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Legal Notice Against Booklife.com

19 Aug

Anyone who has been following my Facebook fanpage is aware that I discovered a libelous and spurious review of my first book in the Godslayer Cycle, One, by Publisher’s Weekly posted on Booklife.com. I called for an immediate retraction of the offending content, but Publisher’s Weekly has refused to remove it. Consequently, I am exercising my legal right to sue for damages to my brand and intellectual property rights unless they do so without further delay.

I am providing the commentary here for two reasons: first, to make public my notice of intent to take legal measures to protect my intellectual property rights and brand; and second, to provide an example of what legal rights other independent authors have. Though you as an author have no right to control a genuine negative review (freedom of the press), you do have the legal right to demand a retraction of any incorrect or misleading information about the content of your intellectual property. If you write a book about the Bible, and someone posts a review saying you are writing about the Quran, you have the right to demand retraction of deliberately libelous content about your brand. If they do not respond or ignore your request, you have the right to sue to both enforce it as well as to seek damages to your goodwill, ie, defamation of character.

This being said, please see below for the precise language of my Libelous Defamation Cease and Desist Notice. Good luck, one and all!

RE: Libelous Defamation Cease and Desist Notice

August 18, 2014

To Whom It May Concern,

I am an author, and the owner of the copyright, trademark and patent relating to books referenced on your site, specifically“One” and “Godslayer Cycle”. I publish these titles in the United States and around the world. My intellectual property rights and brand recognition as an author have been in continuous use since August, 2011.

I have discovered that you are intentionally defaming my brand by soliciting spurious and deliberately false content about my work, and then criticizing the false content as a reflection of my brand’s credibility on your website (booklife.com). Your website prominently features a review of my intellectual property that is deliberately libelous and fraudulent, maligning my intellectual property and brand based thereon. You have been notified of this infringement, yet the site has remained active, receiving 127 referrals to other social media sites as of the date of this letter.

It is clear that your providing this alleged review of my work is intended to (and actually does) misinform and misdirect customers seeking my goods and services for sale, effectively maligning both my character and that of the brand I represent. This activity is actionable under federal law and causes you to be liable to me in every state and/or country in which I may have made sales. Your activities are unlawful and constitute intellectual property rights dilution and diminishment of marketable value, and as they are deliberately harmful, they also constitute malignant libel and defamation.

Federal trademark law provides numerous remedies for intellectual property dilution, including, but not limited to, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, money damages, a defendant’s profits), provisions for the destruction or confiscation of infringing products and promotional materials (in this case your website content), damages equal to the value of lost sales (in this instance actionable through any and all distribution of your reviews to other media sites and/or views of your website equal to the lost value of sale per consumer reached by this method), damages equal to any and all compensation received through your site through the period in which this offending material was posted, and where intentional infringing is shown, attorney’s fees and treble money damages.

I can file a lawsuit against you seeking: (i) preliminary and permanent injunction; (ii) treble money damages; (iii) compensation equal to your the loss of value to my brand; (iv) reimbursement of any attorney’s fees; and (v) a court order that you compensate me for damage to my goodwill.

I prefer to resolve this matter without taking legal action, but I am prepared to file a lawsuit if necessary to protect my rights and business. You may avoid legal action by having an authorized representative respond to this letter no later than August 21, 2014, together with an affirmation that you have ceased and desisted in the distribution of libelous content about my brand and/or intellectual property and that a retraction has been posted publicly and visibly upon your site renouncing the content of your review as libelous and maliciously false. Should this be accomplished, I will forego claims of damage including proceeds, endorsement compensation, damages to my brand and intellectual property, or any other form of income derived from such distribution received through the date of such cessation, including any revenue for which you have not yet received payment.

This letter is sent without prejudice to my rights and claims, all of which are expressly reserved. Please direct any communications in this regard to my attention.

Sincerely,

/s/ Ron Glick

Author

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8 Comments

Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

8 responses to “Legal Notice Against Booklife.com

  1. Daniel White

    August 24, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I think your poor sportsmanship about getting a bad review is doing more harm to your brand than the original review. Cut your losses while you can.

     
    • Ron Glick

      August 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      This is not about poor sportsmanship – and anyone who has followed my reviews in the past would know this. I have received many bad reviews and done nothing (see Amazon’s listing for Wizard In Wonderland if you would like an example). This is about a company deliberately printing false content, then printing derogatory comments about the faux content they ascribe to me. In private communications with this company, I have said time and again that they could post a new review equally bad, and we would not be at this crossroads. The idea that they feel they can create libelous content is the issue – and then refuse to retract it like any other media source – is why I will be filing suit against them.

       
      • Daniel White

        August 25, 2014 at 1:02 am

        How does it work at booklife.com? Do you pay for reviews?

