Archive for the ‘Meetings’ Category

New Year, and Proposed Settlement in Heather Robertson Class Action

It’s a new year for the ERDC and its class action. We’ll have information on the progress of the case at our Annual General Meeting, to be held in the spring. Time and place to be announced!

In the meantime, here’s an important notice from Heather Robertson’s Class Action, about a proposed settlement:





If you are a writer, wherever you reside, please read this notice carefully as it may affect your rights.

This notice is addressed to people who may be class members in this class action and provides information about a hearing before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on April 11, 2011, in Toronto, when the Court will be asked to approve a tentative settlement of this action.

In 2003, the plaintiff Heather Robertson commenced a lawsuit against Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. (“Toronto Star”), Rogers Publishing Limited (“Rogers”), CEDROM-SNi Inc. (“Cedrom”), ProQuest Information and Learning LLC (“ProQuest”) and Canwest Publishing Inc. (“Canwest”) (collectively, the “defendants”). Ms. Robertson alleged that the defendants infringed the copyrights of authors or assignees of original literary works published in print media in Canada by disseminating copies of those literary works using electronic databases. The defendants claimed they had the requisite rights to disseminate those works and denied Ms. Roberton’s claims. In October 2008, the court certified the action as a class proceeding. The action has since been settled against Canwest and it is no longer a defendant.

Ms. Robertson, on her own behalf and on behalf of class members, has reached a tentative settlement with Toronto Star, Rogers, Cedrom and ProQuest. The tentative settlement includes a payment of C$5.475 million, inclusive of all costs and fees, including legal fees and administration costs, to provide benefits to class members. In return, there would be a release of all claims against these defendants and their affiliates and a license in respect of all literary works that were published in publications owned or operated by the Toronto Star, Rogers, Canwest or their affiliates. Class members would have a further opportunity to opt out of the settlement. If this settlement is approved, there would be a claims-based compensation process whereby class members could file claims for compensation with respect to their freelance literary works.

The parties will appear before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at the Court House located at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario on April 11, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. to ask the Court to approve the proposed settlement. Class members may attend the hearing and may ask to make submissions regarding the proposed settlement. Any class members who wish to object must provide written notice of their objection to class counsel, Koskie Minsky LLP, by April 4, 2011.

If you are a class member and wish to obtain additional information or to object to the proposed settlements, please contact class counsel, Koskie Minsky LLP, at the address below:

Koskie Minsky LLP, Barristers & Solicitors

20 Queen St. West, Suite 900, Box 52, Toronto, ON, M5H 3R3

Re: Robertson v. ProQuest et al. Class Action

Tel: 1.866.777.6343


– 2 –

In addition, copies of the settlement agreements, compensation scheme, and other information about the proposed settlements and this class action are available on class
counsel’s website at


Dated: January 17, 2011

First Call: ERDC 2010 Annual General Meeting

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee’s annual general meeting will be
held beginning at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at the offices of
Sylvestre Fafard Painchaud, 740 Atwater (between St. Antoine and St.
Jacques on the west side, not far from the Lionel Groulx Metro station.)

On the agenda will be news from our longtime legal counsel Me Mireille
Goulet about the progress of the case, as well as a chance to meet Me
Catherine Sylvestre, a key member of our expanded legal team. Elections
of the ERDC executive committee will also be held.

The meeting should last about an hour to an hour and a half, and there
will be refreshments. It would be useful to know if you plan to attend:
please reply by e-mail to Jack,

Jack Ruttan, secretary
Mary Soderstrom, chair

ERDC Update: March 2009 – Annual General Meeting

It was a three-in-one deal Wednesday March 25, 2009, as the Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) met for its annual general meeting, and the ERDC executive held two short meetings the same night. The first was to approve minutes of a previous Executive meeting and then attention turned to the annual general meeting agenda.

