Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo

So the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors are no longer answering queries about the $10-to-$18-million copyright class action preliminary settlement.

No, all questions must be directed to the "official" settlement website, http://www.copyrightclassaction.com. There, if you try hard enough, you'll find that you can send an email to CopyrightSettlement@girardgibbs.com -- as if you couldn't before.

Girardgibbs.com is the website of the San Francisco class action firm Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo. Here's what I know about A.J. De Bartolomeo, one of the lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

1. A.J. was an associate at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi when I was a consultant to the Robins firm in what turned into a $7.25 million settlement of claims of systematic copyright infringement at the now-defunct UnCover article delivery service.

2. A.J. is an old friend of Dan Reidy, a San Francisco lawyer who was Robins' co-counsel in the UnCover case.

3. A.J. is a San Francisco 49ers fan.

4. A.J. and her firm must not be very proud of the preliminary settlement. A Google search shows that the following content used to be on the "Our Cases" page at http://www.girardgibbs.com:

In re Literary Works in Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation

Class action on behalf of freelance authors who own the copyrights in works published in newspapers, magazines or professional journals against electronic databases for unauthorized use in violation of U.S. copyright laws. The litigation arises out of Tasini v. New York Times, argued March 28, 2001 before the U.S. Supreme Court.

But unless my aging eyes deceive me, there's not even a trace of a mention of the case there any more -- much less any verbiage about the settlement. Draw your own conclusions.

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