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Alleviate Publications / Alleviate Awards

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Ton Lew Lepsnaci

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Hi,

Does anyone have feedback on this new publisher:

www.alleviatebooks.com

this webpage states:

"Almost every submission will be included in the worldwide anthology.

This year's book is entitled Impact and will be available in
bookstores around Ireland, the UK, America, and Canada and on websites
such as Amazon.com."

These two statements seem incompatible to me.

Those who submit are asked for an entry fee + it states that profits go to a charity...

Does anyone have info on it?
 
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Unimportant

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I can't see that they've published any books before or have any industry knowledge. The profits, but not submission fees, go to charity.

If they get two hundred submissions, and even half of them pay the full submission fee, that's 1500. Subtract 200 for the 'winner', and that's 1200. Since they don't edit even for minor spelling/punctuation errors, all they have to do is dump the stories into a file and slap on an ISBN. And, given they're advertising it in four regions (US, UK, Ireland, and Canada) I would guess they're anticipating many hundreds of submissions, banking on the fact that acceptance is guaranteed and that people will submit because it's "for charity". And then they'll sell each person a copy of the anthology, as well....

My guess is that they'll make a profit of several thousand euros, and the unnamed charity will get a few hundred at best.

Adding: Interestingly, although Alleviate Publications is charging like a wounded bull for submissions to their anthology, the only other mention of this press that I can find on the web is in relation to forthcoming books by Draya Mooney, an author who "believes in free knowledge" and will be offering her books free-to-download from her website.

Aha. The Alleviate Publications website is registered to Draya Mooney of Ireland. So that solves the mystery. Self-published author pretending to be commercially published by a press she's pretending she doesn't own, and subsidising her press with a play-to-pay anthology.
 
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MacAllister

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Goodness. You wild bunch seemed to have touched a nerve with someone. I've received a series of escalating emails, today, about this thread.

In my inbox, this morning:
Dear Absolute Write,

I would like to bring the following post to your attention:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222506

This entire Absolute Write post is slander against the Alleviate Awards ran by Alleviate Publications. Alleviate Publications has its information freely accessible to the public both at www.alleviatebooks.com and www.alleviatepublications.com. Public contact information includes email addresses and a US based telephone number. There are also links to books we have published and we have provided ISBN information on our websites for those who would like to look up certain titles. Our publishing house is registered with Bowker in the United States and has established relationships with book distributors worldwide. We have responded to any and all persons who have contacted us with any inquiries regarding the Alleviate Awards. Alleviate Publications fully understands if people have concerns and would like to contact us, but obviously, the people who have posted on this Absolute Write forum jumped to conclusions without contacting us and without doing their proper research.

I would like to remind Absolute Write that even though Alleviate Publications is an international company, slander is a liable offence. Seeing as people have posted comments such as ‘run far away’ and ‘scam' then it can only be concluded that the content on this Absolute Write post is contributing towards slander against Alleviate Publications. Even if we were to create an Absolute Write account and reply, the slanderous material is still visible on the web. Alleviate Publications believes in free expression with forum websites such as Absolute Write but also believes it must be done so in respect to the companies who may suffer from slander. With the greatest respect, I request that you remove this post from your website immediately. Otherwise, we will have to consult our legal team.

Warmest wishes,

Emma McCarthy
Alleviate Publications
Alleviate Awards
www.alleviatepublications.com
www.alleviatebooks.com

I responded (with admirable civility, may I point out?):
I never remove posts at third party request. Do, of course, feel free to consult your legal team.

Mac

Her next step was to email our domain registrar:
Dear [redacted],

You have a domain registered to your company: absolutewrite.com. As you are the official registrar of this domain, you have responsibility to maintain legal authority over this domain and should be informed about illegal practices.

I am an administrative representative of Alleviate Publications. I have a concern over slanderous material posted on the Absolute Write (absolutewrite.com) forum against Alleviate Publications. I have sent my concerns to the administrator of this domain, MacAllister Stone, but have received no help regarding the matter. In fact, the administrator refused to remove the libel remarks and encouraged me to consult my legal team instead of offering her assistance. I quote her entire response:

"I never remove posts at third party request. Do, of course, feel free to consult your legal team. Mac."

