TORONTO, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - A historic settlement has been reached between freelance writer Heather Robertson and several major Canadian media outlets in a class action lawsuit concerning e-rights for writers. Under the terms of the settlement, which was approved by the Superior Court of Ontario on August 12, 2009, the defendants have agreed to pay $11 million.
The case centered on media outlets that reproduced the work of freelance writers and artists on electronic databases without consent or additional compensation. Robertson, who launched the lawsuit in 1996, argued that this amounted to copyright infringement and that freelance contributors deserved payment for the electronic reproduction of their work.
Over 350 Canadian publications were cited in the case, including The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, Chatelaine, Canadian Geographic, Toronto Life and now defunct Saturday Night magazine. Freelance writers and artists who contributed to any of the specified media outlets may be eligible to claim settlement money. Staff writers are not eligible to participate in the settlement.
Following deductions for professional fees and other court authorized distributions, the copyright settlement fund available to eligible writers will amount to roughly $5.5 million. The settlement stipulates that a writer can recover up to a maximum of 1% of this amount, which is estimated at $55,000. A list of the publications covered by the settlement is available on the websites of Koskie Minsky LLP (the Toronto law firm that represented Robertson in the class action suit) and Cole & Partners (the court-appointed settlement claims administrator). Further details of the settlement are also available on these websites.
Freelance writers and artists who wish to make a claim should consult the publications list, take note of eligible media outlets they have contributed to, then fill out a claims form and return it to Cole & Partners. Freelancers can also consult a subject database, available in many libraries, to compile a list of writing credits that may qualify for settlement funds. Freelancers do not need to provide copies of published articles as part of their claim. Claim forms have to be received by January 18, 2010.
Once claim forms have been collected, Cole & Partners will determine payment based on a point system which will take into account compensation, length of articles, and prominence of the media outlet they appeared in.
Freelancers without access to email or the Internet can contact Koskie Minsky or Cole & Partners and request a copy of the publication list and claims form, to be sent via fax or surface mail. Freelance writers with additional questions about the settlement are also urged to contact these firms.
Claim forms can be downloaded at www.kmlaw.ca/robertsonvthomson.
Cole & Partners website is located at www.coleandpartners.com while Koskie Minsky can be found at www.koskieminsky.com.
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
For further information: For further information: Koskie Minsky can be reached, toll-free, at 1-866-777-6323 or firstname.lastname@example.org