Archive for the ‘ERDC Business’ Category

Notice to Members about Settlement Distribution

This is another step in the long and arduous process of distributing the settlement shares to members.

We’ll be circulating a draft claim form shortly, but the period for filing won’t be until after September.

Jack Ruttan,
ERDC Secretary

Notice to members in English:
http://erdc.ca/2014-06-09_Notice_to_members_distribution_APPROVED_BY_THE_COURT.pdf

Notice to members in French:
http://erdc.ca/2014-06-09_Avis_aux_membres_distribution_APPROUVE_PAR_LA_COUR.pdf

Electronic Rights Defence Committee Update

Hello all

The ERDC held its Annual General Meeting March 24, 2014, at which the executive committee was re-elected: the officers now are Mary Soderstrom (Chair), Jack Ruttan (Secretary), Ron Diamond (Treasurer), David Homel (Class Representative), Tracey Arial, Anne Diamond, Julie Gedeon, and Stephanie O’Hanley (Executive Members at Large).

Our lawyers Mireille Goulet and Catherine Sylvestre brought us up to speed on the legal process. We have filed the necessary paperwork leading to a hearing before Judge Eva Petras on the notice to members about the distribution, which was approved by ERDC members at a special general meeting held November 28, 2012.

(You’ll remember that it was decided the pay-out would be in stock, and based on the number of stories a free lance writer published in The Gazette between 1985 and 2010: the minutes of that meeting are attached.) Drafts of the claim form and instructions for filling it out were reviewed also.

Several resolutions, such as authorization to open a post office box, were passed to facilitate the claims process (see attached minutes of the March 24, 2014 meeting.) A three person committee charged with overseeing the claims process was appointed: the members are Tracey Arial, Julie Gedeon and Mary Soderstrom. The major new element was the decision to authorize the sale of some of the 189,479 shares of Postmedia stock we hold in trust in order to make up the shortfall between the cash we received in the settlement ($83,210.27) and what we owe our lawyers and the Fonds d’aide aux recours collectifs for advances over the course of the class action. The number of shares to be sold will depend on the share price at the time of sale.

All this must be approved by the court, but we’re getting someplace.

For the ERDC,
Mary Soderstrom, Chair,
Jack Ruttan, Secretary

http://erdc.ca/Erdc-special-Meeting-Minutes.pdf
http://erdc.ca/Minutes-AGM-24-03-2014-revised-2.pdf

Annual General Meeting Reminder, and Heather Robertson

Hello, friends of the ERDC,

This is a reminder that the 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Electronic Rights Defence Committee will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Monday March 24, 2014 in the offices of Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud, 740 Atwater, Montreal (near the Lionel Groulx Metro station)

On the agenda will be election of the new executive committee and several procedural resolutions necessary to proceed to the distribution process.

You will also find below an obituary for Heather Robertson who died March 19. She is the woman who led the way in Canada. We are all in her debt.

Jack Ruttan, Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, President

Canadian writer Heather Robertson passed away this morning (March 19) on her 72nd birthday.

She was an early bestselling author of Canadian nonfiction books (Reservations Are for Indians and Salt of the Earth are two early works that found large audiences.) Early in her career, she was a very well read and controversial columnist for Maclean’s Magazine, as well as a writer of well reported and beautifully written feature stories for most of the magazines in the country. She was also a co-founder of various writers’ organizations including the Periodical Writers’ Association of Canada, and The Writer’s Union of Canada, and helped talk the Canada Council into recognizing nonfiction writing as an art form. Most recently, Heather was lead plaintiff in two electronic rights class actions, the first of which clarified who owns the electronic rights to freelance works appearing in newspapers and periodicals. Robertson 1, as it is called, went all the way to the Supreme Court and then was settled to the great benefit of Canadian periodical writers, as was Robertson II.

Her career spans a very interesting period in this country and her writing changed the way we think about ourselves.

Convocation to the 2014 ERDC Annual General Meeting

Hello everyone,

Progress toward distribution of the Electronic Rights Defence Committee’s settlement proceeds slowly: we will have more news soon.

In the meantime, please be advised that the ERDC’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday, March 24, 2014 from 7-8:15 p.m. at the offices of Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud, 740 Atwater (Metro Lionel Groulx).

On the agenda will be election of officers and consideration of resolutions required for the distribution to proceed.

Best wishes

Jack Ruttan
Secretary

Mary Soderstrom
President

ERDC Year-End Message

Dear ERDC members

Best wishes for a 2013 in which the Electronic Rights Defence Committee finally distributes the proceeds from its class action settlement!

On Nov. 28, 2012 ERDC members present at a special general meeting approved a proposal for distribution of the $75,000 in cash and 189,000 shares in Postmedia received as compensation for the unauthorized and uncompensated electronic use of stories originally published by freelancers in The Gazette between 1985 and 2010.

