Monday, June 07, 2010

Rooney's Gold: A Publishing Tale


Before you start getting angry, this is not a football story - it's about libel.

The last time I was quoted in a front page article in the Daily Star on Sunday it was under the headline HORSE FART SIGNALS END OF DOCK STRIKE. Actually, come to think of it, it may have been the Sunday Sport. No matter, today the Daily Star on Sunday has a front page headline ROONEY ATTACK FURY - BOOK SLURS ROCK WORLD CUP HOPES.

The article concerns a book my company, Biteback, published ten days ago called ROONEY'S GOLD. It's a biography of the England star by investigative journalist John Sweeney (he of the Scientology rant). The book was intended for publication by Random House in 2007, but they took fright over libel issues relating to Rooney's agent Paul Stretford. Since then, however, Stretford, has been discredited in court and banned from being an agent for nine months. Late last year I met Sweeney's agent, Caroline Michel, who gave me the manuscript to read. It's certainly not a conventional football biography as it concentrates on the people surrounding Rooney rather than a match by match record of his career. But I found it hugely entertaining and informative and so decided to take it on. Clearly there was a lot which needed to be changed as this was 2009/10 rather than 2006, when the book was originally written.

Indeed, it effectively became a very different book, with new chapters and a whole series of vastly rewritten ones.

And then Schillings, Rooney's lawyers, got involved. We had several letters demanding to see a copy of the manuscript. We refused. We assured them that the book was not the same book as the one they thought it was and that we, as a responsible publisher had taken every possible step to ensure that their client's rights would not be infringed. Indeed, we told them that the book was very positive about Mr Rooney and praised him in many ways. We, naturally, had the whole book extensively read for libel and consulted our insurers at all stages.

Days before the book went to print Schillings were continuing to demand sight of the manuscript. As a reputable publisher, I felt that if we acceded to those demands we'd be a joke and might as well pack up and go home. So we had a choice. Publish and be damned or shelve the whole book and put it down to experience. Believe me, it's not nice getting letters from Schillings, laced with threat. Random House, a big company bowed down and caved in. We decided to proceed, and the book came out on 27 May.

But between the book going to print and it being published Schillings tried another tack. They wrote to Waterstone's and W H Smith threatening them that if they sold the book they would be liable for damages if they carried through with their threat to injunct us and sue for damages.

Let's put it this way. If you publish a book like this and it isn't sold in either Waterstone's or W H Smith it is difficult to get good sales. Even today, you can't just rely on Amazon. So Schillings knew that this threat would hit us where it hurts. In our pockets.

Waterstone's contacted us and asked for an indemnity - so if it came to legal action, we'd indemnify them. For a small company like us, we had to really think hard as to whether we could do this, but we had no choice. If we wanted the book out there we had to do it.

W H Smith asked for the same and gave them an indemnity too. Unfortunately, their courage deserted them and in the end they caved in and are refusing to stock the book. Shame on them.

The point here is that Schillings have tried to interfere with our commercial trading relations by intimidating our customers. In one case it worked, in another it did not.

But think about what this means for the wider publishing community. If publishers accede to threats like this it effectively means that no one can write a celebrity biography any longer unless it is a complete hagiography. Our libel laws are allowing the likes of Schillings to threaten, bully and intimidate authors and publishers into abandoning perfectly legitimate books for fear of their whole company's existence coming under threat. This cannot be right and any reform of the libel laws must surely encompass this aspect of the law.

We stood up to Schillings but it's impossible to know how many others have opted for a quiet life and caved in.

Even at this stage it is possible for Schillings to seek an injunction to prevent further sales of the book or to take us to court. I am assuming that now having read the book they have realised that their fears were unjustified and that the book is actually far more positive about their client than they had anticipated. It even dismisses as fiction the story that he had sex with a platic clad grandmother.

But let's finally go back to the Daily Star story...