Her response is a little confusing as we are not a third party but indeed an obvious party in the matter. Regardless, not only has the administrator of Absolute Write been informed of the libel material on her website, but she has refused to take it down.

As [redacted] is the registrar of this domain, I thought to come to you first before legal procedures begin.

Alleviate Publications believes in freedom of expression on forum sites such as Absolute Write, but even forum sites are bound by anti-slander laws. According to US and most international law, slander is a false statement made damaging a person or company's reputation. A post on the Absolute Write page has been published that falsely misleads people to believe Alleviate Publications is a fake company. I direct your attention to the following post:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222506

With comments like, "I'd run away as fast as I can" and "charities will only get a few hundred bucks" and "self-published author pretending to be commercially published by a press she's pretending she doesn't own, and subsidising her press with a play-to-pay anthology" this is clearly a case of libel, where slanderous comments have been written and published. These comments are untruths and are misleading and misrepresentative of Alleviate Publications. In the United States and countries worldwide, libel is a liable offence in the court of law.

As I have already pointed out to the administrator of Absolute Write, Alleviate Publications has its information freely accessible to the public both at www.alleviatebooks.com and www.alleviatepublications.com. Public contact information includes email addresses and a US based telephone number. There are also links to books we have published and we have provided ISBN information on our website for those who would like to look up certain titles. Our publishing house has established relationships with book distributors worldwide. As this information is clearly provided to the public, any statement to the contrary is libel.

As well, Alleviate Publications has responded to any and all persons who have contacted us with any inquiries regarding the Alleviate Awards. We fully understand people may have inquiries, but obviously, the people who have posted on this Absolute Write forum never contacted us. Instead, they decided to post defamatory comments without requesting information from Alleviate Publications first.

I can specifically point out a couple of the following libel remarks:

1.) Regarding the post: "self-published author pretending to be commercially published by a press she's pretending she doesn't own, and subsidising her press with a play-to-pay anthology" - Draya Mooney is an author published by Alleviate Publications who is on the committee for the Alleviate Awards, but she is not the owner of Alleviate Publications nor is she the only author published by Alleviate Publications. We have many authors. Some of the authors we are currently visibly promoting on our website because of their upcoming releases include Laura Tudor, author of God. And Chocolate. ISBN: 978-0-9821297-3-9 and J.D. Brandon, author of the Pepper Moon Club, ISBN: 978-0-9821297-4-6. These titles are clearly shown on our website www.alleviatepublications.com. Alleviate Publications has been assigned the ISBN prefix 978-0-9821297 by Bowker, the only ISBN agency in the United States. Bowker does not casually assign ISBN prefixes. In fact, it is impossible for an individual to be assigned an ISBN prefix by Bowker. Bowker only assigns ISBN prefixes to registered companies. If an individual were to apply for an ISBN, they would have to do so through a third party, and it would be the third party, not the individual, whose name is registered with the prefix. Since it is industry knowledge that Bowker does not assign prefixes to individuals and the fact that there are other authors listed on our website with their ISBN's shown clearly, for anyone to write that Alleviate Publications is owned by a self-publishing author is an obvious attempt at defamation. Public record obviously proves otherwise.

Furthermore, it can also be assumed that this is not only a libel case victimizing Alleviate Publications but it also victimizes Draya Mooney. To demonstrate to those interested in the Alleviate Awards that Alleviate Publications has the resources to publish books at leading retailers, a link to Draya Mooney's upcoming release The Aphrodite Scrolls is noticeably accessible in the contact section of the Alleviate Awards in each region. This link goes to Barnes and Noble where the book is available for pre-order. Barnes and Nobel is one of the largest retail chains in America. Barnes and Noble do not trade titles of self-publishing authors, especially not pre-orders. A publisher has to be a Vendor of Record. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/help/cds2.asp?PID=8148. I can only assume it is because of this link that Draya Mooney was targeted by the forum. If so, then this is a further injustice as they would have seen the link that shows the title available on Barnes and Noble.

