to PLF


What Your Support Means

Donate to PLF

 

A PLF Victory for Freedom

Supreme Court Victories


PLF Donor Highlight

"For PLF, it's not a job - it's a passion. You can feel very good about how well your money is used in support of the programs they have."
Dr. Robert S. Pepper

Our History       Join The Fight

PLF Testimonial

"Individuals for whom a major case is a one shot deal are far more aggrieved. Most individuals cannot afford to do anything with that grievance, and that's where organizations like PLF come in."

Professor Steven Eagle, George Mason School of Law

Our History       Join The Fight