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Ellora's Cave v Dear Author - how low can you fall (pretty low)

As I reported elsewhere, on Saturday out of the blue–and absolutely not connected to Ellora’s Cave, no siree, it says so right in the tag line–a sockpuppet was created.

From where I sit–hey, Tina, this opinion, savvy? ergo, protected speech–said account is a sockpuppet for Tina Engler/Jaid Black, created strictly to try to intimidate those EC authors and other contractors so they won’t help Jane Litte fight the vexatious defamation suit that Ellora’s Cave filled against her and Dear Author.

It’s not working–donations, which had slowed down a bit, saw an uptick as soon as the toxic egg started posting how the authors had sued Ellora’s Cave (have screenshots, will share). As I type, the amount raised for Jane Litte’s and Dear Author’s legal defense is $47,503. Not bad for a relatively small online community to raise in less than three full days, huh?

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Words to sign contracts by

As many of you know, I have been following the Ellora’s Cave v Dear Author thing closely–and quite likely will until it is resolved one way or another.

On the one hand, it is absolutely popcorn worthy entertainment. In a much smaller scale, it brings to mind Charles Carreon v The Oatmeal (beware, this is an utter time suck–don’t go too far down the rabbit hole unless you have a day or two to spare).

On the other hand, the resolution of this case will help set a precedent for book bloggers, reviewers, authors, editors, etc. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by threats of vexatious lawsuits by the bullies of the world.

I do pray rather fervently that the court forces EC to show its books and explain why they are sending checks through the mail in a way that violates USPS rules (undated metered mail–see this post)

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On that note, isn’t romance a beautiful thing? The fundraising was made public in the morning on Friday October 3rd. Not even 12 hours later, the community had raised over $38,000.00. People, learn from TC/JB delusions and do not piss your target market off. They’ll band together and bitch-slap you. Hard.

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But, back to the point of this post.

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Dear Author / Jane Litte Defense Fund

Edited to add alternatives to contribute to the Dear Author/Jane Litte legal defense fund for those who are boycotting GoFundMe.

Yes!

Since the news that Ellora’s Cave has sued Dear Author and Jane Litte broke out, many of us in the romance reading community have asked for a way to help Jane financially–because lawsuits are used as a threat, to silence critics, precisely because they are expensive. And usually more expensive to the defendant, particularly in states where there is no provision to refund them even if the court rules in their favor.

Well, now we can.

Smart Bitch Sarah created the Dear Author / Jane Litte Defense Fund using crowdfunding site GoFundMe. Here’s the text on the donation page:
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Ellora's Cave v Dear Author - wanna help?

The saga continues. Jane posted a brief update on the suit today:

Today there was a temporary injunction hearing.  During the hearing the judge did not grant the injunction, but did request that we come back for a more thorough hearing, where we would be able to provide evidence  in our defense.

Truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

Therefore, If you are willing, I need help with the following:

Individual authors, editors, cover artists willing to testify, either in person, via telephone or in an affidavit to payments made/not made.

It would be best if you could testify in person, but a sworn written statement will be adequate.

Additionally, if you have any Screenshots of any public statements regarding Ellora’s Cave, those would be helpful too.

You can reach me at jane@dearauthor.com.

Thank you in advance.

Now, I know that there are a lot–quite a lot–of current and former EC authors who follow this blog. Just this past February one of you reported, anonymously, on shenanigans there. So, hi there, still not getting paid?

I hate being harsh, but chances are you are not going to see much–if any–of that money (see this post by Carolyn Jewel explaining what’s likely to happen here).

In the meantime, many of you feel gagged by a confidentiality clause in your contract with Ellora’s Cave–plus, scared of a defamation lawsuit for say, reporting on matters of public record and imminent interest.

Well, never fear–there are still ways you can help Jane. First of all, the screenshots of public statements? You, those who have worked for EC in any and all capacities, are the most likely to know where those might be, and snap them up. Go, hunt them down, email them to Jane.

