NEW YORK, NY, July 20, 2017 — The Authors Guild and Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced today that they collaboratively reached an agreement with a Hungarian science fiction magazine, Galaktika, which for years had been reprinting stories of American and British science fiction writers without their permission. Under the terms of the agreement, Metropolis Media, Galaktika’s publisher, promised to seek permission for any works they use in the future and to compensate the authors whose works were published without permission. Galaktika has agreed to pay each author whose work it infringed fair compensation, with the fee to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. (Please refer to the end of this post for more information about how to contact Galaktika.)
The agreement comes as a result of efforts by the Guild, SFWA, literary agents, and authors to hold Galaktika’s publisher accountable for reproducing copyrighted works in print and online issues of the magazine in violation of the authors’ rights. The organizations became involved last fall after literary agent/lawyer Jonathan Lyons (a member of the Authors Guild) brought it to the Guild’s attention. “After we realized the extent of the problem,” said Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger, “it quickly became clear that a collective response from the author community was needed to fully address the problem. The Authors Guild exists to take action in situations like this.” SFWA had already been working to resolve members’ claims through its Grievance Committee, but realized that a joint effort by both organizations was more likely to yield results for all affected authors.
Pursuant to the agreement, Metropolis provided the Guild and SFWA with a list of all unauthorized stories that appeared in Galaktika’s past issues. It also confirmed its commitment to seek permission before publishing copyrighted works in the future and to remove all infringing works from their online media. Most importantly, the agreement legally obligates Metropolis to offer a reasonable fee for each infringed work, to be agreed in good faith individually with those authors whose works were infringed in Galaktika. The agreement does not settle any author’s particular claims, but sets a benchmark for transparency and gives individual authors leverage in pursuing their claims. Moreover, Metropolis Media will not be released from the claims of infringement that the Authors Guild and SFWA might bring until all of the authors’ individual claims have been settled to the Guild’s and SFWA’s reasonable satisfaction. To that end, SFWA will be publicizing the list of authors and estates that are owed money and contacting them individually when possible.
“Metropolis Media was an open and attentive negotiating partner,” said Rasenberger. “We’re confident that it will address individual claims honestly and in good faith. While ignorance of the law is not an excuse, Metropolis’s willingness to compensate the authors whose rights were violated and to respect authors’ rights going forward is a step in the right direction. The Authors Guild will keep an eye on Metropolis Media to ensure that it abides by the terms of the agreement and fairly treats authors whose works they have used and will use in the future.” SFWA, whose connections in the science fiction and fantasy community run very deep, will also be monitoring Metropolis’s commitment to negotiate in good faith.
Cat Rambo, President of SFWA, added, “In today’s complex publishing world, the writers often get overlooked. SFWA is pleased to be working with the Authors Guild in order to represent the interests of writers and defending their rights.”
Authors (or agents representing authors) whose works have been infringed in Galaktika may contact Dr. Katalin Mund with their claims. She can be reached at email@example.com. Authors Guild members can also contact the Authors Guild at firstname.lastname@example.org for help negotiating their settlements. SFWA members who believe that Galaktika is not living up to this agreement should contact John E. Johnston III at email@example.com.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS GUILD
The Authors Guild has served as the collective voice of American authors since its beginnings in 1912. Its over 9,000 members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates. The Guild is dedicated to creating a community for authors while advocating for them on issues of copyright, fair contracts, free speech, and tax fairness. Please visit www.authorsguild.org.
Chief Operating Officer
The Authors Guild
Phone: (212) 563-5904
ABOUT SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY WRITERS OF AMERICA
Founded in 1965, SFWA Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization for published authors and industry professionals in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends, and advocates for all writers of the SFF community. Visit www.sfwa.org for more information.
Also, the number of people in the comments who said they'd totally read it...
I swear, the ill-fated "Pillsbury Nazgul" British cover for Paladin of Souls ticks almost all of the boxes.
Ta, L. Easily amused this morning.
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on July, 19
by Jennifer Brozek
As of 1 July 2017, I stepped down from a two year stint as a Director-At-Large for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). My term was up and I chose not to run again (this time) due to life happening around me. I learned so much from the organization and from the other Directors themselves. I also learned a lot from the SFWA membership through the lens of a board member. To make things easy on me, I’ve distilled it all into the 10 Things I Learned While I Was A Director-At-Large for SFWA.
10: It was one of the most rewarding volunteer positions I’ve been in.
I worked with a stellar team of people I wouldn’t have had a chance to work with before I stepped up to the plate. Being a Director-At-Large gave me an inside view on how SFWA works, its goals for the organization, how to help its membership and writers all over the world as well as allowed me to help shepherd some large projects towards fruition. Watching Game Writers be admitted to SFWA was beyond awesome. It was one of my goals from the moment I became a member of SFWA. Watching the Speakers Bureau come online in a working capacity was very fulfilling. Instituting the first board member “office hours” was a thrill. Streamlining the EMF process is still in progress, but I know I’ve done my part. When you work on the Board of Directors, your work changes the organization.
