Buffalo Bob on 3 Aug 2000 14:35:51 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Authors Regain Copyright Control

Freelance Authors Regain Copyright Control Through Innovative Settlement

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 26

Document Provider to Obtain Permission Before Selling Authors' Articles 

Historic Legal Settlement Includes Class Notification to Authors

The settlement, believed to be the first class action lawsuit of its kind in 
the nation, instructs commercial document delivery services to obtain 
permission from authors before their creative works can be sold 
electronically via the Internet. The case involved a group of individual 
authors who challenged UnCover, an online document delivery service that 
sold copyrighted magazine and journal articles over the Internet without the 
author's permission. UnCover pursued royalty contracts with many periodical 
publishers and paid copyright fees to publishers, but not to individual 

The $7.25 million settlement, preliminarily approved by the federal court in 
Oakland, California, requires UnCover to expand its copyright permission and 
royalty payment system to include individual authors as well as publishers, 
and to obtain certain specified forms of permission before delivery of such 
articles. UnCover will now also offer a licensing agreement with any author 
who requests it, paying royalties semi-annually. The settlement fund will 
come from other settling parties.

The settlement also uniquely initiates a search for thousands of authors, 
poets and other academic and creative writers who may have had their works 
sold by UnCover in the past. Any authors who retained their copyright in any 
article delivered by UnCover between October 22, 1994 and July 12, 2000 may 
be eligible to participate in the settlement. Anyone whose written work has 
been published in a magazine or periodical is strongly encouraged to visit 
the special Web site ( http://www.uncoversettlement.com ) where a potential 
class member can get complete information and submit their claim for a share 
of the settlement via the Internet. The Web site will be launched on Monday, 
July 31, 2000.

"Selling individual articles electronically without author permission has 
been an industry-wide practice. We believe the law does not allow the 
practice, and this settlement should go a long way to changing it," said the 
authors' attorney John Shuff of the national law firm of Robins, Kaplan, 
Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. ( http://www.rkmc.com ), known for its broad 
experience in complex litigation. "We hope the industry will take notice and 
adopt the same permission procedures as UnCover."

The representative plaintiffs, a group of freelance and academic writers, 
and poets, were Joan Ryan, Jim Tunney, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Lyn 
Hejinian and Ron Silliman.

"The intellectual property owned by authors is no different than music owned 
by songwriters or images owned by photographers," said copyright attorney 
Dan Reidy of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Reidy of Sausalito, California, 
co-counsel with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., referring to recent 
legal challenges to the electronic downloading and distribution of music and 
photos on CDs or via the Internet. "Authors have not only regained control 
of their work, but perhaps more importantly, they have regained control of 
their value," said Reidy.  UnCover's founder, Ward Shaw, said that UnCover 
has long worked with publishers and rights organizations such as the 
Copyright Clearance Center and the National Writers Union's Publication 
Rights Clearinghouse to pay copyright for delivery of the articles 
researchers and others need. "We are happy to work with individual authors 
directly as well," said Shaw. UnCover ( http://www.uncweb.carl.org ) 
maintains a database of approximately eight million articles -- increasing 
by approximately 5,000 per day -- from more than 17,000 periodicals, and 
specializes in supplying copies of articles from often hard-to-find 
scientific, medical and technical journals and other publications.

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Copies of the Summary Notice are available upon request. 
The settlement Web site, http://www.uncoversettlement.com , will be launched 
July 31, 2000/

/CONTACT: Daniel A. Reidy of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Reidy, 
415-331-7500, Janette L. Ferguson of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., 
415-235-6649, cell 650-579-2709, or Michael Traynor, 415-693-2110, or Robert 
L. Eisenbach, 415-693-2094, both of Cooley Godward LLP/


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