Wednesday, September 07, 2005

ASJA: Peanuts Here! Get Your Fresh Roasted Peanuts!

The American Society of Journalists and Authors remains in violation of a court order requiring the associational plaintiffs to publicize prominently a July 28 amendment to the preliminarily approved copyright class action settlement. ASJA also didn’t find the UnSettlement important enough to cover in the new issue of its magazine. “The nation’s leading organization of nonfiction writers” publishes its findings at intervals, like Smokey the Bear on fire prevention.

But now ASJA has awoken from its stupor, descended from the mountain, and issued a new bulletin, “Freelancers: File Your Claims And Get Your Share Of $18 Million,”

In response, your humble blogger announces a readers’ contest to pick out the bullet point in the ASJA statement with the most pitch-perfect imitation of The Onion, the satirical weekly newspaper. The winner receives a free UnSettlement claim worksheet in Excel format. All entries should be sent by September 12, the objection/optout deadline, to

In order to give contestants a fighting chance at the correct answer, we’ve narrowed it down to the following choices:

· “If you don't have records or cannot recall all the stories you wrote, you may find searching various databases useful. Try,,, Lexis-Nexis by credit card at and others often available for free at your local library.”

· “When in doubt, file. It takes seconds.”

· “If you were forced to retroactively sell electronic rights through ... master agreements, you should file claims for those stories. However, you will receive 35 percent less because you have signed away future rights.”

· “The more claims you file, the more money will be paid to freelancers, up to $18 million. That is free money. Get your share.”

We will be forced to disqualify any contest entrant who submits a statement about the fact that the settlement secretly gives away rights in perpetuity to the works of any writer who doesn’t deny them to the defendants explicitly, whether or not he/she is filing a claim, knows about the settlement, or lives in the Seychelles Islands. For there is no such information in the ASJA statement.


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