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(updated December 5, 2016)

This is an update from A/B/C Counsel on the claims administration process. Counsel are winding up their review and analysis of the more than 30,000 individual objections to C claims and more than 3,000 individual objections to A/B claims. We are now at the stage of claims administration process where we are attempting to informally resolve disputes with those publishers whose objections we have a reasonable basis to challenge. Because of the large number of publishers whose objections we have reason to challenge, this informal resolution process is expected to take several months. Class Counsel endeavor to complete the Informal Resolution stage as efficiently and expeditiously as is practicable. All unresolved disputes will then go to binding arbitration. We cannot estimate the length of time for arbitration until we complete the Informal Resolution process and have a final number of claims and publishers that are proceeding to binding arbitration. As with the Informal Resolution process, Class Counsel will work in good faith to complete the Arbitration as expeditiously as possible for the claimants. Once the Arbitration process is completed, the Court-approved Settlement allows the Claims Administrator up to 100 days to prepare and process the settlement checks for distribution by first class mail.

In light of the unexpected amount of objections that need to be resolved, the claims administrator and A/B/C Counsel predict claims payments to start no earlier than August 2017. Thank you.


This is an update from A/B/C Counsel on the claims administration process. Please review the update immediately below this one for detail about the claims review process. The time has passed for the publications and the database defendants to object to the great majority of the claims. The remainder are being presented now. The extremely high volume of objections raised by the publications has been unexpected. C Counsel is in the process of reviewing and responding to more than 30,000 objections. A/B Counsel are in the process of reviewing and responding to more than 3,000 objections. Many of you are aware of this ongoing process, as over the past several months we have been speaking with you about specific objections to your claims. This volume of objections has delayed and will continue inescapably to delay resolution of all the objections, either informally or by dispute resolution. In light of the unexpected amount of objections that need to be resolved, the claims administrator and A/B/C Counsel conservatively predict claims payments to start in May 2017.


This is an update from A/B/C Counsel on the claims administration process. The time has passed for the publications to object to claims. Now the claims administrator is preparing two reports for the parties on those objections. Both reports are expected to be ready within three weeks. One is for Class Counsel, and the other is for the Defendant Databases. When the Defendant Databases receive their report, they will have up to 60 days to determine whether they have any objections as to the works no publication has objected to. At the same time, with their report, Class Counsel will contact claimants with works objected to by the publications, discuss with the claimants any possible responses to the objections, and attempt to informally resolve disputes with the publications and/or defendants' counsel. When the Defendant Databases have completed their own review, we will repeat the same process as to the objections they make, if any. We will attempt to informally resolve as many disputes as we can, as quickly as we can. As to any disputes the parties cannot informally resolve, those disputes will be heard and ruled on by a federal magistrate judge or neutral arbitrator. Claimants may participate by telephone. Those rulings will be binding on the parties to each dispute. In the meantime, for the few disputes about which Class Counsel are already aware, we are presently working hard to informally resolve those disputes. Once all disputes are resolved, the claims administrator will issue checks to the claimants. Again, predicting the timing of claims payments is a very difficult endeavor. Please rest assured all parties are working diligently and efficiently toward the completion of this process and the payment of claims. At this point, Class Counsel predict payments will be issued by the end of the year.


This is an update from A/B/C Counsel regarding claims administration. After substantial effort, the claims administrator has developed a database and software program for contacting the thousands of publications that are potentially obligated to make claim payments, and to enable those publications electronically to accept or challenge the claims attributed to them. On November 6, 2015, the publications were sent notification of those claims along with instructions on how to access and use the claim response system. Issuance of the notifications has started a 60-75 day period during which the publications are allowed to challenge claims. After the end of that period, any timely challenges will be decided through a dispute resolution process. Throughout the settlement administration phase, it has proven difficult to estimate when claim payments will be issued, but we are hopeful that will happen in the second or third quarter of 2016. As before, however, unforeseen issues could arise and cause further delay. We are all working diligently so that payments can begin as soon as possible.


The following is an update from A/B Counsel on the status of claims administration. After the last update below, the issuance of the claims report to the Defense Group and other publishers was being held up by the complexity of claims processing and related issues, including a dispute among the parties over certain points. The parties eventually sought the court's intervention and have now resolved the dispute. We expect the claims administrator to issue the claims report over the next few weeks. Claims processing will then proceed according to the steps and schedule described in the last update below. Our current estimate for the earliest time when payments can be expected is 6 to 9 months from now. This is an estimate only, and the actual timing may differ. Thank you for your patience.


The following is an update from A/B Counsel on where things stand in the administration and our expectations for the next several months. Letters notifying class members of deficiencies in their claims were sent November 8, 2014, with a deadline of December 8 for claimants to respond. This notice-and-response procedure for deficiencies had to be completed before the claims administrator can issue the claims report that must go to the Defense Group and other publishers for review and potential challenge. That report is still being finalized. After receiving the report, each publisher will have 60-75 days to object to the claims assigned to it. The Database Defendants will have an additional 45-60 days beyond that to object to particular claims, because they are obligated to pay all valid claims that the assigned publishers fail to pay. If there are objections to any claims, the resolution of such disputes will consume more time. After any and all claim disputes are resolved, the claims administrator will issue a final report to the Defense Group and other publishers. Each publisher must deposit the dollar amount of its assigned claims within 60 days. Within 38 days after that, the sum of all outstanding unpaid amounts must be deposited by the Defense Group. The claims administrator will then issue checks to claimants, to be paid from the deposited funds. (This schedule is set forth in the Court-approved Revised Settlement Agreement and Exhibit B to that agreement.) Given this timeline and current circumstances, at present, the earliest that payments can be expected is in the third quarter of this year, 2015, especially if there are objections or disputes over claims. This is an estimate only, and the actual timing may differ. Thank you for your patience.


