Category Archives: Events

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!

Authors Alliance Presents Workshop on Fair Use at California Lawyers For the Arts

Posted February 8, 2018

photo of sharpened pencil and notebook

photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

On Tuesday, February 13, Brianna Schofield of Authors Alliance will team up with Robert Kirk Walker of the Samuelson Clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law to present a workshop on fair use with California Lawyers for the Arts. The workshop, “Demystifying Fair Use: A Crash Course For Authors”  will provide an overview of the law of fair use, explain best practices for fair use as developed by creative communities, and showcase our new guide to fair use for nonfiction authors.

The workshop is open to the public, and will take place at 7:00 pm in downtown Berkeley. For more information and to register, click here.

Authors Alliance Teams Up With UC Berkeley for Open Access Week

Posted October 23, 2017

cover of Understanding Open Access guide

This Open Access Week, Authors Alliance is partnering with the UC Berkeley Library for a panel on dissertation publishing and impact, to be held on Tuesday, October 24. (To attend, please register here.) Earlier this year, the UC Berkeley Library published two posts that highlight the challenges of open access publishing—and what can be done to address those obstacles.

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, Berkeley’s University Librarian (and an Authors Alliance board member), is also a professor of economics. His statement about the economics of scholarly publishing discusses the scholarly publishing landscape in the context of unsustainable licensing fees that place an ever-increasing burden on libraries. Publishers’ profits are soaring while library budgets are being slashed.

But there is support for open access (“OA”) publishing, and new funding models provide badly needed financial support for authors who wish to publish their works openly. Berkeley’s Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg, explains the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) program, which offers subsidies to authors wishing to publish open access— not only journal articles, but monographs as well.

Our Guide to Understanding Open Access provides an overview of when, why, and how to make works openly available, and is just one of the many resources featured on our website. The guide is available to download (open access, of course!) and may also be purchased from our store.

The full slate of campus OA Week events can be found here. And check out Berkeley’s Scholarly Communication Services page for an excellent introduction to a wealth of topics on copyright, open access, and more.

Another Successful Bay Area Book Fest!

Posted June 7, 2017

IMG_4466.JPG copy

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!

IMG_4489

Erika with Tom Leonard, UC Berkeley University Librarian Emeritus and Authors Alliance board member