9: It was one of the most difficult volunteer positions I’ve been in.
There are good and bad things that happen when you lead by committee—especially a committee of volunteers. When one committee talks to another committee, things move at a (perceived) glacial pace. It makes it difficult to know when to poke someone (or a committee) for an answer you are waiting on. Make no mistake, SFWA is governed and run by committee. We have a President who focuses our tasks, puts out fires, pokes committees for you, but… you’re still working with a series of committees made up of volunteers with different wants/needs, different communication styles, different time allotments, different backgrounds, and different perspectives. This makes it hard. You can’t push too much. You can’t not push. Everything is a delicate balance between need, time, and availability. The entire time you work on SFWA’s Board of Directors, you try to keep this in mind. Sometimes you fail. Most of the time you succeed. You’re going to remember the failures more.
8: The Board of Directors has their hands full.
There are so many projects and concerns that that Board of Directors handles that every single board member is busy. Really busy. Each one is a point of contact to every single committee SFWA has. There are five main areas that SFWA focuses on: Support, Promotion, Information, Defense, and Advocacy. I’m linking the info graphic that describes each one. For every single bullet point, someone in SFWA has championed that project and a board member has been or is a point of contact. The Board works for SFWA and its members. It also works to promote the welfare of all writers.
7: The Board of Directors frequently has their hands tied.
SFWA is a 501(c)(3) organization. As a nonprofit organization, there are a number of specific rules and restrictions SFWA must follow. As an organization incorporated in California, there are a different set of rules and regulations SFWA must follow. As an organization with a specific set of goals—the promotion and advocacy of authors—the organization itself has created and voted on a third set of rules and restrictions SFWA must follow. All of this means when someone brings up an issue involving everything (but not limited to) money, donations, charity, advocacy, state or federal laws, taxes, theft, slander, or plagiarism… there are so many hoops, rules, restrictions, and laws that must be checked before the Board can act.
Not only that, when it comes to individual conflicts, there is a specific jurisdiction SFWA can work within: Did the incident happen at a SFWA sponsored event/green room/panel? Did the incident happen using SFWA resources? Did a SFWA member use their membership/position in SFWA to incite/abuse/manipulate? Is the complaint specific enough? Does it an individual or a large numbers of authors?
These are the kinds of questions we must ask before we act. More often than not, we need to refer complaints to various internal committees, have private, unofficial conversations with individuals, or make blanket statements that SFWA does not approve of a specific action. Sometimes, there’s nothing the Board can do except lend emotional/moral support.
6: Authors, even your favorite author, are only human.
Everyone has either heard the story, or experienced it themselves: “I used to love reading AuthorX, but then I met them and discovered they are terrible. I can’t read their work anymore.” Sometimes it is hard to discover your idols are human with human wants, needs, foibles, opinions, habits, and flaws. When you work on SFWA’s Board of Directors, you usually see all the behind-the-scenes stuff.
Sometimes, you work with an author/editor on a SFWA project and it doesn’t go as smoothly as you like. Sometimes, it appears as if an author once admired has nothing but scorn for the work you are doing and no desire to help out—just kvetch and complain. Sometimes, authors come to the Board at their worst—financial or medical difficulties, personal conflicts that threaten to spiral out of control, issues with editors, agents, or publishers. They don’t have their “public face” on. They are human. They make mistakes. They can be hurt. They put their pants on one leg at a time.
This is one of those learning lessons that really surprised me. I’m not sure why. I just know it did.
5: Discretion is the better part of valor.
With everything I’ve mentioned so far, one of the most valuable things a Director-At-Large (all the board members, really) can do is keep their ears open and their mouths shut. More than just listening, there is a compact with the membership that when an-all-too-human author comes to us with an issue, that issue remains private until it is decided amongst the board and the member themselves that the issue can go public. There are many issues brought to board members that have nothing to do with SFWA, but board members are in perceived positions of power and sometimes, authors just need an authority figure to listen and unofficially advise. They also need to know what they are saying will remain on the down low.
4: Volunteers are the lifeblood of SFWA.
You get out of SFWA what you put into it. SFWA is an organization of the members and for the members. By extension, SFWA works for the betterment of all authors. Volunteers are SFWAs lifeblood. There are only so many things the Board—who are all volunteers—can do at one time. If you see something that’s wrong or lacking in the organization, speak up and step up. The Board loves nothing more than a motivated volunteer. If you don’t know what needs doing, we have a Volunteer Coordinator who would love to put you to work. We have various committees that need people. Need you. You will learn more about SFWA, the industry, and yourself when you volunteer at SFWA. It will help you feel more connected to the membership and the industry as a whole.
3: Patience is a virtue.
As SFWA is a volunteer organization, there is only so much pushing one can do. Even if you are waiting on something from someone else before you can get your project moving/done, you must remember that volunteers have other jobs, other duties, and other deadlines. In all cases—working on projects, listening to incident reports, just checking in on the membership, reading the forums—patience is a virtue. Slow, deep breaths. Be clear and concise in your communication. Give specific timelines, concrete tasks, and manageable goals; even to yourself. Especially to yourself. Know what you need and move at a steady pace.