The court's decision approving the revised settlement became final in July 2014. The claims administrator is now working with the parties to finalize the packages that must go to the defendant publishers for review and potential challenge (e.g., an author was a staff writer and not a freelancer). That review/challenge process is expected to continue through the fall of 2014. We are hopeful that given current circumstances, the process will be completed and any challenges resolved by the end of 2014 (or earlier), and the claims administrator can start preparing settlement payments in the first quarter of 2015. This is an estimate only, however, and the actual timing may differ.


On June 10, 2014, at the hearing on final settlement approval, the District Court granted final approval of the revised proposed settlement. A copy of the Order granting final approval of the revised proposed settlement is linked below, as well as the Orders concerning attorneys' fees and reimbursement of their costs, and special awards to the Representative Plaintiffs and Former Objectors.


On June 3, 2014, in compliance with the deadline set by the District Court's order granting preliminary approval of the revised settlement, class counsel filed their motion for final approval of the settlement and papers in support thereof. The documents that were filed are linked below.


On April 9, 2014, in compliance with the deadline set by the District Court's order granting preliminary approval of the revised settlement, class counsel filed their applications for (i) attorneys' fees and reimbursement of their expenses; (ii) approval of service awards to the representative plaintiffs, estates of two deceased former representative plaintiffs, and former objectors; and (iii) approval to pay administrative costs and other settlement-related expenditures. The documents that were filed are linked below. The applications will be heard by the District Court at the hearing on final settlement approval, currently scheduled for June 10, 2014.


On February 24, 2014, a Notice was mailed (or emailed) to each name and address (or email address) that was in the database of the Claims Administrator. Please be advised that you may have received more than one Notice, either by mail, e-mail, or both. Each Notice included an indication of the status of a claim for a particular claim number. A "No Claim" status indicated at the top of a Notice you received means that the Claims Administrator does not have a claim on file under that particular claim number. It is possible, however, that the Claims Administrator does have a claim on file under a different claim number. If so, you should also receive a Notice indicating that you have a claim on file under a different claim number. The reason some potential class members may have more than one claim number is because of the way the numbers were originally assigned for the 2005 settlement (especially if a person filed a claim listing a name or address different from the contact information that was provided to the Claims Administrator and listed in its records). If you believe that you filed a claim in response to the 2005 settlement, but you have not received a Notice by March 3, 2014 indicating that the Claims Administrator has a claim on file for you, please contact the Claims Administrator.


The Court has, on January 23, 2014, granted preliminary approval of the Revised Settlement Agreement. The order of preliminary approval establishes the procedures and deadlines that will be followed until the Court considers granting final approval. The hearing on final approval is scheduled for June 10, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in Judge Daniels's Courtroom 11A at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007. That date or time could change and any change will be announced on this website.

Formal notice of the proposed settlement has commenced. A copy of that Notice can be viewed by visiting the Notices page of this website. Class members will be given an opportunity to opt out of the settlement or to present objections to the settlement or the request by class counsel for award of costs and attorneys' fees. The deadline for filing a request to opt out of the settlement, or for filing objections, is May 9, 2014. The Notice should be consulted for the full details of these procedures.

A copy of the Order Granting Preliminary Approval is linked below.

If you still have questions after reviewing the Notice, you may contact class counsel or the claims administrator by any of the methods listed on the Contact Us page of this website.

For a list of Potential or Preliminary Supplemental Participating Publishers, please visit the List of Publications page.


On November 22, 2013, plaintiffs filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for preliminary approval of a revised class action settlement. The documents that were filed are linked below. The settlement will not go into effect unless the District Court grants both preliminary and final approval. If the District Court grants preliminary approval, a detailed notice concerning the settlement will be posted on this site. Among other things, the notice will describe the settlement and class members' options, and list the time and place of the hearing to be held by the District Court to decide whether the settlement should receive final approval.


In November of 2011, the Second Circuit Court denied, without opinion or recorded dissent, the petitions for rehearing filed by the plaintiffs and defendants. Attached are a copy of the docket sheet and the orders entered since the petitions were lodged.

On August 31, 2011, the Settlement Class and the Defendants each separately filed a petition for rehearing, asking the Second Circuit appellate panel to reconsider and modify its opinion or, in the alternative, for the Second Circuit to review the opinion en banc. The briefs filed by the parties are here:

On August 17, 2011, the Second Circuit Appeals Court vacated the settlement, and sent the case back to the District Court, where the parties can work on another settlement or litigate the case. To view a copy of the Court's opinion, click here. The parties have not yet determined what action to take at this point. Please visit this website periodically for further updates.