Press release by Dynasty Press on the publication of Empress Bianca.
US launch September 2008 in response to law suit from Brazilian born billionaire widow Lily Safra.
September 2008. Press Release by Dynasty Press.
The book they tried to ban is finally being published. In what is being hailed as a significant victory for freedom of speech. Dynasty Press is celebrating the launch of Lady Colin Campbell's novel Empress Bianca in New York on September 18th at The Corner Bookstore. The bookshop was the setting for the hit movie You've Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
A host of celebrities and society figures are scheduled to attend, including Queen Elizabeth's cousin The Honourable Shaun Plunket and his wife Andrea, Wendy Leigh (New York Times best-selling author of Life with My Sister Madonna), Marion Javits, widow of New York Senator Jacob Javits, Dominick Dunne, bauxite heir Lawrence Kaiser IV with Stella Mazzucchelli, whose ex-husband was married to Ivana Trump, oil billionaire David Koch and his wife Julia, Christine Biddle, Mary Michele Rutherfurd, Christina Rose, and Monaco's Consul-General.
First published in June 2005 in England, Empress Bianca was pulped when richest widow in the world, Lily Safra threatened to sue the original publishers, Arcadia Books, claiming that she recognized herself as the inspiration for the central character, a social-climbing double-murderess.
As readers of gossip columns all over the world will know, the book's author Lady Colin Campbell, is not only the best-selling biographer of the late Princess of Wales (and related to the Royal Family), but also feisty. Her response was to sue Lily Safra. That action having since been concluded, Dynasty Press is now re-issuing the novel. According to Ms Charlotte Pike, Dynasty Press's commissioning director.
"The story remains the same. There have been no changes made to the plot, dialogue, or any of the incidents. We took legal advice from a top lawyer in London. He recommended we change identifying details, such as the nationality of one of Bianca's murder victims from Lebanese to Iraqi, or helper's from American to Canadian. The changes are trivial, maybe thirty words in all, but legally important. They mean Mrs Safra cannot now claim that the similarities which she used to force Arcadia to pulp the book any longer exist."
The US publication of Empress Bianca is of primary importance to the publishing industry on both sides of the Atlantic. As Ms Pike says,
"England's chief libel/privacy/freedom of speech judge, Sir David Eady, has made a series of legal rulings in the last four years which have resulted in the United Nations last month condemning backdoor suppression of freedom of speech through legal precedent. The fall-out is affecting the US and has raised First Amendment issues. For instance, Jennifer Lopez is presently suing the National Enquirer in London over something they published about her in the US. She is one of many celebrities who have discovered that you can muzzle the American press through the English courts, because Mr Justice Eady is using the internet to claim English jurisdiction for anything published anywhere else in the world."
"The situation is so serious that the New York State Legislature introduced Rachel's Law in March of this year to prevent English judgements made by Mr Justice Eady being enforceable in New York State."
"Unless the Federal Government extends the law nationwide, Mr Justice Eady will have found a way to muzzle not only the English publishing industry but the American as well. Even huge publishing companies cannot afford to meet a series of English judgements. Costs invariably run into the hundred of thousands, sometimes millions - all payable by the loser. So even if the damages awarded are only ten or twenty thousand, you can still be looking at a bill of a cool million."
Ms Pike, however, does not foresee any more legal problems.
"Lady Colin Campbell has already put Mrs Safra's lawyer, Anthony Julius, on notice that she will act in the event of anyone trying to kill her book. It took four years to write and is, as Alexander Waugh of the Literary Review said, 'a brilliant novel'. Anyone who knows Lady Colin knows that she is always true to her word. I have also taken the decision not to back down in the event of legal action from any quarter. We live in dangerous times. Our civil liberties are already under sufficient threat. A free society needs a free press. Book publishers are an inextricable part of that. I feel it is the duty of all publishers to stand up for freedom of expression. Our plan is to follow up the US publication of Empress Bianca with an English launch."
Dynasty Press, 36 Ravensdon Street, London SE11 4AR. Distributors: UK. Orca Book Services Ltd; US. Pathways; Designer: Two Associates;
Typesetters: Strange Attractor; Printers: Cromwell UK, Finland; Promoters: Colbert & Macalister, London.