To All Writers

especially those who signed and supported our letter five years ago opposing the “Google Settlement” decision:

This decision, permitting Google to flout copyright law and ignore authors’ rights, has just been reaffirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

We’ve lost two rounds now, and an appeal can go only to a Supreme Court whose record in enthusiastic support of corporate interests over human rights is indeed supreme.

Copyright has been deformed by the grotesque prolongation of the period of copyright demanded by Disney, and is now regularly defied without penalty by the libraries collaborating with Google in reproducing copyrighted works without permission. Copyright is a deeply flawed institution, needing overhaul in itself and major reformulating to make it apply to publishing in the electronic age.

It remains, however, an author’s one safeguard against both piracy and exploitation. Copyright is the writer’s Declaration of Independence. If we don’t understand the principle it embodies and defend our interest in it, corporate imperialism and government apathy will continue to defy and destroy it.

I’m too old to take up this cause again. I can only plead: Surely there are some writers out there under 80 able and willing to get together – with the National Writers Union, with the Authors Guild, with each other – to work out and work for a strategy for the Defense of Copyright?

—UKL

Spiral

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Updated Sunday, 26-Feb-2017 17:28:50 PST