APPEALS COURT THROWS OUT COPYRIGHT CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT
Thursday morning, November 29, 2007
In a long opinion published today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on the objectors' appeal of the copyright class action settlement by striking it down. These are the two key sentences:
"The overwhelming majority of class members’ claims concern the infringement of unregistered copyrights. We hold that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over those claims. We therefore vacate the certification and settlement approval, and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion."
The majority opinion and a dissent are viewable at http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov:8080/isysnative/RDpcT3BpbnNcT1BOXDA1LTU5NDMtY3Zfb3BuLnBkZg==/05-5943-cv_opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov:8080/isysquery/irl69fe/3/hilite.
There is also an opinion by judges on the appellate panel, who explain why they did not recuse themselves even though they are class members themselves, at http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov:8080/isysnative/RDpcT3BpbnNcT1BOXDA1LTU5NDMtY3YgUmVjdXNhbCBPcG4ucGRm/05-5943-cv%20Recusal%20Opn.pdf#xml=http://www.ca2.uscourts.gov:8080/isysquery/irl69fe/1/hilite
The objectors and our attorney, Charles Chalmers, are closely reviewing these documents; we will issue a statement with further interpretation shortly. For now, I can say that it appears that the issue that this three-judge panel focused on -- the jurisdiction of holders of unregistered copyright even for the purpose of settlement -- is not one on which the objectors, the plaintiffs, and the defendants had disagreed.