Friday, October 17, 2008

First Post :: Back Story

In 2008, Chipmunka Publishing released an autobiography that contained copyright violations, and untrue and defamatory statements about a number of the people mentioned in its pages.

I contacted Chipmunka to tell them about these violations, and their initial response was good - the book was withdrawn from sale pending an investigation. From there, however, things got very strange indeed.

Chipmunka told me that they had consulted with a lawyer, and that my claims to copyright of something I had written were not valid. They insisted that by changing the names of people defamed in the book, there was no longer a need for accuracy in the descriptions of these people. This was untrue, as rudimentary research showed me.

Their responses became increasingly bizarre - at one point they suggested that a faked letter could be used in place of a copyrighted one, neatly substituting a copyright issue to one in which the book now claimed people had written things they had not, with the full knowledge (and more, as I found out) of the publishers.

We painfully thrashed out a solution that would allow the book to be published without copyright infringement or defamation, and were nearing a solution when the emails stopped coming. I had insisted that Chipmunka provide me with a copy of the book before it went on sale again, as the original content and subsequent effort to correct the text and protect my rights was distressing to me, and, I felt, best respected and avoided by Chipmunka. I don't think this was an unreasonable request, especially given the amount of work I put in to achieving a solution that would not involve lawyers.

In October 2008, I received an anonymous email from someone who identified themself as working for Chipmunka, with the news that the book was to be published again. This email contained a number of exchanges between the directors of Chipmunka and the author of the autobiography. These emails revealed that Chipmunka had a very different attitude to the one they displayed in their dealings with me. They also revealed that Chipmunka have, or have had, the same kinds of problems with at least five other books they either have published, or are attempting to publish. It is my hope that people involved with these other books will find this journal and share their stories.

Chipmunka claim to support those who suffer from mental health problems. In fact, as we shall see through an examination of their behaviour and behind-the-scenes exchanges, their attitude does more to reinforce delusional behaviour than provide a healthy forum and outlet for those who need that help.

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