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AG, The Authors' Guild, Inc., USA

Submitted by admin on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 09:34
AG, AG, The Authors' Guild, Inc., USA
31 East 32nd Street
7th Floor
New York
NY 10016
+1 212 563-5904
+1 212 564-5363
Key representative
Mary Rasenberger
Executive Director
(212) 563-5904
Key representative
Cheryl L. Davis
General Counsel
(212) 563-5904
To protect the rights and interests of professional authors in the following areas: copyright, payment, contracts, publishing, freedom of expression and taxation.
Year operations began
New Developments
New Developments (April 2019 - August 2019):
Legislative Proceedings: On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Senate introduced the “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act of 2019”, which would permit publishers of online news content to collectively negotiate with online platforms (which would otherwise be barred under U.S. antitrust laws).
Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office Karyn A. Temple testified before the House Judiciary Committee at its Copyright Office Oversight Hearing on June 26, 2019, and on July 30, before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, at the Senate’s own Copyright Office Oversight Hearing. Among the topics she discussed were the Copyright Office’s modernization efforts and the Office’s support for a small-claims tribunal.
The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2019, S. 1273 and H.R. 2426, has made significant progress in the current Congressional session. The Senate version of the Bill was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 18, 2019 without opposition, and the House version of the bill is expected to be voted on this Fall, after Congress returns from its summer recess. The bill would establish an accessible and efficient forum to resolve “small” copyright claims – meaning claims valued at $15,000 or less (with a maximum of $30,000 per action). This legislation would allow individual authors to protect their intellectual property rights without having to file an expensive, complex federal lawsuit. The tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S, which were imposed on September 1, 2019 (and on December 15, for children’s books and other items), are expected to have a large impact on the publishing industry, since so many books published in the United States are printed in China.
On April 23, 2019, the U.S. Copyright Office released a report entitled “Authors, Attribution and Integrity: Examining Moral Rights in the United States”. This report focused on “the personal rights of individual authors and artists, who have often been excluded in broader conversations about [U.S.] copyright legal reforms.” The Authors Guild had previously filed comments explaining why U.S. law does not currently provide authors with a full right of attribution and advocating that the law be amended to provide an express, waivable right of attribution for creators, and the Copyright Office referred to these comments in its report.
On July 29, the Authors Guild submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce in connection with its upcoming report on “Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods”; the Guild’s comments focused on how counterfeit and pirated books harm authors, and recommended changes in the law and enforcement policies that would better protect copyright holders from counterfeiting and piracy. The United States Copyright Office continues its policy study of the laws governing Internet piracy and whether the safe harbors for internet service providers need to be reexamined, and expects to issue its report this autumn.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 2019 decision in Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v., (which held that a plaintiff must wait until the copyright application process has been completed and a registration issued before bringing an infringement lawsuit), the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate each wrote to the Copyright Office (on March 14 and April 3) requesting information about the length of time it takes the Copyright Office to register copyrights, the different registration options available to rightsholders, and “the Copyright Office’s current plan and projections for lowering the registration time.” The Copyright Office replied to both letters on May 31, explaining that it had already taken measures to reduce the registration time, and stating its plans to further reduce the time.
The Authors Guild expects to release an updated version of its Model Trade Book Contract in September or October. . The Model will include recommended language on such topics as digital and audiobook rights and will set forth some advocacy positions that the Guild intends to address with publishers as well as legislatively.
Court Decisions: There are several decisions and pending cases in the U.S. courts that affect content creators, for example: On April 26, 2019, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Eastern District of Virginia’s controversial and unprecedented copyright decision in Brammer v. Violent Hues, LLC, which had found that unauthorized use of a photograph was made in “good faith” because the defendant saw “no indication that” the photograph was copyrighted, and that this good faith favored a finding of fair use. The Fourth Circuit rejected defendant’s “fair use” defense and remanded the case for further proceedings. In March 2019, the District Court for the Southern District of California held in Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. v. ComicMix LLC held that defendant’s copying of elements of the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was permitted under the fair use doctrine. This case was appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court granted plaintiff’s petition for certiorari in Allen v. Cooper, in which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the officials of the State of North Carolina had sovereign immunity from claims of copyright infringement. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear argument on this case on November 5, 2019.