FREE-LANCERS SUE MORE ONLINE DATABASES

By: Staff reports

Battle Over Copyrighted Work Continues





Free-lance writers continue their battle to be paid for old articles now
available for sale online. Two separate suits appeared Tuesday.



In one case, The Wall Street Journal reported that a group of free-lancers
filed a federal suit in San Francisco against Bell & Howell Information &
Learning Co. of Skokie, Ill.; Northern Light Technology Corp. of Cambridge,
Mass.; and Gale Group Inc. and Thomson Business Information – both
subsidiaries of Thomson Corp. in Toronto.



The writers charge that their work is being resold without their
permission.



The San Francisco law firm representing the writers, Brobeck, Phleger &
Harrison, is seeking class-action status for the suit, which they say
could represent 10,000 writers.



In the second case, the Authors Guild Inc. filed a federal suit in New
York against Thomson’s Dialog Corp. of Cary, N.C.; Reed Elsevier of
Amsterdam (publishers of Lexis/Nexis); Dow Jones Reuters Interactive of
Princeton; N.J.; Bell & Howell; and Thomson (in this case, going after
the corporation’s Westlaw subsidiary).



Authors Letty Cottin Pogrebin, James Gleick, Andrea Dworkin, Tom Dunkel,
Marie Winn, Ronald Hayman, and Robert Lacey are also plaintiffs in the
suit. Class-action status is sought in this case as well.



Steve Brill’s Contentville.com recently settled this issue by agreeing
to pay free-lance writers 30% of any of their articles sold on the
Contentville site.



Northern Light told the Journal that it relies on publishers to ensure
that copyrights are honored. But many publishers have apparently turned
over their entire archives (including staff and free-lance work) to
resellers like Northern Light.



(Bell & Howell provides online archiving for E&P Online.)







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Staff Reports



Related story:

BRILL’S CONTENTVILLE REACHES ACCORD WITH WRITERS GROUP (08/04/00)













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