The Supreme Court will consider reviving the $18 million settlement of a dispute involving payment to freelance writers for use of their work online.
The settlement came in a class-action lawsuit filed by the freelancers against publishers and database companies. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York had thrown the agreement out, but the high court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal of that decision.
The proposed settlement covers both freelancers who registered the copyright to their works and those who didn't. The appeals court said courts generally do not have authority over infringement claims on works that have not been copyrighted.
The lawsuit followed a Supreme Court ruling in 2001 that freelance writers have online rights to their work. The case largely applied to articles, photographs and illustrations that were produced 15 or more years ago, before freelance contracts provided for the material's electronic use.
The case is Reed Elsevier v. Pogebrin, 08-103.