In re Freelance Works in Literary Databases Copyright Litigation

In re Freelance Works in Literary Databases Copyright Litigation, MDL No. 1379 (S.D.N.Y.) – KSG is one of the Lead Counsel for a plaintiff class of freelance authors against major electronic databases such as Lexis/Nexis, Dow Jones Factiva, Dialog, and others. The authors sold articles to newspapers or magazines for print publication but for no other purpose. However, the print publications entered into licensing agreements with the databases, authorizing the databases to copy and sell the articles appearing in the periodicals, including the freelance works. Plaintiffs maintain that the databases have infringed and continue to infringe the plaintiff authors’ copyrights. At the Court’s direction, the parties proceeded to mediation, over which Kenneth R. Feinberg, one of the nation’s leading mediators, presided. After an intensive, four-year-long mediation, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that provides exceptional monetary relief to class members, including awards in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. On September 27, 2005, Judge Daniels granted final approval of the settlement, which provides for a fund of up to $18 million to be distributed to a class of freelance authors. The settlement is believed to be the largest copyright class action settlement in history. At present, the order granting final settlement approval has been appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Originally Posted: 02/15/2006