A BOOK about Wayne Rooney is threatening to derail England’s World Cup dreams.
Nice bit of hyperbole for a journalist that has clearly not read a word of the book.
The controversial biography, called
Rooney’s Gold, has been released ahead of England’s campaign in South Africa. Rooney, 24, is said to be furious about the publication. And fans say the release could not have been more badly timed.
I doubt whether Rooney even knows about the book.
The book, which Rooney’s representatives tried but failed to ban, details embarrassing material on the England hero.
Such as? If it did, surely the Daily Star would be detailing it?
Summing up the book in sneering style, the book’s publishers say: “Rough, working class, surrounded by an unlikely crew – including a dodgy agent, a crooked lawyer, tarts and gangsters – Rooney’s Gold looks at the ­characters who have been attracted to the fabulous money Rooney gets for kicking a pig’s bladder around a field.”
LOL. Pity they didn't carry on with the publicity blurb... Of all the contenders to be captain of England at this summer’s World Cup, it is Rooney who has become the model husband and father, Rooney who changes the electricity of a game the moment he walks on the pitch, Rooney who scores the most goals, Rooney who fights the hardest. And that’s how we like our lions. Lifelong England supporter Darren Law, 39, of Blackburn, Lancs, said: “This is appalling timing to release a book which is bound to be so controversial. It is the last thing that Wayne Rooney and the England team needs.
Oh get a life. Read the book. If you can read, that is.
“We can’t afford for our best player to be distracted by negative headlines and his private life being exposed to public ridicule. The publishers should have at least waited until after the World Cup for its release.”
Yeah, because that would make good commercial sense, wouldn't it?
Another fan, Alan Gavan, who lives in Rooney’s village of Prestbury, Cheshire, fumed: “This is ridiculous. This is a great chance for England to finally lift the World Cup again and having Rooney in the right frame of mind is essential for any success. Printing gossip about his private life and his wealth is counter-productive.”
Rubbish. The book is very positive about Rooney as the above quote makes clear. But a biography is not a hagiography. Or shouldn't be, and this isn't.
A source close to Rooney revealed: “He is absolutely livid. His people wanted to get the book banned but they failed. “This book was due to be published years ago but the publishers got cold feet because they feared they could be sued because of the highly-controversial content. But it has had a re-write and a new ­publisher has taken it on. To say that Wayne is upset and angry is an understatement. He is even more furious about the timing of the release, which has come in the build-up to England’s ­campaign. It is a distraction that he could do without but he has to try to concentrate on his football. It is very regrettable.”
So basically, if he misses a penalty, it's my fault...
The 256-page hardback book is being published by Biteback, owned by political blogger Iain Dale. It has been written by the BBC’s ­ investigative journalist John Sweeney. The no-holds-barred story was due to be published three years ago by Random House as their response to missing out on the official £5million five-book deal Rooney signed with Harper Collins. But Rooney’s advisers hired law firm Schillings and their legal warnings ­persuaded Random House to shelve the project.
Actually, it wasn't Rooney's lawyers who got it shelved. It was Stretford's.
Sweeney, who retained the copyright, persuaded Biteback to go ahead with a rewritten manuscript. Schillings has scared off WH Smith from stocking the book with further threats of legal action. But rivals Waterstone’s are ­believed to be putting it on sale this week.


Frankly, I have my doubts whether this book will turn any kind of profit because of the money we have had to spend on legal fees. But do you know what? I don't care. We've stood up for a principle and stood up for freedom of speech. I won't be bullied into shelving what I consider to be a perfectly legitimate book. Wayne Rooney should very carefully consider what his lawyers have done on his behalf. They've no doubt charged him a shed load in fees but was it worth it to try to stop a book which is actually rather friendly towards him in a strange sort of way?

Anyway, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, but the book HERE from Amazon, as you certainly won't be able to buy it in W H Smith.

55 comments:

Gallimaufry said...

