Freelance Writers Class Action (Robertson v. ProQuest, CEDROM, Toronto Star Newspapers, Rogers and Canwest)
|The deadline for submitting claims in this class action is October 15, 2011. Freelance writers seeking compensation should submit their claims to the claims administrator as soon as possible.|
This class action relates to allegations that the Defendants infringed the copyright of authors and assignees of literary works published in print by the Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., Rogers Publishing Limited and Canwest Publishing Inc. It alleges the Defendants disseminated these literary works in online databases without permission. The Plaintiff sought monetary damages an injunction to prevent future infringements. The Defendants in the action are Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., Rogers Publishing Limited, CEDROM-SNi Inc. and ProQuest Information and Learning LLC. Canwest Publishing Inc. was a Defendant, but the action was dismissed against it in June 2010.
The complete definition of those persons who are included in this class action is set out in the order certifying this action as a class action, as amended; the class definition can be viewed here. Generally, the persons included in this class action (often called “class members”) are comprised of authors or assignees of literary works published in Canada in print by Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd., Rogers Publishing Limited or Canwest Publishing Inc. and whose literary works were made available to the public in online databases.
For example, an author may be a class member if she wrote an article for the National Post (which was published by Canwest) and which appeared in full text in an online database operated by ProQuest. The class excludes (i) persons who by written agreement assigned the copyright in their works to another person, (ii) persons who by written agreement granted a Defendant a license to use their works in electronic media, (iii) persons who by written agreement granted another person a license to use their works in electronic media and that person granted a license to one of the Defendants and (iv) persons who are or were employees of one of the Defendants and who wrote the works during the course of their employment.
Essentially, this class action relates to the literary works of freelance authors. Anyone who thinks he or she may be a class member should review the full class definition.
There has been a settlement of this class action that will provide approximately C$7.9 million in cash for the benefit of class members. In return, there will be a release of all claims against these Defendants and their affiliates and a licence in respect of literary works that were published by Toronto Star, Rogers, Canwest or their affiliates. To view the English version of the detailed formal notice, please click here. To view the French version, please click here. The notice sets out how class members can make a claim from the settlement funds or, if they prefer, how class members can choose not to participate in the settlement.
The claims process has begun and class members are now able to submit their claims to the claims administrator (Duff & Phelps). The deadline for claims is October 15, 2011. Anyone making a claim can contact the claims administrator directly if they have any questions about what to include in their claims. The claims administrator will be reviewing the claims and will ultimately determine whether to allow them.
The administrator can be reached at
Duff & Phelps Canada
80 Richmond Street West Suite 2000
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2A4
Telephone: +1 416 361 2590
Fax: +1 416 364 2904
Email address: dp.Claimsadministrator@duffandphelps.com
Click here for further details on the settlements.