2.) Regarding the post: "charities will only get a few hundred bucks." This is the most obvious libel remark meant to defame, mostly because it falsely assumes future events that haven’t even happened. The post deceptively states very confidently that Alleviate Publications will only issue a few hundred dollars to charities, yet the anthology hasn't even been released. As cited clearly on the website, the anthology will be released in March 2012 with all net profits going to charity. For anyone to automatically assume they know how much will go to charity is obviously a libel act, especially when written in such a negative, defamatory manner.

There are many more sentences within the post that contain libel remarks. The point is, I am only an administrative representative of Alleviate Publications. I am not a lawyer. Our legal team will be able to point out a lot more issues. We have the paperwork to prove that Alleviate Publications is a legitimate company and not a fake company as posts on absolutewrite.com claim. This information is not secret but cited clearly through public record and by the fact that we have established relationships with book distributors, retailers, and are registered with Bowker.

Once I pass this issue on to our legal team, I think our complaint will be even more legitimized given that the administrator of Absolute Write, MacAllister Stone, has been informed of the libel remarks on the Absolute Write site but refused to take the material down. To even further our case, MacAllister Stone represents herself as an editor and writer, a professional of the industry. She is not just a random forum monitor. Therefore, she would know quite well about ISBN prefixes and the type of business relationships necessary to have titles available at leading bookstore chains.

This is not an act against freedom of expression which, as a publisher, we respect, but a call to our legal right not to have slanderous and libel material spread about Alleviate Publications. It is situations like these why the US and other countries have constituted Defamatory, Slander, and Libel Acts. To be honest, we were surprised when MacAllister Stone refused to remove the libel material from absolutewrite.com. It was an honest request on our part and, as administrator of Absolute Write, it is her legal obligation to ensure the law is being adhered to on her forum. It is illegal to publish libel remarks. That's the law. But it is not MacAllister Stone’s name on the domain registrar. She is only listed as the administrator. It is [redacted]'s name listed as the domain registrar.

I think it is to the benefit of both Alleviate Publications and [redacted] that the post is removed from Absolute Write. It is an honest request. We just want the post that contains misleading and libel material about Alleviate Publications to be removed. It's very simple. It can be done very quickly. And it's the law. If not, then please understand, with no disrespect intended, I will have to forward this complaint on to our legal team. It is imperative that we protect the customers, employees, and authors of Alleviate Publications from the type of slander that can hurt a company.

Sincerely,

Emma McCarthy
Alleviate Publications
Alleviate Awards
www.alleviatebooks.com
www.alleviatepublications.com

And then she couldn't resist emailing me, yet again:
From: [redacted]@alleviatebooks.com
Subject: Notice of Pending Legal Action Against Absolute Write
Date: September 19, 2011 2:59:21 PM PDT

Dear MacAllister Stone,

We have sent an email to [redacted] regarding the illegal libel material you have on Absolute Write regarding Alleviate Publications. You have been copied on this email, but please find it below for your own convenience.

For the protection of our customers, employees, and authors, Alleviate Publications takes issues of libel very seriously. The law protects against slander campaigns. We recommend you consult your lawyer so that he or she may educate you about anti-slander laws. Ignorance is not an excuse in the court of law.

This is to act as a notice that if you do not remove the libel remarks on your website regarding Alleviate Publications, this issue will be forwarded to our legal team who will take action against your company and all involved.

According to our records, your company is:

Absolute Write
8911 Vernon Road #165
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
US
Phone: [redacted]

Sincerely,

Emma McCarthy
Alleviate Publications
Alleviate Awards
www.alleviatebooks.com
www.alleviatepublications.com

I've responded once more, just because...well...it seemed the thing to do at the time:
Dear Ms. McCarthy,

Oh good. I haven't been sued in a while. Shall I point out that when sued in the past -- and I have been sued in the past -- I've never lost? This is familiar territory to me. Rather less so, to you, I can see.

I shall await further developments with 'bated breath.

warmest regards,
MacAllister Stone

Curiouser and curiouser. I'll keep y'all updated if anything develops.
 
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BenPanced

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And please tell us if they make up their mind(s) to sue for slander or libel, since they seem to be so fond of bouncing the two terms around interchangeably.
 

