Industry & Advocacy News
April 21, 2016
NEW YORK, NY, April 21, 2016—Today the Authors Guild announced that general counsel Jan Constantine will be leaving on April 29 after over ten years in that position. Constantine’s tenure largely overlapped with the Guild’s landmark copyright infringement litigation, Authors Guild v. Google. She began working for the Guild on October 2, 2005, a week after the suit was filed; she will leave a week after the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Constantine was hired by the Guild’s late executive director Paul Aiken with the understanding that she would work approximately two days a week. But the demands of the Google case—and of protecting authors’ rights in the digital age generally—were such that she was soon a near-constant (and spirited) presence in the Guild’s offices. Constantine saw the Google litigation through 30 months of settlement talks, a proposed settlement agreement, an amended settlement agreement, a federal district court trial, an appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and an ultimately unsuccessful petition for Supreme Court review of the Second Circuit decision.
“Now that the Google case is over,” Constantine told the Authors Guild council yesterday, “my work is done here. It has been a pleasure providing legal services which, outside the Guild, are either not available or very expensive.”
Constantine also managed the estates administered by the Guild and oversaw the daily work of the legal department, including the thousands of contract reviews, rights inquiries, copyright questions, and media liability insurance and other queries that came through the door over the course of her tenure. In addition to her service to authors in the United States, Constantine worked closely with international rights organizations and the Authors Guild’s sister organizations around the world. This international work brought her to locales as varied as Seoul; Mexico City; Berlin; and Ljubljana, Slovenia.
“Jan put an incredible amount of dedication and energy into the initiatives she spearheaded on behalf of authors,” said Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson. “We are all grateful for the skill, acuity, and knowledge with which she carried out her work at the Guild.”
Among the most recent initiatives fashioned by Constantine was the Authors Guild Fair Contract Initiative, a series of position papers challenging U.S. publishers to be more fair and reasonable in the standard contracts they often give first-time and unagented authors. The Initiative sparked a broad industry-wide conversation about the fairness of book contracts, and led to a direct dialogue between the Guild and a number of major publishers about how to make the publishing industry more fair and profitable for authors.
On behalf of its over 9,000 members, the Authors Guild thanks Jan Constantine for more than a decade of plucky and steadfast commitment to sustaining authorship as a viable twenty-first century profession.
Jan can be reached at Constantine Cannon LLP by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (212) 350-2770.
Authors Guild members in need of legal assistance should continue to reach the Authors Guild legal team through email@example.com or by telephone at (212) 563-5904.