20 February 2014
'Key Principles and Recommendations on the Management of the Author Resale Right' adopted at a signing ceremony organised in Brussels by Commissioner Barnier
Since discussions between organisations representing the visual arts last February with the aim of forming better mutual understanding about the importance of the artists resale right, the signing of of these Principles and Recommendations is a landmark point in their journey to finding practical solutions to ensuring the creator is valued in society through the recognition of their right to earn a living from the use of their works.
See the Press Release for more information.
INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS FORUM
18 February 2014
New Members: Welcome to our two newest member organisations, the Australian Society of Authors and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. For a full list of our members, whose membership will be formally ratified at our General Meeting on 18th March, see here.
General Meeting: IAF's first General Meeting will take place on 18th March 2013. More details about attending the meeting, and nominating a representative to the IAF Steering Committee, are available here.
WIPO: Read our report of the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) here.
18 February 2014
New developments for Australia's proposed copyright reforms
The Law Reform Commission in Australia has recommended that Australia adopts copyright exceptions to its law in the form of 'fair use' provisions. Fair use, a tenet of US copyright law, is an undefined concept that permits judges flexibility in determining when a copyright infringement might be deemed to be 'fair'. It is notoriously unfair to authors and copyright owners, its use resulting in divergent decisions that often endorse uses of authors' work without their permission, such as in the Google Books case which the Authors Guild of America is currently appealing.
It is not at all certain that these provisions will go through, however, and the International Authors Forum supports Australian authors in their work keeping fair use provisions out of Australian law, instead maintaining carefully defined exceptions whereby, in certain circumstances, uses of authors' work are permitted, remunerating authors equitably where possible.
See here for more about the Australian Law Reform Commission's recommendations.
20 January 2014
Norway sets a shining example of how access to copyright works can be balanced with fair pay for authors at a fair price to users with new free digital library
Reports have been published today about Bokhylla, a new initiative in Norway making literature available online for free. The National Library of Norway, which is responsible for the project, has so far made available 125,000 works, with the number due to reach 250,000.
The news for rightholders, including authors, isn't as bad as it sounds. The books have only been made available with copyright holders' permission, and will be removed on request. What's more, in a deal with Kopinor, which represents 22 author and publisher members, an agreed sum goes to the Kopinor per digitised page, which Kopinor then pays to its members.
Authors' interests are further safeguarded, as works published after 2000 are not included, access to the website is limited to internet users in Norway and foreign researchers, and works cannot be downloaded.
Bokhylla is a shining example of a practical solution for libraries in terms of balancing their goal of the widest possible access whilst making compensation available for rightholders. The success of the project will be interesting to follow - especially at a time when solutions are needed to the exponential growth of digital lending and use in relation to its impact on copyright, in addition to the potential weakening of authors' rights through an international legal instrument covering a copyright exception for libraries and archives currently on the agenda at WIPO. This could be a solution to benefit all, creators and readers alike.
LONDON, United Kingdom
International Authors Forum to hold first General Meeting on Tuesday, 18th March 2014
The International Authors Forum is delighted to announce that its first General Meeting will take place on Tuesday, 18th March at 14.00 GMT. The meeting will be held in London, at the registered office of the IAF. Representatives of member organisations are welcome to attend in person or via teleconference.
The meeting will consist of the formal ratification of membership applications received to date, as well as the election of a formal Steering Committee.
IAF welcomes expressions of interest from applicant organisations who would like to nominate a representative for the Steering Committee. More details about what this role will involve are forthcoming.
The meeting will be held in accordance with the Articles of Association, available here.
16 January 2014
Photos from International Authors Forum Launch Event
See the official photos from our launch at the Headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organisation last month!
17 December 2013
The International Authors Forum is delighted to receive a warm welcome from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
Last night the International Authors Forum launched at the headquarters of WIPO in Switzerland, with a programme of eminent speakers followed by an evening cocktail. Maureen Duffy, UK writer and authors' rights expert, Joanne Harris, prolific novelist and writer of 'Chocolat', Roberto Cabot, a respected visual artist from Brazil, and Rob Levine who is a prominent advocate of copyright, all gave their public support to the International Authors Forum (IAF). Each communicated their personal experiences of why copyright was important to them as authors, to whom copyright fundamentally belongs, and how it is vital to ensuring they can continue to create by earning a living. Maureen Duffy concluded the panel by reading a statement from Egyptian novelist and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif, sadly unable to be present, but who very much wanted to be there. She spoke of authors as "the warning systems of our communities" and of how, in order to fulfil that function, "it helps if we can earn our bread simply by being read." She exercised a final plea to the WIPO delegates of the 186 Member States represented, many of them present at the occasion to "please, take that into account in your deliberations."