The AGM consisted mostly of updates on our case—our lawyer Mireille Goulet reported that we may get a decision on our class authorization by the end of April—and other cases similar to ours. The parties involved in Heather Robertson’s case against the Thomson chain were currently in discussions, while her case against ProQuest, CEDROM, Torstar, CanWest and Rogers has been certified by mutual consent. The Association des journalistes independents du Québec (AJIQ) is scheduled to have a hearing on its own class action authorization next week: its adversaries are French language newspapers, with the exception of the Le Devoir with which it settled several years ago.

Elections were held for the ERDC executive committee, with all members being re-elected: Mary Soderstrom, president; Jack Ruttan, secretary; Ron Diamond, treasurer; and executive members at large Tracey Arial, Ann Charney, Anne Diamond, Julie Gedeon, Peter McFarlane, Stuart Robertson, and Merrily Weisbord. The new executive approved a resolution agreeing to a contract with Me Goulet as required by the Fonds d’aide aux recours collectif (FARC), the provincial body which has provided on-going financial support since the beginning of our class action. The terms are the same as in previous contracts.

We’ll keep you updated when there are any new developments.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary

Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

ERDC 2009 Annual General meeting next Weds.

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee will hold its annual general meeting

7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Dino Den Room
Westmount YMCA
4585 Sherbrooke West, Westmount

(Parking in the Westmount Library lot across the street. Access by 24, 138 and 104 buses.)

Come at 7 p.m. and we’ll share some refreshments. There will be a very short executive meeting before the AGM, in order to approve the minutes of our last meeting: all are welcome for this portion.

ERDC Report to Members :2008 Annual General Meeting

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) held its 2008 Annual General Meeting Wednesday, March 26 at the Atwater Library Reading Room. Present were most of our executive, some new faces, as well as some who have been active in the past, but who have been busy recently. Our positive mood was fueled by the recent strong performance of Me. Mirielle Goulet at the hearings before the Superior Court of Montreal on our request for class action authorization, February 25, 26 and 27 of this year.

Me. Goulet’s legal report was the centerpiece of the meeting. She summarized her presentation at the hearings as well as that of the defendants. Those who had attended the hearings commented on the David and Goliath nature of the combat: where Me. Goulet acted by herself, the others had five attorneys present in court at all times. And, as Mireille noted, “we have our own David,” – class action representative David Homel. She would expect that the judge who heard the proceedings, the Honourable Justice Eva Petras, will render her decision within 6 months, which means it could be early fall before we have news.

Next order of business, President Mary Soderstrom’s report from the Chair. Basically she spoke about the need to provide some interim compensation for Me. Goulet, who has been working in practical terms without fee since 2003. We are exploring possible avenues, and will have more on this issue in future messages.

Next on the agenda: election of officers. President Mary Soderstrom, Secretary Jack Ruttan, and Treasurer Ron Diamond are sticking around, as are Executive Members at Large Merrily Weisbord, Ann Charney, plus Peter McFarlane and Stuart Robertson, who were not present, but had previously given notice of their assent. As well, Tracey Arial and Julia Gedeon have agreed to join the executive as Members at Large, while Anne Diamond has offered to work setting up a Facebook page. The meeting also passed motions of thanks to David Homel and Mary Soderstrom for their work.

So plenty has happened. We’re going to rely more on teleconferencing in the future, because meeting face to face is difficult with busy schedules. If the case is authorized, there’s a lot of work ahead, but the committee feels energized and ready to take on the challenge.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC President

ERDC – Convocation for the 2008 Annual General Meeting

Greetings all,

The Annual General Meeting of the Electronic Rights Defence Committee will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday March 26, 2008 in the Reading Room of the Atwater Library (1200 Tupper, corner Atwater, not far from the Atwater Metro.)  The meeting will open with a chance to chat informally over snacks and drinks. On the agenda will be a report from our lawyer Me Mireille Goulet and the executive on the events of the last year.

Among them:

  1. An unsatisfactory settlement offer from the other side.
  2. Hearing before the Fonds d’aide aux recours collectifs: we hope to have news of a decision on further seed money from the Fonds d’aide.
  3. Hearing on authorization for our class action, scheduled for Feb.
    25-27 before Judge Eva Petras.  (Between now and this hearing date we’ll have more information about exact times and places, because we’d like to have support in the crowd.)
  4. Where we go from here?
  5. Election of executive committee.

