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 Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation

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dtpollard
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PostSubject: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:05 pm

This agent is going to court to fight information posted about her on various websites. This may be one to watch given the environment of the Internet.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6574477.html


Rooftop Diva – A Novel of Triumph After Katrina- ESSENCE bestseller
http://reviews.aalbc.com/rooftop_diva.htm
Fools’ Heaven – Love, Lust and Death beyond the Pulpit
http://www.therawreviewers.com/artman/publish/FoolsHeaven.shtml

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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:11 pm

This will be an interesting case o follow DT--can we tell the truth, or do we have to couch it and hide what we really believe??
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:26 pm

By the way, the 20 Worst Agents list orignally came from Miss Snark.
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:40 pm

No way! That just makes it all the better Lin
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:02 pm

That's actually according to her own "cease and desist" letter.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:58 am

At least BB does not hide behind a pseudonym. The case isn't about how good or bad an agent is but about how far are whistleblowers allowed to go. There's a big diference between warning the public about a scam agent and ruining someone's reputation. That's for the court to decide.

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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:21 am

How could an agent "hide behind a pseudonym"? I guess I don' get it.

Well, if somebody is a scam agent and you tell people, it's hard to see a difference between that and "ruining their reputation".

It's kind of what whistleblowing is all about. IF somebody is worried about their reputation, they shouldn't run scams.

The law protects people from UNTRUE allegations. If something is true, you can state it publicly. Hard to see anything unfair with that.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:34 am

Quote :
... Miss Snark is not anonymous. Miss Snark is pseudonymous. ...
Stating the truth does not allow anyone to use derogatory remarks. The court won't be deciding on who told the truth and will concentrate on who lied.

e.g.

If someone wrote that a company was swindling people by overcharging and this was true and proved to be true then the company has no grounds to sue.

If someone wrote that a company was swindling people by overcharging and this was true and proved to be true and also wrote that the company made claims which the company didn't in fact make, and could prove that they did not make any false claims, then the company could sue for libel. Not for the truth that was told but for the lies that were printed.

As far as this particular case is concerned, it would be in the best interests of the forum to watch from the sidelines and not post anything defamatory to any of the parties involved.

The law of libel:

http://martlet.ca/view.php?aid=38733&f_iid=9454

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Last edited by Shelagh on Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:59 am; edited 2 times in total
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:43 am

This will be of interest to watch. It may save one of us from stepping too heavily on someone else's toes. I would suppose one could offer their own opinion as long as it was clear that it was an opinion, rather than actual fact. It would also probably depend heavily on how much actual damage occured. The law can be a slippery slope for those of us not schooled in it.
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:49 am

Hi Zada,

I posted a link after you posted that you might find interesting.

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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:51 am

Thanks Shelagh, going there now.
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:00 am

Excellent information, thank you Shelagh. I don't intend to be guilty of slander or libel, but that makes it clear how important facts and notes can be. And how easily one could be accused and found guilty!
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Jenny
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:08 pm

And the court's decision can be found here:

http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080702/NEWS01/807020350/1004
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:36 pm

Quote :
Stating the truth does not allow anyone to use derogatory remarks.

Well, as a matter of fact, under United States it does.

And it only makes sense. Why should you not be able to state a fact because somebody wouldn't want you to?

Charles Manson planned a mass murder. Is it derogatory to say so? Is anything said a literarly agent more heinous than THAT?

Tryin to say that you can't state anything somebody doesn't want people to hear is (in addition to being against the freedom of speech principles most writers tend to subscribe to) a blank check for people to do all sorts of rotten things and not worry about anybody being warned about them.

By the way, whether something is derogatory is a matter of subjective taste. Whether something is "defamatory" is a legal matter.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:59 pm

Stop splitting hairs lin. Calling agents "dumb" because they adopt unethical business practices is derogatory and unacceptable. When people stoop to personal insults, they lose the argument and become worse than their targets.

Thanks for the link Jenny! It wouild seem that Judge Jamie S. Perri agreed that the comments on wikipedia were defamatiory and had they been made by a wikipedia employee, he would not have dismissed the case:

Quote :
While dismissing Bauer's complaint, Perri did not bar Bauer from filing an amended complaint against Wikimedia alleging it published its own, false and defamatory statements about her.

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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:22 pm

The suit against the other defendants is still in effect. Only Wikipedia is off the hook because people other than the site operator post there.
As a reporter I covered the criminal and civil courts in two states for many years. It taught me a lot about libel, slander and the best method of robbing banks. If you defame a person you better have documented proof or you likely will lose in court.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:51 pm

Sometimes "third party poster" plea won't protect you. If it's something really awful, the idea is that you should remove it.