The IAF is immensely grateful to WIPO for the welcome they have given to it, and looks forward to contributing the author's voice to the important international negotiations about copyright that take place there. We would also like to thank all who showed their support by attending and contributing to make this very important launch possible. A full report of the evening is available here, and a press release here.
25 November 2013
Report of a Conference on Enhancing the Culture of Books and Reading in the Digital Age
On 14th and 15th November 2013 Owen Atkinson represented the International Authors Forum at a conference held in the National Library of Peru. IAF was delighted also to welcome guest speakers María Fernanda Mendoza, Legal Director of the Mexican Institute of Radio (IMER), and Alfredo Dammert, an author from Peru.
Read Owen's report from the conference here.
15 November 2013
Google's bookscanning is deemed to be "Fair Use" in judgment of marathon copyright case
A US federal judge has dismissed a copyright lawsuit brought against Google for a scanning project which involved millions of pages from libraries without the permission of right-holders.
In 2005, authors and publishers sued Google and a settlement was proposed in 2008 but was ultimately rejected by supervising judge Denny Chin, who urged that the settlement be revised from the "opt-out" of right-holders to "opt-in". In 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the class certification of right-holders and remanded the case to the District Court for consideration of the fair use issues.
Now, Judge Chin has sided with Google on fair use issues with the opinion: “Google Books provides significant public benefits. It advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”
Meanwhile, The Authors Guild in America has announced plans to appeal the decision. Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken said: “We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision today. This case represents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitisation and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of fair use defense.”
The International Authors Forum supports the right of authors to choose how their content is used, by whom, and whether or not it is made available for free. Ultimately, this was a choice that Google’s actions took away.
11 November 2013
International Authors Forum prepares for Trip to Peru
Having just returned from Istanbul where we were privileged to hear the important views of two Turkish creators, the International Authors Forum is excitedly anticipating its participation in a conference on the topic of enhancing the culture of books and reading in the digital age in Peru. There to debate these issues - and speak up for the importance of authors when addressing them - will be Owen Atkinson, from the UK, María Fernanda Mendoza from Mexico, and Alfredo Dammert, an eminent author from Peru. The conference is taking place at the National Library of Peru in Lima, on 14th and 15th November. Watch this space for IAF's report of the conference in the coming weeks.
USA, National Writers Union
NWU takes action to remind Congress of its duty to protect authors
24 October 2013
The National Writers Union in the USA has publicised its input into the hot topic of US Congress' copyright reform, which is currently ongoing.
NWU seeks a better deal for writers than in the current US Copyright Act, which hasn't been reviewed since 1976. Stipulations include elimination of the cumbersome necessity to register works in order to file for copyright infringement, a burden which also contravenes the Berne Convention. Central to NWU's concern is that Congress remembers that copyright belongs first and foremost to the author, and that it reverses the increasing tendency towards a US copyright regime that favours the interests of publishers and other intermediaries over those it was orignially designed to incentivise and protect.
The outcome of the US reform is of international significance to copyright and therefore to authors worldwide. The NWU invites authors and their representatives all over the world to let them know what they would like to see in a reformed US copyright law. Please do contact the NWU, or the International Authors Forum, to let them know your views.
Read the NWU's priorities and their letter to Congress through these links.
PLR International holds Conference in Dublin
26 – 28 September 2013
80 representatives of international authors’ organisations, collecting societies and independent institutions from 30 countries gathered in Dublin 26-28 September 2013 at the 10th International Public Lending Right Conference. The Conference received national reports on progress across the European Union towards implementation of the lending right aspects of the EU Directive on Rental and Lending Right.
Although there are indications that, at long last, steps are being taken by the governments of countries like Cyprus and Malta to implement the Directive, the levels of funding on offer would seem to fail the test set by the recent European Court of Justice ruling in the VEWA case that all such payments should be more than just ‘symbolic’ and should offer meaningful compensation to authors whose works are made available free of charge to library users. In other countries such as Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Romania the delegates found no evidence at all of any progress by national governments towards proper implementation of the Directive.
Delegates therefore call upon the Commission to urgently complete the implementation of the PLR aspects of the Lending and Rental Directive, first adopted over 20 years ago by the Council of Ministers, and to give priority to requiring Member States to meet, in full, their PLR obligations under the Directive.
Maureen Duffy spoke of the need for Authors to unite worldwide
Maureen Duffy, eminent UK writer who co-founded the Writers’ Action Group, which campaigned successfully for the passing of 1979 Public Lending Right Act in the UK, gave a rousing speech at the Conference in Dublin about the current environment in which PLR must survive. She spoke of the need for the fight to PLR to go worldwide, and of the International Authors Forum as a key ally.
It is as crucial as ever to ensure writers are paid for loans of their works, not only through lending schemes in public libraries, but now that channels for lending are going digital. Maureen called for ‘payment for e-lending’ to be included in PLR schemes, asking ‘Why shouldn’t Google and Amazon pay us from their advertising revenues?’ Duffy did not forget, of course, ‘the bricks and mortar of public libraries’ – threatened in this increasingly digital age - which she urged the representatives present to ‘go on supporting as palaces of literary culture.’
Finally, Maureen paid tribute to Tony Quinn, who fought for Irish PLR, to see it implemented in 2007 after 12 years, only shortly before his death. Led by his example, in Quinn's home country, champions of PLR, the International Authors Forum included, should be invigorated to take the cause worldwide.
To read the full text of Maureen Duffy's speech click here.
European Visual Artists (EVA)
Sign this Petition to support Artists by giving them a Resale Right everywhere
26 September 2013
IAF encourages you to sign this petition in support of the Artist’s Resale Right Campaign, a campaign mounted by EVA (European Visual Artists) with the support of CISAC and GESAC. The Artist’s Resale Right is a fundamental right for authors of graphic and plastic arts. It helps artists earn a living, by giving them the right to be paid a small percentage of the money generated from the resale of their work by art market professionals. The right has been established in some parts of the world, but not everywhere. This campaign aims to have the right established in all five continents of the world, facilitating fair payments for artists for the use of their creations – and ensuring artists’ rights are equal - in an increasingly global world. Read more about the campaign. Sign the petition here.
International Authors Forum to host Open Meeting
1 November 2013
Following the success of our Open Meeting in Buenos Aires last year, The International Authors Forum is excited to announce two meetings in Istanbul on 1st November 2013:
an Open Meeting
10:00 – 11:30 (refreshments from 9.30)
Creators from Turkey and David Uwemedimo, Director, Creators and Performers Support Division of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, will be discussing current challenges for authors in the region
followed by an International Authors Forum meeting
for IAF members, authors and author organisations
11:45 – 13:00 (followed by lunch)
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON DC, U.S.A.
International Authors Forum Participates in LINK Meeting, CISAC's New International Think-tank to Support Creators and Creativity
29 August 2013
The World Creators Summit held in Washington in June 2013 saw the launch of LINK: an ambitious CISAC initiative that aims to be a strategic think-tank uniting the voice of creators worldwide. LINK will embrace creators of music, drama, literature, audio-visual and visual arts; and in doing so will work to enhance communication and understanding between the creative community and CISAC, its member socieites and the political world.
LINK will complement the work of IAF, being a welcome addition to the global network of creators' organisations which IAF is bringing together, and IAF fully supports this exciting venture.
Organised by Bendik Hofseth and Silvina Munich, the launch event in Washington was largely a brainstorming session that touched on many areas. The current creative landscape was discussed at length with consensus on the importance of creators speaking with a united voice and having a cohesive message on copyright.
An ambitious future programme was outlined including further work on communication, alliances with both international and regional bodies, the support of political lobbying and the protection of creators' rights.
Representatives from the music world including Jean-Michel Jarre and Angelique Kidjo, were a strong presence at the launch event. Penny Grubb was invited to attend as a writer and a representative of the Internaitonal Authors Forum.
Full Report of International Authors Forum Representation at WIPO Diplomatic Conference, 26 - 28 June 2013
28 August 2013
The International Authors Forum is pleased to release a report of its activity in Marrakech, including analysis of the adopted treaty text and an outline of the wider benefits for the IAFof its presence at the Conference as it continues to establish itself.
Read the full report here.
Read IFRRO's analysis of the text here.
The Library Copyright Alliance has also released a user guide to the treaty, available here.
23 August 2013
The American Society of Media Photographers, along with a number of other photographic organisations have released a statement highlighting concerns of the "far-reaching" Terms users agree to, often unwittingly, when signing up for an account on the popular photo-sharing website Instagram.
Importantly, users agree to give away rights which would enable them to pe paid for the use of their works, and often agree to this without understanding the full consequences of doing so.
Read the full press release here.