2: The Board of Directors is made up of good people.
I’ve never worked with such dedicated people before. Every single one of them works hard and wants to do good by the membership. Every single one of them puts in hours of work each week. They seriously discuss every issue, try to consider all angles, and do their best to work within the rules. Though we haven’t always agreed on everything, I’m proud to have worked alongside them. I feel safe and secure knowing that the people making up the Board is there. I didn’t even feel guilty (much) for stepping down. The new people who stepped up are competent and knowledgeable.
1: I will probably run for the Board again—sometime in the future.
While life is at a point where I don’t have time to be on the Board, I am still working on specific projects for them. I will probably run for the Board again in the future. I know (mostly) what to expect and still believe that not only is volunteering for the Board a worthwhile endeavor, it’s one that everyone should try to experience at least once during their time in SFWA.
Jennifer Brozek is an award winning author, editor, and tie-in author. Two of her works, Never Let Me Sleep and The Last Days of Salton Academy have been nominated for the Bram Stoker Awards. She was awarded the Scribe Award for best tie-in Young Adult novel for The Nellus Academy Incident. Grants Pass won an Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication. In-between cuddling her cats, writing, and editing, Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She keeps a tight writing and editing schedule and credits her husband Jeff with being the best sounding board ever. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.
I acquired quite a lot of books lately and promised all of the writers to write at least a little bit about it (and will probably edit all the little bits later to post to Goodreads as reviews; I don’t do Amazon). I don’t have the energy right now to give every book its own post, and I’d have done the two set in the same world in one post anyway.
I decided to split the post in two so I could at least post this part. Forthcoming: Shira Glassman, Erica Kudisch and Diane Duane (when I’ve finished the book by Diane Duane that I’m currently reading) (and the thing I’m writing with a deadline of, er, yesterday).
Linguist friends recommended this: my first exposure to E.M. Epps’ writing. (She says “please call me Emma” on her website, so I’ll do that, much easier to type). I had some trouble buying it because, as I said, I don’t do Amazon, but we found a way around it. Anyway, I’m supporting Emma on Patreon now so she’s sent me all the rest too.
I’m not usually fond of too much diplomacy or court intrigue and this book was hardly anything else, but I was fascinated all the way because it’s the working of diplomacy and court intrigue that we get to see, through the eyes of the interpreter Eliadmaru Faraa who not only has to translate the words, but to make sense of the meaning as well. The uneasy courtship between the prince and the princess, with the interpreter present throughout the early stages, is excellent.
Come to think of it, that I love The Goblin Emperor which is also hardly anything else than court intrigue is much for the same reason: the POV character trying to make sense of it.
There’s matter-of-fact magic, unexpected allies, and amusingly uncomfortable comedy of manners.
One Goodreads commenter praised the “lack of a sappy love story” in the book, and I like that too, but I’d rather have a love story without sex than sex with only questionable love (and even only questionable consent: the partners are very unequal). Not a shortcoming of the book or of the author, just a different preference. There is a love story, a very cute one, but it stays mostly in the background where it belongs while Eliadmaru is doing an exhausting and frustrating job.
A happy ending? Perhaps; at least not an unhappy ending, and people mostly get what they deserve. It leaves enough loose ends to want more in this setting. Or even to write fanfic!
And I got more in this setting! We meet Eliadmaru’s childhood friend, the sorcerer and priestess Lhennuen. When she is widowed — expected, but still a shock — she leaves her temple and prays in the forest, “do with me as You will”.
Well, I suppose she expected her prayer to be answered, but the answer is somewhat more than she bargained for. She’s sent to people who need her, though they don’t all appreciate or even know it. She gains friends and enemies, a lover (though she doesn’t actually fall in love with him; it’s friendship growing into a deep love) and a better grip on herself which she sorely needs by the end of the book.
I must reread it, but I think I love it best of the three of Emma’s books I’ve read until now — the people are so real, and that’s what I like in a book. The magic feels real too, very connected to the world, even more than in The Interpreter’s Tale because in this one it’s the protagonist herself doing the magic.
This, on the other hand, is a magic-next-door book, Type B (or possibly A2; we don’t see anything of the world outside the story at hand). It’s screaming for fanfic, quite literally: “They followed Sam out of Hell, and that was a story in itself.” (Sam is the little white dog, in case you’re wondering.) Reminds me of the writer who came to my high school and said, when someone asked what happened to a minor character with a loose end, “You can make that up!” (This was Thea Beckman, and I’m eternally grateful to her because I think that’s what made me confident enough to keep writing. I always forget to credit her as writing inspiration along with Tonke Dragt, who first made me see that there are worlds within worlds. Probably because I can’t read most of Thea Beckman’s books any more because they tend to be preachy in spite of her being non-religious, but what she said at that time was catalytic.)
I love the way Emma takes traditional visions of Hell and brings them up to date. Charon as a coin collector makes so much sense.