Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 117.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (99)
Subject: Publishers Must Seek Authors' Permission for
Electronic Reprints, Supreme Court Rules
 From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <email@example.com> (146)
Subject: Supreme Court Rules 7-2 for Writers Union in NYT v
 From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <firstname.lastname@example.org> (14)
Subject: Details on Mellon's E-Journal Archiving Program
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 07:52:37 +0100
Subject: Publishers Must Seek Authors' Permission for Electronic
Reprints, Supreme Court Rules
This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education
(http://chronicle.com) was forwarded to you from: email@example.com
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Publishers Must Seek Authors' Permission for Electronic
Reprints, Supreme Court Rules
By ANDREA L. FOSTER
In a decision supported by academic-library groups and some
scholars, the Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly on Monday
that media companies may not republish freelance writers'
works in electronic form without their prior approval.
At issue in the case, The New York Times Company v. Jonathan
Tasini, was whether copyright law allows publishers to
transfer authors' works into databases and onto CD-ROM's
without providing them additional compensation. The court's
decision was signed by seven of the nine justices.
Major publishers, such as the New York Times Company, the
Washington Post Company, and Reed Elsevier Inc., which owns
Lexis-Nexis, argued that articles republished electronically
were merely "revisions" of the original publications and thus
allowable reprints under copyright law. They also said that a
ruling in the authors' favor would require deleting freelance
articles from online databases and CD-ROM's.
But Jonathan Tasini, president of the National Writers' Union
and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against The New York
Times, argued that online versions of articles are entirely
new editions that require writers' prior approval.
The case not only pitted freelance writers against publishers.
It set scholars against scholars and academic libraries
Mr. Tasini drew support from the Association of Research
Libraries, the American Library Association, and the National
Humanities Association. Those groups said that freelance
articles, even if they were excluded from CD-ROM's and
databases, would still be available in printed versions and
microform copies. They said publishers had exaggerated the
extent to which electronic databases had replaced the physical
"It's important to note that this decision recognizes that the
true historical record remains available through libraries and
archives," said Prudence S. Adler, assistant executive
director of the Association of Research Libraries.
Added Peter A. Jaszi, a law professor at American University:
"This decision seems to be a wonderful reaffirmation of the
central importance of the creative individual in our copyright
system." Mr. Jaszi helped the library groups prepare their
brief for the Supreme Court.
He said the case was also significant because it marked the
first time the court had ruled on the issue of how copyright
law should be applied to digital technology. The court is
expected to confront other related issues involving the
copying of digital music and video.
Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said
that print publishers and electronic publishers infringed on
the copyrights of the freelance authors whose works were
disseminated online. Their articles, she wrote, are not
reproductions of the originally published articles "because
the databases reproduce and distribute articles standing
alone" and not as part of a "collective work."
Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the dissent and was
joined by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, agreed with the
publishers that electronic reprints of the freelance writers'
works are simply revisions of their original writings.
The court left it up to the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York to decide the appropriate remedy
for the authors whose copyrights were infringed. In 1997, that
court sided with the publishers, but the decision was reversed
in 1999 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The Supreme Court did not express a preference for how authors
should be compensated in the future. The library groups favor
a collective-licensing system for writers' works, modeled on a
system used by the music industry. Under that proposal,
publishers would set up a fund to pay freelance writers each
time their works were reprinted electronically. The Supreme
Court's majority opinion singled out that proposal for mention
as one method for compensating writers.
The ruling was a blow to some well-known historians who had
filed a brief in support of the publishers. Ken Burns, Doris
Kearns Goodwin, David M. Kennedy, David McCullough, Jack N.
Rakove, and Gordon S. Wood argued that the possibility of
erasing articles from electronic databases would harm
Another group of historians disagreed and filed a brief in
support of Mr. Tasini. They said professional historians rely
more on primary sources -- such as diaries, letters, and
memoirs -- than on newspapers and magazines. That brief was
filed by Ellen Schrecker of Yeshiva University and Stanley N.
Katz of Princeton University, among others.
Chronicle subscribers can read this article on the Web at this address:
If you would like to have complete access to The Chronicle's Web
site, a special subscription offer can be found at:
You may visit The Chronicle as follows:
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Copyright 2001 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 07:53:13 +0100
From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Supreme Court Rules 7-2 for Writers Union in NYT v Tasini
News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
from across the Community
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Writers Union
High Court Sides With Freelance Writers in Electronic Rights Case
New York Times article:
>From: "Jonathan Tasini" <email@example.com>
>To: "Jonathan Tasini" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 11:16:48 -0400
>Organization: National Writers Union
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jonathan Tasini
National Writers Union and UAW hail Supreme Court ruling as victory for
creators and consumers
Leaders of the National Writers Union and the International Union, UAW
described today's Supreme Court ruling-which upholds copyright protections
for free-lance writers-as a victory for creators and consumers. Union
leaders also offered to begin negotiations immediately with the publishing
industry to resolve billions of dollars in potential liabilities created by
repeat violations of U.S. copyright law.
