An appeals court has thrown out a settlement between freelance writers and publishers such as the New York Times and Dow Jones & Co. The writers had sued these publishers, and others including ProQuest and Knight Ridder, asserting that they had not granted the publishers the right to reproduce their work on the internet or in databases. A panel of Court of Appeals judges voted two to one to conclude that the district court lacked the power to approve the settlement that had previously been reached. This was worth up to $18 million.
Circuit judge Chester Straub said: "The overwhelming majority of claims within the certified class arise from the infringement of unregistered copyrights.
"We have held, albeit outside the class-action context, that district courts lack statutory subject matter jurisdiction over infringement claims arising from unregistered copyrights."