Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Beleaguered Michael J. Boni, Esq., And His ‘Class’ Counsel Teammates Are Hearing it From the Crowd

Many class members picked up The Newspaper Of Record this morning and read all about Hurricane Rita, surging gasoline prices, the war in Iraq, and updates on the baseball pennant races and college and pro football.

Before turning to The Blog Of Record, some of them may have paused to contemplate that The Newspaper Of Record and other publishers could be on the cusp of controlling just about everything that freelancers have ever contributed to them, lock, stock, and barrel, for as little as $5 (non-registered copyright) or $1,500 (registered copyright) per work, up to a cap of $18 million, including attorneys’ fees and settlement administration costs.

Then they read Edward Hasbrouck’s blistering letter to Michael J. Boni and other class counsel, published on his “Practical Nomad” blog and linked from this one. See “EDWARD HASBROUCK: LIES FROM ‘MY’ LAWYERS,” Hasbrouck is one of those writers who actually uses language to illuminate rather than obfuscate.

Now others are writing directly to “class” counsel on the eve of the their “fairness” hearing before Judge Daniels. They’re just the slightest bit ticked off.

They note -- in addition to the material lies in settlement papers that enumerated by Hasbrouck -- the following from him:

Since copyright was presumably registered in the authors' names for most of the 120,000+ books infringed by through "Search Inside the Book", the addition of converts many authors (like me) who either weren't members of the class at all, or had only Category C claims, into Category A claimants. If included, authors of books infringed by through "Search Inside the Book" are the largest category of potential Category A claims, more than sufficient to exhaust the settlement fund.

They’re pointing out that all this became clear to many class members only as a result of a message sent around by the Authors Registry (a rights-clearing agency run by the Authors Guild) just days before the “fairness” hearing and a week before the claims deadline. And they’re coming to a lot of other unkind conclusions about the collusion of their so-called class representatives.

For any of the rest of you who want to weigh in, here’s the contact info:

Michael J. Boni
Kohn, Swift & Graf

A.J. De Bartolomeo
Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo

Diane Rice
Hosie McArthur

Paul Aiken
Executive Director
Authors Guild

Kay Murray
General Counsel
Authors Guild
(oh, never mind that one -- she now works for the Tribune Company)

Jim Morrison
American Society of Journalists and Authors

Gerard Colby
National Writers Union

If you please, you can copy me at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right before the eve of the settlement, the TImes announces it will sell articles online...

So much for fairness

10:11 AM  
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