Thursday, April 1, 2010
Outskirts Press is suing to stop my book and to collect $5 million for libel.
Outskirts Press calls itself "the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider."
I have been critical of Outskirts Press both online and in print. Until now, the company has ignored my criticisms and complaints. In fact, no one at Outskirts has ever responded to my emails asking simple questions about the company, like how many people work there.
Outskirts is finally paying attention to me. They're suing to stop the criticism and to collect $5 million for libel. Maybe they got a new lawyer.
I maintain that Outskirts Press is often “stupid, sloppy and sleazy,” in printing and promoting books, and in promoting its own business.
I frequently detail Outskirts’s errors and deliberate distortions in this blog, and have recently published a book about the company: “Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy: The Strange Story of Vanity Publisher Outskirts Press. How do they stay in business?”
Herbert J. Skidmore, of the Skidmore, Appel and Wentworth law firm, is representing both Outskirts Press and Brent Sampson, its founder and CEO.
In a brief filed with the Colorado Supreme Court, Skidmore stated, “While it is extremely unusual for a publisher to seek to halt publication of another company’s book, Plaintiff has been grievously harmed in the past by Defendant’s malicious, unrelenting and unwarranted criticism. If this new book is allowed to circulate, it could mean the end of Outskirts Press, with loss of publishing opportunities for authors, loss of jobs, loss of competition in publishing, and the loss of a substantial investment by the Sampson family.”
The lawsuit asks the court to order termination of book printing, verified destruction of all copies in inventory, surrender of all profits from sold copies, and payment of $50,000 in expenses plus $4,950,000 in punitive damages for libel.
I consider the suit to be groundless, frivolous, vindictive and unconstitutional. I requested a dismissal of the suit, but if the dismissal is denied, I promise a vigorous defense based on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and several Supreme Court rulings. While courts have recognized some limits to free speech, truth is almost always a defense against libel. I have described Outskirts Press as inept and dishonest, and it will be easy to establish the truth of my claims. The evidence is abundant and overwhelming.
I have been criticizing the company online since 2008 without any contradiction or complaint. While Outskirts Press makes extensive use of online media in promoting itself, it apparently did not feel threatened by online criticism by others. It’s only now, when faced with a permanent bound volume of criticism that could be on a shelf in the Library of Congress for generations to come, that Outskirts – a book publisher – feels it necessary to seek censorship and censure from the courts.
I call upon Outskirts Press to end this foolishness immediately. It is absurd for a book publisher to ask a court to revoke my Freedom of the Press.