Authors Alliance Welcomes Dave Hansen as Our Next Executive Director! | Authors Alliance

“Authors Alliance is delighted to announce that Dave Hansen will join the Authors Alliance team in June as our next Executive Director. Dave was previously the Lead for Copyright and Information Policy and Associate University Librarian at Duke University. In that role, he supported authors in navigating copyright and publishing issues and led the library’s information policy initiatives. We are thrilled to have Dave on board and will update our readers with more information and updates as Dave’s start date approaches. Please join us in welcoming Dave to the team!”

Authors Alliance Opposes the SMART Copyright Act of 2022 | Authors Alliance

“Last week, Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy introduced new legislation regarding technical protection measures used to protect copyrighted works online, entitled the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies (SMART) Copyright Act of 2022. This new legislative proposal represents the latest in a multi-pronged effort to fortify protections for copyrighted works online (coming on the heels of the Copyright Office’s recent notice of inquiry about the development of technical protection measures, about which Authors Alliance submitted a comment). If passed, the SMART Copyright Act of 2022 would establish a procedure for the Librarian of Congress to designate standardized protection measures (“STMs”) to be adopted by online service providers. 

Authors Alliance strongly opposes the SMART Copyright Act of 2022. By requiring that digital platforms and service providers implement technical protection measures which could monitor content uploaded by users, the SMART Copyright Act of 2022 could lead to content “filtering mandate[s]” interfering with authors’ and other creators’ abilities to speak freely online. Authors and creators are the parties that copyright law is designed to protect, making the proposal one that is inconsistent with the very purposes of copyright. 

The SMART Copyright Act of 2022 would enable the Librarian of Congress to designate STMs to be implemented across industries, supposedly based on input from a diverse group of stakeholders. While the bill’s sponsors claim that the legislation “ensures that any designation of existing measures requires input from all stakeholders and assessment of public interest considerations,” it is telling that groups representing the content industry have praised the proposed legislation, while proponents of fair use and the free exchange of knowledge have opposed it. Even if the Copyright Office were to develop STMs that reflect a broad consensus across a diverse group of stakeholders, this would leave out the stakeholders who do not favor the widespread implementation of STMs in the first place (like Authors Alliance). Mandating that service providers use content moderating technology would impede the free flow of information and would not serve the interests of authors and creators who prioritize seeing their works reach wide audiences. …”

Authors Alliance Submits Reply Comment in Copyright Office Press Publishers’ Right Study | Authors Alliance

“Last week, Authors Alliance submitted a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office, responding to its new study about establishing a new press publishers’ right in the United States which would require news aggregators to pay licensing fees as part of their aggregation of headlines, ledes, and short phrases of news articles. Our comment, made in the second round of comments on this study, also responded to an initial round of comments from other stakeholders. Authors Alliance opposes a new press publishers’ right because it is contrary to the interests of our members and small press publications and moreover is inconsistent with longstanding principles of copyright law. …”

Kilcer | Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2) [Product Review] | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  The Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2; https://www.authorsalliance.org/a2p2-home/) is a recent addition to the educational content of the Authors Alliance. This nonprofit advocacy organization aims, “to advance the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly.” Their new initiative provides prêt-à-porter instructional material with the express purpose of supporting the scaling of rights-related programming—a goal that distinguishes A2P2 from other well-established and deeply valuable copyright-focused resources. While copyright touches nearly all we do in libraries, outreach in this area often primarily falls to scholarly communication or copyright librarians. As Schmidt (2019) notes, “providing copyright information services in the library has become part of the standard operations of academic libraries in the U.S.” We must, consequently, train ourselves up and stay current on copyright issues, as well as instruct our peers and our communities on copyright- and author rights—related issues (Reeves 2015; Norris et al. 2019; Secker et al. 2019). We need to build resources on topics that are nuanced, evolving, and carry risk. These efforts take time, care, and confidence. For professionals who may well have varied and competing job responsibilities, time and confidence certainly may be at a premium (Charbonneau and Priehs 2014). While one could easily despair, there’s help to be had. Enter, A2P2.

