Partners in Copyright Scam

Contentville Mystifies Writers and Publishers

Collins says EBSCO pays royalties to the publishers, who are responsible for paying their writers. If a writer indicates that he or she owns the copyright to an article, EBSCO removes the article from its database. He says if the Voice requests the removal of its archives, it will take about "two weeks."

Brill says that will happen, unless he can persuade the Voice to sign on. Asked how he justifies selling readers something they can get elsewhere for free, he says people will pay for the "convenience" of having so much material in one place. However, if you read the fine print, Contentville promises readers that "we'll tell you" if material for sale there is "available elsewhere for free." But look up a Voice article, and you'll find no such notice.

Jonathan Tasini, president of the National Writers Union, is scheduled to meet with Brill July 25. Based on his talk with Brill last week, Tasini believes the media watchdog is "genuinely interested" in achieving a fair resolution. "He's a leader on the issue of ethics in journalism, and the improper use of writers' work on the Internet is an ethical question," says Tasini. "If we come to an agreement, he can be a megaphone to the rest of the industry."

But David Wallis, a New York-based writer who is planning to launch an elite freelancers agency, sees Brill's cozying up to the National Writers Union as a "dodge," and a reaction to the "terrible publicity and backlash" of last week. "As a media watchdog," Wallis says, "Steve Brill has rabies."

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