Monday, November 25, 2013

US freelance authors file new settlement proposal removing cap

Freelance writers and authors in the US seeking compensation from publishers for reprinting their work in online databases without permission or payment have asked the court to approve a revised settlement that would remove the cap on payments. A 2011 settlement for $18 million was rejected by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals because it was considered to shortchange authors who were not part of the class action by registering copyright in their works. The new settlement, if approved, will probably amount to $20 million plus. According to a Reuters story
In the newly drafted agreement, signed by all the parties involved except one company going through bankruptcy, the original $18 million settlement cap will be eliminated on what writers can receive for their archived work, which includes articles that go back to the 1980s. 
"The revised settlement provides a substantial benefit: millions of dollars in cash payments to class members who submitted valid claims," said the filing with the U.S. District Court for southern New York. 
Publishers in the lawsuit included Reed Elsevier , New York Times Co, News Corp's DowJones & Co, Thomson Reuters Corp and Knight Ridder, which was bought by McClatchy Co in 2006. 
Defendant Cengage Learning, formerly known as the Gale Group, is in bankruptcy proceedings and needs approval from the bankruptcy court to enter into the agreement, the document said.

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