Romance

Erotica publisher takes blogger to court over financial trouble allegations

14 October 2014

From The Daily Dot:

A major erotica publisher is suing a beloved one-woman blog site, and everyone from the blog’s readers to the publisher’s authors are rallying in support of the blogger.

The publishing community has done everything but hold a bake sale to help blog owner Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, better known as Jane Litte of Dear Author, raise the money for her legal defense fund against Ellora’s Cave, the erotica publisher suing her for defamation.

Ellora’s Cave, whose storehouse of popular romance titles raked in $15 million last year, is demanding $25,000 in damages from Gerrish-Lampe after she blogged about the company’s allegedly questionable business practices.

But Gerrish-Lampe won’t be fighting the suit alone: A crowdfunding campaign to defray her legal costs created by well-known book blogger Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has raised more than $50,000 in five days. It’s also given rise to a hashtag, spawned a charity erotica anthology, and created a strange backlash for the long list of authors who have supported the blog.

. . . .

Enter Dear Author. Dear Author is a popular publishing industry blog that has built its reputation on analyzing industry news, debunking rumors, and serving as an information resource for authors and readers. Following Ellora’s sales drop, Gerrish-Lampe, who is a lawyer by day, dug deeper into Ellora’s Cave and its financial records.

On Sept. 14, she compiled a long litany of alleged evidence that Elllora’s is on its last financial leg, including claims from authors that they had not received royalties, financial records showing years of unpaid taxes, and erratic behavior from Engler who was taken to task by a judge for “systematic delays and flagrant disrespect for the court” in a 2008 civil court case.

. . . .

Dear Author’s Attorney Marc John Randazza told the Daily Dot via email that the lawsuit was an intimidation tactic:

Clearly the plaintiff has never read Near v. Minnesota [a legal precedent in favor of allowing negative press to be published] or seen The Big Lebowski. As Walter Sobchak taught us, “the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.”

This is clearly a SLAPP suit. Ellora’s has filed a lawsuit without any possible damages. The only thing they seem to want to accomplish is inflicting attorney’s fees on the defendant.

Speaking to the Dot by phone, Ellora’s lawyer Steven Mastrantonio insisted that it isn’t a SLAPP, or strategic lawsuit against public participation, suit, and said that although they “would love to resolve the lawsuit,” it was important to clear the air about the false claims made against the company. A SLAPP suit is intended to essentially silence critics by burying them with legal threats and fees, but that’s not what’s happening here according to Mastrantonio:

We have paid the authors, we have paid the editors. The case is not a SLAPP suit by any means. It’s not an anti-first Amendment lawsuit. It’s simply a case where Dear Author has made a malicious and false statement about my client which has caused real damage to them. It’s a defamation case. We want to set the record straight.

Allegations like they made in a public forum, and causing panic among the authors and fans, that has the unintended consequences of affecting sales of the books and actually affecting the authors who want to get paid. So if people aren’t buying the books, the royalties go down.

Link to the rest at The Daily Dot

“Tara! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!”

11 October 2014

The line above is the last line from the movie, Gone with the Wind, based upon the literary classic, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.

But look! Look what’s happened to Scarlett’s beloved Tara~

With only a few volunteers and money out of his own pocket, Lovejoy resident Peter Bonner is carefully restoring the facade of Gone With the Wind‘s famous plantation using pieces from the original set. Wood, windows and fixtures from the classic 1939 film sat on the back lot of Selznick Studios until 1959 when the set was dismantled and returned to Atlanta under a banner saying, “Tara has come home.” The intention was to turn it into a tourist attraction, but that never happened. Later, in 1979, the pieces were purchased by Betty Talmadge, the ex-wife of Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. Betty cared for the facade and attempted to work with municipalities to put it into a museum. She paid for the front door to be restored and it is currently on display at the Margaret Mitchell House. Unfortunately, Talmadge passed away in 2005 before anything could be done with the facade, and poor Tara remained in storage.

Now that’s dedication. Read the rest and view the photos here.

Julia

15,000 Harlequin Titles + Scribd = ?

6 October 2014

From Jane Litte at Dear Author

Harlequin has signed a deal to provide exclusive subscription access to 15,000 backlist titles to Scribd subscribers

****

Monthly subscribers to Scribd can now find titles from a variety of Harlequin imprints:
• Harlequin Series Romance (including Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Desire, Harlequin Superromance, etc.)
• HQN Books
• MIRA
• Carina Press

****

Scribd is offering a free 3-month subscription.

From Guest Blogger Randall with a thanks to Shelly for the tip.

See Shelly’s books here.

Randall can’t help but wonder what affect this will have on authors attempting to get their titles back from Harlequin.

Re-reading a modern day romance classic.

3 October 2014

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

From Stephanie at Fangs Wands & Fairy Dust:

I read a lot and always have.  But it is a testimony to the excellence of this book that I can remember when I first bought it, and where in the now defunct bookstore I bought it. Furthermore, I remember going back there again and again waiting for the next book in the series.

I always thought I remembered a lot from my first reading. But, even reading through the last couple of books in the series, I realized I had forgotten an awful lot of the details, had some out of order, and thought different characters did different things. So about a week and a half ago I began rereading the story.

There has been a lot of contention since the series came out about whether it would stick to the book in plot and character. And, I have to say that it has really kept to the book, the last couple of episodes in this first season took some not unwelcome liberties, but all in all it has.

***

There is a lot less Jamie in the first few parts of the novel.  He doesn’t appear nearly as much as I seemed to recall. I’ve chalked it up to wishful thinking on my p[art as who wouldn’t rather Jamie than his gnarly uncle?  And the paradox of marriage to someone who has not yet been born is still really, really interesting.

This is a long book but really worth the time and money. It is in all likelihood at your local library in a couple of formats.  I think it is well-written, engaging, gripping and un-put-down-able — even after the second read.  And, I enjoyed reading it even as I watched the series.

I admit to having read Outlander when it was first released. In fact I’ve read the entire series. The characters are so real to me that I’ve had mixed feelings about any translation to either the big or small screen. The Starz series has managed to win me over, despite some lingering trepidation. Dear Ms. Gabaldon, it’s been 23 years, yet Claire and Jamie still have the power to enchant.

Read Stephanie’s perspective here.

Julia Barrett

A note about confidentiality clauses

1 October 2014

From author Courtney Milan:

A brief update of what is going on:

1. Jane Litte of Dear Author was sued for defamation by Ellora’s Cave, after she signal-boosted news from Ellora’s Cave authors, editors, and cover artists saying that they were not getting paid, along with other warning signs of impending company failure.

. . . .

3. Jane has asked for people–specifically editors, cover-artists, and authors–to come forward who are willing to testify that they have not been paid.

I have seen multiple times (in emails and on the web) the statement that many people who would like to come forward feel that they are bound by the confidentiality clause in their contracts, and so cannot speak on this issue.

. . . .

(A) If you think you know something that can help, e-mail Jane (jane@dearauthor.com). If you are afraid you can’t testify because of the confidentiality clause, tell her that.

(B) I feel that with (A) you need to know that your interests and Jane’s interests do not align perfectly, and I’m sure some of you know that. So here’s an option B. If you are an author, an editor, or a cover-artist who would testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but for the confidentiality clause, contact me. If there is enough interest from those who would testify but are afraid for confidentiality reasons, I will look into finding a lawyer to accompany you to the hearing–someone whose job it is to represent your interests, and to make sure that you’re speaking up to the maximum allowed without putting yourselves at risk. But in order to do that, I need to know who you are. E-mail me at contact@courtneymilan.com. You do not have to tell me anything except that you would be willing to testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but feel that you cannot except for the confidentiality clause.

Link to the rest at Courtney Milan and thanks to Lily for the tip.

Here’s a link to Courtney Milan’s books

Ellora’s Cave v Dear Author Update

30 September 2014

From Dear Author:

Today there was a temporary injunction hearing.  During the hearing the judge did not grant the injunction, but did request that we come back for a more thorough hearing, where we would be able to provide evidence  in our defense.

Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

Therefore, If you are willing, I need help with the following:

Individual authors, editors, cover artists willing to testify, either in person, via telephone or in an affidavit to payments made/not made.

It would be best if you could testify in person, but a sworn written statement will be adequate.

Additionally, if you have any Screenshots of any public statements regarding Ellora’s Cave, those would be helpful too.

You can reach me at jane@dearauthor.com.

Link to the rest at Dear Author and thanks to SFR for the tip.

 

Digital publisher Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author blog for reporting on its financial troubles

30 September 2014

From Gigaom:

To those who follow the digital romance publishing world, it’s not exactly a secret that digital publisher Ellora’s Cave is struggling. But now the company is suing a leading romance blogger who wrote about the problems it was having.

Ellora’s Cave, launched in 2000, was a very early player in romance ebook sales and for a time was highly successful, selling romance and erotica titles that mainstream publishers had ignored to a passionate audience of female readers. Then things began falling apart, sales decreased and authors started going unpaid.

Dear Author, a romance blog that also covers a variety of digital publishing issues,reported thoroughly on Ellora’s Cave’s troubles earlier this month, citing tax violations by Tina Engler, the company’s founder, and reporting further on delayed or missing author payments. Dear Author also published an email that Ellora’s Cave sent to its authors in which it described a “quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months.”

. . . .

