Sunday, September 13, 2009


At its Aug. 25 monthly meeting, the National Writers Union was informed that it has progressed so much in the past few months that the United Auto Workers has decided to begin giving the NWU complete autonomy. The NWU should be out of administratorship by the end of the year.

The NWU leadership also voted for the NWU joining the Open Book Alliance. A press release was written a few days later and is printed below.


NEW YORK -- The National Writers Union announced today that it has joined the Open Book Alliance: a diverse coalition of writers' organizations, librarians, activists, legal scholars and corporations who object to the proposed Google Book Settlement.

"We are happy to join the Open Book Alliance, which shares many of our concerns about the proposed Google Book Settlement," said Larry Goldbetter, president of the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981. "The proposed settlement is patently unfair to writers and could set a dangerous legal precedent."

Earlier this week, the National Writers Union called on former Vice President Al Gore, in his capacity as a senior advisor to Google, to use his considerable influence to urge Google to seek a delay in the settlement proceedings. The National Writers Union announced its objection to the proposed Google Book Settlement last month.

"Google's book scanning project is one the largest cases of copyright infringement since the United States Constitution was adopted in 1789," Goldbetter said. "The multibillion-dollar corporation scanned more than seven million different books without permission from the copyright owners. In an attempt to placate its victims, Google is throwing some crumbs to writers." Google enjoyed a net income of more than $4.5 billion last year. It is offering writers as little as $60 per infringed book and $15 per infringed article.

"It's a bad deal," Goldbetter said. "Along with the other members of the Open Book Alliance, the National Writers Union wants to promote a fair alternative to the proposed settlement."

The National Writers Union is the nation's only labor union and advocacy organization for freelance writers in all genres, media, and formats. In addition to print media writers, NWU represents electronic writers and editors of blogs, Web sites and e-newsletters. The NWU is affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW), which is a member of the AFL-CIO. The NWU's headquarters are at 113 University Place, 6th floor, New York, NY 10003.

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