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Quoted in book with identifying initials, without permission being sought?

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  • Quoted in book with identifying initials, without permission being sought?

    Firstly may I wish you a happy new year!

    I hope you can assist me with a little legal advice re the publication of quotes in a new book by a 'former' friend.....

    Background
    I have considered myself and acquaintance of the author for many years due to his participation upon the Table Tennis tournament circuit in the UK. The author is also a business owner and an enthusiastic ‘Brexit remain’ advocate on social media. Since the referendum in 2016 The author has conducted a very 'pro-remain' ‘propaganda’ campaign on social media, but especially via Facebook. Over time, the authors Facebook posts have become increasingly inflammatory and inciteful. It became clear that should anyone disagree with the authors view then they were immediately labelled as racist, ignorant or lacking knowledge. The author has continually promoted his own beliefs and musings as ‘FACT’ rather than personal opinion. This has resulted in many confrontations and accusations of the author being supercilious, condescending, patronising to the extreme and has consequently lost the respect of many colleagues including myself. For my own part, having witnessed the responses friends and colleagues had received I made the conscious decision to never enter into any political debate with the author, instead choosing on occasion to tactfully remind the author to respect other people’s political opinion and views as opposed to simply labelling people who disagree with his views as racist and/or ignorant.

    Whilst the conduct of the author upon Facebook has been both frustrating and on occasion insulting and upsetting, the publication of a book containing reference and quotes of these online Facebook conversations has come as an upsetting surprise. In this book the author has twisted these interactions to support his own narrative, and not a true reflection of the context in which any comments or actions were conducted. The author has included the initials of each person to whom he wished to attribute a quote within his book. Within the Table Tennis community this has resulted in a large section of this community immediately realising who these quotes are attributed to. No one was aware of the impending publication of this book and no permission was sought to either quote individual posts from Facebook or indeed reference them by way of initials.

    Given the above, we would like to enquire if there are grounds for a case to be brought in front of a small claims court:

    In order to simply have the initials removed from quotes and references within the book as a minimum.

    And/or Grounds for a defamation/libel with regards to the publication of the deliberately misinterpretted and misconstrued quotes and references , along with initials revealing the identities, and also if there has been a breach of copyright with regards to the republication of Facebook posts without permission either from Facebook or the original author of posts and comments?

    We would very much value your considered and professional opinion on this matter and your resultant recommendation. We have sent various emails to the author, as a group, requesting dialogue but all has been ignored. Would the next option be a Cease and Desist order, followed by a Small Claims Court of applicable?

    Thank you in advance! We very much look forward to your advice!.

    PingPongWiz
    Tags: None

  • #2
    You probably do not have much of a chance with a copyright infringement claim, since there is a statutory defence that allows quotation/review. This would mean that someone could take a portion of some material and critically examine it.

    For example, one could not take an entire article, book, etc, and then add notes to it - that would be an infringement. But I expect that extended quotes would not be infringements. In the case of there being an extended conversation, I would expect that entire individual posts could be used, perhaps even if they were thousands of words.

    For example, it would be difficult to critique a piece of fine art or photography, with reproducing 100% of the work. But you couldn't do that with a book or a film.

    There's the possiblity that you could call upon moral rights, ie the right not to have your work used in a derogatory way. But as you can imagine this would have to be balanced against the right of review.

    I don't believe moral rights could help in preventing you from being named as the author, since you have the right to be named as the author, not to prevent being named as the author (you can only object to false attribution).

    If you have published this material publicly on Facebook, then I don't think you are going to get anywhere with trying to protect it as unpublished work, or as a privacy issue.

    I don't really know very much about defamation (libel and slander), but essentially you will have to show that you suffered harm, and that you did not write the things attributed to you (this point you seem to conceded already, ie you did write them).

    I would expect that if your former friend is working with a reputable publisher, then they have already dotted the "i's and crossed the "t"s (legally).
    Â*

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