Hope to see you there for this important meeting.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

ERDC Breaking News

This just in:

The ERDC’s lawyer Me. Mireille Goulet has been informed that court dates for the hearing on the class action have been confirmed for February 25,26 and 27. The presiding judge will be Madame Justice Eva Petras.

We will be meeting during the fall to plan who will attend the proceedings to show support etc. We’ll be in touch about a date for
this preparatory meeting.

Best wishes

Jack Ruttan, secretary
Mary Soderstrom, president

2006 ERDC Annual General Meeting

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee’s 2006 Annual General
Meeting will be held from:

7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 22
on the upper floor of the Atwater Library
1200 Atwater (Metro Atwater, corner of Atwater and Tupper)

The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly, as we all know, but there has been progress in the last year.  Come and learn what’s up with our case, as well as information about Heather Robertson’s case against Thomson which was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in December.

There also will be election of officers for the coming year.

Please bring something to eat and/or drink and we’ll talk about
the writing life a little too.

For more information, contact Jack Ruttan, Secretary, or Mary Soderstrom, Chair

ERDC Spring Progress Report

Greetings, Electronic Rights Defence Committee (ERDC) members and supporters.

A group of ERDC stalwarts heard the latest news about our case against Southam, the Montreal Gazette and their legal successors at the ERDC Annual General Meeting Wednesday March 23, 2005. Then we all relaxed over wine and good things to eat in Merrily Weisbord’s pleasant dining room.

The news of the last year is:

  • David Homel has been officially accepted as class representative in the case against The Montreal Gazette, Southam and its legal successors, replacing David Fennario, who had to bow out due to ill health.
  • Lawyers for the defendants have extensively cross examined David Homel.The case has been enlarged to include the corporations which are the legal successors to Southam, so we are now petitioning Southam Inc, CEDROM-SNI Inc, Infomart Dialog Ltd., Southam Business Communications Inc., Montreal Gazette Group Inc., Canwest Global Communications Corporation, Hollinger Canadian Publishing Holdings Inc. and Canwest Interactive Inc. To do this has required some delays in court proceedings, but the ERDC executive committee decided the delay was worth it. To win a case against Southam, which is not much more than a legal fiction after several industry sales and mergers, would be a hollow victory.
  • The stage is being set for a hearing on the admissibility of the action. We expect the date for it to be set this spring . At the hearing we will invite a large delegation of writers to be present in court, in order to show our solidarity with David Homel.
  • But Quebec’s Fonds d’Aide aux recours collectifs (FARC) which assists class action law suits in the province, has said it will provide no more funding for our case until a date is set for the hearing on authorization. That means we can expect no more financial help from them until next fall. Therefore, because we will need several thousand dollars for various disbursements in the next few months, we have launched a fundraising campaign.

You’ll find attached the documents we sent out as part of this campaign. Please help us out with a financial donation by sending your cheque to:

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee,
c/o Ron Diamond, Treasurer
995 Wellington #238
Montreal, QC H3C 1V3

And finally the ERDC executive was re-elected: Mary Soderstrom, president; Ron Diamond, treasurer; Jack Ruttan, secretary; and Ann Charney, Merrily Weisbord, and Stuart Robertson, members-at-large.

Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary, for
Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

ERDC Annual General Meeting: Mark it down in your calendars:

The Electronic Rights Defence Committee’s Annual General Meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 at Merrily Weisbord’s residence in Montreal (near Carré Saint-Louis and the Sherbrooke Metro, please contact Jack Ruttan at (514) 529-7950, or e-mail for the exact address)

There will be news of the progress of our case plus a chance to catch up on what ERDC members are doing. Everyone is asked to bring something to drink or nosh on, too.

More details later.
Jack Ruttan, ERDC Secretary,  for

Mary Soderstrom, ERDC Chair

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