When will the Coalition introduce a bill to level the libel law playing field and kick certain law firms between the uprights? They don't add anything positive to our nation's rich tapestry.

Cogito Dexter said...

I'm amazed you weren't served with a "super injunction"! Or maybe you were, or they tried, or something... and you're perhaps not allowed to tell us in case of causing a 'ruck'... ;)

In any case, I seriously doubt that this book has anything in it that'll upset Rooney, certainly not compared with the lascivious details that - true or not - get frequently splashed over the same red-tops that are so hypocritically running this story. I'm sure the man himself is more than used to such things and if he's managed to kick a ball around a patch of grass while under the glare of far harsher spotlights before, he'll certainly not be fazed this time. Not that I care though - while I don't begrudge any other man's interest, personally I haven't got five minutes for football...

Cogito Dexter said...

Incidentally, further to my previous thought: the concept of you, Iain, 'derailing' England's football hopes is laughable when considering your well known love of the game! (i.e. WHTID) Anyone suggesting malice of forethought in respect of your motives would need their head examining.

IvorBiggun said...

Well done Iain - more power to your publishing elbow. And a nice big FU to Schittings, censors to the rich and powerful, and their lackey running poodles at the awful WHSmug too.

Richard said...

The important thing, as you said wasn't the newspaper story but the attempts by Schillings to prevent its sale. I know that Waterstone's is struggling a little for profits these days but that they should ask a small publisher to indemnify them against legal action is something I find just a little distasteful.

fyoc said...

Can I be the first to crack the inevitable joke?

Of course Wayne doesn't know about the book - he can't read.

jbw said...

Iain said

"Anyway, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, but the book HERE from Amazon, as you certainly won't be able to buy it in W H Smith."

Ha! I can't remember the last time I bought a book in Smiths - so they are no loss to your business.

pete-s said...

Well done Iain, harking back to something similar, I am still mystified about the Max Moseley judgement. How can the antics of a person who does not want their private life exposed; but in charge of a billion pound industry. Thus possible coercion could be applied to him and so exposure, in my opinion, was in the public interest.

Tim Footman said...

"I am assuming that now having read the book they have realised that their fears were unjustified and that the book is actually far more positive about their client than they had anticipated."

Technically, Rooney as an individual may be Schillings' client. But in reality, they're acting for the whole Rooney brand, which includes all his scrofulous advisers and hangers-on, plus the lovely Coleen. If you diss one of his leeches, his reputation might suffer, but there's nothing much the lawyers can do about it. Unless they argue that it makes him look a bit thick, but I've not sure even Schillings would have the chutzpah to complain about that.

Andrew Denny said...

Nice bit of publicity for your book, well done, well orchestrated. :-)

I think I'll go into every WH Smith I pass and ask to order it.

Libertarian said...

Good for you Iain.

The sheer hypocrisy of the red top media is sickening.

The completely brainless "useful" idiots that jump on the bandwagon egged on by the press is really depressing to watch.

The total annihilation of John Terry because a couple of Red Tops don't like Chelsea whilst completely ignoring others who have done far worse ( including former England managers and senior FA officials) Is what makes the press in this country a joke.

I can't wait for Murdoch to put his products behind a firewall, if only we could persuade the Daily Mail and The Mirror to do the same, we would vastly improve the atmosphere in this country

Robert said...

I heard the author on Radio 5 the other week talking about the book.

I am not a footy fan but Rooney comes across as a role model for any aspiring young player. As with Beckham he has not let the hype go to his head.

The book sounded very interesting and well worth a read.

davidc said...

1.a recent customer satisfaction survey suggests that no one of discernment even bothers enters whs in the expectation of buying a book

2 i would draw your attention to the case of arkell v pressdram when being threaten with a libel case

3. william cobbett had some words of wisdom regarding the private lives of those who remain private and those who put themselves into the public eye

Paul said...

