I like LinkedIn because it lets me keep in touch with my professional contacts and make new ones relatively easily.
I don’t like all the emails I used to get from the site (I turned most of them off) and it turns out I wasn’t alone.
LinkedIn has agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit (Perkins v. LinkedIn Corporation) regarding it’s Add Connections feature. When you use LinkedIn, there’s a service known as Add Connections that will go into your email’s list of contacts to find those same people on LinkedIn. If there was an email address without a LinkedIn account, LinkedIn would invite them to join. If that person didn’t join, LinkedIn would send up to two more remainder emails.
Two things got LinkedIn in this mess and led to this settlement.
The first was that they sent two reminder emails. Too many emails, said the court.
The second was that they would use your name and likeness in that email, without your consent. Oops.
What’s the settlement? LinkedIn will pay $13 million into a fund that will be paid out to claimants and turn off the reminder emails on Add Connections. The $13 million will be paid out across all approved claims with a max of $1,500 (ha!). If the payment ends up being less than $10 each, LinkedIn will pay an extra $750,000 into the fund to be distributed.
Here’s a fun fact for those new to class actions – if there are so many claimants (and there will be) that paying out the funds is not economically feasible, the payments will be made to “Cy Pres Recipients.” It’s known as a Cy Pres distribution and it means it’ll be given to a recipient that is an indirect benefit to the class (in this settlement, it’ll go to Access Now, Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship). It comes from the Normal French expression “cy pres comme possible” to mean “as near as possible.”
Are you in the settlement class? If you used the Add Connections feature between Sept. 17, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2014 and your name/likeness was used, then you’re a member of the class. I received an email from [email protected] to the email associated with my LinkedIn account that included a Claim ID at the top. If you are a LinkedIn user and didn’t receive this, I’d check your spam folder.
There will be a lot of people in this class and you may not get a penny, but the form takes just a minute to fill out. If you have a claim ID, use it. If you don’t, you can still fill one out, not sure what difference it makes.
Here’s the official settlement website and you have until December 13th, 2015 to file a claim or opt out.
I’ve included the settlement claim email below:
NOTICE OF PENDING CLASS ACTION AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
PERKINS V. LINKEDIN CORP.
You are receiving this e-mail because you may have used LinkedIn’s Add Connections feature between September 17, 2011 and October 31, 2014.
A federal court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) against LinkedIn Corporation (“LinkedIn”) based on LinkedIn’s alleged improper use of a service called “Add Connections” to grow its member base.
What is the Action about? The Action challenges LinkedIn’s use of a service called Add Connections to grow its member base. Add Connections allows LinkedIn members to import contacts from their external email accounts and email connection invitations to one or more of those contacts inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. If a connection invitation is not accepted within a certain period of time, up to two “reminder emails” are sent reminding the recipient that the connection invitation is pending. The Court found that members consented to importing their contacts and sending the connection invitation, but did not find that members consented to LinkedIn sending the two reminder emails. The Plaintiffs contend that LinkedIn members did not consent to the use of their names and likenesses in those reminder emails. LinkedIn denies these allegations and any and all wrongdoing or liability. No court or other entity has made a judgment or other determination of any liability.
What relief does the Settlement provide? LinkedIn has revised disclosures, clarifying that up to two reminders are sent for each connection invitation so members can make fully-informed decisions before sending a connection invitation. In addition, by the end of 2015, LinkedIn will implement new functionality allowing members to stop reminders from being sent by canceling the connection invitation. LinkedIn has also agreed to pay $13 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to make payments to members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims. Attorneys representing the Settlement Class will petition the Court for payment of the following from the fund: (1) reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses, and costs up to a maximum of $3,250,000, and (2) service awards for the Plaintiffs up to a maximum of $1,500 each. The payment amount for members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims will be calculated on a pro rata basis, which means that it will depend on the total number of approved claims. If the number of approved claims results in a payment amount of less than $10, LinkedIn will pay an additional amount up to $750,000 into the fund. If the pro rata amount is so small that it cannot be distributed in a way that is economically feasible, payments will be made, instead, to Cy Pres Recipients selected by the Parties and approved by the Court. No one knows in advance whether or in what amount payments will be made to claimants.