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USSC to Publishers: Pay Writers!

The Supreme Court told the publishing industry today that electronic copies of freelance written articles are not theirs to profit from.
The Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision today ruled that The New York Times and other publishers had committed copyright infringement when they resold freelance newspaper and magazine articles, via electronic databases such as LexisNexis, without asking permission or making additional payments to the original authors.

The original suit was filed by National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) president Jonathan Tasini on behalf of 6 writers.

According to the New York Time's Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The Times, the company "will now undertake the difficult and sad process of removing significant portions from its electronic historical archive.

"Unfortunately, today's decision means that everyone loses," the Times reported him saying.

Sulzberger grief is hardly a necessity though. If it happened, his will have decided to engage in the "difficult and sad process" of guting an irreplaceable electronic archive because the Court's decision holds the possibility that the publishers will be forced to compensate the thousands of writers from whom they've illegally profited.

"Our message to the publishing industry now is: let's negotiate," said UAW Vice President Elizabeth Bunn, who directs the union's Technical, Office and Professional Department. "The way to deal with these obligations is to meet at the bargaining table so we can find solutions that are fair to writers, to the industry, and for consumers."


New York Times article on decision:
Supreme Court Decision (PDF):



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