ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Friday, September 23, 2011

Continuing Coverage of the Julian Assange Book Contract

Assange We reported previously on Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange's forthcoming "unauthorized autobiography."  Like so many contractual arrangements, this one started out like Romeo and Juliet but somehow has ended in tragedy.  As the Manchester Guardian reports, on the day of his autobiography's publication, Mr. Assange has denounced it and exposed the ghost writer who is the actual author of the book.  Assange claims that he holds the copyright on this book that he did not write, and he alleges that the publisher, Canongate, has breached a contract with him by releasing the book without his authorization.

To add insult to injury, Assange complains that his attorneys, whom he accuses of overcharging him, are holding on to his £412,000 advance to guarantee his legal fees.  

Hmmm, £412,000 is not a bad payday for a book you say you didn't write, Julian.  

In an additional wrinke, the Guardian reports that Assange's American publisher, Knopf, has pulled out of its contract with Assange and wants the return of the $250,000 advance that it paid to Assange.  

But the book, which is a self-justifying screed with large sections aimed at the media organizations (including the Guardian) with which Assange previously cooperated and now vilifies, is likely to bring in handsome royalties for Mr. Assange.  It's juicy.  The Guardian provides this taste:

The former editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, is the target of special ire for his allegedly unco-operative attitude, described as "a moral pygmy with a self-justifying streak the size of the San Andreas fault". Assange writes: "The cock crowed three times and Bill Keller shamelessly denied us."

You have to give Assange credit.  He only compared himself to Jesus; he didn't say he was bigger than Jesus.  


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