"The Court has upheld the spirit of the Constitutional protection for
copyright, which was written for the benefit of individual authors," said
Jonathan Tasini, president of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981)
and the lead plaintiff in Tasini vs. New York Times. "Now, it's time for
the media industry to pay creators their fair share and let's sit down
and negotiate over this today."
By a 7-2 majority, the Court upheld a September 1999 unanimous ruling by the
U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, which found that The New York Times and
publishers had committed copyright infringement when they resold freelance
newspaper and magazine articles, via electronic databases such as
LexisNexis, without asking permission or making additional payments to the
"We're proud to have supported our members in the National Writers Union in
their fight to be treated fairly by the publishing industry," said UAW
President Stephen P. Yokich. "Today's decision paves the way for writers
and other creators to be fairly compensated for their work. That's good
news all of us, because we all benefit when the legal protections of
copyright encourage the creation of new art, science, and literature."
The International Union, UAW, has provided legal and financial support for
the groundbreaking litigation, which was filed by nine free-lance members of
UAW Local 1981, the National Writers Union, in 1993
"Our message to the publishing industry now is: let's negotiate," said UAW
Vice President Elizabeth Bunn, who directs the union's Technical, Office and
Professional Department. "The New York Times and other publishers face
billions of dollars of potential liability for selling articles to which
they hold no copyright. The way to settle these obligations is to meet at
the bargaining table, so we can find solutions that are fair to writers, to
the industry, and for consumers."
The NWU, Tasini said, is already party to a class action lawsuit, which will
enforce the copyright protections affirmed today by the Supreme Court.
"We want to settle past claims in a reasonable fashion, and establish a
mechanism so that free-lancers can be compensated fairly from now on," said
Tasini. The Publication Rights Clearinghouse (PRC), said Tasini,
established by the NWU in 1993, offers a way for writers and publisher to
track the ownership of copyright, and payment for authorized re-sale of
copyrighted works. Free-lance writers, whether or not they are NWU
members, can use the PRC to license their works by visiting www.nwu.org.
Further details regarding the Tasini vs. New York Times litigation can be
found at: www.nwu.org/tvt/vichome.htm
The National Writers Union has 7,000 members nationwide, including
journalists, book authors, technical writers and poets. It is the only union
dedicated solely to advancing the interests of freelance writers.
The International Union, UAW has more than 1.3 million active and retired
members, including more than 100,00 members in its Technical, Office and
Professional Department. In addition to free-lance writers, the UAW also
represents attorneys, clerical workers, educators, firefighters, graphic
designers, health care workers, librarians, museum workers, public
employees, and many others.
>Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 12:11:24 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Ann Okerson <email@example.com>
>cc: Scott Bennett <Scott.Bennett@yale.edu>,
>Subject: NYTimes.com Article: High Court Sides With Freelance Writers in
> Electronic Rights Case
>Major news for all of us. Ann Okerson
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Supremes decide Tasini in favor of writers
High Court Sides With Freelance Writers in Electronic Rights Case
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 10:57 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ruling against big media companies in an information
age dispute Monday, the Supreme Court said free-lance writers may control
whether articles they sold for print in a regular newspaper or magazine
may be reproduced in electronic form.
The court ruled 7-2 that compilation in an electronic database is
different from other kinds of archival or library storage of material that
once appeared in print. That means that copyright laws require big media
companies such as The New York Times to get free-lancers' permission
before posting their work online.
Justices Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens dissented.
At issue was how to treat copyright works when technological advances
changed the way information would be available in ways neither the writer
nor the publication foresaw.
Although seemingly esoteric, the copyright fight goes to the heart of the
Internet's basic appeal to researchers and casual users -- how much
information is available at the click of a computer mouse.
Large publishers argued that if they lost, they would probably remove a
lot of material from electronic view rather than fight with writers over
permission and fees.
The case turned on whether electronic reproduction of a newspaper or
periodical constitutes a revision of the original print edition. Under
copyright law, publishers do not need authors' permission to produce a
revised version of the original edition.
The case largely affects articles, photographs and illustrations produced
a decade or so ago -- before free-lance contracts provided for the
material's electronic use.
Six free-lance writers sued The New York Times, Newsday, Time Inc. and
other publishers over inclusion of their work in electronic databases.
Some databases require the user to pay a fee, such as LEXIS/NEXIS, while
others are available free over the Internet.
A federal judge first ruled for the publishers, throwing out the writers'
suit on grounds that electronic databases are revisions under the
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversed in 1999,
finding that copyright law required publishers to seek authors'
The case is New York Times v. Tasini, 00-201.
Visit NYTimes.com for complete access to the most authoritative news
coverage on the Web, updated throughout the day.
Become a member today! It's free!
For general information about NYTimes.com, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
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-------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 07:55:16 +0100 From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Details on Mellon's E-Journal Archiving Program
NINCH ANNOUNCEMENT News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources from across the Community June 26, 2001
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's E-Journal Archiving Program http://www.diglib.org/preserve/ejp.htm
Information is now available on the web page of the Digital Library Federation of an E-Journal Archiving Program, funded by the Mellon Foundation, examining a variety of strategies for ensuring the preservation of electronic journals. The web page details the project, links to some key papers presented at an organizational meeting and to five projects that have received Mellon funding.
David Green ============
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