Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year = New Round of Cyberpiracy by the UnSettlement Parties

Francis Hamit is a fellow writer and writers' rights activist. He is not an objector to the UnSettlement; better positioned than most of us to pursue claims on his own, he opted out and, working with his attorney, filed a number of them. Francis and I don't have perfectly aligned views on the thorny issues of how the revenues of new technologies should be accounted for and shared, but that's OK -- diverse perspectives are what makes the world go 'round.

On the Hamit blog "The Fight for Copyright," Francis has kicked off the new year with a tidbit he calls "so blatant and bizarre you will either laugh or cry." Read it for yourself at

Hamit's tale of woe involves a piece he wrote last year for the Columbia Journalism Review about the fledgling idea of instituting into law a copyright small claims court. I don't think this has much chance of getting enacted, but the idea is, without a doubt, intriguing.

Francis notes that his CJR article, headlined "Stop Thief!", is now -- ironically and illegally -- available, without the copyright holder's (his) permission, on LookSmart, via ProQuest.

Yes ... and so are many thousands of other articles first published in 2006, no matter what their contracts stated. The explanation is not baffling: understanding the implications of relicensing freelance authors' works has never been, and continues not to be, a priority for the brain surgeons of the publishing industry, whose conveniently profiteering incompetence is enabled by the rocket scientists at the writers' organizations, and their named plaintiff pets, who are trying to stick all of us with the regime of the UnSettlement.

I'm not going to exacerbate your New Year's Day hangovers with a migraine-inducing regurgitation of what the world needs now, besides love-sweet-love: a kinder and gentler ASCAP-style system that includes a compulsory license and a crude but broadly accurate way to track reuse and channel a fair share of new revenues to creators.

I'll just remind you that our appeal of the UnSettlement approval proceeds, with oral argument before the Second Circuit possibly happening in late March. We'll keep you posted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like the great literary figure Captain Ahab, Mr. Munchkin's ill-advised and illogical obsessive quest to doom what is a fair settlement will end in utter failure. Unfortunately, the vast majority of freelance writers who strongly disagree with Mr. Munchkins's twisted logic will have to sit on the sidelines until Mr. Munchkin's tragic play closes. It is obvious from the writings of Mr. Munchkin that he has lost every bit of perspective and common sense. Hey Munchkin--try going to your local dictionary and look up the word "settlement." Simply put, a settlement is the end result of a negotiation to end a dispute. Both sides give and take to reach a conclusion that is satisfactory to both or all parties. Mr. Munchkin can't grasp the fact that the defendants are only protecting their interests in order to avoid countless individual lawsuits. I have been assured in writing that the Category C claims will not, under any circumstances, be reduced. All the claims are now in Mr. Munchkin. It is a fact that the Category C claims will be paid in full. There are no surprises in this area, so stop misleading everyone into thinking that there will be a reduction in Category C claims. Also, you seemed to take it personally that your attorney, Mr. Chalmers, was called a professional objector. Well that's exactly what he is. His resume is a series of failures. His main claim to fame is that he was able to reduce some attorneys fees in one case. Big Deal. You talk about Karma in some of your blogs. You better hope that Karma doesn't exist, Mr. Munchkin, or you'll be facing a lifetime of misery for holding up legitimate payments to freelance writers.

4:32 PM  

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