| NEW YORK, June 10
NEW YORK, June 10 A U.S. judge on Tuesday signed
off on a revised class action settlement between publishers and
freelance writers, who for years claimed their work had been
reprinted in online databases without their permission.
At a hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge George Daniels
gave final approval to the settlement, worth at least $10
million, calling it "fair, reasonable and adequate."
Defendants in the lawsuit included Reed Elsevier
, New York Times Co, News Corp's Dow
Jones & Co, Thomson Reuters Corp and Knight Ridder,
which was bought by McClatchy Co in 2006.
The initial accord came four years after the U.S. Supreme
Court in 2001 said publishers violate copyright law when they
reproduce freelance works electronically without first obtaining
permission from copyright owners.
Daniels had approved the initial deal, which would have paid
writers up to $18 million. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeal in New York rejected the settlement in 2011, ruling that
it shortchanged authors who did not register copyrights in their
Those authors represented more than 99 percent of the claims
covered by the initial 2005 settlement.
Lawyers for the freelance writers submitted a revised
settlement proposal in November. Among other changes, the new
deal removed the $18 million cap on what writers can receive for
their archived work, including articles going back to the
In court papers, attorneys for the plaintiffs say that
claims to date, if valid, would result in about $12 million in
"We are pleased that the court granted our motion for final
settlement approval," Michael Boni, an attorney for the
plaintiffs, said in an email. "It appears the class members who
submitted valid claims will, after nine years, finally get
Charles Sims, an attorney for the publishers, did not
respond to a request for comment.
Daniels also approved $3.9 million in attorneys' fees for
the plaintiffs' lawyers, according to court filings.
The case is In re: Literary Works in Electronic Databases
Copyright Litigation, U.S. District Court Southern District of
New York, No. 1:00-md-01379-GBD.
(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)