Is Someone Reading Over Your Shoulder?
Campaign For Reader Privacy
Why does the AAP care about Reader Privacy?
Association of American Publishers

American publishers are strongly committed to an individual's right to read what he or she chooses without the government's knowledge or interference. The publishing industry, and its national trade organization the Association of American Publishers, oppose the use of Section 215 to abrogate First Amendment–protected rights in the absence of the most stringent standard of judicial oversight. In addition to working through AAP, a number of member publishers ranging from large, publicly held corporations to smaller and independent publishers and university presses, have individually taken a stand on this issue.

Beyond the very important issue of reader privacy, publishers have their own serious concerns about Section 215. Section 215 puts publishers at risk. If, for example, the FBI becomes interested in a book about terrorism and wants to pursue the author for more information, all of the publisher's records pertaining to the book, including but not limited to editorial correspondence, proposals, drafts of the manuscript, marked-up proof and royalty statements, would be subject to a Section 215 seizure. Similarly, Section 215 could be used for a "fishing expedition," allowing the government to obtain without judicial safeguards information about subscribers to various publications, notably scientific journals. As Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote: "Once the government can demand of a publisher the names of the purchasers of his publications, the free press as we know it disappears."

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, computer software, and electronic products and services. The Association represents an industry whose very existence depends upon the free exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.