Another delay for U.S. freelancers awaiting compensation

While the Robertson Settlement saga is still trucking along here (and the deadline to submit claims under second settlement is approaching), our freelancing friends south of the border are getting nowhere fast with their class-action suit against against numerous publishers. Just this month, an appeals court rejected a settlement struck in 2005, based on an opinion that the deal under-compensated many of the claimants. That decision was just one in a long line of reversals and reversals of reversals leading all the way back to 1997, when a first ruling came down in favour of the publishers.

Andrew Albanese writing for Publishers Weekly outlines the ins and outs of the case and says that neither individual writers who are waiting for compensation nor publishers (who may have to fork over way more cash) should be happy about this decision, but groups that represent writers may benefit. He writes:

The organizational plaintiffs, including the Authors Guild and the National Writers Union, fought the objectors all the way and sought to marginalize their concerns. But now that they’ve lost the battle to have the settlement approved, they stand to win big. “We are currently reviewing our options with our lawyers,” states a message on the NWU site, adding  “much has changed. Rights to electronic distribution of written works, including newly published work and archives of work originally published in print form, have proven to be much more valuable than was generally recognized at the time the original settlement was negotiated.”

While it’s great that freelancers are getting recognized for producing valuable work, it would also be great if they got some cash—and soon. Looking at the history of this case and its endless appeals, though, they probably shouldn’t hold their breath.

Read more details of the decision here.


Posted on August 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

Leave a Reply