Monday, January 2, 2017

A Note to Our Customers About California AB 1570

Dear friends:

Yesterday a 2016 California Assembly bill, AB 1570, went into effect.

Henry Bemis Books' analysis of the law is here.

In brief, the law was passed with little thought or study because everyone agreed if Mark Hamill says fake movie memorabilia is crowding his autograph income, it must be so.

Unfortunately, AB 1570 also scoops up every dealer in autographed books in America within its astonishingly broad array of record-keeping, guarantees of authenticity, and financial compliance requirements. A November 2016 discussion about the law- between Steven Eisenstein, host of the collectibles radio show Bucks on the Bookshelf, and rare book dealer and former Assembly staffer Marc Kuritz- is here. It illuminates how good intentions can make really, really, bad law.

The bill's sponsor was busy running for the state senate last fall, and just issued statements saying, trust me, the bill doesn't mean what it says.

Until a correction bill goes into law, however, Henry Bemis Books lacks the ability to comply with AB 1570's record-keeping requirements, down to the size and font of the certificates of authenticity. And, frankly, getting sued by an unhappy California resident over a book he may have paid only $5 for, with AB 1570's promise of exemplary damages and attorney fees if he wins, is something I can't afford.

As a result, I'll be unable to fill any orders from California residents until the legislature sorts this out. I love the state to death, and most of its residents, but I won't let one kill my livelihood. 

If I can find a waiver of all claims release I believe is enforceable, and California customers are willing to sign one, then we can talk. Otherwise, I'm on the beach until clarity is brought to the scope of AB 1570.

Sincerely yours,

Lindsay Thompson

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