Or, if you want to put a second layer between you and her, let me know in the comments and we’ll figure a relay system.

But if you really, really want to speak up and say your piece, both because you are frigging tired of the injustice of having the company that hasn’t paid in you however long, spending money in retaining an attorney to sue a blogger for speaking out for YOU…well, there’s a chance you can.

Check out this post on confidentiality clauses by the ever amazing Courtney Milan, where she says in part:

If you are an author, an editor, or a cover-artist who would testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but for the confidentiality clause, contact me. If there is enough interest from those who would testify but are afraid for confidentiality reasons, I will look into finding a lawyer to accompany you to the hearing–someone whose job it is to represent your interests, and to make sure that you’re speaking up to the maximum allowed without putting yourselves at risk.

And to all of you who are already speaking up, boosting the signal, and standing strong against this effort to silence us and chill our speech…Thank you.

I would now like to direct your attention to...

this cool Ellora’s Cave Author Exodus Support thread, created and maintained by writer Deirdre Saoirse Moen.

See, a number of authors currently under contract with EC are asking their readers NOT to buy those books. Apparently, they are either not receiving royalties, or are not convinced those royalties actually reflect their sales, or quite simply want the rights to their books back (for which they need sales below a certain number for a period of time). For whatever the reason, these authors are publicly–and quite courageously–asking their readers to support them by NOT buying any books of them currently published by EC.

However, many of these authors have books elsewhere–either under a different pen name with another publisher, or perhaps even self published–and those books? Oh yeah, they would love it if any of their readers were moved to purchase those other books.

So what are you waiting for? Go on over there, check that list. I’m betting you’ll find something there you’ll want to read.

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If you are a book blogger, I ask you to consider posting this information for your readers as well.

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And for those of you who are on Twitter, Courtney Milan of the iron cast balls and awesomesauce writing is exercising her right to speak about Ellora’s Cave using the hashtag #notchilled, and she invites all of those who want to continue to be free to express their opinions about facts to participate.

Dear Author / EC suit update

Dear Author posted an status update regarding the lawsuit filled late last week by Ellora’s Cave: Jane Litte has retained the services of Marc Randazza, First Amendment Badass. You can visit Mr Randazza’s website to check out his credentials, or follow the previous link to see what Ken White of Popehat’s fame has to say about him.

I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one online, but I do have a feeling that this example of legal thuggery will be stomped in short order like a disgusting New York cockroach.

I also believe that this whole thing is a blatant attempt at intimidation of Ellora’s Cave authors, editors, cover artists, and any other contractors and employees who have not been paid–either at all or in full–so that they keep quiet about it.

Which is why I applaud all the different authors and bloggers who are actually doing their bit to stand up against EC, to speak out, and to spread the word about what is going on–both right now with the defamation lawsuit against Dear Author and Jane Litte, and generally within Ellora’s Cave.

Particular kudos to Courtney Milan, who is going a step further. Madam, you have stones.

 

Edited to add: I just learned that The Los Angeles Times has picked up the story.

The Streisand Effect in all its glory, baby!

And the fun, it never ends.

Over at Dear Author there is some noise over Red Rose Publishing and the alleged issues the company has with authors, editors, etc. The fun started here, followed by this tidbit, and it’s currently going strong here.

The quick and dirty summary: Dear Author reported some shenanigans; anonymous authors came out; sockpuppets followed; RRP’s owner wants all blog content related to the company taken down; Dear Author pretty much ignores the noise; lawyer-like threats follow; Dear Author pretty much still ignoring them.

The moral of the story: be careful who the fuck you threaten with legal action over the internetz–they may just be real lawyers who not only won’t be cowed by your barely coherent threats but who will actually know the law.  (In simpler terms: be careful you don’t bite more than you can chew.)

So, like almost every other blogger in romanceland, here you have it:

(I suck at all things technical, so I can’t embed the wicked widget thingie)

Anyway, you can go read all about it over at Dear Author and/or at SmartBitches. Go forth and save the world, peeps.