The proposal–which must still be approved by Quebec Superior Court– is the following:

1. Pay out in stock.

2. Minimum claim of 5 articles or more. While we do not know now how much each article would be worth in terms of stock (we have to see how many articles are claimed first), it would appear that a minimum of 3 shares would be attributed to each article. At the current price per share–$2 –a claim of five articles would produce a minimum of 15 shares worth something more than $30, or the cost of processing the claim. Note that the median number of articles was 10: that is, half the writers surveyed had 10 or less.

3. Maximum payment should be equivalent to that for 500 articles. This idea follows the same principle that Public Lending Right payments do: the few outliers at the top end in a small way subsidize those with fewer articles. Note: only 18 of the 710 writers surveyed have more than 500 stories. The average number was 65.5.

4. One article equals one point, and writers who wrote at least five stories between 1985 and 1996 but did not write afterwards would receive a flat supplementary payment.

This last feature was discussed at length at the ERDC executive meeting in August, and again by the subcommittee this fall. The ERDC in 2007 agreed that payout would be based on a scale which favoured writers who did not write after the Gazette began requiring written contracts This position was reaffirmed several times, most recently in 2010, following settlement with Postmedia.

But administering this would be cumbersome and increase costs. Therefore we propose giving what might be called a “recognition payment” (RP) for writers who wrote between January 1, 1985 (about when The Gazette started posting stories electronically) and April, 1996 (when contracts began to be required and we began the class action process.) Thirty points is suggested as an RP. Reasoning: the survey made in June showed 329 freelancers writing between 1985 and April, 1996, but not writing afterwards. Most did not write many stories: only 155 had 5 or more, 5 being the cut off we are suggesting for making a claim. The average number of stories was 30.4.

Class representatives, Secretary Jack Ruttan and Treasurer Ron Diamond would also receive RPs: the latter two stand to receive nothing otherwise.

5. Claimants would have six months to file.

6. Claimants would be required to list the stories they had written for The Gazette, and would be informed that the data base Proquest (available through many libraries) is an easy way to search for their work. Eligibility for the RP would be determined by a simple question: “Did you sign the Gazette’s e-rights contract starting in 1996?” (NB: the actual question for the form remains to be approved by counsel.)

Legal counsel will seek approval of the Proposition for Distribution from the Court with all deliberate speed; the target is early in 2013.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

Reminder of special general meeting for Electronic Rights Defence Committee members‏ (NOTE NEW VENUE)

Dear ERDC members

It’s been a long road, but it looks like the Electronic Rights Defence Committee may finally be ready to go to distribution. Here are the major points in the proposal the ERDC will discuss at a special general meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. Place: The boardroom of RPM Start Up Centre, 420 Guy, Montreal (Metros Lucien Allier and Georges Vanier.)

Background: We have now settled with all the defendants, and have in trust $75,000 in cash and 189,000 shares in Postmedia, the company that emerged from the re-organization of The Gazette and its various owners. Postmedia stock’s value has dropped considerably since issue in June 2011, and our financial advisors have said that for us to sell it off would depress the price further. Several members of the ERDC have also said that they would prefer to receive stock rather than cash.

Our lawyers have also stressed that keeping the cost of the distribution process down is extremely important. Therefore we are proposing a very simple process that probably will cost about $30 a claim. Since a survey done by Mary Soderstrom in June 2012 suggests that about 750 writers might qualify to claim (she found 710 writers responsible for about 46,000 stories between 1985 and settlement in 2010) that would come to around $22,500, which we could pay for with our cash in hand.

The rest of the cash would go to pay our outstanding debts: for example, the Fonds d’aide aux recours collectifs at various times has advanced funds for research Our lawyers Me. Mireille Goulet and the class action specialist Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud would take their payment in stock: they have a right to 25 per cent of the settlement.

Any plan must be approved by Quebec Superior Court before distribution begins, our lawyers may also have further advice, but at the moment the ERDC executive committee is proposing the following:

1. Pay out in stock.

2. Minimum claim of 5 articles or more. While we do not know now how much each article would be worth in terms of stock (we have to see how many articles are claimed first), it would appear that a minimum of 3 shares would be attributed to each article. At the current price per share–$2 –a claim of five articles would produce a minimum of 15 shares worth something more than $30, or the cost of processing the claim. Note that the median number of articles was 10: that is, half the
writers surveyed had 10 or less.

3. Maximum payment should be equivalent to that for 500 articles. This idea follows the same principle that Public Lending Right payments do: the few outliers at the top end in a small way subsidize those with fewer articles. Note: only 18 of the 710 writers surveyed have more than 500 stories. The average number was 65.5.

4. One article equals one point, and writers who wrote at least five stories between 1985 and 1996 but did not write afterwards would receive a flat supplementary payment.

