Lawsuits and Amendment RightsTrump threatens the publisher and author of Fire and Fury with a lawsuit and the publisher responds by moving up the release date. We all chuckle.
But as a journalist and author, the threat of a lawsuit always niggles around in the cockles of my mind. One always does one's best not be libelous or defamatory and always puts those little disclaimers in the front of the book about it being totally fictitious. And in the case of journalistic endeavors, one keeps meticulous notes, checks out one's sources, and runs things by lawyers.
The right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, are very strong rights in democratic societies, but they are not absolute. Canada has hate laws, Germany has a law making Holocaust denial illegal. Most countries have laws against publishing state secrets and thus Snowden, Assange and Chelsea Manning got in legal trouble.
This balancing of an individual's freedoms and rights with what's 'right' for society is difficult for many of us. In my novel FATAL ERROR a disgruntled cop, in trying to make a living from a tell-all tale, unveils the identity of a young witness whose testimony helped bring down THE TRAZ biker gang.
Although the police move to prevent publication of the book, they are Canadian cops and it's an American publisher--insisting on exercising first amendment rights. With cross-border jurisdictional confusion and the age-old battle between 'rights and freedoms' versus 'life and limb' things became very dicey for little Katrina.
When rights aren't absolute and the truth is open to interpretation, the ensuing struggles, though intense and unsettling, serve as great fodder for novels and movies.
Fire and Fury has been brought to you by FATAL ERROR, Book 2 in the BackTracker Series.
At thirteen she falls in with The Traz bikers. At fifteen her testimony brings down the gang. Her genius, beauty and wealth eventually make her a very powerful woman--but Katrina will forever be in danger.