NAFTA Negotiations: Authors Alliance Joins Public Interest Groups in Support of Transparency and Balanced Copyright Policy | Authors Alliance

“Today, Authors Alliance joins with other public interest advocates such as Creative Commons, SPARC, Internet Archive, OpenMedia, and Public Knowledge to sign on to a statement in support of transparency and balanced copyright policy in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The statement was sent to the trade ministries of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, urging all three countries to make trade negotiation processes more transparent, inclusive, and accountable.

Closed-door trade agreements are not the right forum to create intellectual property policy, particularly when negotiations lack transparency. It is critically important that drafts of international agreements that address intellectual property issues be publicly available for comment so that authors and other stakeholders can weigh in on the proposed rules that will bind all member states. Moreover, such agreements are not flexible enough to account for rapid changes in technology.”

Rights Reversion Portal | Authors Alliance

“Have you written a book that has fallen out of print, or isn’t selling as well as it used to? Would you like to open that content to a wider audience, perhaps by creating a digital edition or posting it in an open-access repository? If it’s your goal to broaden your readership by making your own decisions about how and when to make your work available, you might be best served by recovering publishing rights from your publisher in order to explore new ways of reaching readers….”

Rights Reversion Portal | Authors Alliance

“Have you written a book that has fallen out of print, or isn’t selling as well as it used to? Would you like to open that content to a wider audience, perhaps by creating a digital edition or posting it in an open-access repository? If it’s your goal to broaden your readership by making your own decisions about how and when to make your work available, you might be best served by recovering publishing rights from your publisher in order to explore new ways of reaching readers….”

Our Rights Reversions Toolkit needs your input!

“Many authors would like their books to be more widely available to readers. For example, some authors may want their out-of-print books back in print, while others may want their books deposited in open access repositories. However, since most authors sign over some or all of the rights in their works to their publishers, they may not know how to make their works available in the ways they want. Please help us build a resource to help authors advance their authorial interests by completing this 10-minute survey describing your publishing experiences and by sending us copies of your publishing contracts. Your responses will help us create materials with information and strategies to help authors regain some or all of the rights in their books.”

University Librarian reflects on a transformative era

From an interview with Tom Leonard, University Librarian at UC Berkeley. 
“[Q:] I take it your concerns around intellectual property and fair use led to your recent involvement in the Authors Alliance.
[A:] Yes. I’m concerned with what happens to published work that is “orphaned” — left in the stacks with no chance of being fully digitized because of our creaky copyright laws. With three other Berkeley faculty I helped start Authors Alliance, which represents writers who know how helpful it is to stand on the shoulders of other scholars by having access to their work. We are encouraging those who share our passion for moving work that has outlived its commercial life into the public domain. The Library spends more than $5 million a year to license materials, so that students, faculty and staff can see all of this material from their home. But I also try to keep in mind the independent scholar who doesn’t have an affiliation with a research university. That researcher is a second-class citizen when it comes to information. Libraries should work to end that….”

Why I joined the Authors Alliance | DSPS Press

“Of all the absurdities associated with the Authors Guild suit against Google over the Google Books Project, perhaps the greatest was the Guild’s efforts to make it a class action, with the 8,000 members of the Guild speaking for all authors everywhere in the world.  Most academic authors realize that providing a keyword index to all published literature can only aid scholarship.  At the same time, by making it easier to identify works that might be of interest, Google Books can only increase readership and sales of the original works.  Yet at the time of the lawsuit, there was no organization that could speak for authors motivated by concerns that were not solely commercial. Now there is.  On 21 May, the Authors Alliance was formally launched in San Francisco….

The beginning of the Authors Alliance – Creative Commons

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Yesterday marked the launch of the Authors Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports authors who want “to harness the potential of digital networks to share their creations more broadly in order to serve the public good.”

In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Authors Alliance founder Pamela Samuelson explained that the Authors Alliance will have a few different roles. Inwardly, the group will “provide authors with information about copyrights, licensing agreements, alternative contract terms,” and other practical legal information so that they can make their works widely and openly available. And externally, the Alliance will “represent the interests of authors who want to make their works more widely available in public policy debates,” and advocate for these reforms alongside like-minded public interest organizations.

The Authors Alliance was developed by Samuelson and several of her colleagues at the University of California Berkeley including Molly Van Houweling, Carla Hesse, and Thomas Leonard. The Alliance also has an advisory board made up of pre-eminent scholars, writers, and public interest advocates, including several members of the Creative Commons board of directors. The Authors Alliance is now accepting new members.

The Alliance has already developed a set of copyright reform principles, outlining its vision for changes to copyright law to support authors who write to be read.

We have formed an Authors Alliance to represent authors who create to be read, to be seen, and to be heard. We believe that these authors have not been well served by misguided efforts to strengthen copyright. These efforts have failed to provide meaningful financial returns to most authors, while instead unacceptably compromising the preservation of our own intellectual legacies and our ability to tap our collective cultural heritage. We want to harness the potential of global digital networks to share knowledge and products of the imagination as broadly as possible. We aim to amplify the voices of authors and creators in all media who write and create not only for pay, but above all to make their discoveries, ideas, and creations accessible to the broadest possible audience.

The principles include:

  1. Further empower authors to disseminate their works.
  2. Improve information flows about copyright ownership.
  3. Affirm the vitality of limits on copyright that enable us to do our work and reach our audiences.
  4. Ensure that copyright’s remedies and enforcement mechanisms protect our interests.

At the core, the Authors Alliance and Creative Commons share a similar goal: to provide useful resources and tools for creators who aren’t being served well by the existing copyright system. We’re excited to work with the Alliance on issues that support authors who write to be read–and the public interest for whom these authors create.