Authors, liberate your books

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The Authors Alliance is a professional (non-profit) association of authors started by four UC Berkeley faculty.  Its mission is to “further the public interest in facilitating widespread access to works of authorship by assisting and representing authors who want to disseminate knowledge and products of the imagination broadly.”  It exists in part to support the interests of authors who don’t primarily depend on royalties for their livelihood, and who wish the widest readership possible for their works — characteristics that describe most academic authors, for example.

One project of the Alliance is Rights Reversion, to support authors who want to recapture their rights to works that are out-of-print or that are no longer selling many copies, by helping them re-obtain their distribution rights from publishers, after which they might release their works under an open access license (e.g., Creative Commons) and publish to an open access web portal.

This year the reversion project released a guide, Understanding Rights Reversion, and has seen several notable successes, including the public release of books by Robert Darnton, John Kingdon and Jeff Hecht.