Stacia Kane

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And please tell us if they make up their mind(s) to sue for slander or libel, since they seem to be so fond of bouncing the two terms around interchangeably.


Well, they do say in their guidelines that they do not allow "explicit" entries. So I guess they prefer everything to be inexact.

(I would assume they meant explicit sexuality/sexually explicit scenes, but given that they were not explicit about that and so just informed potential submitters that their entries were not permitted to be clear, exact, or detailed, I think they're just being meta/having fun with language? Displaying a whimsical side. How fun!)
 

BenPanced

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I'll be sure and do that, Ben.
:D
Well, they do say in their guidelines that they do not allow "explicit" entries. So I guess they prefer everything to be inexact.

(I would assume they meant explicit sexuality/sexually explicit scenes, but given that they were not explicit about that and so just informed potential submitters that their entries were not permitted to be clear, exact, or detailed, I think they're just being meta/having fun with language? Displaying a whimsical side. How fun!)

:ROFL:
 

Little Ming

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:popcorn:

I love it when people threaten to sue before consulting a lawyer.
 

Rolkus

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I have subscribed to this thread. I eagerly look forward to seeing what comes of this. If anything.
 

victoriastrauss

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From one of the submission pages for the Alleviate Awards:
Copyright

By submitting your material to the Alleviate Awards you are granting Alleviate Publications the non-exclusive, royalty-free, international copyright of your material. This means you continue to own the copyright of your material but you grant Alleviate Publications the right to publish your material in our anthology and to use it for promotional purposes for the Alleviate Awards.

Clearly a case of not understanding the difference between rights and copyright. And even if "rights" were substituted for "copyright," there's no definition of exactly which rights are being granted.

- Victoria
 

Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
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If this thread contained erroneous information, why didn't Alleviate just post the corrected information here and be done with it?

Adding: When I originally posted about a month ago, the Alleviate Publications website was registered to Draya Mooney, with an Ireland address. As of 11 September the website is now registered through GoDaddy with no person's name, and a NY address.

Someone else on another board has noted the same thing -- website registered to Draya, then erased, and an earlier lack of info about the publisher available.
 
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MacAllister

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If this thread contained erroneous information, why didn't Alleviate just post the corrected information here and be done with it?

Adding: When I originally posted about a month ago, the Alleviate Publications website was registered to Draya Mooney, with an Ireland address. As of 11 September the website is now registered through GoDaddy with no person's name, and a NY address.

Someone else on another board has noted the same thing -- website registered to Draya, then erased, and an earlier lack of info about the publisher available.
Yeah. The emails I've gotten today come from an Ireland IP, via webmail proxies.

The helluvit is that Draya could have found some assistance and an actual community here at AW, instead of picking an internet-lawyer slapfest fight.
 

Old Hack

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Yes, but this way is so much more entertaining.
 

Momento Mori

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Lord spare us from hyper-sensitive ninnies.

Emma McCarthy:
This entire Absolute Write post is slander against the Alleviate Awards ran by Alleviate Publications.

No it isn't.

You may feel that it contains libellous material, in which case you will have to identify precisely which material is libellous (and that involves proving damage or potential damage to reputation).

Emma McCarthy:
Alleviate Publications fully understands if people have concerns and would like to contact us, but obviously, the people who have posted on this Absolute Write forum jumped to conclusions without contacting us and without doing their proper research.

Alleviate Publishing can post on the Forum in response to questions if it so wishes or direct people to contact it directly.

Emma McCarthy:
I would like to remind Absolute Write that even though Alleviate Publications is an international company, slander is a liable offence.

There's no such thing as an "international company". Companies may trade internationally but they have a domicile of residence and jurisdiction of incorporation. They don't just float out there, crossing international boundaries willy nilly.

Also, libel (not slander - do try to get it right) is an actionable tort not a "liable offence". I've never heard of a "liable offence" and it sounds like you're confusing criminal and civil law.

As a helpful hint - next time you want to threaten someone legally, make sure you've got the terminology correct. It goes to your credibility.

