Last weekend I wrote a posted titled, The WTFckery Report: Ellora’s Cave Suing Dear Author Blog for Defamation. Why Book Bloggers Should Be Worried. Since that post, there has been some updates on this matter regarding a once admired and respected epublisher (Ellora’s Cave) suing a book blogger (Dear Author) for libel and malice because of this post: The Curious Case of Ellora’s Cave.
The Streisand effect has been in full force this week, and has grown. There is a new hashtag regarding the Ellora’s Cave/Dear Author lawsuit thanks to author, Courtney Milan. Courtney’s post, On Limited Public Figures #notchilled explains:
“I believe that this lawsuit was filed for the purpose of chilling speech–and for the purpose of chilling true speech about a matter of imminent public concern. And I think that despite the outpourings of support, it’s working. This lawsuit is about teaching authors to sit down and shut up, even if their livelihood is at stake. o I’m going to be tweeting harsh things about Ellora’s Cave that I believe to be true, and that I am confident will not be held defamatory under the limited public figure test because they are not made with actual malice. If they sue me, they sue me, and I’ll consider it money well spent.
I can’t give you legal advice about what to tweet. I can’t tell you that tweeting is safe and that it won’t harm you. But I’m going to be tweeting these things under the hashtag #notchilled–because I refuse to have legitimate speech about a matter of public concern chilled by a self-important bag of farts who happens to have access to a lawyer.”
Courtney, using the #notchilled invited people on twitter to do the same. Spread the word. Don’t be silenced.
People are not being silenced. Those who didn’t want to get involved initially are now speaking up, including Ellora’s Cave authors. Even those who aren’t fans of Dear Author or Jane are lending their support in big ways.
Jane is going to fight Ellora’s Cave, or rather I should say Tina Engler because Tina is the one of the parties responsible for the lawsuit, not Ellora’s Cave the entity as a whole, meaning the authors who publish there. The authors at Ellora’s Cave are collateral damage in all of this because regardless of how this turns out it’s very ugly for the EC authors. Knowing what you know now as a consumer/reader, would you buy Ellora’s Cave books in the future? What if all the readers who once supported Ellora’s Cave stop buying their books? You have your answer right there.
Recently two authors wrote posts about Ellora’s Cave. That should push those watching the outcome to not to stand back and remain silent or not care. One of Ellora’s Cave’s biggest authors, Lolita Lopez wrote a post on why she won’t finish the Grabbed Series because Ellora’s Cave owns the rights:
“…I’m going to take her at her word and assume that EC doesn’t want even more bad PR about lawsuits after the sh*t storm their current suit against Jane Litte at Dear Author has created. I’d like to think EC doesn’t want to add “sued mother of special needs child who uses her royalties to fund special needs trust that will keep autistic child with severe heart defects out of state run hell-holes after mommy dies” to their long list of PR flubs. I currently have four contracts on proposals for the next four books in the Grabbed series. These contracts provided no advance and have NO DELIVERY DATES on them. My contracts have a provision for termination for non-delivery so my attorney contacted EC and explained my reasons for wanting to terminate these contracts.
EC’s answer? No. But not just no. It was NO with an added: we might consider a buy-out but the figure would be quite high and based on the “potential future income” of these books.
Now, let’s not even get started on how they would figure “potential future income” for books that do not even exist. How do they intend to value possible future sales for a constantly shifting market that EC clearly does not understand considering their Amazon sales have nose-dived when many of us have seen growth?
Most people know this, but for those who don’t: We have a special needs child who had two major heart surgeries before six months of age. She then had belly and mouth surgery at 2. Last year, she was diagnosed with autism and had a heart failure scare. 2014 has been another year of high medical costs and scary moments.
Most of my royalties from the books I write as Roxie and Lo go into a special needs trust that will provide for her future. Every penny that I spend on legal fees, an audit of the EC books or trying to buy-out these contracts is a penny that doesn’t go into mutual funds or life insurance policies that will give the absolute light of my life a bright and happy future.”
“I know what it’s feels like to be defamed. I am naturally sympathetic to anyone who feels their name have been smeared. EC is the Goliath. It has more money and it can draw out the legal battle. DA’s income is not nearly in the same league. I can’t imagine their ad revenue covers much more than their expenses. For better or worse, our justice system is more friendly to people with money. An average citizen with an average income can attempt to sue a large company, but even if their case has merit, the party with the bigger purse often wins. It’s not fair. This case in particular is a slippery slope. What’s next? Bloggers being sued for negative reviews? Authors being sued for speaking about the breach of their contract?”
How can someone support Jane and help her in her fight with Ellora’s Cave? Jane has to spend money out of her own pocket to the tune of $20,000 and perhaps more. There are a few ways you can do this.
A Dear Author Defense Fund has been set up by Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books on Go Fund Me. Donations started rolling in yesterday morning, and in 24 hours over $41,000 has been raised. If you can donate, not matter how small, please do.
A couple of key points:
Jane has set aside $20,000.00 of her own money for her defense, but that money will go quickly as the suit progresses.
Sarah is administering the fund through GoFundMe, and contributions can be anonymous. She will not reveal donor information. If the defense case can be completed for less than $20,000.00, we will attempt to refund donor money through GoFundMe’s refund options.
All funds, minus the fees charged by GoFundMe, will be used for Jane’s legal defense. Sarah is not being compensated for my role in setting up the fund. Any funds that are left over when the suit is finished will be donated to the Society of Professional Journalists Legal Defense Fund.
If you’re not comfortable donating through the Go Fun Me website you can you can send a contribution via Paypal to jane AT dear author DOT com. Please make sure to earmark the funds “Jane Litte/Dear Author Defense Fund.”
If you’d prefer not to use a credit card, please email Sarah at sarah AT smartbitchestrashybooks DOT com.
For those who can’t donate, you can help continue to spread the word (and slap aside any subtweets who are happy Jane is getting sued and use the word “karma” for what Jane is getting. For more about that WTFckery in itself, click here: Jenny Trout: Don’t Do This Ever and click here: Tez Says: Subtweeting)
Speak up. Spread the word. Don’t be silenced. Keep Not Chilled going strong.
Round Up of Websites and Blogs:
Tina Engler has no problem speaking up loudly as she did on the Passive Voice blog in a post titled: A Note About Confidentiality Clauses discussing Courtney Milan’s #notchilled post.
Tina Engler as Jaid Black has a new post titled: For the Silence Victims. She uses “Salem Witch Hunt” and “McCarthyism” to describe what is happening to her and Ellora’s Cave.