         
      • Ron Glick

        August 25, 2014 at 1:07 am

        No – there are services they offer to sell you, and I do not honestly know whether their reviews are impacted by whether you are a paid member or not. I can say that I have not paid for their services, and I received a scandalous review – and that’s all I can definitively say.

         
  2. Bryce Anderson

    August 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Out of curiosity, what specific misstatements of fact did they make? Your entire lawsuit threat hinges upon the PW review being more than simply mean, but (according to the definition of libel) inaccurate in its statements of fact, knowing full well that the statements are inaccurate (or showing reckless disregard for the truth). Where they state facts about the book (plot, character name, number of swords) it doesn’t appear that a correction would make the review any less insulting.

    You’ve said that a “new, equally bad” review would satisfy you. It’s a short enough review that I don’t feel too impertinent in asking: how would such a review read?

     
    • Ron Glick

      August 25, 2014 at 1:24 am

      There were three areas of the review that were incorrect: The reference to the book being likened to a fantasy role playing game (this book does not involve delving into dungeons, fighting dragons, or adventurers searching out lost caches of gold); the names of the Gods (“Old Gods” should have been the Pantheon (though this is a lesser of the two slights) and the “New Gods” should have been named the New Order); and the most damning was the reference that the term “New Gods” were “unimaginatively named” (since this reference was to the faux name, it was deliberately harmful). Initially, Publishers Weekly agreed to retract the false statements, but all they ended up doing was changing “Old Gods” to “Pantheon of old gods” and “New Gods” to “New Order of younger gods”. But since the original language remained intact – particularly the “unimaginative” line that referenced the original words, it remains libelous.

      I have done everything in my power to request a genuine contrition from these people. The fact that they have remained intractable demonstrates that this attack was deliberate. It is not that difficult to change the language of a review to remove false or misleading information if it is unintentional; it demonstrates intent when the other side fights removing it altogether. It is too easy to sit back and let false information be printed – disagree with me, yeah, I see that all the time. But don’t lie about my work, then criticize the lies as my own. That’s all I’m saying…

       
    • Ron Glick

      August 25, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Sorry, I did not mean to disregard your last request – Taking the content of their original review and removing the libelous content, it could have read as such:

      “The first installment of the Godslayer Cycle reads with all the subtlety and grace of a raging bull in a china shop. Nathaniel Goodsmith’s fate is to be an instrument of the Pantheon — Gods long thought dead by the people of the world of Na’Ril — in the coming war with the New Order of younger gods. Tasked with this mystical imperative, he must go forth to find the first of the nine swords forged by the old Gods before agents of the New Order can thwart him. Nuggets of creativity, like the Pantheon’s intriguing approach to gender, are briefly explored but overshadowed by the crowd of characters and their clumsy, overly verbose dialog (“We would infect this New Order and cripple it afore it can deliver unto us a death blow”). Details are lovingly expounded, ad nauseam, grinding the narrative to a screeching halt.”

      Clearly, this is just as disfavorable, but it does not misrepresent the book or its contents. I can accept that not everyone is going to like my books – there’s no way to make everyone happy. Personally, I think Stephen King is one of the sloppiest writers I have ever read, but he’s got a billion books in print, so not everyone shares my opinion. I am not out to convert the world to my way of thinking – I am only out expressing myself and sharing my creativity. Not everyone is going to like it – but if you state your opinion based on the true content of my work, then I can respect your opinion and move on.

      I stand by what I have said elsewhere – I do not believe this reviewer did more than skim the first few chapters and make his review off of assumptions he drew from that. He clearly did not know the characters or even their names beyond a simple scan. He also did not know the direction of the actual story – since Nathaniel does not go in search of the swords because the Gods tasked him to do it (he threw that offer back in their face), but because his son was kidnapped and he believed others looking for the swords would eventually lead him to his son.

       
  3. Daniel White

    August 25, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Think about it this way, even if you are right or wrong. In social media we talk about signal-to-noise ratio. It’s an analogy to electronics and audio. A scratch on a record doesn’t make the whole record bad. Well, I guess if the scratch was deep enough and wide enough… but you get the point.

    One bad review, whether accurate or not, that doesn’t hurt my book sales.

    As long as the signal-to-noise ratio is good, meaning I have a lot of good reviews and only a few bad ones, I’m fine with that. Now, once the number of bad reviews flip-flops with good reviews, then I know I’m in trouble. The noise is canceling out the signal. At that point I might consider pulling my book and becoming a shoe salesman or something.

    What’s going to happen if your pursue your case? From now on everyone will be afraid to post a bad review because you might sue them. In fact, possibly no one will write a review at all. Or, if they do write reviews, it will only be good reviews, and who’s going to believe that? A book will a perfect track record? I would suspect something wrong right away!

    My advice is take the sweet with the sour. Be a good sport about it. If I were playing baseball and a ref made a bad call, I’d let it go. Let the world vilify the ref. It turns out better that way.

     

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