Readersforum's Blog

August 1, 2013

JK Rowling accepts damages from law firm that revealed her secret identity

callingJK Rowling has accepted damages at London’s High Court from a law firm which outed her as a crime author, after one of its lawyers confided her secret identity to his wife’s best friend.

By Alice Philipson

The Harry Potter author brought proceedings against Chris Gossage, who works for law firm Russells, and a friend of his, Judith Callegari.

Her solicitor, Jenny Afia, told Mr Justice Tugendhat that Rowling was revealed in the Sunday Times as the writer of crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, which was published under the name of Robert Galbraith.

A few days later, Russells contacted her agent disclosing that it was Mr Gossage who had divulged the confidential information to his wife’s best friend, Ms Callegari, during a private conversation. Ms Callegari later revealed the news in a public Twitter message to a Sunday Times journalist

Ms Afia said that Ms Rowling, who was not in court, “has been left dismayed and distressed by such a fundamental betrayal of trust”.

Mr Gossage, Ms Callegari and Russells all apologised, with the firm agreeing to reimburse Ms Rowling’s legal costs and make a payment, by way of damages, to the Soldiers’ Charity, formerly the Army Benevolent Fund.

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May 15, 2013

Amazon Warehouse Workers Sue Over Security Checkpoint Waits

By Dave Jamieson

Whenever he clocked out after his 12-hour shift at an Amazon warehouse, Jesse Busk had one more critical task to perform before he could hop into his car and head home to sleep: Pass through the sprawling warehouse security checkpoint.

The purpose of the checkpoint was to prevent workers like Busk from pilfering electronics or other pricey goods from the Amazon stock. The process deeply annoyed Busk, but not because of any indignity he may have felt in being checked for contraband. What bothered him was the time it required after an exhausting day — up to 25 minutes, all of it unpaid.

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May 11, 2013

Harper Lee sues agent over copyright to To Kill A Mockingbird

mockAuthor claims she was duped into signing over the rights on her prizewinning book.

By Paul Harris

Harper Lee, the reclusive author of To Kill A Mockingbird, has sued a literary agent, claiming that he tricked the ageing writer into assigning him copyright on the classic book.

The move marks a rare step into the spotlight for Lee, who is known for keeping a low profile for such a household name, living quietly in a tiny town in the deep south of America and eschewing almost all media requests.

However, in a shock move, 87-year-old Lee has now filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan court alleging that Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee’s long-time agent, Eugene Winick, tricked Lee into signing over the copyright on the book.

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March 25, 2013

HarperCollins sued by former death row prisoner over ditched book

NickSeven Days to Live, Yarris, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for murder, sues publisher over abandoned life story.

By Josh Halliday

From death row to the high court. Book publishing giant HarperCollins is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with a former prisoner who spent 21 years in solitary confinement in the US for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Nick Yarris, who was released from death row in Pennsylvania in 2004, is suing HarperCollins, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, at the high court in London for breach of contract over his life story, Seven Days to Live, published in 2008.

Yarris was sentenced to death in 1983 after being convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in Delaware. He spent the next two decades in one of America’s toughest prisons but was dramatically acquitted in January 2004 thanks to DNA evidence.

His harrowing account of the ordeal appeared in the book, Seven Days to Live, which was set to go on general sale in July 2008.

However, days before the release date, Yarris was arrested and charged with growing marijuana.

That prompted HarperCollins to swiftly halt the book’s publication – but not before a number of copies had been passed to retailers, including and high street bookstores.

It is estimated that more than a thousand copies of the book were purchased by readers around the world. Used copies are for sale online for between £35.99 and £81.55.

The marijuana-growing charges against Yarris were later dismissed.

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March 10, 2013

US indies launch DRM lawsuit

posmanThree US independent bookshops have launched a lawsuit against the big six publishers and Amazon in America claiming that by signing a contract to sell e-books with DRM through Amazon, they are combining to restrict the sale of e-books through indie stores.

Fiction Addiction in South Carolina, Posman Books in New York [pictured] and Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza are taking the action against Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Random House, Macmillan and Amazon claiming that the publishers signed contracts with Amazon to sell e-books with DRM that was “specifically designed to limit the use of digital content” to Kindle devices, according to Publishers Lunch.