Emma McCarthy:
Seeing as people have posted comments such as ‘run far away’ and ‘scam' then it can only be concluded that the content on this Absolute Write post is contributing towards slander against Alleviate Publications.

Again, it's "libel", dear, not "slander".

Also, no one here that I can see has described Alleviate Publications as a "scam". That seems to be your term for it though, which is in itself interesting. I would dearly love to see you try to make a case that "run away" is libellous given that it's a statement of personal opinion.

Emma McCarthy:
Even if we were to create an Absolute Write account and reply, the slanderous material is still visible on the web. Alleviate Publications believes in free expression with forum websites such as Absolute Write but also believes it must be done so in respect to the companies who may suffer from slander.

Ah, I see. You believe in freedom of expression unless you don't like what's being said. Good to know. Also, it's "libel", not "slander".

Emma McCarthy:
With the greatest respect, I request that you remove this post from your website immediately. Otherwise, we will have to consult our legal team.

Yeah, you should probably have done that consultation before you sent the email. I'd suggest that your "legal team" is going to face palm as soon as they see your correspondence and wonder how to extricate you from such an embarrassing mess.

Emma McCarthy:
As you are the official registrar of this domain, you have responsibility to maintain legal authority over this domain and should be informed about illegal practices.

Somehow I doubt that your "legal team" advised this as the next step. There's a difference between an argument over a tortious libel and an illegal practice such as copyright infringement. Domain registrars will act on the latter (when provided with evidence of the same). They generally don't normally involve themselves with the former unless there's a court judgment ordering removal.

Emma McCarthy:
I have a concern over slanderous material posted on the Absolute Write (absolutewrite.com) forum against Alleviate Publications. I have sent my concerns to the administrator of this domain, MacAllister Stone, but have received no help regarding the matter. In fact, the administrator refused to remove the libel remarks and encouraged me to consult my legal team instead of offering her assistance.

Oh good. You do know that there's a difference between slander and libel. I was getting worried.

Emma McCarthy:
Her response is a little confusing as we are not a third party but indeed an obvious party in the matter.

Oy vay. When you do speak to your legal team, ask them about this. It'll be an eye-opener for you.

Emma McCarthy:
Alleviate Publications believes in freedom of expression on forum sites such as Absolute Write, but even forum sites are bound by anti-slander laws.

Oops. Spoke to soon. You don't know the difference.

Emma McCarthy:
According to US and most international law, slander is a false statement made damaging a person or company's reputation.

Yes and your internet legal dictionary should also have told you that it's spoken. Libel is when a defamatory or potentially defamatory statement is recorded in writing or some other media.

Emma McCarthy:
With comments like, "I'd run away as fast as I can" and "charities will only get a few hundred bucks" and "self-published author pretending to be commercially published by a press she's pretending she doesn't own, and subsidising her press with a play-to-pay anthology" this is clearly a case of libel, where slanderous comments have been written and published.

The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that those statements are defamatory, which means you will have to prove to the court how Alleviate Publications operates and what its charitable arrangements are.

Emma McCarthy:
In the United States and countries worldwide, libel is a liable offence in the court of law.

No, it's an actionable tort. In some jurisdictions there is a criminal offence of malicious libel, but good luck proving it as the burden of proof in a criminal court is much higher than in a civil court.

Emma McCarthy:
Our publishing house has established relationships with book distributors worldwide. As this information is clearly provided to the public, any statement to the contrary is libel.

Unfortunately, libel doesn't operate like that.

Emma McCarthy:
We fully understand people may have inquiries, but obviously, the people who have posted on this Absolute Write forum never contacted us. Instead, they decided to post defamatory comments without requesting information from Alleviate Publications first.

You will never find a court saying that a poster has to go to a company first for information before making an internet post. It goes right to the heart of that "freedom of expression" you're so keen to support.

Emma McCarthy:
I can specifically point out a couple of the following libel remarks:

That should read "libellous" remarks.

Emma McCarthy:
Regarding the post: "self-published author pretending to be commercially published by a press she's pretending she doesn't own, and subsidising her press with a play-to-pay anthology" - Draya Mooney is an author published by Alleviate Publications who is on the committee for the Alleviate Awards, but she is not the owner of Alleviate Publications nor is she the only author published by Alleviate Publications.

