Sunday, November 8, 2009

Authors Survey Will Be Mailed Soon -- It Brings In Half Of Union's Income

To: NWU members
From: Martin Zabell
Date: Oct. 27, 2009

NWU-Chicago membership:

I was informed today that something called an Authors Coalition survey brings in MORE THAN HALF of the National Writers' Union's annual income.

I don't recall filling out this survey myself in the past, but I'm told that membership participation is important. The more participants who have had their writing reproduced in foreign nations, the more money the union gets. I don't understand this entire program myself, but I hope to in the next several days. As I learn about it, I will send out the survey forms and urge all of you to fill it out.

I will keep you informed of this important matter in the ensuing days.

This matter was the highlight of the monthly national meeting, which ended about half an hour ago. In other news, we were told that the national newsletter would be revived soon, the NWU lost some sort of workmen’s compensation case, and the union has made such great progress in its battle against textbook companies that aren’t paying their authors that the UAW, our parent, is considering investing a lot of money in pursuing a company’s owners.
(Note that there was negative news in the above graph. I’m a longtime reporter and I hope to maintain my credibility by reporting good and bad news. If you want to know the real dope, don’t hesitate to call.)

Martin Zabell
Chicago chapter
National Writers Union

PS -- Below are the best explanations I have been given of the Authors Coalition. The first graph was written by national VP Ann Hoffman; the second graph by national president Larry Goldbetter of Chicago.

Authors Coalition Survey
For the past year, the National Writers Union has been working with many other author groups as part of the Authors Coalition to reclaim non-title specific royalties from photocopies made abroad. With your help, in the past year the National Writers Union has collected $335,000, which has allowed us to engage in the Google book situation, provide invaluable contract advice and in other ways to defend the rights of writers in their copyrights. Our share of the money collected is determined by the responses that we get from the genre survey below; your prompt and accurate answers will determine how much money we receive in the coming year.
(actual survey attached: I have been unable to copy it without distorting it)

The money comes from royalties collected by various authors groups and I believe government agencies for foreign authors whose works may have been reproduced in Europe. We ask our members if they have written anything that MIGHT have been copied in Europe. We need a 60 percent affirmative response, and the bigger the response the bigger the
check we receive.

National Writers Union-Chicago Seeks Volunteers To Plan 2010 Events

To: NWU-Chicago membership
From: Martin Zabell (chairperson of NWU-Chicago)
Date: Oct. 14, 2009

At last night's monthly NWU-Chicago leadership meeting, the leadership agreed that we should begin planning our 2010 schedule.

What we need to do is formulate a schedule of events, perhaps one every two months, with one event being the building block for the second event and the second event being the lead-in to the third event, etc.

We also discussed specific events that would be of interest to the Chicago writing community and, once we found them, making these events part of our regular schedule. The events that were discussed most often were A. Self-publishing; B. Finding publishers and agents for books; C. Whether there is a future in blogging.

One problem we have had in the past is that not enough people have been involved in planning events. Thus, I am seeking people willing to volunteer their time to help plan the above events. And, of course, if you have suggestions for other events, please forward them on. We probably need four or five people to help plan each event. Someone from the NWU-Chicago leadership will be the lead planner for each event and will be the person to devote the most time for planning.

Please understand that these events could be an OPPORTUNITY for you to tell the world what you have done. In other words, you can help plan the event AND be a speaker. For example, if you self-published a book, an NWU event will an OPPORTUNITY for you to sell your book. And Event No. 2 can build on Event No. 1.

If we decided to plan a self-publishing event for April, we need to begin planning a couple of months ahead so I and other members of the leadership can also spend our time planning publicity for the event that you helped plan.

For the union to work, we NEED more active members. Participation is very gratifying and gives people a sense of belonging. I was an inactive member for a few years and am now active. It's worth the money you have already invested in our future if you also invest your time.

The union has made great progress since the former Chicago leadership in June was elected to national leadership. We are challenging an effort by Google to essentially take your copyrights for a ridiculously low price (better explanations can be read at; or, have been in the news more often for these efforts, are challenging textbook companies that have unfairly paid or not paid writers and editors, and are in the process of starting NWU-Chicago's first newsletter (which should come out by year's end).

For the union to take the next steps, we need your ACTIVE PARTICIPATION.

Martin Zabell

PS -- I would also appreciate it if you would inform me of other writing groups you belong to. This helps us plan future events. For example, if you are a member of a mystery writers or science fiction writers club, we can then co-sponsor events on more specific topics than those I have outlined above.

PS 2 -- Please phone me if you're interested at 708-832-2595. Please don't make me phone every single member of the union as I tried to do in August. I’m way too shy.

PS 3 -- I will post this notice on our Web site –

National Writers Union To Authors Guild: Withdraw From Google Pact

National Writers Union Calls on the Authors Guild to

Withdraw from The Google Copyright Infringement Settlement

for immediate release 9/25/09 – contact Larry Goldbetter (212) 254-0279

NEW YORK, September 25, 2009 – The National Writers Union today issued the following statement in response to the Department of Justice filing in the Google Book Settlement:

The Department of Justice has recommended that the United States District Court reject the proposed Google Book Settlement. The Department found that the settlement should be rejected on the grounds that it violated anti-trust laws, that it would lead to copyright infringement, and that the Authors Guild did not properly represent the class of authors. In response to this, the parties to the agreement asked for and were granted a postponement of the October 7 fairness hearing. National Writers Union President Larry Goldbetter stated, “We support the Department of Justice recommendation and call on the Authors Guild to withdraw from the current settlement, so that they can join in new negotiations with the many voices that have up to now been excluded.”

“The proposed settlement was simply unacceptable,” he said. “It upends copyright law, is an abuse of the class-action process, and is a bad deal for writers.” For the proposed settlement to be fair and comply with the law, fundamental changes are necessary. This can only happen with the input of those who opposed the settlement – including authors, libraries, independent publishers, consumer advocates, state attorneys general, the Justice Department, and Congress.

Goldbetter said, “We look forward to working with all affected parties to shape a new agreement, that upholds copyright law and serves the interests of all readers and writers.”