Regarding the Notice of Amended Settlement
Text of August 12, 2005, e-mail to members
Reminder: you must file your claim(s) by September 30, 2005, to take advantage of the freelance class action settlement. You need not have registered your copyright in your articles to recover. For more information, visit www.copyrightclassaction.com.
Recently, you may have received an e-mail from the U.S. District Court concerning an amendment to the settlement of the class action lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild against various electronic databases. Authors Guild members have requested clarification of the information contained in that e-mail.
The settlement amendment concerns the licensing of freelance articles to Amazon.com and Highbeam Research. During settlement negotiations, one or more of the database defendants agreed, without the permission of the Authors Guild or other plaintiffs, to allow Amazon and Highbeam to post and sell electronic copies of the articles. The Authors Guild and other plaintiffs argued that the Amazon and Highbeam licenses were a violation of the settlement.
The dispute has been resolved by an amendment to the settlement agreement. The terms of that amendment are set forth in the e-mail sent by the Court. In short, if your freelance articles are available for download at either Amazon or Highbeam, you may be entitled to more compensation than you would have received under the original settlement terms. If you’ve registered your copyright in some of your freelance articles, and you’re not sure whether your freelance articles are available at those websites, search them here:
If you registered a copyright in your article before the article was licensed to Amazon or Highbeam — almost all articles carried by Amazon were licensed on April 1, 2005; almost all articles carried by Highbeam were licensed in November 2003 — you will be entitled to claim the following amounts:
- $1,500 for each of the first fifteen Subject Works written for any one publisher;
- $1,200 for each of the second fifteen Subject Works written for that publisher; and
- $875 for each Subject Work written for that publisher after the first thirty.
Previously, you would have been entitled to claim the greater of $150 or 12.5% of the original sale price of the Subject Work.
No additional compensation is available to freelancers who did not register their copyright even if their work has been made available for download at Amazon and Highbeam.
Freelancers who have already filed their claims will be given a second chance at deciding whether they want to have their work taken down from the databases, including Amazon and Highbeam. Please note that exercising your takedown right will reduce the amount of your settlement payment.
Freelancers who would now like to opt out of the class, opt back into the class or object to the amended terms of the settlement must do so no later than September 12, 2005. Follow the procedures set forth in the original Notice of Class Action Settlement at www.copyrightclassaction.com.