Why was your domain name originally registered to her rather than your company?

Emma McCarthy:
Bowker does not casually assign ISBN prefixes. In fact, it is impossible for an individual to be assigned an ISBN prefix by Bowker. Bowker only assigns ISBN prefixes to registered companies. If an individual were to apply for an ISBN, they would have to do so through a third party, and it would be the third party, not the individual, whose name is registered with the prefix. Since it is industry knowledge that Bowker does not assign prefixes to individuals and the fact that there are other authors listed on our website with their ISBN's shown clearly, for anyone to write that Alleviate Publications is owned by a self-publishing author is an obvious attempt at defamation. Public record obviously proves otherwise

Your statements about Bowker are factually inaccurate and your argument here is a tautology.

I'd be specifically interested in seeing you prove that the statements were in some way defamatory, given that you already admit that Drayer is on your Awards Committee, which shows a tie with your company.

Emma McCarthy:
it can also be assumed that this is not only a libel case victimizing Alleviate Publications but it also victimizes Draya Mooney.

Yes, strictly speaking you can assume that. You'd be wrong, but you can assume it.

Emma McCarthy:
Barnes and Noble do not trade titles of self-publishing authors, especially not pre-orders. A publisher has to be a Vendor of Record.

Your claim is factually inaccurate. Plenty of self-published authors are vendors of record whose books can be ordered through Barnes and Noble.

Emma McCarthy:
Regarding the post: "charities will only get a few hundred bucks." This is the most obvious libel remark meant to defame, mostly because it falsely assumes future events that haven’t even happened. The post deceptively states very confidently that Alleviate Publications will only issue a few hundred dollars to charities, yet the anthology hasn't even been released. As cited clearly on the website, the anthology will be released in March 2012 with all net profits going to charity. For anyone to automatically assume they know how much will go to charity is obviously a libel act, especially when written in such a negative, defamatory manner.

Good luck actioning a libel on the basis of your intentions. As at today's date, your website doesn't even list the charities who will benefit from your anthology and in fact states that those charities won't be identified until the anthology launch in March 2012. That shouldn't be private information and it goes to the worth of contributing to your anthology (i.e. you know which charities will benefit from it).

For you to prove this in a court of law, you'd have to show the detailed calculations of how much you will be donating to charity based on projected sales and author fee contributions. You will also need to demonstrate how you are calculating "net".

Emma McCarthy:
For anyone to automatically assume they know how much will go to charity is obviously a libel act, especially when written in such a negative, defamatory manner.

No, it's a statement of opinion extrapolated from information that you have disseminated on the Alleviate Publications website. If you choose not to go into detail about your operations on your website, then people can think and write what they wish. It is not automatically libellous no matter how much you may dislike it.

Emma McCarthy:
There are many more sentences within the post that contain libel remarks.

No, there really aren't.

Emma McCarthy:
The point is, I am only an administrative representative of Alleviate Publications. I am not a lawyer.

No shit.

Emma McCarthy:
Our legal team will be able to point out a lot more issues.

Yeah. You probably should have had that chat before your batshit insane fit. You've basically tied their hands on this, even if they could help you. Not bright. Not bright at all.

Put it this way, if I was part of your legal team, I'd recommend taking your keyboard away from you because you're more a hindrance than a help. In fact, if I was on your legal team I'd be pointing out that some of those statements and representations that you made about AbsoluteWrite to its domain registrar are themselves potentially defamatory.

Emma McCarthy:
We have the paperwork to prove that Alleviate Publications is a legitimate company and not a fake company as posts on absolutewrite.com claim.

Which posts would those be? No one here has said that Alleviate Publications is a "fake company".

Emma McCarthy:
Once I pass this issue on to our legal team, I think our complaint will be even more legitimized given that the administrator of Absolute Write, MacAllister Stone, has been informed of the libel remarks on the Absolute Write site but refused to take the material down.

Yeah. Passing on a complaint to your legal team doesn't legitimise it. Now, if you get a court order (and I would so, so love to see you try because judges always need a good laugh and I'm all in favour of seeing money pass into my profession), then you'd have a legitimate complaint. Now, not so much IMO.

