November 21, 2006
If Fox and HarperCollins Don't Do It, Will They Have Breached?
As everybody now knows (pretty much whether they want to or not), ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, recently announced that it would publish a book "written" by O.J. Simpson entitled If I Did It. The book was to be promoted through a two-part interview of Simpson by Judith Regan, the editor of ReganBooks, which was to appear on Fox television. Regan has explained at some length that she views the book as a form of confession (is she unfamiliar with the semantic power of the word "if"?) and has stated that she was motivated to publish the book becasue she was herself a victim of domestic violence.
As everybody also knows by now, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the corporate parent of both the Fox network and ReganBooks, pulled the plug on both the book and the interview. And so now only the contracts question remains: will the News Corporation have to pay damages to Simpson for breaching the contract?
The New York Times reports that Simpson likely has already been paid a percentage of his advance, and the News Corporation will likely be contractually obligated to pay whatever else was due under the contract. But could it be that Simpson is motivated by greed alone? I doubt it.
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