Sunday, February 14, 2010

From the Department of Insanity

A European law professor, offended that her book got a bad review, is suing the editor of her book review in French Criminal Court.  And, because of the strange (to put it lightly) manner in which the French court system apparently operates, the case is going to trial.

Yeah, that's right, you read that correctly.  A professor who didn't like her review is successfully bringing the editor of the journal it was published in to criminal court.  The very fact that a case like this can go to court, anywhere in the world, is incredibly disturbing.  I've written my fair share of negative book reviews in the past, and I know I certainly would not have written those reviews if I thought I or my editors could get sued for my opinion.  Even if nothing comes of it, the fact that this is actually happening is sure to have a chilling effect on book reviews, and especially academic reviews.

The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court: ICTY and ICTR PrecedentsThe review is here, you can see for yourself that it's certainly a negative review but just as certainly not libelous.  It basically says that the book, "The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court", doesn't really say anything new or explain anything not written out in the actual trial proceedings of the court.  A bad review? Certainly.  Actionable?  Certainly not.  Except, apparently, in France.

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