What hypocrites the Star are, they condemn Iain's company for publishing a book because of timing, but if they had a juicy story about Rooney, would they sit on it till after the world cup, or cash in now for maximum impact and profit.

The newspapers are a bit like politicians, their hypocrisy is so transparent and is why more and more people only believe half of what they print.

Well done Iain, nice to see that somebody has the principles and balls to take on the publication of this book.

I hope that the book goes on to become a No. 1 bestseller.

simon said...

Didn't James Goldsmith employ similar tactics against Private Eye many years ago? In that case too, Smiths caved in, iirc.

I'm sure Rooney is a perfectly decent bloke but it will be interesting to hear more about Paul Stretford. I still remember the extraordinary court case five or six years ago and the tales of intimidation and gangsterism that were ventilated in the course of it, all relating to Rooney's contract and 'ownership'. Particularly memorable was the friendship betweem Kenny Dalglish and the Adams crime family.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2004/oct/17/newsstory.sport7



Well done on standing up to Schillings and Stretford.

John said...

I have my doubts whether the coalition will have the courage to proceed with libel reform, especially since they backtracked on rape anonymity for defendants.

I was sickened by Harriet Harman last wednesday. It's important for justice for men to have their lives ruined by being plastered all over the press as rapists before being convicted don't you know.

The King of Wrong said...

Well, congratulations on the free publicity... :D

Jimmy said...

"I doubt whether Rooney even knows about the book"

So you're accusing Schillings of acting without instructions? Now that's ballsy.

Jimmy said...

btw Why do you feel Wayne Rooney has less entitlement to privacy than David Laws?

Jane said...

Well done for standing up to the bullies. Have you thought of reporting them to the Law Society? No doubt your own solicitor has given advice regarding their powers? I would most certainly report them for harrassment, intimidatory language and actions unbecoming a member of the legal profession. This will make them think!!!! You will not win but it will make them justify their actions.

As to WH Smith - well. They are a rubbish company and as someone who purchases a lot of books - they have not had my custom for years. I shall now buy the book - I do like football although have never purchased a book on a footballer before. My attempt to help the cause......

John said...

Iain

I can't stand football: as we say in Scotland, it gives me the boak.

The one thing I detest more than football however is lawyers who make unsubstantiated threats thus threatening freedom of speech.

On this basis I will be buying a copy of the book for no other reason than to see Messrs Schillings erupt in a frenzy of masturbatory ineffectiveness.

More power to you and to Biteback.

Alan Douglas said...

I just hope that Sweeney character used more honest "methods" of investigation for your book than he did on the previous case you mention.

As an example, he would go knocking on rear or basement doors, being recorded, then claim he was being refused access. All the while the main entrance is wide open just around the corner, but somehow that would not have suited his shit agenda.

Or he would wait until there is a major event where the chairman he wanted to speak to was actually speaking on stage, then go to a reception and demand to speak to him then and there. And again claim he was being denied fair access. No wonder he llew up like an exploding tomato when faced with his crimes !

Alan Douglas

Kevin said...

well done iain

i get sick of the rich trying to use the law to shut down any criticism of them or their actions

Richard Brennan said...

Hi Iain. Sorry to hear about this. Have bought a copy in solidarity even though I'm not that interested in Wayne Rooney.

So in this case, the laywers' action has been counterproductive as I might not have bought it otherwise! (although the fact it is by John Sweeney makes it interesting!) Looking forward to reading it. Good luck with sales.

Frugal Dougal said...

Well done! It looks as if legal firms are starting to learn lessons from the Muslims in trying to censor what British people read...

Glyn H said...

Well done, Iain. Whilst not a footy person there is obviously public interest in the clowns, toe rags and crims who hang round the Rooneys of this world.
Schillings are vile. Someone should remind them that Solicitirs are technically 'Officers of the Court' and their oath binds them to behave decently and fairly to all. Why not rem
ind them of this (sorry don 't know the exact wording) and show that the pressure they seek to put you under is improper get an MP , under Commons privledge to challenge their right to hold practicing certificates.
Regretably the Law Society is a busted flush and will only act when some silly bugger has already gone to Court for nicking client funds; they'd wet themselves at the thought of bringing Schiings or Carter-Fuck down a peg or two.