Emma McCarthy:
This is not an act against freedom of expression which, as a publisher, we respect, but a call to our legal right not to have slanderous and libel material spread about Alleviate Publications.

No, you absolutely are trying to stifle freedom of expression and you're doing it in the most batshit way imaginable. Way to go with damaging the reputation of your company, love.

Emma McCarthy:
It was an honest request on our part and, as administrator of Absolute Write, it is her legal obligation to ensure the law is being adhered to on her forum. It is illegal to publish libel remarks. That's the law.

No. The law gives you the right to make a claim, which you then have to prove.

Emma McCarthy:
We just want the post that contains misleading and libel material about Alleviate Publications to be removed. It's very simple. It can be done very quickly. And it's the law.

You know, saying "it's the law" doesn't actually make it the law.

Emma McCarthy:
If not, then please understand, with no disrespect intended, I will have to forward this complaint on to our legal team.

Oh noes! Not your legal team!

Emma McCarthy:
For the protection of our customers, employees, and authors, Alleviate Publications takes issues of libel very seriously.

Nah, I can't believe that you take libel very seriously. If you took libel very seriously, you wouldn't keep referring to it as "slander" and you'd certainly get a lawyer to advise you before firing off emails about it.

Twit.

In the meantime, I'll be over here microwaving popcorn.

MM
 
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DreamWeaver

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Momento Mori said:
Emma McCarthy:
The point is, I am only an administrative representative of Alleviate Publications. I am not a lawyer.
No shit.
I think that sums up the situation beautifully.
 

Momento Mori

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While Emma's got her legal team looking at the big old internet meanies at AW, she might also want to get some English qualified lawyers look at her website because the site for UK submissions to the Alleviate competition needs work:

Alleviate Awards Website:
No content may be explicit or prejudicial in matter.

What does this mean? Prejudicial to who? If you're going to say this, you need to set out what you're objecting to.

Alleviate Awards Website:
No content can include actual people or the names of private companies unless written permission has been given.

So no characters can go to a Burger King, drive a BMW, drink a Pepsi? This makes no sense. You already reserve the right to reject entrants containing libellous or potentially libellous material (and let's all take a minute to appreciate the irony there) so I don't see what this gets you.

Alleviate Awards Website:
All nationalities are welcome for the UK region as long as you live in the UK, have a relative living in the UK, have visited the UK, are a UK citizen living abroad, or have a strong connection to the UK. You do not have to be a resident of the UK to participate.

What's the point in breaking your competition into regions if you basically don't need to be a UK resident to enter? This is frankly laughable - not least the "strong connection" requirement because really, what the hell does that mean anyway? I would suggest that you have never had a legally qualified person look at your entrance terms and if, by some wicked stretch of the imagination, you have then you should seek a refund and make a complaint to the Law Society because it's down-right negligent IMO.

Alleviate Awards Website:
By submitting your material to the Alleviate Awards you are granting Alleviate Publications the non-exclusive, royalty-free, international copyright of your material.

As Victoria said above. There is no way that a qualified lawyer experienced in IP law would make that mistake.

Alleviate Awards Website:
Standard Fee Per Submission ... £12

This fee includes all working adults.​

Reduced Fee Per Submission ... £8

This fee includes those who are unemployed, single parents, and students.​

No Fee

The fee is waived if you meet any of the following requirements:​

-Pensioner
-On Disability
-Suffering Extreme Financial Hardship​


Regarding the entry fee, the Alleviate Awards function on an honour code system. We ask participants to choose their fee honestly.

This is farcical if you're not asking for proof. How does one prove that they're a single mother anyway?​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Cash and cheques are not accepted. This is because Alleviate Publications is refunding the entry fee of any submissions that are not published in the anthology. PayPal offers a convenient feature that allows Alleviate Publications to easily make refunds.

You can give a refund on cash and cheques as well actually if you so choose. Paypal's "convenient feature" shouldn't be the determining factor on that. In any event, given that you say that "almost all" entrants will be published anyway, it's difficult to see why you've got the refund language in there.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Alleviate Publications has the right to change the rules of this competition at any time without notice.