 

Public Domain Day 2022: Welcoming Works from 1926 to the Public Domain | Authors Alliance

“Once in the public domain, works can be made freely available. Organizations that have digitized text of these books, like Internet Archive, Google Books, and HathiTrust, can now open up unrestricted access to the full text of these works. HathiTrust alone will open up full access to more than 35,000 titles originally published in 1926. This increased access provides richer historical context for scholarly research and opportunities for students to supplement and deepen their understanding of assigned texts. And authors who care about the long-term availability of their works may also have reason to look forward to their works eventually entering the public domain: A 2013 study found that in most cases, public domain works are actually more available to readers than all but the most recently published works. 

What’s more, public domain works can be adapted into new works of authorship, or “derivative works,” including by adapting printed books into audio books or by adapting classic books into interactive forms like video games. And the public domain provides opportunities to freely translate works to help fill the gap in works available to readers in their native language.”

Update: 1201 Exemption to Enable Text and Data Mining Research | Authors Alliance

“Authors Alliance, joined by the Library Copyright Alliance and the American Association of University Professors, is petitioning the Copyright Office for a new three-year exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) as part of the Copyright Office’s eighth triennial rulemaking process. If granted, our proposed exemption would allow researchers to bypass technical protection measures (“TPMs”) in order to conduct text and data mining (“TDM”) research on literary works that are distributed electronically and motion pictures. Recently, we met with representatives from the U.S. Copyright Office to discuss the proposed exemption, focusing on the circumstances in which access to corpus content is necessary for verifying algorithmic findings and ways to address security concerns without undermining the goal of the exemption….”

Library Lending, Author Incomes, and Controlled Digital Lending | Authors Alliance

“In the debates around controlled digital lending (“CDL”), much has been said about whether and how CDL affects author incomes. Recently, the Internet Archive requested 10 years of sales data during the discovery phase of its ongoing lawsuit with several large publishers, seeking to support its argument that its digitization projects did not negatively impact book sales. As an authors’ group that represents the interests of authors who care deeply about their works reaching broad audiences, Authors Alliance is a unique voice in the conversation around the impact of different types of library lending on authors’ livelihoods. In today’s post, we will discuss the intersections between author income, traditional library lending, and CDL. …”

Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining: New OER | Authors Alliance

“Authors Alliance is pleased to share the news of the open release of a comprehensive open educational resource (OER) on legal issues related to text data mining.

The new OER covers material taught at the Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining institute (funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and led by Rachael Samberg and Tim Vollmer of UC Berkeley Library), and covers copyright, technological protection measures, privacy, and ethical considerations. It also helps other digital humanities professionals and researchers run their own similar institutes by describing in detail how the programming was developed and delivered, and includes ideas for hosting shorter literacy teaching sessions. Authors Alliance’s Executive Director, Brianna Schofield, co-authored a chapter on copyright in the OER.

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining in the U.S. have had to maneuver through a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. The new OER empowers digital humanities researchers and professionals (such as librarians, consultants, and other institutional staff) to confidently navigate United States law, policy, ethics, and risk within digital humanities text data mining projects so that they can more easily engage in this type of research and contribute to the advancement of knowledge….”

Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2) Resources Now Openly Available | Authors Alliance

“Authors Alliance is thrilled to announce the open release of our Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2) resources. For the past two years, we have been collaborating with library partners to develop a suite of resources that scholarly communications and library professionals can deploy to help faculty, researchers, and students understand and manage their rights throughout their careers. Starting today, A2P2 materials—including workshops in a box, webinars, and issue briefs—are available for everyone to freely use, adapt, and share under Creative Commons licenses. …”

Authors Alliance Applauds Today’s Decision in Access Copyright v. York University | Authors Alliance

“This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous opinion in Access Copyright v. York University, finding that mandatory tariffs for works in a collective copyright society’s collection were not enforceable against a user that chose not to be bound, and suggesting that the lower courts had applied an unduly narrow interpretation of fair dealing. Authors Alliance applauds this decision, the last to be authored by renowned Justice Rosalie Abella before her retirement from the bench.

The case involved a claim by Access Copyright, a Canadian copyright collective, which sought to have York University comply with an interim tariff approved by the Copyright Board of Canada for works in Access Copyright’s collection. In response, York University brought a counterclaim seeking a declaration that its guidelines for copying materials for education purposes constituted “fair dealing” under the Copyright Act of Canada. The case raised the question of whether copyright collectives can force users to license content from them, even if the users prefer to comply with their copyright obligations in other ways.

