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View Full Version : Russian Reviewer Told to Pay $1,000 for Negative Review



AnneMarble
05-17-2009, 05:52 PM
Let's hope no other countries get any ideas:
http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_1279_text (http://www.loc.gov/lawweb/servlet/lloc_news?disp3_1279_text)

"On April 23, 2009, a federal district court in the southern Russian province of Dagestan issued an unprecedented ruling, ordering a journalist of a local newspaper to pay compensation in an amount equal to US$1,000 to
a writer who did not like a review of his book published in the newspaper."

:Wha:
According to the rest of the article, the book was a novel that had been reviewed in the newspaper. The author sued, claiming that both he and his family "experienced severe mental suffering." He also claimed that he experienced chest pains, among other symptoms, after reading the review. He was actually asking for the equivalent of $150,000 in compensation for the review, so he is unhappy with the result, as is, of course, the author.

I know some authors hate bad reviews -- I've dealt with some on my reader list that really couldn't take them. I mean really really couldn't take them. But I'm sure even they wouldn't take things this far. (Well I hope not anyway.)

Let's hope Russian courts can work this out. And let's hope this case doesn't inspire similar cases across the world. :eek:

icerose
05-17-2009, 06:04 PM
That's ridiculous. You can't sue someone else for their opinion. It's called, an opinion. They're entitled to it.

Antaeus
05-17-2009, 06:10 PM
I wonder if the judge was on anything when the ruling was made...

Aye, the precedence that could be set by this ruling is terrifying, especially for websites, magazines and such that base their entire marketing scene off of producing reviews for entertainment products. Imagine IGN.com if they felt obligated to give every comic, film, tv episode and video game 10/10 because they were worried lawyers might steal their pensions.

I can't even wrap my brain around it. What was that judge ON?!

Wayne K
05-17-2009, 06:14 PM
I have no opinion on this.

Wayne K
05-17-2009, 06:14 PM
Unless of course that offends someone with a good lawyer.

Antaeus
05-17-2009, 06:20 PM
I can see what's coming. Every review written will have a disclaimer on the top, as follows.


WARNING- The following review is intended to be a subjective assessment of the below fictional work. This does not necessarily reflect the views of (insert company name here.) The following review may contain criticism, lack of praise, blunt language and refusal to stroke the creator's ego. Side effects of reading this review may include depression, hurt feelings, feigned depression/hurt feelings, sudden inexplicable urges to profit from this, bruised fingers from pounding the number of your lawyer onto the telephone keypad, bureaucracy, and a general disconnect from reality. Do not read this article if you are represented by a law firm with three or more names on the wall. Do not read this article if you are a pampered princess. Please, do not spread your genetic material.

AnneMarble
05-17-2009, 06:24 PM
I'm sure the idea probably won't "catch" in other places. I read about this on another list. According to one of the posters, Dagestan is rather backwards. She pointed out that someone was convicted of witchcraft in a Dagestan court -- I think in the 1990s. Still, I'm surprised that even in Dagestan, the judge thinks this was a good idea.

ChristineR
05-17-2009, 06:31 PM
There's not enough information here to make judgments. For example: did the reviewer say that the author was obviously deranged because he wrote a book about a deranged person? Did he say that he knew the author's ex-wife and that she told him the author was indeed deranged? Did he encourage other unhappy readers to kill the author, even in jest?

Quite often when you read horror stories like this the press has twisted what really happened, and when it really is indefensible, it gets overturned on appeal.

Antaeus
05-17-2009, 06:37 PM
Excellent point, Christine, I didn't think of it that way. Of course, that leads to the question of why the lawsuit didn't extend to the newspaper that published it, as well; if it was an extremely negative, borderline kick-him-whilst-down sort of article, one would think the newspaper could be held liable for publishing the thing to begin with.

Even if there was a fairly negative twist to the article, I can't imagine what would be worth 150,000 clams, which was what the author wanted. o.O Nothing short of outright threats to kill me and mine would cause me to demand so much. I'd instead be charging him with criminal harassment, instead of just a civil suit.

