An $18 million settlement between freelancer writers and a group of US publishers, which was thrown out after objections by some of the writers involved, has been revived by the US Supreme Court.
The writers, including freelancers who did and some who did not copyright their work, took the action against publishers including the New York Times Co., Dow Jones and News Corporation claiming copyright infringement by the use of their work in digital archives and databases.
As the Bookseller explains:
The case dates backs more than 10 years and has implications for how publishers can digitally use content that was originally supplied only for print publication. The settlement was reached in 2005 after about four years of negotiations over writers’ claims that their contracts did not allow for publication of their work electronically. This followed a 2001 Supreme Court ruling in favour of six freelance authors claiming copyright infringement in The New York Times Company v. Tasini. The publisher had won the original case.
The Supreme Court’s decision will not change the original terms of the settlement, says the Bookseller, but its revival could resolve some holes in the publishers’ archive benefitting both readers and news groups, says the New York Times.