Past Advocacy Efforts

Past Advocacy Efforts

From supporting banned books to challenging threats to copyrights, ASJA has long been an advocate of the First Amendment and the rights of freelance writers, authors, and journalists.

ASJA has addressed a variety of issues, including: attempts to ban the book 50 Shades of Gray, FEMA restrictions on freedom of speech, jail threats for journalists, onerous visa requirements for foreign reporters, abuse of journalists in Iraq, the 2018 Capital Gazette shooting, and risks journalists face while reporting in danger zones around the world.

Supporting Copyrights

In July 2012, ASJA responded to the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s request for comments on enforcement strategies for intellectual property and copyright. ASJA joined the National Writers Union (NWU), Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA), Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), to submit comments and to renew a petition for rulemaking in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the U.S. Copyright Office, “Group Registration of Unpublished Works.”

ASJA believes copying books without permission of the author is copyright infringement. We formally objected to both Google Book Search settlement attempts. In 2015, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, upheld the lower court’s ruling that Google’s use of book “snippets” without the authors’ permission constitutes Fair Use. Ars Technica has a roundup of what it all means.

ASJA was one of the original litigants in the lawsuit that concluded that writers must be paid when their work is included in a database, Tasini v. the New York Times. ASJA members were among those getting substantial checks in 2018 as a result of this case.

Supporting the First Amendment

ASJA has a long history of supporting free speech. Our First Amendment Committee, on behalf of the committee and ASJA’s Board of Directors, speaks out against censorship and recognizes exceptional journalistic courage via its Conscience in Media Awards.

Banned Books Week

In 1981, ASJA members staged a read-in on the steps of the New York Public Library, protesting attempts to squelch the right to read freely. The following year, ASJA joined with the American Library Association and other groups to found Banned Book Week. Celebrated each September, this event has grown over the years, highlighting the hundreds of annual attempts to ban books, which has been celebrated for the past 30 years during a week in September. Every year, there are hundreds of attempts to ban books.

Here are annual lists of the 10 most challenged books since 2001.

FAQs, Myths & Facts About the Anti-Independent Contractor Laws and the ABCs

Here’s a primer on some of the issues involved in classifying employees and independent contractors.

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Federal Legislation: The PRO Act

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) would update the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA), strengthening the ability of workers to organize. But it threatens the livelihoods of freelance writers.

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State-level Legislation

These resources can help you learn more about what’s happening in different states.

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Advocacy Tools

Whether legislators are proposing anti-independent contractor laws in your state or you’re concerned about the federal legislation, here’s how to advocate for yourself.

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