Geneva J. Anderson on 19 Jul 2000 16:26:03 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] copyright followup

The National Writers Union yesterday submitted a letter of complaint to on behalf of its writers. Below is a copy of the letter.
More information can be found at
NWU has NOT yet gotten on board with an e-petition/letter on this topic.  
geneva anderson

Steve Brill, President
1230 Avenue of the Americas
16th Floor
New York, New York

July 17, 2000

Dear Mr. Brill:

I am writing to you on behalf of National Writers Union members who have
contacted us regarding what could be serious copyright infringement by's copyright policy states that "Except for materials in
the public domain, all of the content of is the property
of or its content suppliers and is protected by copyright
laws." claims that it "will block access to and/or remove
any material that it believes in good faith to be copyrighted." Yet
several NWU members who retain copyright to their work have reported to us
that is using their work without permission. At least one
of our members has contacted you directly and alerted you to this fact; to
date, she has not received any response and her work has not been removed
from your site.

As you probably know, under Tasini v. New York Times, a creator's work
cannot be used in another medium (i.e., electronically or on a database)
without that creator?s permission. We would prefer to resolve this matter
without relying on legal action. Indeed, the Union has a solution that
allows publishers and aggregators to use authors? work legally: the
Publishing Rights ClearingHouse (PRC). Similar to ASCAP and BMI which
ensure songwriters get royalties, the PRC obtains permission from writers
to license their content and then makes payment to them when their work is

To make use of the PRC, would simply enter into a
collective licensing agreement with the Clearinghouse, negotiate a royalty
split, send us a check on a quarterly basis, and we would then distribute
payment to the writers.

The National Writers Union represents more than six thousand members.

Of these, there could literally be thousands whose work is being used
illegally at your website, not to mention thousands of other writers. I
very much hope that we can talk soon and work out an agreement whereby will be protected from liability and writers will be
fairly compensated for their work.

Please feel free to contact me or Dian Killian, the Journalism Division
Organizer, to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely yours,

Jonathan Tasini
National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981)

cc.: Catherine Seda
       Copyright Agent of