Yesterday morning I was sent a direct message on Twitter, which said the following: “Did you see that Ellora Cave is suing Jane (dear author)”?
As soon as I read the message, I said first: “WTF?!” and then I tweeted and clicked on the link to The Digital Reader and the message called: “Ellora Cave is suing Jane” (Dear Author Book Blog for Defamation):
“The romantic publisher Ellora Cave has had financial problems for the past year or so, but instead of sitting down and fixing them, this publisher decided that the best solution would be a public and dirty defamation suit. Ship documents filed today in Ohio showed that Ellora Cave is suing an author and blogger known as Jane Litte, owner of one of the best romantic book blogs. The “Ellora’s Cave” claims that a recent blog post on the “Dear Author” defamed them, “Dear Author” has been writing about “Ellora’s Cave” for many years (more details), but according to the information submitted to the court, this lawsuit concerns only one post published earlier this month. In the “Curious Case of the Ellora Cave,” Jane described in detail the rise and fall of this pioneering erotic romantic publishing house, including many current financial issues.
Ellora Cave was once considered the best publisher to publish with. The Ellora Cave played a key role in the growth of epublication, particularly in the genre of romance and erotic romanticism. The Ellora cave was the reason why I started reading e-books and more sexy types of romance, better known as erotic romance. The first digital book that I bought and read was in 2001, and from the Ellora Cave. The digital copy was then sent to a PDF, which I printed out and put in the binding so that I could read it. I still keep this printout in the bindings. The Ellora Cave” was the reason I started reading novels written “outside the box,” giving authors the opportunity to write and publish erotic and sexy novels (and get paid for it) that were not accepted by traditional mainstream publishers. Before “The Cave of Ellora” I could only find such stories on “Lithotica”, which is a free site for reading sexual stories of all kinds, regardless of what violates the material. The Ellora Cave, in fact, helped me to capture the genre of erotic romanticism and not to be shy about what I read.
I first heard about the Dear Author in 2006, which is considered one of the old school blogs dedicated to romantic discussion and review. Before Dear Author, I had only commented on one bulletin board dedicated to romance and hid only in blogs. Thanks to Dear Author, I felt comfortable commenting on other blogs, so much so that in September 2008 I started running my blog here. This month marks the 6th birthday of Babblings.
A blog allows people to have a platform to talk about topics without censorship (or you should hope so). Now with the growth of other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc… blogs are becoming more outdated, and this includes book blogs. A book blog as it exists now has not existed for so long. The romantic book blogs I read, which have become as established as “Dear Author”, are not even ten years old. The same is true for publishers. Most of the publishers are not even ten years old, and some don’t even live to see their 10th anniversary. The Ellora cave is an exception.
The authorities who are in the Cave of Ellora, sue the Dear author for slander in the amount of 25 000 dollars and do not let him discuss the Cave of Ellora in blogs such as “Curious case of the Cave of Ellora. The shock waves that occurred yesterday, mostly on Twitter, from the online publishing community of book bloggers to readers and authors, is that Ellora Cave has made an incredible WTFckery because it can affect the future of book bloggers and what they should or should not talk about publishers and authors, perhaps including how book bloggers will review books in the future.
The problems of the Ellora Cave started long before the publication of “The Curious Case of Ellora Cave” in the magazine “Dear Author”. For many years there were rumors about behind-the-scenes problems that Ellora cave was going through. The earliest rumble about the financial problems of the cave of Ellora I heard on the Internet back in 2009, when Karen knows the Best First reported it. The Ellora Cave was also involved in public litigation back in 2008. In recent months, well-known authors of “Ellora Cave” such as Kat Grant and Lolita Lopez, among others, have publicly stated that they are not paid. The Absolute Write message board, dedicated to the Ellora Cave, also openly discusses business practices in the Ellora Cave.
So, the big question is… Why should you care? If you don’t read “Dear Author” or buy books in Ellora Cave, why should you care? There is something to worry about because, as Wendy says, the Super Librarian who has been blogging since 2003 is (almost) silent in her last blog post under the heading “Little Miss Crab Pants”: “We should all care, because if a publisher can persecute a blogger for actually writing a news report containing facts taken from other sources (about, for example, a public report because the EU has already been part of several trials), what does this mean for any of us who want to talk about books? “
Again, why should you care if a publisher sues a blogger? If you are a blogger, a writer who wants to publish, is already a publisher or a reader, you should care. If Ellora Cave wins their lawsuit against the Dear Author, the ripple effect will be felt throughout the book blogger and online publishing community.
Imagine if you decide to start a book blog. Not only do you talk about the books you like, but you also discuss them, as well as post reviews on books you don’t like. What if you have seen or heard some unpleasant practices of the publishing house and want to discuss them in your blog, supplemented with links, screen caps and information that you collected from sources in emails? What if now, although based on facts published about the publisher, anything that you “report” is considered libelous by that publisher or a book that you reviewed negatively or against which you had strong words, is considered libelous by that author? What if a post that you wrote about a publisher or author is misbehaving, whether the facts you posted are proof and truth, is considered libel by that publisher or author, and they want to sue you, the blogger, because they feel that your review of the book or post shows that the author or publisher is in a bad light? If the publisher or author can sue the blogger and win his or her lawsuit for a review, opinion, or report on the publisher’s bad behavior online or elsewhere from the author at a conference, book signing, or public event, then book blogs will cease to exist or become a former shell of what they once were.
Imagine a world without blogs, especially book blogs. What if all blogs shut down for fear of being sued for posting information or publishing book reviews that upset publishers or authors? This means that book blogs are silenced.
The silence can shut down the speech. Speech has more power than silence. Speech uses words. Words are power. A word in the mouth creates an impulse which in less than 24 hours has been proved against the Cave of Ellora by their suit in an attempt to silence the Dear Author. In less than 24 hours, a word in support of the Dear Author has produced a Streisand effect in Ellora Cave.
Have you heard of the Streisand effect? From Wikipedia: “The Streisand effect” is a phenomenon where an attempt to conceal, remove, or censor some information leads to unintended consequences of wider dissemination of information, usually through the Internet”. It is named after the American artist Barbra Streisand, whose 2003 attempt to suppress photos of her house in Malibu, California, unintentionally caused his further advertising”.
There is also something known as SLAPP “SLAPP is short for “a strategic lawsuit against public participation. The term was coined to describe a certain type of counterfeit lawsuit that is sometimes used by attackers to silence their critics. For example, if a publisher wants to silence a blogger who aired a dirty laundry specified by the publisher, he can file a SLAPP.
Ellora Cave has set itself the goal to silence the book blogger “for reporting on business issues, and Jane – for journalistic practice, as well as to require the identity of its anonymous commentators” – Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, from a message entitled: “Dear author of Ellora Cave Suze”: Hello, Streisand effect.
Book bloggers are great in many things, the most important of them is the dissemination of information.
Spread the word.
More websites and blogs to read about this issue:
- Sunita: Chilling Effects
- Deidre Saorise Moen: Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support Thread
- Passive Guy’s Report
- Writer Beware Alert: Trouble at Ellora’s Cave
- Teleread’s Report
- The Book Pushers Reply
- Kaetrin’s Musings: Echoing the Streisand Effect
- Her Hands, My Hands: Freedom of Speech
- Pete Morin’s Report
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