Tuesday, May 17, 2005

SETTLEMENT QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What's the Difference Between Millions and Billions?

The topic of the moment is the National Writers Union's "study" estimating a price tag of between $2.5 billion and $600 billion for the industry's more than a decade's worth of systematic infringement of freelance writers' works on electronic databases. See today's earlier post.

The organization that conducted the study is a named "associational plaintiff" in the recently announced $10-to-$18-million preliminary settlement. (Several to many billions versus a couple or a few handfuls of millions -- that's a heck of a dilution.) So is the American Society of Journalists and Authors, which reported the study in its July/August 2001 newsletter.

The NWU, ASJA, and the third associational co-plaintiff, the Authors Guild, filed a "consolidated amended class action complaint" in September 2001, just after this study and report. The defendants never answered the complaint. Why?

Could the explanation be that once the defendants appeared in the lawsuit they would be forced to disclose the potential liability in their financial statements? And if so, then why were the associational plaintiffs seemingly enabling their legal adversaries by never filing for an injunction?


Post a Comment

<< Home