Two divergent rulings in class actions in New York and California over the constitutional protection of a book cover could have a dramatic impact on the way book publishers and other media companies promote their works.

In Lacoff v. Buena Vista Publishing, and Keimer v. Buena Vista Books, 75 Cal. App. 4th 1220, the New York Supreme Court and a California appellate court were faced with the difficult task of deciding whether the cover of a book is commercial speech and subject to state advertising laws, or noncommercial speech, which is protected by the First Amendment.