Thursday, May 10, 2007

Uber Pirate Thomson Corporation Eyes Reuters

In a new round of media merger mania, the Thomson Corporation is seeking to take over Reuters, just as Rupert Murdoch has made an offer to buy Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

The former development prompted the submission of the letter below to Britain's Financial Times, which has declined to publish it.


To freelance authors, Canada's Thomson Corporation -- now exploring the acquisition of Reuters -- is more than just a global electronic information giant; it is also one of the world's foremost copyright criminals. Thomson's Gale family of article databases, formerly known as Information Access Company, built its businesses with full knowledge that it had no right to remarket many of the works originally published by its newspaper and magazine licensors. Blissfully and arrogantly, it continued and expanded these practices even after a 2001 US Supreme Court decision, Tasini v. New York Times, definitively ruled that they were illegal.
Further, documents produced by me for a US District Court in New York establish that, as far back as 1995, Thomson/Gale executives lied to writers about the ability of their technology to track the sales of individual articles from its databases.
I lead a slate of objectors to a 2005 copyright class action settlement, in which Thomson is one of the principal defendants, and which was negotiated by three American writers' organisations. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule soon on our appeal.


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