Allan said...

I'd like to say come on, it's only the Daily Star (even if they are owned by Britain's pornographer in chief)...

Except that your story is the latest in a long line of stories of the likes of Shillings and Carter Ruck trying to bully people so that certain stories do not get out. If memory serves, the Lib Dems certainly had concerns about the libel laws and Libel tourism in general. I would hope that they try and push for new laws to clamp down on this practice.

Demetrius said...

Would this England player who might give us all pride in being English be from the Sligo Rooney's who arrived in Liverpool three to four generations ago? I only ask because the ones connected to my family were. It is a pity all of us do not know a great deal more about all the hangers-on and wheelers and dealers taking money out of football. They have priced a lot of ordinary supporters out of ever attending a Premiership game.

Henry Wood said...

I've not yet read all of the comments but a quick search on the title shows 3 copies are being offered as prizes on an unofficial Mam. Utd. website! Obviously real fans don't think it harmful.
http://www.unitedonline.co.uk/competition/
(I've just ordered a copy for Amazon; not really interested infootball but I hate censorship and libel lawyers even more.)

Plenty said...

How do the DS rate this as a news story? What exactly is the news bit apart from trying to muscle in and make it something that it is not.Did they even bother to ask for a copy of the book? Same lawyers?

I Would not even have run the thing as a NIB...

They must have been desperate to have come up with a FRONT PAGE LEAD for their paper....

Pathetic....

Lime_Smoothie said...

Good show, Iain. I have not the slightest interest in reading about R Wayne, as he is a dirty Red but I will defend to the death your right to get the book out there. I would echo the comments about a complaint to the Law Society. Might not achieve much, but should prove cathartic.

As for WHS, shouldn't impact too much on your sales. I am a serious book purchaser and I haven't bought anything from there in a good 15 years. Surely most folk go to amazon/waterstones online these days?

skynine said...

Some years ago his agent lived on a small development in Wilmslow.

One night another house had 2 bullets put through its front door.

Unsworth said...

Schillings, eh?



Enough said.

Gazza's UsefulTips and Blog said...

Iain I usually agree with you wholeheartedly, but this time, we depart company a bit. You are a business man and to react rather emotionally and not care whether the book makes a profit is not good for your long term business goals. You should be happy with the publicity and simply correct the idiot journalist and issue a statement inviting everyone to read the book and see that it is not a hatchet job on Rooney - which if it were would be irresponsible ahead of the WORLD CUP.

Village Bookworm said...

Having read this Iain, you will now be able to buy it from my little bookshop Libra Books in Mayfield. Knowing my customer base, it stands little chance of selling, but sod it. I agree with you and have a deep hatred of bully-boy lawyers.

Incidentally, I did not know that WHS was still a bookshop! :)

James said...

Unfortunately WH Smith have a long history of giving in to this kind of commercial blackmail (and let's call it by it's name - Schillings and their ilk are nothing less than legalised thugs, blackmailers and deniers of free speech) and have no right to be even stocking books given their shameful cave-ins.

My advice is to always buy online and if it isn't available here, look at foreign online sources. Eventually, the fatcat libel lawyers will give up as they realise that they get nowhere in stopping book sales. Shame for the smaller independent bookshops, but most of those are history now anyway.

DespairingLiberal said...

@Simon - Goldsmith gave up fighting the Eye primarily because it's hugely loyal readership demonstrated they were willing to dig deep to fight him back. You can hammer people with your corruptly-gained cash and hugely inflated ego but eventually, when there is one of you and quarter of a million determined foes, you will not win.

