Freelancers vs. The Gazette

The so-called Electronic Rights Defence Committee, a group of former Gazette freelance writers, finally had its day in court this week to seek class-action status for a lawsuit against the newspaper over online rights to their content.

The lawsuit, launched in 1997, was actually filed against Southam, which owned The Gazette at the time. That’s how old it is. Besides freely reprinting writers’ stories on the Canada.com website, the lawsuit takes issue with Canwest-owned Infomart, which sells archived articles individually or as a group, without giving a cut to the writer.

Precedent exists in the case, thanks to a woman named Heather Robertson. She sued the Globe and Mail over electronic archival and won a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

The hearing continues today, in Room 16.01 of the Palais de Justice, starting at 9:15am.

For more information, check out the blogs of ERDC members Mary Soderstrom and Jack Ruttan (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3). (UPDATE: And Craig Silverman.)

(Full disclosure: I’m both a freelancer for and an employee of The Gazette currently. I don’t take a position here on the merits of this lawsuit.)

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