Monday, April 04, 2005

Class Action suit from Tasini case is being settled

The Tasini case was won by authors in 2000 but the framework for the distribution of $$ from the class action suit is just now being drawn up.

The awards run from $5 for a single article to $1,500 each for the first 15 eligible works written for any single publisher. Payment to the author depends on a number of different factors like when the article was coppyrighted, how much the author was paid and when the article was published.

The case only covers works where the author was paid. It doesn't cover works like scholarly articles where the author doesn't receive direct compensation for the writing.

"no freelance author can sue either the database firms or the 36 publishers named in the suit for the material covered. Failure to take advantage of the claim process in the 120-day time period will vitiate the rights of any writers to further legal action against those parties. However, as Murray pointed out, publishers not named in the suit would still be vulnerable."

So, will we now find full content in fulltext databases? Maybe. Our one hope is that authors will "allow publishers and database firms to incorporate missing material into their databases. Since failure to grant future electronic rights permission knocks 35 percent off the fees paid to claimants, the authors should have sufficient motivation."

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