Thursday, August 08, 2013

Update on Freelance Settlement From Attorney Charles Chalmers

I’ve received two questions that are of general interest. ¶ Q.1.If I filed a claim before am I automatically in the new settlement? ¶ A.1.Yes. No new claims will be filed. ¶ Q.2.What criteria are being used to disqualify claims? Are they arbitrary or subjective? ¶ A.2.The criteria are objective, but there may be room for argument in some cases. You will be notified of any claim that is contested or initially deemed ineligible. If you believe there is an error, you will have the opportunity to protest. You will be entitled to help from the counsel representing your category of claim. For C claims, more than 90% of claims but only about 37% of the monetary value at this point, that will be me. If you protest, but both the defense and class counsel agree that your claim is ineligible, that will be final. If the defense and class counsel disagree it will be submitted to an arbitrator for a final determination. First I’ll explain the forthcoming process. ¶ If the settlement is submitted it must go through a process of notice to the class and approval by the court. That must take place before any formal claims processing will occur. That will likely take 3-4 months. If it is approved, and there is no appeal, formal claims processing will start. ¶ This is a list of the main reasons a claim can be denied or disqualified. ¶ Inadequate information as required on the claim form or a late claim. Class members already were notified of such issues. ¶ The defense contends you were actually under contract or policy that gave the publisher the copyright. ¶ The defense contends that your article was not on a database during the relevant time frame. Class members were encouraged to file for works whether or not they knew they were in a database. It appears many claims were made for articles not in the databases. ¶ For A and B claims, adequate proof of registration within the required time. ¶ One or more claimed articles are claimed by the defense to be duplicates of another claimed article. There is some reason to believe this will be a major source of disputes. ¶ There has already been some work in these criteria, particularly lack of information in claim form and not appearing in a database. There was a contention that these determinations were final, but review of them with information from objectors showed that in some cases there were errors, so these will be subject to dispute. We have a report of all claims and the ineligible determinations made so far. But this report does not include items 2 and 5 above. ¶ Technically the dispute process will not start until the formal claims processing starts. However, once (and if) the settlement is signed and submitted to the Court, now committed by all parties to be not later than September 30th, I will be willing to work with class members to communicate about their claims and possible ineligible works. There are approximately 2600 total claimants and almost all claimants have some C claims, with most having all C claims. I want to start the process as early as possible to be sure everyone gets full opportunity to review their claims.


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