June 29, 2023
Last week, Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger and Director of Advocacy and Policy Umair Kazi, together with our DC lobbyist Marla Grossman and her staff, met with the offices of key lawmakers in Congress to address critical issues concerning generative AI and protective measures for writers. This was the Guild’s second visit to the Hill in as many months. The Guild advocated for the following policy recommendations, emphasizing the critical importance of the writing profession to the proliferation of literary culture and democracy:
The Guild discussed these priorities with high-ranking staff members from the offices of six senators and three house members. Among the offices the Guild spoke to were:
Congress is taking the issues around copyright and generative AI seriously, and the Guild is committed to ensuring that lawmakers continue to understand the stakes for the writing and other creative professions. Looking ahead, the Guild will continue to consult with lawmakers to create legislation that protects copyright incentives and keeps authors and other creators at the forefront of legislative initiatives to protect the creative arts.
At the American Library Association (ALA) conference last weekend, Authors Guild General Counsel Cheryl Davis joined Christine Emeran from the National Coalition Against Censorship and Sarah Miller from the National Council for Teachers of English on a panel about strategies for this year’s Banned Books Week.
The Guild set forth its plan to offer an educational webinar that empowers writers on how to respond to book bans. Davis emphasized the importance of author advocacy and highlighted strategies for providing context to counter the selective extraction of words and phrases used to provoke censorship. She encouraged authors to take a proactive role by reading excerpts from their challenged works at school board meetings and suggested collaborating with local libraries to organize book readings during Banned Books Week.
The panel was led by Banned Books Week coordinator Betsy Gomez. Authors at the conference were encouraged to read from their own challenged and banned book or from a selection of other titles. The readings were recorded and will be used in conjunction with Banned Books Week—which will take place the first week of October and is now in its 41st year—to celebrate the freedom to read, encouraging everyone to stand up against the suppression of stories.