Litte, who is also a lawyer, plans to fight the lawsuit and tweeted Monday that she’s hired Marc Randazza, an attorney who specializes in the First Amendment and also played a key role in bringing down patent troll Righthaven.

Link to the rest at Gigaom

Our reply to Ellora’s Cave’s recent actions

29 September 2014

From The Book Pushers:

It’s been a crazy time these past few days. Jane from Dear Author is being sued by Ellora’s Cave.

Ellora’s Cave is suing Jane after she posted this very informative and well written post about Ellora’s Cave and their behaviour which has been reported by EC authors and past employees.

Ellora’s Cave, do you want to silence critics? Ellora’s Cave, do you want to silence your authors?

You won’t silence us.

. . . .

In one stroke, Ellora’s Cave have managed to evaporate all goodwill towards the company–what little they had considering some of the alleged behaviour they have directed and are directing towards their authors.

Some readers, bloggers and authors have decided not to review and buy any present or future books of Ellora’s Cave.

At the Bookpushers, we have made a decision not to review any titles of Ellora’s Cave. On a personal note, some of us have made the decision not to buy any present or future books of Ellora’s Cave.

Link to the rest at The Book Pushers

Could Ellora’s Cave Be More Pathetic and Pernicious?

29 September 2014

From Barry Eisler:

I was traveling . . .  so I missed the news that romance publisher Ellora’s Cave is suing Jane Litte and her blog Dear Author for “defamation.” Jane reported on EC’s apparent failure to pay EC authors royalties that were due, on authors calling for a boycott of EC-published books, and on related matters, and it seems EC responded the way powerful entities sometimes do when their abuses are exposed: they sued.

. . . .

I’ve opined many times that we’re living through a revolution in publishing, a revolution that promises more opportunities, freedom, and profits for authors, and better choice, convenience, and prices for readers. The publishing establishment is trying to impede that progress in a variety of ways: propaganda; marginalizing critics; calls for government intervention; and now, it seems, litigation designed to frighten and silence critics of entrenched interests.

. . . .

The post I wrote is about power dynamics in publishing. As I think should be reasonably clear from our discussions here (and my posts elsewhere), I don’t trust asymmetrical market power anywhere I see it, and despise its abuses no matter how or in what system it manifests itself.

. . . .

If EC doesn’t believe its suit is going to cause a massive backlash and result in new authors being afraid to sign with them, it can only be because: (i) they’re so desperate they think they have nothing to lose; (ii) they believe they have such asymmetrical market power that authors will submit new manuscripts to them no matter what; or (iii) both.

Link to the rest at Barry Eisler

Here’s a link to Barry Eisler’s books

Ellora’s Cave Sues Dear Author Book Blog for Defamation

27 September 2014

From The Digital Reader:

Here’s something crazy.

Romance publisher Ellora’s Cave has been having financial issues for the past year or so, but rather than sit down and fix them this publisher has decided that the best solution was a public and messy defamation lawsuit.

Court documents filed today in Ohio have revealed that Ellora’s Cave has filed suit against Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, an Iowa lawyer who is better known as Jane Litte, the proprietor of one of the best romance book blogs (I did not know it was a pseudonym).

Ellora’s Cave alleges that a recent blog post on Dear Author defamed them, and in addition to suing the publisher also asks for a temporary restraining order – meaning that Dear Author might not be allowed to report that they are being sued.

. . . .

The lawsuit was only filed today, but Jane has indicated that she will fight this suit. She’s looking for a good attorney in the Akron, OH, area with experience in defamation.

. . . .

The cost of defending against a lawsuit can be onerous, leading some to give in. On the other hand, this type of lawsuit can also result in a Streisand effect, attracting even more attention to the story which Ellora’s Cave is trying to bury.

What’s more, even if this lawsuit doesn’t generate even more negative publicity for Ellora’s Cave, it will result in the public airing of all of that publisher’s dirty laundry during the discovery process. If even half of the rumors going around are true, we could well see many authors suing Ellora’s Cave for unpaid royalties.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG says truth is a defense in a defamation suit. This means that Jane gets to use the discovery phase of the litigation to force Ellora’s Cave to disclose all sorts of information, including information that shows what Jane wrote is true.

Here are some of the things that Jane has written that EC says are false:

1. That employees of EC are going unpaid.

2. That EC authors have not received their royalties.

3. That unpaid royalties, editors’ fees and artists’ fees amount to several thousand dollars.

Basically, Jane gets to find out if these and other statements about Ellora’s Cave are true or not.

As a general proposition, documents filed in litigation are public. Already, the contents of the original Dear Author post that EC found objectionable are included as an exhibit to the complaint. Everyone who reads the complaint will be able to see what Dear Author published about Ellora’s Cave.

Nate mentioned The Streisand Effect. Here’s a definition:

The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

Here’s a copy of the Complaint:

 


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