Brianna and Erika staff the Authors Alliance table on a sunny Saturday morning
Take two days of beautiful weather in downtown Berkeley, combine with an enthusiastic community of literature lovers, and what do you get?
The Bay Area Book Fest!
For the third year in a row, Authors Alliance was proud to be a part of this celebration of all things reading- and writing-related, from author appearances and panel discussions to kids’ events and—of course—books! We hosted a table on the central lawn of the festival and fielded questions from authors about everything from contract terms to rights reversion to fair use.
The Bay Area is home to an extraordinary number of creative people, and it was a pleasure to meet with so many members of the local writing community. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to those who joined Authors Alliance over the weekend! And, if you didn’t get a chance to sign up, you can always do so here. Basic membership is free, and our members are the first to hear about our latest tools, resources, and updates. We’re already looking forward to next year’s festival!
Erika with Tom Leonard, UC Berkeley University Librarian Emeritus and Authors Alliance board member
For the third year in a row, Authors Alliance is proud to be a part of the Bay Area Book Festival, a two-day literary extravaganza in downtown Berkeley. Come and visit us on June 3-4, when we’ll be staffing an information booth on the lawn at Civic Center Park, in the heart of the festival. We’re looking forward to taking part in this can’t-miss event for everyone who enjoys reading and writing as much as we do.
The Bay Area Book Festival is a free and family-friendly event that runs from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. We invite our local friends and neighbors to stop by and meet us, and learn how Authors Alliance can help creators with copyright, publishing contracts, fair use, and more!
The Authors Alliance team is back from Washington, DC, and we’re happy to report that our time at the 2017 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference was a great success. We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the many new members who joined Authors Alliance at AWP!
Now in its 50th year, the AWP conference draws 12,000 attendees, including MFA students, writing teachers, publishers, booksellers, and authors of all stripes. From February 9-11, Brianna Schofield and Erika Wilson hosted a table at the AWP Bookfair and were gratified by the level of interest and engagement from the writing community. Conference attendees kept us busy with questions about our resources and tools, especially our rights reversion handbook and our forthcoming guides to publication contracts and to best practices in fair use. We were thrilled to have so many enthusiastic new members join Authors Alliance. If you’d like to be part of our growing community of authors and creators, it’s easy to sign up online (basic membership is free).
In addition to staffing a robust information table, we also presented a conference panel on “Demystifying Copyright: A Crash Course in the Law of Literature,” featuring Authors Alliance executive director Brianna Schofield and intellectual property expert Rebecca Tushnet of Georgetown Law School. (Our third panelist, Jessica Silbey of Northeastern University, was unable to attend due to winter weather in Boston.) The session drew a large and engaged audience, and a number of attendees told us that it was the most useful panel they attended during the conference. We discussed topics ranging from Creative Commons licenses to fair use to publication contract language.
We thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful opportunity to meet hundreds of writers, share our resources, and share the Authors Alliance mission with our new members!
On February 8-11, Authors Alliance will travel to Washington, DC for the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference and Bookfair. Following the success of last year’s presentation on rights reversion and publishing contract terms, we were again selected to present an educational panel at the conference—the largest professional gathering of writers, writing programs, and publishers in the United States.
This year’s presentation, Demystifying Copyright: A Crash Course on the Law of Literature, features intellectual property experts Rebecca Tushnet of Georgetown University and Jessica Silbey of Northeastern University. Copyright controls authorship’s inputs, in terms of how we can use the works of those who came before us, and its outputs, in terms of how others can use our work. But the law is too often arcane and its opacity can be disempowering. This panel of legal experts will outline important copyright basics and tackle some of the stubborn myths and misconceptions surrounding our copyright system. The discussion will be moderated by Authors Alliance executive director Brianna Schofield.
In addition to the panel, Authors Alliance will also staff an information booth at the AWP conference bookfair. We will be available for the duration of the conference to distribute educational materials, speak directly with authors, and answer questions about issues such as copyright, contracts, rights reversion, open access, and termination of transfers.
We look forward to the opportunity to connect with authors, creators, and our members and spread the word about our tools and resources. If you are planning to attend AWP this year, be sure to stop by our table and say hello!
Authors Alliance and the University of California are teaming up to present a workshop especially for graduate students on October 25. It’s one of many events taking place at UC Berkeley during Open Access Week. If you are a doctoral student (or hope to be one soon), you won’t want to miss “Publishing Your Dissertation: Maximizing Your Scholarly Impact through Open Access Publishing, and How to Publish Your First Book.”
The days of submitting a bound hard-copy dissertation (only to have it languish unread on a shelf or on microfilm) are long gone. Doctoral students are now confronted with an array of digital publication, data sharing, and dissemination options. While this presents a wealth of advantages and opportunities for early-career scholars, it also raises many questions about how to navigate the many options available.
An expert panel will address how you can shape what happens after you submit your dissertation, including:
- How can you start getting cited by others, and boost your scholarly profile?
- How can you publish and license your dissertation to expand your professional network and academic impact?
- What are the implications of publishing your dissertation and subsequent “First Book” online?
- How does publishing your dissertation online impact getting a first book contract?
- What are the trends in Open Access publishing of first books, and how should you publish yours?
