July 27, 2023
BRUSSELS/NEW YORK—The European Writers’ Council (EWC) and the Authors Guild have entered into a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on promoting and protecting the rights and freedoms of authors in an evolving literary landscape. As worldwide threats increase towards authors, especially with the public release of generative AI, the EWC and the AG wish to build a strong collaboration to address the issues on a global level. This landmark agreement brings together two prominent organizations representing professional writers from Europe and the United States.
The EWC, a non-profit federation comprised of 49 national professional writers and literary translators associations and unions from 31 European countries, along with the Authors Guild, the oldest and largest professional organization for published writers in the United States with over 13,000 members, recognize the need for joint action to address common challenges faced by authors worldwide.
Acknowledging the shared views on the defense of authors’ rights and freedoms, as well as the impact of legislative texts on the cultural sector in both Europe and the United States, the EWC and Authors Guild aim to work together on various initiatives. These initiatives include sharing knowledge and best practices related to the book sector, addressing the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on copyright, professional ethics, and freedom of expression, and coordinating strategies and campaigns to tackle political, ethical, economic, and legal issues pertaining to AI and other matters of mutual interest.
Under the MOU, the parties have agreed to hold regular meetings, share agendas, and participate in discussions pertaining to AI and other relevant topics. The duration of the MOU is ongoing until the parties believe its purpose has been achieved.
Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “This partnership between the EWC and the Authors Guild is a significant step towards fostering a global community of authors. By joining forces, we can work together to ensure the protection of authors’ rights and address the challenges posed by emerging technologies and legislative developments. These are cross-continental issues that need urgent action on a grand scale.”
The EWC and the Authors Guild affirm their commitment to advocating for authors’ rights and freedoms, promoting fair contracts, and establishing a supportive community among writers. This collaboration represents a crucial alliance in the international literary landscape and signals a united front in the face of evolving challenges.
“New threats are arising across the world, not only to writers’ professional rights, but also to moral ones,” said Miguel Ángel Serrano, president of the EWC. “Our job is to defend our role in society and human development, as well as citizens’ freedom of expression. Partnering with our American colleagues allows our organizations to have a wider perspective on politic, technical, and economic changes in both continents. Coordination and alliances are vital for all of us.”
The European Writers’ Council (EWC) is a non-profit, non-governmental federation representing 49 national professional writers and literary translators associations and unions from 31 European countries, including European Union Member States, the EFTA countries, and the United Kingdom. The EWC comprises over 220,000 professional authors in the writing and publishing sector, collectively working in 34 languages.
With more than 13,000 members, the Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for published writers. It advocates on behalf of working writers to protect free speech, freedom of expression, and authors’ copyrights; fights for fair contracts and authors ability to earn a livable wage; and provides a welcoming community for writers and translators of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and journalism. Through its educational and charitable arm, the Authors Guild Foundation, it also offers free programming to teach working writers about the business of writing, as well as organizing public events that highlight the importance of a rich, diverse American literary culture and the authors who contribute to it.