– Canadian authors sign on as “friends of the court” –
Last week, the Authors Guild (AG) filed an appeal to the US Court of Appeals in their ongoing fight against Google’s book-scanning project. This week, eight amicus briefs were filed with the court declaring the original ruling unacceptable. The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) participated in two of those briefs.
Longtime TWUC members Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill and Yann Martel joined a brief prepared on behalf of 17 of the world's most beloved authors. Other signatories include J. M. Coetzee, Peter Carey, Malcolm Gladwell, and Ursula Le Guin. As a founding member of the International Authors Forum (IAF), TWUC itself is represented in the IAF's amicus brief.
“TWUC is extremely grateful to Margaret, Larry, and Yann for showing leadership and agreeing to sign the individual author brief,” said TWUC Chair, Dorris Heffron. “It’s so important for the courts to see the world’s authors are against Google on this.”
The New York Second Circuit court previously ruled Google’s unpermitted, uncompensated copying of millions of complete, in-copyright works to be a "fair use." The AG’s appeal and the author briefs argue such a finding is without precedent and plainly ridiculous.
The author brief insists the US courts should not “fall victim to Google’s attempt to avoid the limits of the law” and that “no example of fair use allows the degree of copying undertaken by Google.”
The IAF brief concludes “the mere fact that Google’s infringement scheme is clever should not make it permissible under the law.”
The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing more than 2,000 professional authors of books. The Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers. www.writersunion.ca
Chair, The Writers’ Union of Canada