In partnership with the Copyright Clearance Center, The Authors Guild will draw on its 100+ year history as the nation’s leading advocate for authors’ rights, as well as its extensive network of contacts within the publishing industry and in the legal and business communities, to present a series of ten webinars with the goal of ensuring that our nation’s authors—new and established, young and old alike—are positioned to thrive in today’s digital economy, so that our society as a whole can reap the benefits of a thriving and diverse literary culture into the next generation and beyond.

What Is Defamation? Legal Issues and Insurance Protection for Authors

Writing about real people—living, dead, or even fictionalized—creates special risks that can result in costly damages and legal fees. It’s essential for authors to take the proper steps to protect themselves. Publishing lawyer Ellis Levine will discuss the basics of the laws surrounding defamation, public disclosure of private facts, and misappropriation. Levine and Laura Handman of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP will then explore risk mitigation tactics such as releases, liability insurance, and other methods authors can use to avoid legal exposure.

International Copyright Law

In an increasingly global marketplace, international legal and publishing trends are affecting the rights and livelihoods of U.S. authors and publishers more than ever. Michael Healy will discuss how court decisions and legislative activity in global markets like the European Union, India, Canada and Australia are affecting the interests of U.S. writers and publishing firms, and how authors can best position themselves to get the most out of the global marketplace.


Free Speech Under Fire? A Survey of Contemporary First Amendment Issues

The Trump administration’s threats to the media have sparked renewed concern for the First Amendment protections authors and the press enjoy. But that’s not the only reason for alarm. Counties and school districts continue to challenge and censor controversial books, and legislators in states throughout the country sponsor bills that would chill or criminalize certain types of speech. In a conversation moderated by Mary Rasenberger (Executive Director of the Authors Guild), David Horowitz (Executive Director of the Media Coalition), Joan Bertin (Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship), and Christopher Finan (Director of the American Booksellers for Free Expression) will provide an up-to-date survey and analysis of the First Amendment issues and threats that most concern authors and free speech advocates.

The Planning and Management of Literary Estates

The intangible nature of literary property, and the fact that it’s governed by the Copyright Act, gives rise to a unique set of considerations that writers must consider when planning their estates. Herb Nass, trusts and estates lawyer and founder of Herbert E. Nass & Associates, will discuss how to handle literary property while estate planning, and how best to handle a literary estate you’ve inherited.

The Future of Fair Use

Fair use is an exception to copyright protection in the United States that allows the limited use of others’ works for purposes of criticism and commentary, among other things. In this webinar, copyright experts Mary Rasenberger of the Authors Guild and Fred Haber of CCC will provide authors a fair use primer. They’ll discuss the four statutory factors courts consider in determining whether a use qualifies as a “fair use” and what authors should think about when deciding whether or how much of others’ works to incorporate in their own. They will also talk about the recent expansion of fair use in cases such as the Georgia State University copyright litigation and Authors Guild v. Google and how it may affect authors’ potential revenue sources, as well as how to proceed if an author’s work is being used without permission in a manner that may exceed fair use.

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