Political blogger Iain Dale on his blog says a biography of Wayne Rooney by the journalist John Sweeney which is published by his company, Biteback, led to libel lawyers' Schillings writing to Waterstone's and W H Smith threatening them that if they sold the book they would be liable for damages if they carried through with their threat to injunct and sue the publisher. Dale says: "The point here is that Schillings have tried to interfere with our commercial trading relations by intimidating our customers. In one case it worked, in another it did not. But think about what this means for the wider publishing community. If publishers accede to threats like this it effectively means that no one can write a celebrity biography any longer unless it is a complete hagiography. Our libel laws are allowing the likes of Schillings to threaten, bully and intimidate authors and publishers into abandoning perfectly legitimate books for fear of their whole company's existence coming under threat. This cannot be right and any reform of the libel laws must surely encompass this aspect of the law."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery