Thursday, July 19, 2007

Paul Williams Suing Publisher

Since there are many aspects to the legal issues of this story it is difficult to separate that which is important from that which is unimportant. Perhaps it is all important at some level. Clearly there are many issues to be sorted out and sorted out they will be by the courts. After all that is what courts are designed to do isn’t it?

In an article sent to me by Michael Travis, a man for whom I have come to rely on to send me compiled lists of information which usually has the ability to scare me half to death or at least question the wisdom of our leaders, I find the subject matter upon which to comment today.

Indeed Michael Travis fills my mailbox with so much information I am usually in overload simply trying to keep up with all of it. Travis is a one man army for the fight against Islamic extremism. Indeed if all Jews were as dedicated to advancing this fight as is Travis, then everyone in America might just be a little bit safer.

But let me get on with the issue at hand. Paul Williams has in his published writing made some very serious allegations related to Canada’s McMaster University. So when publication laws which differ from country to country occur, apparently issues arise. It is important for any publisher wanting to publish a book in any country be familiar with the laws of that country.

The question then is who here is at fault? Williams wrote the book for publication in the United States of America. Obviously his publisher had taken the standard precautions which any reasonable publisher would take before putting anything into print.

The publisher, in addition to publishing books which they believe will make money for them, have in their own best interest the obligation to confirm that there is no issue which might lead to a lawsuit.

Or perhaps I should say more appropriately not any issue which cannot be reasonably defended in a court of law. In truth anyone can take anyone else to court just about any day of the week.

But when a publisher puts out a book they are responsible to stand behind the thing which they published. It is they who are the publisher and have placed upon that published work, their brand.

They have the final edit authority and they stand to become a party to any legal action. They also, in my opinion, have an obligation to stand behind their client, in this instance Williams. That is in my humble estimation an important aspect of any imprint.

But the issue is much more than this lawsuit. It appeals to the far ranging effect on the entire book publishing industry. By way of this lawsuit issued by Williams against his publisher this story has taken an extreme left turn along the way.

In time of war and worldwide fear of an obvious nuclear threat the rules of the game change. Or do they? This is an area which adds a new dimension to the publishing industry. It is a world where everyone becomes a player in some way or other.

Those who profit by publishing stories about the issues within the issues all share a degree of responsibility to write or publish in such a way that they are covered and protected by law. But the same laws which protect them can be countered with laws which protect the other team.

Can a writer sue the individuals who publish his or her book? The reasons sited by Williams in this lawsuit raise some interesting points. In reality when any individual or entity which causes another individual harm it is reasonable to conclude that such person can sue.

Merit is always an important factor in any lawsuit. Williams asserts that the actions of Cumberland House Publishing has by those actions as reported in a
Nashville Post article left him in a position whereby he will be hard pressed to find another publisher in the future.

Mr. Williams should consider that when writing things which, whether truthful or not, cause significant controversy and then sue the publisher of that controversial book than he is going to have difficulty in finding a publisher of any merit anyway.

Since the publishing industry like all industry doesn’t take kindly to being sued then the person bringing the lawsuit effectively becomes a pariah. His only hope then, short of self publication would be to find a publisher with the courage and conviction to stand behind him and his message.

Most publishing houses are not dedicated to a cause as is Williams and the bottom line as in all business shall always be the final deciding factor in corporate America. The question which interests me is how far reaching will the lawsuit be.

Can publication laws which apply to a book publisher be considered by those same courts to hold true to the internet? After all anything which can be stated in print can be stated just as well and with far more ease in the electronic media.

If something is written in the United States of America with those laws in mind is read in Zambia is the author to be judged by Zambian law. Must the author of a blog beat a drum as a warning that such information might get the reader in another land placed upon a pike in the town square?

Can a blogger get in hot water simply by reporting and commenting on what is being said by an investigator about a place like McMaster University? After all, those good folks do read everything written here about them. Could I be named as a co-defendant along with Williams?

Consider what they have said in regard to the comments of Williams. [A lawyer for the school said the claims are "on a par with UFO reports and JFK conspiracy theories," and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has termed them "false."]

I can’t speak for Paul Williams however my mainline defense remains as was the case of the well known comedian Flip Wilson, “The Devil made me do it!”

This is a case which bears close watch. It seems that I will have to consult with my legal department. Oh boy, I just remembered, I don’t have a legal department. Better learn to walk on thin ice I guess.

This is something which the blogging community had better be thinking about. I suppose that I can go back to building model airplanes.

Interestingly Williams remains committed to exposing what he claims are the facts of the McMaster issue. He remains true to his cause. And for that reason if for no other Paul Williams is a man to be admired by everyone who has any concern for safety in the fight against Islamic fascism.

Don’t forget to support the Paul Williams legal defense fund.

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