Announcing Departure of Rachel Brooke, Authors Alliance Senior Staff Attorney

Posted March 18, 2024
Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Dear Authors Alliance Members, Friends, and Allies,

It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my departure from Authors Alliance. For me, the development is bittersweet—in a few weeks, I will be starting a new job at a law firm where I’ll focus on litigation and developing my advocacy skills in a new way. I’m excited for this next chapter, but I’ll sorely miss being an Authors Alliance staff member and working to advance the interests of our members, a dedicated and engaged community of authors who care deeply about access to knowledge and culture. 

My time at Authors Alliance has seen a lot of change, both on an organizational level and in terms of the world around us. I joined as a staff attorney in late 2020, during a stormy political season and in the midst of a public health crisis. Working with former executive director, Brianna Schofield, I got to know this community and began to understand what mattered to you. I wrote one of our guides, Third-Party Permissions and How to Clear Them, drawing on my past experience working as a literary agent in addition to what I had learned about copyright law and the particular needs of our members. I also spent nine months as our interim executive director before Dave joined us back in 2022. Along the way, with the blessing and guidance of our outstanding board of directors, Authors Alliance began to focus more on policy and scale back our education work. Back in 2014, there was a dearth of these kinds of educational resources for authors, but that has changed over time, particularly with the increasing presence of scholarly communications offices to guide academic scholars.  

This week is my last as an employee of Authors Alliance, and next week will be my first as a regular member. During my years with Authors Alliance, I’ve been asked a lot of times “who can join” and whether a person “qualified” as an author. Unlike other authors’ organizations, we don’t gatekeep when it comes to membership. If you—like me—write, for business or for pleasure, and you—like me—believe in our mission, Authors Alliance would love to have you join as a member. And what I love about this organization is that it truly does want to be responsive to the needs of its members. Our two amicus briefs in the Hachette Books v. Internet Archive litigation (that Dave and Kyle Courtney wrote about just last week) were based on a survey we conducted of members and other authors, because we saw how author interests were taking a back seat to the interests of large publishers in the litigation. I wrote both of these briefs, and it was an absolute pleasure to use my legal training to share this important perspective with the courts. 

We created our most recent guide, Writing About Real People, because we so often heard from nonfiction authors writing about real people who had questions about whether they might be exposing themselves to legal risk. The same is true for the permissions guide—it was partially inspired by the fact that a guest blog post on clearing rights for images had been one of our most popular of all time, indicating the need for this kind of resource. We began conducting advocacy work in the realm of AI and copyright because it was clear that generative AI had the potential to reshape authorship and intellectual property laws, and we thought our voice could be useful as a sensible, measured one that remained optimistic about technology and innovation. 

On a personal level, being an attorney for Authors Alliance has given me both a strong sense of job satisfaction and the feeling that my work is helping people and making a difference in the world (something many lawyers can only dream of!). Whether it is seeing our views shape the development of the laws and regulations governing information policy, or hearing from an author who got their rights back or successfully negotiated with their publisher to retain their copyright, the effects of our work have reminded me that our organization really matters. It’s one I have been honored to be a part of for the past three and a half years. Please feel free to reach out over email (for now, you can reach me at in the next few days, or add me on twitter or LinkedIn—I’d love to stay engaged with this community, even if I’m no longer involved professionally. I also plan to attend our 10th Anniversary celebration in May, and hope to see many of our members and allies there!