Category Archives: Events

Book Talk: Data Cartels

Posted November 11, 2022

We’re excited to invite you to join us for another book talk, co-sponsored with Internet Archive, with author Sarah Lamdan about her book Data Cartels.

Join SPARC’s Heather Joseph for a chat with author Sarah Lamdan about the companies that control & monopolize our information.

Book Talk: Data Cartels with Sarah Lamdan & Heather Joseph
Co-sponsored by Internet Archive & Authors Alliance
Wednesday, November 30 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion.
Purchase Data Cartels from The Booksmith

In our digital world, data is power. Information hoarding businesses reign supreme, using intimidation, aggression, and force to maintain influence and control. Sarah Lamdan brings us into the unregulated underworld of these “data cartels”, demonstrating how the entities mining, commodifying, and selling our data and informational resources perpetuate social inequalities and threaten the democratic sharing of knowledge.

Sarah Lamdan is Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law. She also serves as a Senior Fellow for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Fellow at NYU School of Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy.

Heather Joseph is a longtime advocate and strategist in the movement for open access to knowledge. She is the Executive Director of SPARC, an international alliance of libraries committed to creating a more open and equitable ecosystem for research and education. She leads SPARCs policy efforts, which have produced national laws and executive actions supporting the free and open sharing of research articles, data and textbooks, and has worked on international efforts to promote open access with organizations including the United Nations,, The World Bank, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization.

Book Talk: Data Cartels with Sarah Lamdan & Heather Joseph
Co-sponsored by Internet Archive & Authors Alliance
Wednesday, November 30 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion.

Book Talk: Walled Culture by Glyn Moody

Authors Alliance is very pleased to announce an upcoming virtual book talk, co-sponsored by the Internet Archive, with journalist and editor Maria Bustillos in conversation with author Glyn Moody for a discussion about copyright, digital rights and the 21st-century walls blocking access to culture.

This is the first in a series we’re planning with Internet Archive to highlight books at the intersection of authorship, information policy, and technology. So, be on the lookout for more later this fall!

Book Talk: Walled Culture with Glyn Moody & Maria Bustillos
Co-sponsored by Internet Archive & Authors Alliance
Thursday, November 10 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion.

While Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa get sued for alleged plagiarism and the majority of creators see pennies for their hard work, record labels continue to explode. Libraries struggle to make ebooks accessible while being sued by an increasingly powerful book industry. In his book WALLED CULTURE (download for free or purchase in print), Glyn Moody explores how the transition from the physical to digital world has locked up access to culture and knowledge through copyright walls – specifically, outdated laws designed for the traditional, analogue world. 

WALLED CULTURE is the first book providing a compact, non-technical history of digital copyright and its problems over the last 30 years, and the social, economic and technological implications.

Steering our conversation will be Maria Bustillos, writer and editor of the Brick House Cooperative. Bustillos is a passionate advocate for equitable access to information, and has written extensively about issues relating to ebooks, publishing, and digital ownership.


Maria Bustillos is a journalist and critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, the Times Literary Supplement, ESPN, Bloomberg, VICE, Gawker, The Awl, and elsewhere. She writes the public editor column for MSNBC at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Glyn Moody is a technology writer and published journalist who has been writing about the digital world for 40 years, the internet for nearly 30, and copyright for 20. He is best known for his book, Rebel Code: Linus and the Open Source Revolution (2001). He is also the author of Digital Code of Life: How Bioinformatics is Revolutionizing Science, Medicine, and Business (2004). His weekly column, “Getting Wired”, was the first regular column about the business use of the internet, and ran 400 total articles between 1994 through 2001. More recently, he has written nearly 2,000 articles for the leading tech policy site Techdirt.

Book Talk: Walled Culture with Glyn Moody & Maria Bustillos
Co-sponsored by Internet Archive & Authors Alliance
Thursday, November 10 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual discussion.

Community Call : Writing About Real People Legal Guide

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Writing about real people can raise a number of complicated legal issues for authors. Legal issues such as defamation and rights of publicity have a number of fact-specific rules,  exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions that can be difficult to navigate without help. We’ve found that these issues can be an obstacle to creation for all types of authors, from bloggers to narrative nonfiction authors to historians, cultural anthropologists, and other scholarly authors. 

As part of our highly used series of guides on legal issues for authors, Authors Alliance has set out to create a guide to writing about real people for nonfiction authors. We’ve got a good start and edited draft already, but would like your input as we refine the guide –  what should we be highlighting? What’s trickiest, most salient, and for which types of nonfiction authors? 

We invite Authors Alliance members, A2P2 partners, and others who are interested to join us for a community call on Monday, November 14, 2022, from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific. The meeting will be held on Zoom, and you can register here.

