Canadian Magazine Industry News
16 April 2009,     MONTREAL
Freelancers win right to sue over electronic rights in Quebec
In a case that could have major implications for Canadian magazine publishers down the road, a group of freelancers has received authorization from Quebec Superior Court to proceed with a class action suit against the Montreal Gazette newspaper and a number of major Canadian publishing companies. At issue is work done by freelancers that was published electronically without permission or compensation.

A group called the Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) launched the case 10 years ago.

From the ERDC website:
At issue is electronic use without permission or compensation for work by freelance writers in The Montreal Gazette. The defendants are the Montreal Gazette Group, CanWest Global Communications, Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings, CanWest Interactive, Southam and Southam Business Communications, Infomart Dialog and Cedrom-SNI.

In February 2008, the Honourable Eva Petras, J.S.C., heard three days of arguments from Mireille Goulet - the ERDC lawyer, and a team of lawyers representing the defendants. The Justice’s decision was rendered March 31, 2009. It authorizes the ERDC to institute class action proceedings with writer and translator David Homel as its official designated member. The class action group includes all freelance writers whose articles, originally published in The Gazette, have been allegedly illegally reproduced on the Infomart data base since 1984.

The next steps will lead toward a trial on the merits of the case, a process which may take several years to reach a conclusion.

The ERDC case is one of several in North America seeking compensation for unauthorized electronic use of freelance writers’ work. In October 2007, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled five to four in the Heather Robertson vs. Thomson case that freelancers do indeed hold copyright on their work reproduced in electronic data bases. The US$ 18-million class action settlement in the United States which followed from the Tasini vs. New York Times case is currently before the US Supreme Court, which has agreed to decide whether a lower court has jurisdiction to approve settlement agreements. The Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec (AJIQ) is also currently in the process of undertaking a class action against several Quebec media providers.
Story Tools
Most Recent News Comment
Anonymous says:
Not an industry first as Time did this last year first with an iPhone. What a horrible idea. High-en...
Most Recent Blog Comment
Jim A. says:
I also purchased an Android tv box just a short while ago, with the intent of cancelling or, at the ...
Blogs
Scott Bullock Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Most recent posts:
Industry Guest Blogger Words of Inspiration
Industry Guest Blogger
Most recent posts:
Dennis Kelly 57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Most recent posts:
Martin Seto Gadget Blog
Martin Seto
Most recent posts:
Norm Lourenco RGD Magazine Media Brandaid
Norm Lourenco RGD
Most recent posts:
Richard Johnson Off the Page
Richard Johnson
Most recent posts:
Masthead Web Edition Archives
More Archives