OK, How About $600 Million?
As noted some time ago, the American Society of Journalists and Authors in 2001 publicized a National Writers Union study stating that damages to authors for database infringement amounted to “anywhere from $2.5 billion to $600 billion.” (See http://freelancerights.blogspot.com/2005/05/anywhere-from-25-billion-to-600.html.)
Remember, this was after ASJA, the NWU, and the Authors Guild had consolidated several class actions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Tasini v. New York Times ruling. Remember, too, that the plaintiffs never put any pressure on the defendants by following up the complaint with a motion for an injunction. Indeed, the defendants never even formally answered the complaint. After years of jawboning and mediation, the parties this spring announced their number. Presto! Ten to eighteen mil.
And now I come across the following article from the July 2001 issue of the newsletter of the trade group Text and Academic Authors. See http://www.taaonline.net/news/july01.html:
NWU: Publisher liability $600 million
NEW YORK, July 1, 2001 -- The National Writers Union estimates the publishing industry's potential liability for the unauthorized use of freelance writers' material on electronic databases and CD-ROMs could be as much as $600 million. The union based on the figure on a survey of 25,000 freelance writers. The union's president, Jonathan Tasini, was the lead plaintiff in challenging the publisher presumption that authors had no rights to material being recycled for digital sale. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has found for the authors, the task for publishers is to figure out how to compensate authors.
$10-to-$18-million … $2.5-to-$600-billion … $600 million …
What is this -- an affirmative action program for laid-off employees of network election day exit polls?