We plan to share our plans for the guide, including scope and coverage, ideas for additional content (e.g., teaching resources), and publication plans. We’d like to hear from you: 

  • What important issues have we not included in our plans for the guide that we should? 
  • Which issues in the guide seem most salient or important for nonfiction authors?
  • What helpful examples do you have that we might include to help authors? 
  • How can we format, structure, and disseminate the guide best to support authors who need this information?

Authors Alliance Celebrates the Launch of Library Futures

Posted February 2, 2021

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Authors Alliance is pleased to announce our partnership with Library Futures, a brand new organization which seeks to “empower libraries to fulfill their mission and provide non-discriminatory, open access to culture for the public good.” Last week, Library Futures officially launched with the stated goal of addressing the “deleterious impacts of an inequitable knowledge ecosystem.” The organization will engage in advocacy work, grant making, educational campaigns, and community building to effectuate its mission and work towards a technology-positive future for libraries.

We are excited to be a partner organization of Library Futures as it fights for equitable access to knowledge—an important issue for our members and authors writ large. Authors have an interest in a technology-forward future for libraries that ensures that readers, learners, and the general public can continue to discover and access their books in the digital age. We believe that the initiatives of Library Futures will help authors reach the audiences for which they write, advancing our own mission of supporting writers who write to be read.

Jennie Rose Halperin, the organization’s executive director, has said she is “honored to be leading this organization, which will take on major issues in libraries and help usher in a more inclusive digital future for teachers, learners, and researchers from every walk of life.” Library Futures board member Kyle Courtney has said he is hopeful that the organization can make real change on the issues of access and equity that are challenging libraries today: “Digital library books—when loaned correctly—can be a pivotal tool libraries use to preserve great works, provide patrons with access to books, and defend patron privacy. I hope the community will join us in standing up for the future of libraries.”

The Library Futures coalition, of which Authors Alliance is delighted to be a part, is a public interest alliance that “seeks to enable collective action while building power through an innovative advocacy organization.” Other coalition partners include the Internet Archive, Public Knowledge, Creative Commons, SPARC, and the Boston Public Library. We are excited to collaborate with Library Futures and our coalition partners to work towards a better, more equitable future for our libraries!

Audio Now Available for “Beyond the Bookshelf,” Our 5th Birthday Celebration on May 15, 2019

Posted May 29, 2019

On May 15, Authors Alliance celebrated our 5th birthday with a festive party at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Our guests braved the unseasonably cool and rainy weather to attend a reception followed by “Beyond the Bookshelf: Empowering Authors and Reaching Readers in the Digital Age,” a wide-ranging panel discussion featuring Brewster Kahle, Jeff MacKie-Mason, Abby Smith Rumsey, and Randy Schekman, and moderated by Authors Alliance’s own Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.

Portrait of Jeff MacKie-Mason, Brewster Kahle, Abby Smith Rumsey, Randy Schekman, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.
L to R: Jeff MacKie-Mason, Brewster Kahle, Abby Smith Rumsey, Randy Schekman, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling
All photos by Jim Block

The discussion was professionally recorded for those who were unable to attend in person. Audio of the panel and Q&A can be heard here, as part of the Authors Alliance collection of works hosted by the Internet Archive.

Photograph of Molly Shaffer Van Houweling giving opening remarks.
Molly Shaffer Van Houweling

The recording begins with opening remarks by Authors Alliance co-founder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling of UC Berkeley Law, and features the following highlights:

Photograph of Abby Smith Rumsey
Abby Smith Rumsey

09:15: Historian Abby Smith Rumsey on changes to the traditional model of books and monographs in scholarship and the role of authors and libraries in the evolution of publishing.

Photograph of Brewster Kahle
Brewster Kahle

17:28: Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle on the importance of preservation and accuracy of online information at a time when “truth is fractured.”

Photograph of Randy Schekman
Randy Schekman

25:40: Nobel Laureate Randy Schekman on open access scientific literature and how the focus on journal impact factor undermines scholarship and research.

Photograph of Jeff MacKie Mason
Jeff MacKie-Mason

41:22: UC Berkeley University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason on commercial scholarly publishers, the upheaval of traditional business models, and the responsibilities of authors, libraries, funders, and institutions to make work open access.

Photograph of panel: Jeff MacKie Mason, Brewster Kahle, Randy Schekman, Abby Smith Rumsey, and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling

At 01:00, the panel convened to discuss a variety of topics, including:

  • Steps authors can take to reach more readers in the midst of change;
  • The University of California’s commitment to open access in the wake of failed negotiations with scholarly publishing giant Elsevier;
  • Challenges and opportunities in the preservation of born-digital materials;
  • And more!

