In 2005, a group of freelancers thought they had won a lawsuit worth about 18 million. The issue? Whether a publishing group had the right to electronically distribute freelance material submitted by freelancers even though those rights were not part of the original freelance contract.
Later, the judgement in favor of the freelancers was tossed out by an appeals court. Now, Wired.com reports the case is under review by the Supreme Court. According to Wired, we shouldn’t jump for joy just yet–the Supreme Court will only review “Whether the law restricted federal court jurisdiction over copyright infringement actions.”
Further investigation into this story reveals the writers were not happy with the original settlement and appealed, which led to the original deal being thrown out. The publishers wanted to the deal reinstated, which leads us to where the case is now. It’s a very sticky issue…which leads me to an old bit of advice I remember reading somewhere. “If you need a lawyer, it’s already too late.”
I know, it’s a bit head-in-the-sand, but I do wonder if the writers should have taken the money from the original settlement and called it a day. Feel free to chime in here if you’ve got strong feelings either way.