ALAI (Association Littèraire et Artistique Internationale) is an international organization based in Paris. ALAI was organized to promote and defend authors' rights. It was established in 1878 at the initiative of the French Society of Authors, with Victor Hugo as Honorary President. ALAI's initial objective was the development of an international convention for the protection of literary and artistic property. Eight years later, on September 9, 1886, the now renowned Berne Convention came into being. Since then, ALAI has participated in all the deliberations leading to Revisions of the Convention, at Paris (1887), Berlin (1908), Rome (1928), Brussels (1948), Stockholm (1967) and Paris (1971).
Since its establishment, ALAI has had a privileged relationship with various other international institutions in a number of important contexts involving the fields of authors' rights. It is regularly invited to, and represented at, international deliberations in the institutions of the European Union. Its opinion is sought on proposals put forward by WIPO and UNESCO.
The International Association is administered by an Executive Committee, composed of representatives of the many national groups and of individual members. The Executive Committee meets at least twice a year. Its decisions are carried out by a Board composed of a President, six Vice-Presidents of different nationalities, a Secretary General and a Treasurer.
The members of ALAI meet in General Assembly at its annual meetings. The entire membership is invited at least once every year to participate in study meetings to examine fundamental themes regarding authors' rights, in the light of the laws of all the countries represented in the membership of the Association. Recent meetings have been held in Bonn, Brussels, Cartagena, Kyoto and Dublin. ALAI proceedings are conducted in both English and French (and occasionally other languages) and simultaneous translation is available.
ALAI regularly publishes the results of its work in volumes which are an essential tool for the study of current developments in copyright and are sent gratis to members. For more information on ALAI, see
ALAI-USA is the U.S. branch of ALAI. ALAI-USA was started in the 1980's by the late Professor Melville B. Nimmer, and was later expanded by Professor John M. Kernochan. The membership of ALAI-USA, like that of ALAI, includes eminent copyright professors, attorneys, authors (including, in the broad sense, composers, writers, fine artists, playwrights, screenwriters, photographers and others), authors' rights organizations, and a number of persons, lay or professional, who subscribe to the organization's aims and are interested in aiding its efforts.
ALAI-USA is managed by a nine-person Executive Committee whose members serve serve staggered terms. The Executive Committee meets and confers as needed to oversee the organization's business. Members of the Executive Committee serve as ALAI-USA's officers, comprising a President, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer. An Annual Meeting of the membership is generally held in November or December in New York City. The current president of ALAI-USA is Jane Ginsburg, Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia Law School.
ALAI-USA, through its officers, Executive Committee and members, monitors national and international problems as well as any proposed measures that have significant implications for authors' rights in this era of fast-evolving technology. Relevant developments are regularly reported to the membership. ALAI-USA develops analyses and reports on pending or proposed legislation, litigation, research and other activity in the authors' rights field in the United States, in conjunction with ALAI's annual meetings.
ALAI-USA members are often invited to participate as rapporteurs or moderators in ALAI's annual gatherings or as representatives at national and international conferences, workshops or hearings.
ALAI-USA hosted the 2001 ALAI Congress, which took place in New York City. The 2001 Congress, the first to be held in the United States, explored different legal regimes that complement, and may come to supplant, copyright, including technological protection of copyrighted works and digital rights management, and trademark protection. ALAI-USA published the Congress proceedings in book and CD-ROM form, entitled Adjuncts and Alternatives to Copyright: Proceedings of the ALAI Congress June 13-17, 2001 (2002).
Membership in ALAI-USA
Any person or legal entity firmly committed to the promotion and defense of authors' rights is eligible to be considered for membership in ALAI-USA, which includes membership in ALAI. It is a major objective that individual creators or their representatives be widely included in the membership, as well as authors' organizations and collecting societies. Members should be willing to be identified with and to support publicly the parallel purposes of ALAI and ALAI-USA. Applications to join should be made to the Executive Committee.
Applications can be obtained by contacting ALAI-USA's headquarters (see below). Annual dues are assessed, with different rates applicable to individual members, to senior members (70 years of age or older), and to organizations.
c/o The Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street, Box A-17
New York, New York 10027
ALAI-USA is a not-for-profit corporation organized under New York laws and is a tax exempt organization under federal law.