Thursday, September 15, 2005

Statement by Independent Objector Anita Bartholomew

As many people know, while I'm not part of Irv Muchnick's group of objectors, I am an objector. As you may not know, I agree with most of what has been posted here. Although I am sometimes distressed by the angry tone, I cannot argue with most of the content.

In my own independent filings with the court, which were reported on this blog, I told the court that I believe the proposed settlement betrays writers by giving away their future rights by default -- and by stealth. This settlement, in my opinion, is worse than no settlement at all for the vast majority of our colleagues. Most writers have neither been told about the Trojan Horse aspect of the settlement nor been given the information and tools they need to protect themselves from forfeiting their rights as a result of it.

I am also disturbed that, although the attorneys for the class helped ASJA negotiator, Jim Morrison, construct blanket language that defeats the default forfeiture provision, Morrison indicated that the attorneys refused to allow themselves to be associated with it outside our private ASJA forum. This is critically important information that every member of the class has a right to have. And every member of the class has a right to know that the attorneys participated in constructing the language (because, by participating, they have de facto made an admission that such language is necessary to protect class members' future rights). Those class members who are not given this information are at a significant disadvantage. That is simply not fair.

Unfortunately, the publication on Irv's website of the ASJA forum excerpts documenting the above has embarrassed some innocent bystanders who participate in the forum. I have asked Irv to remove this exhibit as a favor to me, and as a gesture of goodwill to those of us who support what he is doing, in whole or in part. Irv agreed, feeling the point has been not only made but proven. He also noted that the exhibit is in the court record for anyone who wants to view it there.


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