Magazine
What You Need to Know About the Authors’ Guild

What You Need to Know About the Authors’ Guild

More than a dozen authors and publishers are facing a new class action lawsuit over unfair labor practices and other alleged misconduct by the Authors Guild. 

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Association of American Publishers alleges that the Authors Group, an umbrella group representing more than 200 publishers, has systematically denied and retaliated against writers and publishers who raise concerns about unfair labor practice and other issues. 

“The Authors Guild’s actions have resulted in substantial damage to the authors, their books, their careers, and their reputation,” the lawsuit states.

“These actions have also contributed to the loss of the careers of authors and their reputations.” 

The suit is a response to a petition filed by writers and authors in February asking the U.S. Department of Labor and the Writers Guild of America to investigate whether the Authors Association violated the Authors Act by failing to protect authors from unfair labor conduct. 

Under the Authors and Publishers Act of 1910, the guild was granted a monopoly on membership and power in publishing, and a broad range of rights in the media, including exclusive distribution rights. 

But in a lawsuit filed in March, the Authors Union accused the guild of violating the Authors Code of Conduct by requiring members to disclose their dues payments to the guild, as well as other terms of membership. 

In May, the U,S.

Supreme Court ordered the guild to pay $10 million to a group of plaintiffs who sued for retaliation after the authors’ union, the Writers’ Guild of North America, declined to join the Authors group. 

Today, the suit alleges that both the Authors association and the guild have continued to enforce these obligations, and that members have suffered severe damages. 

As part of the settlement, the plaintiffs will be barred from contacting authors or their publishers, and must pay the Authors, Authors’ Publishing, and Literary Associations, which represent the writers and publishing houses, $1 million in compensatory damages, the lawsuit says. 

A lawyer for the Authors guild did not immediately respond to a request for comment.