Billions due to writers?

IT LOOKS increasingly certain that the proposed settlement of writers' claims for illegal use of their work, by 13 database companies and up to 2000 magazines, journals and newspapers, is dead (see January Freelance). Objectors said that the $11.8 million available, after legal fees, was far too little.

But how much too little? Objector Francis Hamit looked at just one of the database companies, Gale Group, a "wholesaler" which supplies articles to databases like - this company "brags that it has 60,000 libraries in 60 nations as customers," Francis writes at - "Multiply that by the $20,000 per year my local library pays for its subscription and you have 1.2 billion dollars a year, half of which goes to the original publishers and belongs, in part, the freelance writers."

So the rematch is going to be interesting. The objectors particularly want to hear from NUJ members who have registered copyright in their written work with the US government: so we can co-ordinate please initially email

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