Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Exchange With Named Plaintiff Tom Dunkel

Subject: Re: FREELANCE RIGHTS: UnSettlement Insurrection
To: Irvin Muchnick
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 16:59:27 -0400

Mr. Muchnick,

I'm not E.L.Doctorow. But I am one of those "20 other purported class representatives" you slam on occasion in your public emails. From here on out I wish you'd refrain from attacking people whose motives and character you know virtually nothing about.

First, I'm aware of the shortcomings of this settlement agreement. I've voiced them to Boni et al. However, for reasons I'll not go into here, I'd prefer to see the agreement approved.

Second, contrary to this being a great windfall for named plaintiffs as you have asserted and implied, some of us (meaning those who regularly copyright registered their work through the years) could have made more money launching our own, individual suits. Speaking for myself, I
originally joined this suit with the best of greater-good intentions.

Furthermore, some of us who stuck our necks out by signing on as named plaintiffs, took financial hits in lost business when we subsequently were blackballed by papers and mags with which we'd previously done business.

I do not want to get into an email debate with you. Nor am I trying to deter you from sending out future rally-the-opposition emails. Just, please, quit sniping at us named plaintiffs. We're not the problem. In fact, without us it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for this
reparations issue to have ever gotten off the ground.

Tom Dunkel


Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 14:57:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Irvin Muchnick
Subject: Re: FREELANCE RIGHTS: UnSettlement Insurrection

Mr. Dunkel,

Thanks for your feedback -- but, sorry, no sale.

The objection deadline is five days away. As a fellow writer I’ve reached to the bottom of my vocabulary barrel, and to the smithy of my soul, for a better word than “sellout,” but I haven’t found it. If you’re doing the right thing before it’s too late, then thanks and welcome. But if the shoe fits, then wear it.

I think anyone who read my open letter to Doctorow could see that I’m not without sympathy for the difficult position the class reps were put in. You were recruited with the intention of doing the right thing and you wanted to do the right thing, but the settlement took a horribly wrong turn. That was then. This is now. Now you fully realize, apparently with no thanks to your lawyers, that the License by Default provision, in particular, is a disgrace. Please act appropriately on that knowledge.

Finally, I agree that some class reps stand to do better than others under the proposed settlement. But I didn’t make those assertions out of thin air; they’re based on our analysis of the terms as disclosed (or, in some respects, as hidden). In an April article in The New York Observer -- still the only account, to my knowledge, to make it to the mainstream media -- your fellow class rep Gleick crowed, rather tastelessly I might add, about his coming windfall. The Observer reporter (perhaps with Gleick as the source, perhaps not) speculated that some of you might pull down $100 K. Those are the facts.

Irv Muchnick


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