Our panelists are:
Rachael Samberg, the UC Berkeley Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer, will moderate.
We hope to see you there!
On Thursday, October 6, Michael Wolfe will be the guest presenter for the American Library Association’s monthly CopyTalk webinar. The topic will be “SSRN: Another Enclosure of the Commons?”
Authors Alliance has been scrutinizing the changes at the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), the academic paper preprint server that was recently acquired by Elsevier. Our concerns about continued open access to scholarship and research at SSRN prompted us to submit a list of principles to both SSRN and Elsevier, with the goal of safeguarding authors’ rights. Since then, reports of takedowns and other changes have led us to the conclusion that authors should seriously consider whether to leave SSRN in favor of other preprint archives, such as SocArXiv.
The webinar will take place at 2:00 PM Eastern. For more information and to register, visit the CopyTalk event page. We hope you’ll join in for this important discussion at the intersection of copyright, open access, and scholarship.
Auckland, NZ by Mathew Waters | CC0
As our members know, part of our mission here at Authors Alliance is to spread the word about our work to empower authors in the digital age. We’ve hosted workshops and attended events throughout North America, and now our Executive Director Mike Wolfe will be heading to Australia and New Zealand to attend a series of events and connect with our friends and members in those countries.
We hope to see many of you at the following events. Spread the word!
Monday, September — 12 University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
2:00-4:30 PM — Scholarly Publishing workshop at Waikato University
5:30-7:00 PM — Lecture on “Copyright, Long-term Accessibility, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement”
Tuesday, September 13 — University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
4:30 PM — “Maximise the impact of your research”
Thursday, September 15 — Brisbane, Australia
Panel on authorship at Queensland University of Technology
Saturday, September 17 — National Writers Forum, Auckland, NZ
1:00 PM — Panel on copyright and contracts at the National Writers Forum in Auckland (conference registration required)
We would like to acknowledge and thank Creative Commons Aotearoa/New Zealand, LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand), the University of Waikato, the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, and the Queensland University of Technology for their support in making this travel possible.
Welcoming visitors at the 2015 Bay Area Book Festival
On the first weekend in June, downtown Berkeley will be transformed into a book lover’s paradise. The second annual Bay Area Book Festival is coming to town, and once again, Authors Alliance will be part of the fun. We’ll be staffing an information booth in the “Writer’s Row” section of the festival on Center Street, and look forward to taking part in this can’t-miss event for everyone who enjoys reading and writing as much as we do.
The Bay Area Book Festival is free and family-friendly, and runs from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. We invite our local friends and neighbors to stop by and meet us, and learn how Authors Alliance can help creators with copyright, publishing contracts, fair use, and more!
April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day—an opportunity to highlight and learn more about IP issues around the world. This year, a group of Polish and European organizations has provided a sobering example of what can go wrong with overlong, complicated, and internationally inconsistent copyright terms.
To call attention to these issues, Centrum Cyfrowe, in Poland, has published The Diary of Anne Frank online—but most would-be readers won’t be able to actually see it. Due to a quirk of copyright law, the original manuscripts of the diary are in the public domain in Poland, but not in the much of the EU or the United States. That means that the text of the Diary will be visible to readers within Poland only, and will be geo-blocked throughout the rest of the world. CC Poland’s project website provides a succinct explanation of this strange state of affairs.
Authors Alliance wrote an analysis of the unfortunate status of this beloved book late last year, when it appeared that the Diary might come into the public domain in parts of Europe on January 1, 2016. However, even within Europe copyright terms are set by a confusing patchwork of inconsistent national laws. According to CC Poland’s analysis, the Diary will finally be released into the public domain in 2037 (in the Netherlands) and 2042 (in the US). Other countries, such as France, Spain, and the UK, all have their own term lengths.
When copyright terms are overly long and conflict with one another, as in the case of The Diary of Anne Frank, public access to culture and knowledge is unnecessarily curtailed. Europe would benefit from consistent, reasonable laws across borders. In the words of CC Poland, “if we want to fully unlock the potential of our rich cultural heritage we need clear rules that allow anyone to determine whether a work is still protected by copyright.” For public-minded authors, having their works eventually enter the public domain, where they might be shared and stewarded by communities across national borders and languages, is a safeguard for their legacies. Access to works of global importance should not be arbitrary. World Intellectual Property Day reminds us that we can do better.
Brianna Schofield, Mike Wolfe, and Lila Bailey consider an audience question during their panel on authors’ rights at the AWP conference in Los Angeles.
Authors Alliance has been invited by California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) to reprise our well-received panel discussion from the recent Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. “On Your Terms: Managing Your RIghts to Keep Your Work Available” will be presented on Wednesday, April 27 in Berkeley.
The event is open to CLA members and the general public. Registration is required on the CLA event page. (For those unable to attend, we have posted the slide deck from the presentation.)
Authors of all kinds are routinely asked to sign contracts that carve up their copyrights and determine where, how, and by whom their works can be published. This panel examines some of the ways authors can ensure that these agreements don’t stand between their work and their audience. Join Authors Alliance Executive Director Mike Wolfe and fellow copyright attorneys Lila Bailey and Brianna Schofield to work on demystifying embargoes, licenses, negotiations, rights reversions, and terminations of transfers. Be empowered to shape your own contracts!