The controversial “California Autograph Law” has been amended by an ABAA-sponsored bill, AB 228, which was signed into law by the Governor of California last week and is now in effect.
Many ABAA members were involved in the effort to pass a bill to address the unforeseen consequences of the previous law, among them Brad and Jen Johnson, Marc Kuritz, Laurelle Swan, and Vic Zoschak. It is the tireless efforts of these booksellers and constituents in the state of California, the ABAA staff, a coalition of sister organizations and other supporters (including The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA), The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Barnes & Noble, The Manuscript Society, The Ephemera Society, The Grolier Club, ILAB, The Professional Autograph Dealers Association, Horror Writers Association, Biblio, and The Easton Press), and the ABAA legal and lobbying team, that persuaded legislators of the need to pass AB 228. The ABAA especially wants to thank California Assembly Member Todd Gloria for his work in carrying AB 228.
The main affects of this new law are:
1. All books, manuscripts, and correspondence, as well as any ephemera not related to sports or entertainment media, are now categorically excluded from the regulation of “Autographed collectibles” under California’s autograph law.
2. Antiquarian booksellers who deal in the kind of autographed collectibles in the state of California that still fall under the law may now provide an “Express Warranty” guaranteeing the item as authentic, rather than a Certificate of Authenticity. That warranty may be incorporated into an invoice rather than being a separate document, and the requirement to disclose from whom the autographed collectible was purchased has been eliminated.
3. Civil penalties incurred by those subject to the law who fail to comply have been lowered.
(ABAA members have, of course, long guaranteed the authenticity of the items they sell. For more on the ABAA Guarantee and Code of Ethics, click here...)