International Authors Forum Launch Event on 29th July has been Postponed
12 July 2013
Due to the unforeseen cancellation yesterday of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights scheduled to take place from 29 July until 2 August in Geneva, the International Authors Forum has decided to postpone its planned launch event until a later date to be determined. IAF had hoped to attract the delegations of Member States attending the SCCR to the launch to showcase worldwide creators and the value of their work, and because of this it was considered unfeasible to hold the event without their presence in Geneva. The IAF will reschedule the event and will give notice of the revised date as soon as it has been decided.
International Authors Forum Closing Address to WIPO Diplomatic Conference
27 June 2013
On Thursday 27 June the World Intellectual Property Organisation adopted the text of a treaty to enable greater access to published works for the world's 400 million blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled population. The International Authors Forum is delighted that the negotiations concluded and look forward to the increased access to their works this treaty will facilitate.
To view the International Authors Forum's official address to the Conference click here.
View the International Authors Forum's opening address here.
"VIP" Treaty: Negotiations Conclude with Adoption of Treaty Text
26 June 2013
The International Authors Forum is delighted to announce the adoption of a treaty text last night at the WIPO Diplomatic Conference in Marrakech that will enable wider access to copyright works for the world’s visually impaired and print disabled population. Authors congratulate the negotiators on reaching an agreement, which will enable more people to read and enjoy authors’ works more easily. The International Authors Forum looks forward to contributing to the effective implementation of the treaty, ensuring it delivers the benefits for which it was intended.
IAF representatives in Marrakech will continue their work here to ensure the next stages of formalisation of the treaty account for authors' rights and interests in this vital new piece of international law.
WIPO International Treaty to Enable Access to Copyright Content for Visually Impaired
24 - 27 June 2013
Representatives of the International Authors Forum including globally respected copyright campaigner and published author of over 30 books, Maureen Duffy, attended the Diplomatic Conference to conclude this treaty at a Diplomatic Conference in Marrakech between 24 and 27 June 2013.
On 25 June Maureen Duffy addressed delegates from Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia emphasising the importance of reaching a treaty that enables access for as many readers, not least visually impaired readers, as possible, as well as ensuring authors remain able to provide this material by retaining the right to fair payment - through the ability to license their copyright - when it is to be made available for use.
The views of the International Authors Forum were aired on the first day of the two week long Conference, making clear to the world delegates attending what authors value most in the treaty discussions. Authors favour a treat outcome that, most importantly, ensures the three-step-test cannot be circumvented, as it is one of the most principles in ensuring the effectiveness of copyright. Secondly, authors strongly oppose use of wording that refers to fair use in the treaty, fair use being a part of US Copyright law that does not have sufficient precedent to apply internationally. Thirdly, authors would like the treaty to state clearly that the principles it sets down do not apply to any other issues other than those it addresses: ensuring the world's visually imparied population can access copyright works.
World Intellectual Property Organisation International Treaty to Enable Access to Copyright Content for Visually Impaired and Print Disabled
IAF Welcomes NFB and MPAA Joint Statement
7 June 2013
The International Authors Forum welcomes the Joint Statement by National Federation of the Blind (NFB) President Marc Maurer and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chairman Senator Chris Dodd on the Importance of Completing the WIPO Visually Impaired Treaty released on 30 May 2013.
Authors welcome any proposal to increase the repertoire of their works available to the visually impaired in conditions consistent with international copyright agreements.
The International Authors Forum looks forward to the opportunity of working with the National Federation of the Blind, the World Blind Union, the MPAA and other interested parties at the Diplomatic Conference in Marrakech to achieve a meaningful treaty that enables authors’ works to be enjoyed by the world’s visually impaired and print disabled population.
The Joint Statement can be found on the MPAA and NFB websites.
INTERNATIONAL: World Intellectual Property Organisation
31 May 2013
International Treaty to Enable Access to Copyright Content for Visually Impaired and Print Disabled
As part of our continuing work on behalf of authors worldwide, the International Authors Forum (IAF) will attend the forthcoming World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Diplomatic Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, taking place from June 18– 28, where WIPO will conclude an international copyright treaty to enable access to copyright works for the benefit of the world’s blind and print disabled population.
This briefing note outlines the background to and context of the treaty, IAF’s view on behalf of authors, and specific concerns which need to be addressed to achieve a satisfactory outcome for authors.
In the meantime please do contact us if you would like to share or discuss anything related to the treaty.
24 May 2013
EU/USA Trade Agreement: Cultural Exception, Yes from the European Parliament
Strasbourg has voted to maintain the cultural goods and services exclusion from the EU/USA Trade Agreement.
