In May we were named as the Second Respondent in a law suit initiated by Mamphela Ramphele. She claimed she had not given permission for the re-release of her autobiography, a project being lead by New Africa Books, the First Respondent. We had been working with NAB to get the autobiography, A Life, onto Paperight, and Nick Mulgrew (Paperight’s in-house designer), had designed a spiffing new cover to replace the old one. Originally, A Life had been published by David Phillip publishers in 1995, and DP was later acquired by New Africa Books.
Ramphele claimed that NAB did not have the right to re-release her autobiography, and thus that Paperight had no right to distribute it. When NAB signed up with Paperight they signed our publishers agreement which includes a clause in which the publisher warrants that they are the owner of, or are authorised to license, all of the content they give to Paperight, and indemnifying Paperight from any third party claims arising from a breach of this warranty. So we were covered, but it was certainly disturbing to get served. I was able to digest the legal documents we received and liaise with our lawyer to assist with the drawing up of an affidavit. Thankfully, NAB and Ramphele settled the matter out of court fairly quickly and amicably, and we agreed to remove the book from the site. It was a big wake up call to us all.