Authors Alliance, together with Professor Ariel Katz, intervened in the case, submitting a factum to the Court and participating in oral arguments. On the issue of whether the approved tariffs are mandatory vis-à-vis users, we supported the Federal Court of Appeal’s finding that the approved tariffs bind copyright collectives but cannot be imposed on users as mandatory tariffs. On the issue of fair dealing, we argued that in the absence of specific allegations of copyright infringement from copyright owners, the lower courts should not have dealt with the issues of infringement and fair dealing. In addition, we urged the court to consider that Access Copyright does not represent the interests of all authors, and especially not the authors whose primary concern is their works having the greatest possible reach and impact….”

Update: Library E-Book Lending Legislation and Partnerships | Authors Alliance

“Over the course of the past year, three state legislatures have introduced legislation that would impose limits on a publisher’s ability to sell e-books to libraries at a high cost. Under the current licensing model, libraries can pay as much as $60 per title for an e-book license, which often have very restrictive terms, whereas consumers can purchase an e-book license for the same title at a fraction of the cost. The first of these bills was passed in Maryland, and the New York state legislature has also recently approved the New York bill. A bill in Rhode Island is currently pending. Additionally, groups in Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, and Washington have reportedly begun advocating for similar legislation. …”

Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2) [Product Review]

Abstract:  The Authors Alliance Partner Program (A2P2; https://www.authorsalliance.org/a2p2-home/) is a recent addition to the educational content of the Authors Alliance. This nonprofit advocacy organization aims, “to advance the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly.” Their new initiative provides prêt-à-porter instructional material with the express purpose of supporting the scaling of rights-related programming—a goal that distinguishes A2P2 from other well-established and deeply valuable copyright-focused resources. While copyright touches nearly all we do in libraries, outreach in this area often primarily falls to scholarly communication or copyright librarians. As Schmidt (2019) notes, “providing copyright information services in the library has become part of the standard operations of academic libraries in the U.S.” We must, consequently, train ourselves up and stay current on copyright issues, as well as instruct our peers and our communities on copyright- and author rights—related issues (Reeves 2015; Norris et al. 2019; Secker et al. 2019). We need to build resources on topics that are nuanced, evolving, and carry risk. These efforts take time, care, and confidence. For professionals who may well have varied and competing job responsibilities, time and confidence certainly may be at a premium (Charbonneau and Priehs 2014). While one could easily despair, there’s help to be had. Enter, A2P2.

Call to Action: Share Your Feedback on Controlled Digital Lending | Authors Alliance

“Authors Alliance is gathering feedback from authors about Controlled Digital Lending (“CDL”) in order to strengthen our advocacy work and better represent your interests. Several of our members have already shared their views on how CDL helps authors and researchers, and we are now asking you to add your voice by completing this short form. …”

Author Feedback on Controlled Digital Lending

“Authors Alliance is a nonprofit organization with the mission to advance the interests of authors who want to serve the public good by sharing their creations broadly. We create resources to help authors understand and enjoy their rights and promote policies that make knowledge and culture available and discoverable.

Under the Controlled Digital Lending (“CDL”) digitize-and-lend model, libraries make digital copies of scanned books from their collections available to patrons (the hard copy is not available for lending while the digital copy is checked out, and vice versa). A library can only circulate the number of copies that it owned before digitization. Like physical books, the scanned copies are loaned to one person at a time and are subject to limited check-out periods.

Authors Alliance supports CDL because the CDL model helps authors share their creations with readers, promotes the ongoing progress of knowledge, and advances the public good—objectives that are consistent with the mission of Authors Alliance and the purposes of copyright law.

Now, we are gathering stories from authors about their thoughts on and experiences with CDL in order to strengthen our advocacy work and better represent your interests. This form is for authors who want to share their thoughts about CDL with us….”

Authors Alliance Files Comment in Support of New Exemption to Section 1201 of the DMCA to Enable Text and Data Mining Research | Authors Alliance

“Yesterday, Authors Alliance, joined by the Library Copyright Alliance and the American Association of University Professors, filed a comment with the Copyright Office for a new three-year exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) as part of the Copyright Office’s eighth triennial rulemaking process. Our proposed exemption would allow researchers to bypass technical protection measures (“TPMs”) in order to conduct text and data mining research on both literary works that are published electronically and motion pictures….”