The discussion wrapped up at 01:20 with a brief audience Q&A.

Photograph of Allison Davenport, Brianna Schofield, and Erika Wilson.
Allison Davenport, Brianna Schofield, and Erika Wilson

We are grateful to our distinguished panelists and to all our members and friends who attended the celebration. For those who couldn’t be there in person, we hope you enjoy the recording. Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting our work over the last five years. We look forward to more education and advocacy for authors in the months and years to come.

Keep on writing to be read!

You’re Invited! 5th Birthday Party With Authors Alliance and Special Guests on May 15

Posted April 10, 2019

You are cordially invited to “Beyond the Bookshelf: Empowering Authors and Reaching Readers in the Digital Age,” an evening of conversation and ideas celebrating five years of Authors Alliance. The party will be held at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley on Wednesday, May 15.

We’ll kick things off with a wine and appetizer reception, followed by a panel discussion on how authors create, share, and preserve knowledge in an ever-changing media landscape.

Our panelists include:

Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian and founder of the Internet Archive
Jeffrey MacKie-Mason
, University Librarian and Chief Digital Scholarship Officer, UC Berkeley
Abby Smith Rumsey
, Historian of ideas focusing on the creation, preservation, and use of the cultural record
Randy Schekman
, 2013 Nobel Laureate and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, UC Berkeley

The panel will be moderated by Authors Alliance co-founder Molly Shaffer Van Houweling.

Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate five years of education and advocacy with the Authors Alliance team and special guest Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard.

This event is free, but seating is limited and registration is required. For details and to RSVP, please visit our event page.

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a gift
in honor of our fifth birthday, please donate here.

Authors Alliance on the Road: Portland, OR

Posted March 25, 2019
Old Town Portland neon sign against an evening sky
photo by Zack Spear on Unsplash

On March 28-30, Authors Alliance will staff an information table at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Bookfair at the Portland Convention Center. AWP is the largest professional gathering of writers, writing programs, and publishers in the United States, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to connect with authors, creators, and our members to spread the word about our tools and resources.

We’ll be available for the duration of the conference to distribute educational materials, speak with authors, and answer questions about copyright, fair use, publishing contracts, rights reversion, and more.

If you’re an author planning to attend the AWP conference, be sure to stop by and see us at Table #10065. And if you live the Portland area and are interested in browsing the Bookfair, AWP is offering public admission on Saturday, March 30 for just $5. See you in the Rose City!

Authors Alliance at the 4th Annual Bay Area Book Festival

Posted April 30, 2018

Bay Area Book Festival posterFor the fourth year in a row, Authors Alliance was proud to be a part of the Bay Area Book Festival, a local celebration of all things reading- and writing-related. 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.


AWP Authors Inform Our Upcoming Guide to Publication Contracts

Posted March 22, 2018

Karen and Anna conducting their survey

An AWP attendee shares her contract story with Karen and Anna

Earlier this month, Authors Alliance attended the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Tampa, Florida. We presented a panel discussion on copyright basics with LeEtta Schmidt of the University of South Florida and Dave Hansen of Duke University, and staffed an information table at the conference bookfair. We were joined by UC Berkeley law students Karen Hagen and Anna Kuksenkova, who surveyed conference attendees in order to gather stories of authors’ real-world experiences with publication contracts. Some of those examples—from negotiation success stories to lessons learned the hard way—will be incorporated into our forthcoming guide to publication contracts.

Photo of Anna and Karen gathering survey dataThe survey results are still preliminary, but they revealed some key points that will be addressed in the guide. A number of authors shared successes and regrets about publication contract clauses relating to wide range of issues including pricing, cover design, royalties, audio rights, translations, and marketing. These considerations, and more, will be addressed in our forthcoming guide and will inform our tips for negotiating for author-friendly terms.

We are grateful to Karen and Anna for designing and administering the author survey and for their thoughtful engagement with authors at the conference. The final version of the contracts handbook will be even more useful and relevant thanks to their efforts!


Authors Alliance On the Road: Tampa, Florida

Posted March 6, 2018

photo of Tampa skyline

photo by smccreedy1 | CC0

On March 8-10, Authors Alliance will travel to Tampa for the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference and Bookfair. Following the success of last year’s presentation on copyright basics, 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, “Untangling Copyright: A Crash Course for Creators,” features LeEtta Schmidt of the University of South Florida and David Hansen of Duke University. This panel discussion will provide a primer on copyright, fair use, and publishing terms. Authors will leave the panel armed with practical information that will empower them to make informed copyright decisions so they can focus on their writing. 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!