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Tasini Vs. NY Times Reaches US Supreme Court





PARIS, March 27 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ -- The following press release was issued today by EPNworld, an affiliate of the National Writers Union:

The landmark electronic rights lawsuit, Tasini v. The New York Times, is scheduled to go before the US Supreme Court on 28 March.

Tasini et al vs The New York Times et al is the lawsuit brought by members of the National Writers Union against The New York Times Company, Newsday Inc., Time Inc., Lexis/Nexis, and University Microfilms Inc., charging copyright violation regarding the electronic reuse of work produced and sold on a freelance basis.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected to have far-reaching consequences for the publishing industry. A decision in favour of Jonathan Tasini and the National Writer's Union is likely to ensure that author's copyright and right to payment for work republished on the internet is protected: Backdated claims for payment could see thousands of freelancers reimbursed for digitally-published work. The outcome of the case may also affect other forms of electronic publishing, such as Napster and on-line libraries.

Protection of copyright for electronic publishing has become a major issue for freelance journalists in the eight years since NWU President Tasini and his colleagues launched the case. Most newspapers and magazines now have online editions, often with readerships far beyond the printed edition's reach. Many writers feel that work that remains on the net indefinitely merits additional payment.

Uniquely among commercial websites, EPNworld's offers freelance journalists the right to chose their license terms. EPNworld has gone further than any other commercial organisation in the protection of journalists rights, going as far as to implement online and upfront automatic payment for electronic and secondary use of their articles.

EPNworld has also strived to build affiliations and links with organisations such as the National Writers Union, dedicated to the protection of freelance journalists' rights.

It is in this spirit that EPNworld signed an agreement with the NWU earlier this year, guaranteeing favourable terms for NWU members joining

EPNworld has always believed that securing journalists' intellectual and moral rights to their work is the way forward for the news industry. It is only by giving freelance journalists this safeguard, and by allowing them to obtain full value for their work, that we can guarantee the quality and independence of the profession.

Many publishers plan to co-operate on this issue, in the knowledge that it may be the only way to maintain a strong freelance network.

An important element of the agreement will be a declaration of journalists rights, published jointly by EPNworld and the National Writers Union.

EPNworld sees this partnership as validation of its commitment to journalists' moral right to ownership of their work.

Since its inception, EPNworld has asked registered editors and publishers to abide by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. This means that continental European practice on a journalist's moral rights to their work prevails in all transactions -- the journalist has the right to a byline and the right to object to their work being distorted.

As affiliates of the National Writer's Union, EPNworld will be following the progress of this case closely and posting the latest developments on the corporate website


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