@Jane - nice idea about the Law Society, but too often that body has proven limp-wristed and little more than a solicitor's protection society. They certainly do not intervene against the libel firms - too much money and interest sloshing around the system for that!

Any act to severely limit the libel industry in Britain will have to get through a Commons and Lords riddled with former and current barristers and solicitors. Somewhat less than it used to be though, so there is hope.

Houdini said...

It won't offend Rooney as he won't understand any of it, at least not the big words, not unless it is a comic or is written with pictures only?

Houdini said...

What hypocrites the Star are, they condemn Iain's company for publishing a book because of timing, but if they had a juicy story about Rooney, would they sit on it till after the world cup, or cash in now for maximum impact and profit.

Ummm, they did. Front page spread for a book that not that many would take as a slur and affect world cup chances, but now might because of the Stars massive publicity?

George said...

There is an increasing militancy with the lawyers.
Frankly they need to be taken down a number of pegs.
Those that are in the public eye, and rely on the public for their income should also be forced to accept that unflattering comments will be made which they have to live with. For those comments that are libellous, then normal recourse is the option.
It is time that the UK got a grip with its legal system, preventing the action that Schillings took and others that seek to use London as a port of call for easy litigation. On this latter point, I must make reference to the increasing difficulty for middle income Brits to access legal aid and any affordable legalo agent.

Matt Wardman said...

>Schillings.

They tried the same privatised pre-censorship schtick with Craig Murray.

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/01/lawyers_schilli.html

Good one to damn Schillings and publish.

The Grim Reaper said...

Book not selling well then, Iain? ;-)

jon dee said...

Following your courageous stand and my disgust at Schillings, I have ordered a copy of the book at my local Waterstones branch today.

Well done to them for also resisting bullying and heres hoping for healthy sales. WHS cowardice comes as no surprise, since they became a confectioner.

Cynic said...

Oh come on. It's not a newspaper - it's the Daily Star, Richard Desmond's rag for those more interested in tits and horse-racing than news

Spencer said...

A threatened injunction from Schillings is like a record being banned by the BBC - free publicity and increased sales. When will Schillings' self absorbed clientel cotton on?

Matthew said...

Mr Dale said the book was originally to be published by Random House in 2007, but the company dropped it over libel issues relating to Rooney's then agent, Paul Stretford - who had since been "discredited in court and banned from being an agent for nine months".

Mr Dale said he saw the manuscript last year, and decided to take the book on as it was entertaining, informative and was not a conventional football biography because it concentrated on the people surrounding Rooney rather than being just a match-by-match record of his career.

There were a lot of changes, and it became a very different book, with new chapters and a series of vastly re-written ones.

But then Schillings, Rooney's lawyers, demanded to see the manuscript.

"We refused. We assured them that the book was not the same book as the one they thought it was and that we, as a responsible publisher, had taken every possible step to ensure that their client's rights would not be infringed," Mr Dale wrote.

"Indeed, we told them that the book was very positive about Mr Rooney and praised him in many ways. We, naturally, had the whole book extensively read for libel and consulted our insurers at all stages.

"Days before the book went to print Schillings were continuing to demand sight of the manuscript. As a reputable publisher, I felt that if we acceded to those demands we'd be a joke and might as well pack up and go home. So we had a choice. Publish and be damned or shelve the whole book and put it down to experience."

But before publication Schillings wrote to Waterstone's and W H Smith.

Mr Dale said: "If you publish a book like this and it isn't sold in either Waterstone's or W H Smith it is difficult to get good sales. Even today, you can't just rely on Amazon."

He added: "Even at this stage it is possible for Schillings to seek an injunction to prevent further sales of the book or to take us to court. I am assuming that now having read the book they have realised that their fears were unjustified and that the book is actually far more positive about their client than they had anticipated."

Schillings was asked about Mr Dale's claims and comments, but solicitor Jessica Lovell told Media Lawyer: "We cannot comment on individual client matters."

mjk3345 said...

