Monday, 2 May 2011
Libelling The Dead?
Dana Celeste Robinson, of newly launched Knox Robinson Publishing says: “When I began this publishing house, I had no idea that the question of whether one could libel the dead was still moot........ coming from an academic background, I can attest that for those who research history, academic works are a mixture of fact and conjecture. Indeed, if we can no longer imagine how an historical figure may have made the decisions they made during their lifetimes or delve into the aspects (both good and bad) of their lives, then history as a discipline is dead.”
A ruling in the Tolkien case could set a precedent for or against an author’s rights to create fictional works involving real people, and the powers of an estate to control the use of names in works of fiction or historical accounts.
Carol Trow, an editor at Knox Robinson says: “Not being able to use people from history in books would damage the world of literature because recent history could not be written. No war films could be made, nor books written about it. No cowboy films could be shown, no courtroom dramas. That means no They Died With Their Boots On, no Inherit the Wind, no Valkyrie.”
Recently proposed changes to UK libel laws say proposed changes will ensure everyone the right to “speak freely and debate issues” without fear of libel actions, which have, according to UK Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, “Begun to have a chilling effect on scientific and academic debate and investigative journalism.”
The bill also seeks to end “libel tourism,” or the practice of suing individuals who do not live in the UK or an EU member state for libel in a British court. This bill could even put an end to the suit levied against Hillard by the Tolkien estate.
As an author who has recently completed a novel based on a real, if deceased, public figure, I shall watch the Tolkien case with interest and hope Kenneth Clarke’s bill finally sees the light of day – or I am not the only one who will henceforth be compelled to make up stories about non-existent characters in imagined worlds which bear no relation to any real person alive or dead!
..for A Knightsbridge Scandal all this week The Writing Garnet Chick Lit Club Connect I Heart Reading Bookish Jottings ...
PUBLISHER’S BLURB First came Plague, now comes Fire. The epic tale of the hunt for a serial killer threatening London's rich an...
I have recently signed a new contract with Head of Zeus [Aria] for my Flora Maguire Cosy Mysteries The first book is scheduled fo...
Publishers' Blurb The nurses of Lovely Lane – Dana, Victoria, Pammy and Beth – are now in their second year and are about to face s...