Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Copyright Grab by the French

Since works by American authors who write science fiction and fantasy are alleged to have been mistakenly categorized as orphan works, and put into the public domain in France, I am sharing this letter from Science Fiction Writers Of America .... although it is not my day to post.

Rowena


Dear SFWA Members,
As many of you already know, the ReLire program currently underway in France has scanned many books it considers to be "orphan works" in order to make them available through a public database. This database has already been found to contain many titles that are clearly not orphan works or in the public domain, including a number by prominent SF and fantasy authors. A more detailed explanation of the program is available here: http://blog.authorsrights.org.uk/2013/04/26/french-copyright-grab-the-machine-creaks-into-action/
As this is a program of the Bibliotheque Nationale Francaise (French National Library), the Board is currently discussing options for applying pressure to the French government to prevent further works by SFWA members from being scanned and made available through this program, and we invite any members who have connections with the United States Trade Representative or any relevant branch of the U.S. Government to contact us. For the moment, however, we are informing all members of the issue and making them aware of the process involved in finding out whether a work is included and how to request that it be removed from the database.
All parts of the ReLire website and database are available only in French. The Society of Authors has produced translations of four key pages, the ReLire home page (http://www.societyofauthors.org/sites/default/files/ReLIRE%20home%20page.pdf), the Your Rights page (http://www.societyofauthors.org/sites/default/files/ReLIRE_authors_rights%20(3).pdf), the Search page (http://www.societyofauthors.org/sites/default/files/ReLire_search%20(2).pdf) and the FAQ (http://www.societyofauthors.net/soa-news/relire-project-note-members).
Here is a direct link to the advanced search page: http://relire.bnf.fr/recherche-avancee. The search fields are Titre (Title), Auteur (Author), Editeur (Editor) and Date d'edition (Publication date). If you are aware of any works of yours that have ever been published in French, you are strongly advised to search under all of the first three fields, as the entries in the database have been found to have many typos. Please notify SFWA of any of your works that are found in the database, as that will be valuable information in our efforts to protest the program.
If you do find any novels, stories or any other works belonging to you in the database you may request to have them removed. Please note that at this time it appears as though you will need either a French identification card (only available to residents of France) or a valid passport to make the application. We are awaiting clarification on the question of whether any other forms of identification will be accepted. For detailed information on how to apply to have work removed, see this thread on the Discussion Forums: http://www.sfwa.org/forum/index.php?/topic/4875-instructions-for-opting-out-of-the-french-relire-program/  Questions may be posted on that thread or addressed to Canadian Regional Representative Matthew Johnson (cr@sfwa.org).
Thanks to Aliette de Bodard, Lawrence Schimel, Michael Capobianco and Jim Fiscus for their help in researching and co-ordinating SFWA's response.

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