You should see what defamation is like in Mexico. It's a FELONY for one thing. Not a tort, a crime punishable by prison terms.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:54 pm

I'm not splitting hairs... the split is already there. "Defamatory" is legally actionable, "derogatory" get down to manners and opinion and is not a crime or tort.

Personally, I think "dumb" is a lot lighter thing to be heaped on one's head than "unethical" or "crooked".

But calling somebody dumb is in no way legally actionable. Not in the US, at any rate. I understand manners are better in the UK :-)
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:06 pm

Incidentally... I never heard of this person until she started these complaints and lawsuits.

Which have now brought her name--in an unfavorable light--in front of hundreds of thousands of writers and publishers.

It's hard to imagine anything a wikipedia article could have done to do her rep more harmful that what she did herself.

Now I'm not going to say "dumb", but....
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:56 am

Why are you being so pedantic? That's a rhetorical question by the way. I did distinguish between derogatory and defamatory. I emboldened the text so that you wouldn't argue with me but you still did:

Shelagh wrote:
Quote :
... Miss Snark is not anonymous. Miss Snark is pseudonymous. ...
Stating the truth does not allow anyone to use derogatory remarks. The court won't be deciding on who told the truth and will concentrate on who lied.

e.g.

If someone wrote that a company was swindling people by overcharging and this was true and proved to be true then the company has no grounds to sue.

If someone wrote that a company was swindling people by overcharging and this was true and proved to be true and also wrote that the company made claims which the company didn't in fact make, and could prove that they did not make any false claims, then the company could sue for libel. Not for the truth that was told but for the lies that were printed.

As far as this particular case is concerned, it would be in the best interests of the forum to watch from the sidelines and not post anything defamatory to any of the parties involved.

The law of libel:

http://martlet.ca/view.php?aid=38733&f_iid=9454

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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:57 am

Why are you worrying at this so much and giving me such a hard time?

There's a big diference between derogatory and defamatory... your statement that telling the truth is no excuse for saying things somebody might not like is an anathema to anybody who's ever worked in journalism and your tone to me has been extremely negative.

What are you trying to accomplish here? Get the feeling it might be over if you would stop being insulting?
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:23 am

Quote :
derogatory [dir-rog-a-tree] Adjective
expressing or showing a low opinion of someone or something

hc_dict()


Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

Adj.1.derogatory - expressive of low opinion; "derogatory comments"; "disparaging remarks about the new house" derogative, disparaging
uncomplimentary - tending to (or intended to) detract or disparage
wn()
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

derogatory adjective disparaging, damaging, offensive, slighting, detracting, belittling, unfavourable, unflattering, dishonouring, defamatory, injurious, discreditable, uncomplimentary, depreciative << OPPOSITE complimentary

hc_thes()


Collins Essential Thesaurus 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2005, 2006


Quote :

def·a·ma·tion
play_w2("D0089300")


(df-mshn) n. The act of defaming; calumny.


de·fama·tory (d-fm-tôr, -tr) adj.
hm()


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

Noun1.defamation - a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions calumniation, calumny, hatchet job, traducement, obloquy
derogation, disparagement, depreciation - a communication that belittles somebody or something

assassination, blackwash, character assassination - an attack intended to ruin someone's reputation

malignment, smear, vilification - slanderous defamation

libel - a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person

slander - words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another

name calling, names - verbal abuse; a crude substitute for argument; "sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me"

epithet, name - a defamatory or abusive word or phrase
2.defamation - an abusive attack on a person's character or good name aspersion, calumny, denigration, slander
attack - strong criticism; "he published an unexpected attack on my work"
wn()
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Whichever way you look at it, they mean the same.

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Malcolm
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:25 am

For anyone interested in reading the court papers and other information about the case, the web site for the Citizen Media Law Project has a page set up for Bauer v. Wikipedia at http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/bauer-v-wikimedia

There are many other interesting links and reoureces on the site as well.

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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:17 pm

I see the difference between degrogatory and defamation. Actually, I think the term pedantic could be considered degrogatory by some people.
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PostSubject: Re: Literary Agent Sues Sites for Ruining Her Reputation   Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:41 pm

"...a rose by any other name..." I think the bard knew that it wasn't the barbed comments that hurt the most; it's the unsaid words. We have a tendency to read too much into them.

"Nothing is as peevish and pedantic as men's judgments of one another." — Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536)

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