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Cornwell wins $50m lawsuit

Filed under: Lawsuits — Tags: , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 6:17 am

patriciaCrime writer Patricia Cornwell has won $50.9m (£33.2m) in a lawsuit against her former financial management company for negligence in the handling of her finances, and loss of earnings when she failed to meet a book deadline due to their actions.

According to US reports, Cornwell sued Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP and its former principal, Evan H Snapper, for negligence, arguing that Snapper and his colleagues cost her and her company tens of millions of dollars in losses or unaccounted revenue over four years.

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January 29, 2013

Readers sue Armstrong and US publishers


lance_armstrong| By Charlotte WIlliams

Two US book buyers are suing cyclist Lance Armstrong and his publishers Random House US and Penguin Group USA over claims they presented fiction as autobiography. The development follows Armstrong’s confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles.

The California duo, Rob Stutzman and Jonathan Wheeler, filed a complaint on 22nd January in federal court in Sacramento saying that they would not have bought It’s Not About the Bike or Every Second Counts had they known the truth. The plaintiffs said: “Both books have now been exposed as frauds.”

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November 23, 2012

Tolkien estate sues Hobbit producers over video and gambling games

The Hobbit: an unexpected journey to the lawyers

Lawsuit alleges Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit merchandising infringes copyright and upsets fans.

By Alison Flood

“Irreparable harm” has been done to JRR Tolkien’s legacy by gambling games featuring characters from The Lord of the Rings, according to an $80m (£50m) lawsuit filed by the Tolkien estate against the producers of the imminent film of The Hobbit.

The suit [PDF], filed in a Los Angeles court on Monday, sees the Tolkien estate, its trustees and publisher HarperCollins taking legal action against Warner Bros, its subsidiary New Line Productions and the Saul Zaentz Company’s Middle-earth Enterprises. It alleges that they have infringed the copyright granted to them by releasing gambling games and online video games based on Tolkien’s inventions, claiming that the 1969 sale of film rights only included limited merchandising rights to use characters, places, objects and events referenced in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. These limited rights included the right to sell “tangible” products such as “figurines, tableware, stationery items, clothing, and the like”, but did not include “electronic or digital rights, rights in media yet to be devised or other intangibles such as rights in services”.

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November 12, 2012

South African President Drops Defamation Suit Against Cartoonist

By Soyini Hamit

South African President Jacob Zuma announced last week that he was dropping his lawsuit against cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, known by the pen-name Zapiro. Zuma brought the suit for defamation against Zapiro, along with Sunday Times publisher Avusa Media and editor Mondli Makhanya, for Zapiro’s cartoon “Lady Justice,” which depicts Zuma set to rape Lady Justice. The president’s office released a statement saying that they dropped the charges in order to avoid setting a legal precedent that would have a chilling effect on free speech in South Africa.Zuma filed the lawsuit in December 2008, after the Sunday Times published the cartoon. In the cartoon, Zuma stands with his pants undone while his political allies hold Lady Justice down and encourage him to “Go for it, Boss.” The cartoon was intended to represent Zuma’s abuse of the justice system. It also recalled the numerous sex scandals Zuma was involved in, including a 2006 trial for rape in which he was acquitted. Zuma felt that the image damaged his reputation and dignity.

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October 30, 2012

The Past Is Never Dead: A Faulkner Quote in ‘Midnight in Paris’ Results in a Lawsuit

Owen Wilson, left, and Marion Cotillard in 1920s Paris in a scene from “Midnight in Paris.”


When settling previous intellectual disputes, Woody Allen has been able to produce esteemed men of letters to come to his defense (at least when Marshall McLuhan is hiding just off camera). But there is not much chance that William Faulkner will be able to speak up for him in this latest disagreement: Faulkner Literary Rights, the company that controls works by that Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Sound and the Fury” and “As I Lay Dying,” has filed a lawsuit over Mr. Allen’s 2011 film “Midnight in Paris” and what it says is that movie’s unauthorized use of a line from Faulkner’s book “Requiem for a Nun.”

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