Thursday, September 22, 2011

Julian Assange unauthorised

The Guardian reports that Canongate:
will publish on Thursday the “unauthorised first draft” of his autobiography without his consent, months after the WikiLeaks founder withdrew from a million-pound contract for his memoirs.
In a dramatic move, Canongate has defied Assange’s wishes and secretly printed thousands of copies of Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography, with the book being shipped amid strict security to booksellers in preparation for imminent release. The enormous security operation was put in place by the publishers, according to a source, to stop the author blocking publication.
Assange signed a high-profile deal, reportedly worth a total of £930,000, with the Edinburgh-based publisher and the US firm Alfred A Knopf in December. The manuscript was subsequently sold in more than 35 countries. Assange said at the time that he believed the book would become “one of the unifying documents of our generation”.
[. . . ] He formally withdrew from his contract on 7 June and since then the Australian and his publisher have been locked in a bitter dispute over the contract and his £500,000 advance, which he has not returned. Assange, requiring funds for his legal fight against extradition to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault, had placed the advance in escrow, meaning that his former legal team have first claim on any assets.
Assange is not happy. He says:
The events surrounding [the book’s] unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information. They are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity – screwing people over to make a buck.
Isn’t it appalling – publishing documents that someone doesn’t want other people to read. I wonder where Canongate got that idea from.