Manix
05-17-2009, 06:46 PM
I can see what's coming. Every review written will have a disclaimer on the top, as follows.


WARNING- The following review is intended to be a subjective assessment of the below fictional work. This does not necessarily reflect the views of (insert company name here.) The following review may contain criticism, lack of praise, blunt language and refusal to stroke the creator's ego. Side effects of reading this review may include depression, hurt feelings, feigned depression/hurt feelings, sudden inexplicable urges to profit from this, bruised fingers from pounding the number of your lawyer onto the telephone keypad, bureaucracy, and a general disconnect from reality. Do not read this article if you are represented by a law firm with three or more names on the wall. Do not read this article if you are a pampered princess. Please, do not spread your genetic material.
I love it! Can I use your disclaimer on my work?:D

Antaeus
05-17-2009, 06:49 PM
I love it! Can I use your disclaimer on my work?:D

I dunno, might have to charge you. >_>

At least I would if the copyright bureau was open... *mutter* But you should probably add 'Please stop calling my house' to it.

Sirion
05-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Ah, those Russian courts. Silly, silly.

AnneMarble
05-18-2009, 07:28 AM
There's not enough information here to make judgments. For example: did the reviewer say that the author was obviously deranged because he wrote a book about a deranged person? Did he say that he knew the author's ex-wife and that she told him the author was indeed deranged? Did he encourage other unhappy readers to kill the author, even in jest?

Quite often when you read horror stories like this the press has twisted what really happened, and when it really is indefensible, it gets overturned on appeal.
Those things are all possibilities. I don't know Russian law, but maybe there are provisions if the author was defamed in the review. Heck, I'm curious what a writer in the U.S. could do if a review were defamatory. I wish I could find more information about this specific case, but so far, the most details were on the Library of Congress link. Well there is this link (http://www.mk.ru/social/justice/262317.html), but it's not in English. If anyone here can read Russian, I'd love to know more about this law suit. :D

Then again, Dagestan is known for its corruption, so it's also possible that corruption was involved here. (Corruption in a Russian province? Never! ;))

Shurikane
05-18-2009, 08:13 AM
Imagine IGN.com if they felt obligated to give every comic, film, tv episode and video game 10/10 because they were worried lawyers might steal their pensions.

Gaming review websites routinely get threats from publishers to take down negative reviews. Trying to sue the pants off whoever believes you didn't do a good job is nothing new on the face of the earth.

bettielee
05-18-2009, 08:15 AM
Madness.

CoriSCapnSkip
05-18-2009, 12:43 PM
Like this case, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2738 only worse.

fringle
05-18-2009, 05:10 PM
I'm an American, but I've been living in Russia for years. I'm not surprised at all by this.

AnneMarble
05-19-2009, 02:19 AM
I'm an American, but I've been living in Russia for years. I'm not surprised at all by this.
That seems to be the response from many Americans who have lived in Russia. :)

Remind me not to publish any book reviews in Russia. :D

fringle
05-19-2009, 11:11 AM
That seems to be the response from many Americans who have lived in Russia. :)

Remind me not to publish any book reviews in Russia. :D


Have you ever heard of Tanya Grotter? She's the MC of a very popular Russian MG series. She's a regular girl who lived with her aunt and uncle, but one day found out that she was a wizard! So then she goes away to this big wizard school in Russia only to find out that an infamous dark wizard has a vendetta against her. While she's in this wizard school, she has to go up against this dark wizard once a year or so for like 7 whole years.

This is allowed of course bc the gov't was angry that a non-Russian series was so popular.

MaLanie1971
05-19-2009, 05:56 PM
That is crazy!

dgiharris
05-19-2009, 10:39 PM
Wow,

and I thought the US had some frivilous lawsuits. If these kinds of lawsuits actually can fly in Russia, then I fear for their entire system and economy.
Mel...