'BOOKSHOP THREATS SHOW NEED FOR LIBEL REFORM'

07 Jun 2010



Law firm Schillings threatened booksellers with legal action in an attempt to stop publication of a book about footballer Wayne Rooney, according to Conservative blogger Iain Dale.

The firm wrote to both W H Smiths and Waterstones warning that that if they sold the book they could be liable for damages if Schillings decided to take legal action against Mr Dale's publishing company, Biteback, over the book, Rooney's Gold, by investigative journalist John Sweeney.

Both W H Smith and Waterstones demanded an indemnity from the publisher - and although Biteback gave one, W H Smith subsequently declined to stock the book, which was published on May 27, Mr Dale said.

But it is for sale at Waterstones, online bookseller Amazon and British internet bookseller Bookstore.co.uk.

Mr Dale said the case was an example of the need for reform of the libel law.

"The point here is that Schillings have tried to interfere with our commercial trading relations by intimidating our customers. In one case it worked, in another it did not," he said in blog posted yesterday.

"But think about what this means for the wider publishing community.

"If publishers accede to threats like this it effectively means that no one can write a celebrity biography any longer unless it is a complete hagiography.

"Our libel laws are allowing the likes of Schillings to threaten, bully and intimidate authors and publishers into abandoning perfectly legitimate books for fear of their whole company's existence coming under threat. This cannot be right and any reform of the libel laws must surely encompass this aspect of the law.

"We stood up to Schillings but it's impossible to know how many others have opted for a quiet life and caved in."

He told Media Lawyer that he did not know how many booksellers Schillings had contacted - but said that he had had an extremely positive reaction from publication of the story on his blog and on micro-networking site Twitter.

"I lot of people have told me they are buying the book because of what Schillings have done," he said. "Even people who can't stand me have told me I was right to stand up to them."

kt said...

How much did you have to take out to get past the libel laws?

chris said...

Is there any forum for us (customers) to demonstrate to WHSmith that we think they are rubbish for this?!

If anything, both Waterstones and WHSmith should not only be selling the book, but adding an insert or something describing the pressure they have been put on not to stock it. A bit of widespread tarnish on Schemmillings; then maybe the next dodgy scouser-genius kid will choose other representatives.

Guava said...

your views on this topic are really interesting and give a clear cut view. Thanks for sharing the knowledge

macuser_e7 said...

Iain,

Your party is now in government and has committed to a review of the libel laws. You are a man of influence, so use it!

ChristianMetcalfe said...

well done Iain. Good luck with sales of the book.

freedom to prosper said...

I wouldn't worry the hopes of the nation were derailed when the team was picked

Matthew said...

http://inforrm.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/libel-reform-and-wayne-rooney/

Libel Reform and Wayne Rooney?

Schillings’ client clearly remained unhappy and according to Mr Dale:

“But between the book going to print and it being published Schillings tried another tack. They wrote to Waterstone’s and W H Smith threatening them that if they sold the book they would be liable for damages if they carried through with their threat to injunct us and sue for damages”.

This does not quite make sense. Mr Dale appears to be saying that Schillings warned the booksellers that about their potential liability for damages if proceeding were brought against the publishers. It is not clear where the “threats” come from as, according to Mr Dale no proceedings seem to have been “threatened” against anyone. It seems highly unlikely that Schillings would have “threatened” to seek an injunction preventing publication because, as everyone knows, the courts almost never grant interim libel injunctions and, in any event, on Mr Dale’s account they did not know what the book contained (which means that an injunction would be unavailable in any event, see British Data Management plc v Boxer Commercial Removals plc [1996] 3 All ER 707).

johnalexwood said...

You mention that the author is John Sweeney, well known for his Scientology rant. Well I thought you'd like to be reminded of that rant. Here's the original video that started it all. (Turn those speakers down!): http://www.youtube.com/johnalexwood