A few weeks ago I visited the Société des gens de lettres (Society of People of Letters), a writers' society founded 180 years ago by Balzac, Hugo, Dumas and Sand. It is one of some eighteen societies with the mission of protecting authors' interests in France. I was particularly interested in finding out what the SDGL … Continue reading New rights for French authors: what’s working and what’s still to get done?
I was recently in London to meet with Nicola Solomon of the Society of Authors about some of the most pressing issues concerning writers today. (Rebecca Giblin and Nicola Solomon after a lively conversation on author's rights, May 2018) On the train back to Paris I finally got around to reading Jennifer Kloester's biography of … Continue reading Georgette Heyer’s copyrights
I'm just back from a quick trip to Barcelona, where the whole city was gearing up for Catalonia's most romantic day of the year - Sant Jordi's. Sant Jordi (that dragon slayer you might know better as St George) is the national Saint of the region. As explained in this post, Sant Jordi's day has … Continue reading Happy Sant Jordi’s day! (Valentine’s but with books)
My last post pondered the merits of 'fair trade'-style labeling on books: ones that directly told the reading public how much of the sales price went into author pockets. It has interesting potential for alerting readers to unsatisfactory contractual practices - like the 'export sales' rules that can see Australian authors receive just AUD $0.20 … Continue reading The author made 3p from the sale of this book
A couple of weeks ago Professor Jessica Litman delivered the thirteenth Annual International Intellectual Property Lecture at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She makes the case that the copyright wars of recent decades have really been tussles between 'old' and 'new' intermediary investors; publishers, labels and movie studios vs service providers and online platforms. While the rhetoric … Continue reading ‘Fair trade’ labeling for authors?
The Author's Interest project (in partnership with Melbourne's Wheeler Centre) recently put on an event exploring some of the tricky reasons why many authors' incomes have recently seen such sharp declines - and mulling over ways to increase their share. With me on the panel were: Canadian-British author and activist Cory Doctorow, writer's agent Alex … Continue reading ‘How do writers get paid?’ – A fiery exchange
In the previous post, I set out the results from studies all around the English-speaking world showing author incomes are in dramatic decline. But why is the falls? Here, I set out some of the myriad factors that might explain it. Unfair contracts and copyright law In substantial part, global writers' organisations blame the crisis … Continue reading Why are author incomes declining?
Next week I'll be hosting an event at the Wheeler Centre (with Cory Doctorow and others) discussing how writers can get paid. The vital backdrop to that event is figures out of Australia, Canada, the US and the UK showing that writers' incomes have plummeted over the past two decades. This post is intended to bring … Continue reading What’s happening to authors’ earnings? Surveying the surveys
Copyrights are awarded automatically. But authors can suffer from significant inequality of bargaining power and asymmetry of information in their dealings with cultural investors (such as publishers). That can mean they end up transferring all or most of their rights as condition of distribution or investment. What authors transfer can be disproportionate to what they … Continue reading Author-protective copyright: How’s it done by other countries?
On October 6 2017, Columbia Law School's Kernochan Center held a Colloquium tied in to the launch of the Author's Interest project. Professor Sam Ricketson and I delivered the keynotes. Sam's address explored the 'wriggle room' left to us within the international copyright treaties for achieving meaningful reform. Mine described the possibilities for an alternative copyright … Continue reading Columbia Law School Colloquium: Improving copyright for creators