This last feature was discussed at length at the ERDC executive meeting in August, and again by the subcommittee this fall. The ERDC in 2007 agreed that payout would be based on a scale which favoured writers who did not write after the Gazette began requiring written contracts This position was reaffirmed several times, most recently in 2010, following settlement with Postmedia.

But administering this would be cumbersome and increase costs. Therefore we propose giving what might be called a “recognition payment” (RP) for writers who wrote between January 1, 1985 (about when The Gazette started posting stories electronically) and April, 1996 (when contracts began to be required and we began the class action process.) Thirty points is suggested as an RP. Reasoning: the survey made in June showed 329 freelancers writing between 1985 and April, 1996, but not writing afterwards. Most did not write many stories: only 155 had 5 or more, 5 being the cut off we are suggesting for making a claim. The average number of stories was 30.4. Class representatives and secretary Jack Ruttan and treasurer Ron Diamond would also received RPs: the latter two stand to receive nothing otherwise.

5. Claimants would have six months to file.

6. Claimants would be required to list the stories they had written for The Gazette, and would be informed that the data base Proquest (available through many libraries) is an easy way to search for their work. Eligibility for the RP would be determined by a simple question: “Did you write for The Gazette after April, 1996?” with list of stories submitted as corroboration.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

ERDC Special General Meeting for settlement distribution

Hello all

The ERDC is working on a distribution plan for the stock and settlement received in settlement of our long standing class action. Please reserve the evening of Nov. 28, 2012 for a special general meeting to consider this proposal.

Time: 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 28, 2012
Place The boardroom of RPM Start up Centre, 420 Guy, Montreal
(Metros Lucien Allier and Georges Vanier.)

At this meeting we will present a distribution plan that is an outgrowth of long discussions and will reflect the problems we are encountering because the value of Postmedia stock has plummeted.

More details shortly. Please confirm your presence.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

ERDC Settlement Developments

Dear ERDC members,

Have you checked Postmedia stock lately? Today (Aug. 10) it is trading at $1.140 a share, although shortly after it was initially issued in June 2011 it traded at $13 a share.

This drop in price creates a radically different atmosphere in which to consider distribution of the proceeds from the settlements the ERDC reached with the defendants in its class action. Currently some $75,000 and about 190,000 Postmedia shares are being held in trust for ERDC claimants.

After much discussion of the situation the ERDC executive decided Aug. 8, 2012 to form a committee to consider how to distribute the proceeds. Because the cash value of the stock is much less than it was a year ago the executive instructed the committee to make a simple plan that will cut down on administration costs. Specifically, the committee is charged to use the following parameters:

a) The plan is to be based on considering all claimants as one group.
b) It will consider the distribution of shares among claimants.
c) It will propose minimum and maximum amounts in the payout per claimant.

The committee, currently composed of David Homel (class representative), Mary Soderstrom (ERDC president) and Stephanie O’Hanley (ERDC executive member at large), is to prepare a proposal by mid-October. ERDC members who would like to join the committee or who have suggestions for it should indicate their interest by responding to this email or contacting Mary directly (msoder@aei.ca).

In solidarity

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC President

ERDC E-mail address change

This is a note to all ERDC members that I’ve deactivated the e-mail address info@erdc.ca. Any e-mail concerning the ERDC can to be sent to me, Jack Ruttan, the ERDC Secretary at jack.ruttan090@sympatico.ca .

Apologies to anyone who has received spam e-mail from the info@erdc.ca address.

Jack Ruttan
ERDC Secretary

ERDC Notice to Members: 2012 Annual General Meeting and ERDC update

Dear ERDC Members and Supporters:

The Electronic-Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) held what might be its last annual general meeting Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Elections were held for the executive committee, with the same team agreeing to continue. The Executive Members-at-Large are Tracey Arial, Ann Diamond, Julie Gedeon, Stephanie O’Hanley, and Merrily Weisbord with Jack Ruttan as Secretary, Ron Diamond as Treasurer and Mary Soderstrom, President. David Homel continues as designated representative of the class.

The ERDC was back in Court on April 3, 2012 and received final approval from the Superior Court of Quebec for the settlement with Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings. A settlement with CEDROM-SNi was also presented to the Court: May 18, 2012 was set as the date to hear objections to this settlement (see links below to attached documents “Notice to Members.” These two settlements are the last ones in our 15 year-old fight.

Please note, however, that at this point those who plan to make claims do not have to do anything. The claim procedure begins only after approval of the distribution plan, which is the next step in the process. We will keep you informed, never fear.

Jack Ruttan
ERDC Secretary

Mary Soderstrom
ERDC Chair

2012-04-04 Notice to Members final (English) PDF

2012-04-04 Avis aux Membres final (français) PDF

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