That's a big fat no right there. If you change the competition rules then people should have a right to withdraw (with a complete refund) and be given notice of the changes.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
The grand prize winners will be announced upon the launch of the anthology in March 2012. Alleviate Publications has the right to change the launch date of the anthology without notice.

Given that neither the charities nor the grand prize winners are revealed until the anthology release, the ability to change the launch date would be a concern for me. In theory, there is nothing to stop Alleviate Publications from delaying publication indefinitely - in which case no money will go to charity (as payments only come from sales) and it doesn't have to pay anything out to the prize winners.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
All net profits of the anthology in 2012 will go to charities selected by Alleviate Publications. This includes profits after publishing, distribution, promotional, and prize costs have been deducted

Ideally, Alleviate should be giving an indication of those costs now - presumably they have already been factored into the production costs. I'd be particularly concerned about this given that if you don't get selected as a prize winner, then you don't get any remuneration for your work.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Alleviate Publication reserves the right to entitle the anthology as they please and may change the title without notice.

What's the point of having an anthology with a title? It already appears that you don't require entrants' work to conform with the word "Impact" so it all seems a little silly to me. You could change the title to "Chocolate Bananas" and it won't make any impact on the contents.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
If a large number of entries are received, the anthology may be broken down into multiple anthologies and published as a set or series.

And what impact does that have on the grand prize winners?​

Also, I see that Alleviate Publishing has updated its Contact Page with the following little gems:​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Some competitors have posted untruths about Alleviate Publications on their forums. We believe they feel threatened because the Alleviate Awards function on a non-profit basis (all net profits of the anthology go to charity.)

Really - a site likes AW feels threatened by a non-profit publisher? That's a new one on me, Emma. In fact that does look to me like a statement that comes awfully close to being defamatory in its own right, given the potential claim of malicious intent. Hmm ...​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Alleviate Publications is a legitimate publisher registered under the ISBN prefix 978-0-9821297 with Bowker and is also registered under the United States Library of Congress PCN program, a government institute.

So what's the company name and where is it registered? Getting an ISBN prefix does not make you a duly incorporated company and your website is strangely quiet on this point.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
To protect our customers, employees, and authors, Alleviate Publications takes illegal slander and libel campaigns very seriously. Action has been taken against these websites.

Really? Has action been taken? Well, I suppose a number of poorly constructed emails that lack any kind of legal input does count as action, albeit particularly stupid action.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
As a publisher, we respect freedom of expression, but there is a reason the UK has constituted Defamatory, Slander, and Libel Acts.

Now, Emma, this is just lazy cut and pasting as you've put the same message in all the regional websites but you should know that the UK has not "constituted" any legislation. We enact or pass legislation but we do not constitute it. Nor do we have a Defamatory, Slander and Libel Acts. Here in England, we have a sound body of common law and the Defamation Act 1996. Get your "legal team" to tell you all about it and while they're at it, ask them to explain how the US passed legislation preventing defamation suits from being enforceable against US entities.​

Alleviate Awards Website:
Please help us stop slander. You can anonymously report links to illegal slander campaigns at [email protected]. Thank you.

Christ almighty, love, if you're going to go all out for utter paranoia then do, for the adoration of all that is holy, get the bloody terminology right. The word you're looking for is libel, not slander. You've just basically asked people to report street conversations to you and that'll just be an administrative nightmare. (Presuming of course that it's illegal slander - I mean, legal slander seems to be just dandy with you guys).​



If anyone else from Alleviate Publishing is reading this, please take Emma's keyboard away from her. She's making your company look like a bunch of immature asshats. On the plus side, she's made me and a load of other lawyers snort tea out of our noses through laughter.​





MM​
 
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Velcro

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In a way this kind of verbose response has to fill you with some pride. To think that a company as obviously renowned as Alleviate Publications/Awards (with their legal team and all that) would get their panties in a bunch about postings on an internet forum like Absolute Write has got to make you smile just a little bit.

MacAllister, thank you for posting the emails they sent to you by the way. They're very amusing and I hope they send more because I'm bored at work and need something entertaining to read.
 

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