This is good news for creators, because it means that cultural and audiovisual services, including online services, will not be subject to negotiations that could put arts and culture in peril by putting financial bargaining before accessibility to cultural goods and services. However, happily, they will be excluded from the negotiating mandate, in order to safeguard the "cultural exception" and protect the cultural and linguistic diversity of EU countries.
Strasbourg, 23 May 2013: "Our fight has been rewarded" - commented MEP Silvia Costa concerning the result of the European Parliament's vote claiming the maintenance of the so-called "cultural exception".
"An outcome that saves the European cultural industry from American colonization, thanks to Democratic Party Members of the European Parliament commitment inside S&D group"- said the MEP of the Italian Democratic Party.
"Through this success we give a strong and significant answer to concerns coming from the whole European cultural and audiovisual sector" said Silvia Costa "and confirm UE position on it, ensuring the protection and promotion of cultural diversity."
See what Culture Action Europe has to say.
26 April 2013
International Authors Forum is Formally Incorporated
IAF is thrilled to announce its formal incorporation as a limited not-for-profit company. This means IAF can now formally accept membership applications. We welcome interest in joining from any organisation that represents authors anywhere.
Please contact email@example.com if you would like to apply.
IAF will hold its first General Meeting in Istanbul in October 2013. At this celebratory meeting IAF will welcome its first official members and start its real work, to give creators a global voice that ensures their work is valued and their copyright protected internationally, to sustain a world that can keep creating.
18 April 2013
Preserve Venice as a City of Readers
Authors from all over the world are campaigning hard to save Venice's bookshops from closure, denying the city's native residents as well as its permanent international population of visitors and inhbitants an important cultural point of access. Authors have put together a manifesto to convince politicians that this literary aspect of the city's cultural heritage must be preserved, including their suggestions for a bookshop hub which would benefit the book industry, and authors, as well as providing the opportunity for other retailers and cultural contributors to enhance the city's cultural allure.
Support the campaign on twitter using #VeniceCityofReaders.
18 - 20 April 2013
WIPO SCCR on a Treaty to Enable Access to Copyright Content for Visually Impaired and Print Disabled
Maureen Duffy will attend this meeting in Geneva on behalf of the International Authors Forum where late stage negotiations are taking place to decide an international policy on enabling access to copyright content for the visually impaired and print disabled. The IAF takes the following position on the issue, but will be engaging with other rightholders in Geneva, working with them to achieve wording that protects rightholders, both sighted and unsighted, as well as the beneficiaries of the treaty who must clearly be provided for equally to the sighted population.
IAF's Position on Treaty for Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright for the Visually Impaired and Print Disabled
- Ultimately, it is authors’ work that is being considered in the treaty
- There are authors whose rights are involved, in all countries, not just in the developed world
- These include both sighted and unsighted authors
- Authors need a fair return if they are to continue to produce the work everyone wants to access
- Authors also want the widest possible audience for their work, including the 280 million plus people who are visually impaired
- Authors believe that advances in technology will greatly assist in finding solutions to the problems being discussed
- Authors look for a solution that is mutually satisfactory to all those involved, as soon as possible
To view the latest wording of the treaty as drafted follow this link.
10 April 2013
Italian Communication Authority AGCOM to Announce Online Copyright Regulation
Adding to the speight of activity around the world to ensure copyright law is "fit for purpose" in today's digital world, AGCOM, the Italian Communication Authority, are at last to issue a draft regulation on copyright protection online. A public consultation will follow. This comes after difficulties and delays the authority have had in taking action to protect content on the internet, generating debate about their competency in the field of copyright.
However, with new members elected in June 2012 come new promises from the newly elected president Angelo Cardini about combatting piracy. Hopefully, the result will preserve copyright as the essential protection creators need to make them a living continue creating and protect them against their content being exploited for free online and elsewhere.
The news from Italy adds to the EU's latest activities aimed at modernising copyright, and Maria Pallante's recent announcement in the US of the need for what she calls "The Next Great Copyright Act".
20 March 2013
The Next Great Copyright Act?
On 20th March, head of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, testified before congress to call for an update to US copyright law. It is essential that the integrity and vital protection that copyright law gives creators be maintained, but there are fears that it is under the threat of accusations that call copyright unnecessarily complex and outdated in an age where the movement of content is increasingly fast paced and hard to track. It is in this environment that a system which upholds the rights of authors to be recognised and paid for their work, to enable them to continue to create, be sustained and strengthened more than ever.
Pallante's full speech is available here.
To see comment from the Copyright Alliance, click here.
7 March 2013
German Draft Proposal for legislation on orphan and out-of-commerce works