Ending a four-year battle between 10,000 freelance writers and a group of online database companies, the database companies have agreed to pay $18 million to settle claims of copyright infringement.

The settlement, which primarily covers claims from the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, arose out of the 2001 landmark case Tasini et al v. The New York Times. The writers had argued that their work had appeared in online databases like Lexis-Nexis and ProQuest, without them receiving compensation for those electronic rights.

The settlement will come up in front of a judge for preliminary approval tomorrow, and could pay some “prolific” freelancers up to $100K, according to the New York Observer.

The settlement (which is too big to upload, but if you want a copy of it, email us) also provides for a nice $4.4 million in lawyer’s fees. Freelancers are so in the wrong business.