A brief update of what is going on:
1. Jane Litte of Dear Author was sued for defamation by Ellora’s Cave, after she signal-boosted news from Ellora’s Cave authors, editors, and cover artists saying that they were not getting paid, along with other warning signs of impending company failure.
2. Today, there was a hearing regarding the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that Ellora’s Cave asked for in order to scrub evidence of Jane’s post from the internet. That hearing was inconclusive: the judge decided he needed to hear evidence about the truth of the claims that Jane made.
3. Jane has asked for people–specifically editors, cover-artists, and authors–to come forward who are willing to testify that they have not been paid.
I have seen multiple times (in emails and on the web) the statement that many people who would like to come forward feel that they are bound by the confidentiality clause in their contracts, and so cannot speak on this issue.
I had a long post up about potential ways to deal with this, but decided that posting those things publicly might not be the best choice at this time. And so I am just going to say three things instead.
(A) If you think you know something that can help, e-mail Jane (email@example.com). If you are afraid you can’t testify because of the confidentiality clause, tell her that.
(B) I feel that with (A) you need to know that your interests and Jane’s interests do not align perfectly, and I’m sure some of you know that. So here’s an option B. If you are an author, an editor, or a cover-artist who would testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but for the confidentiality clause, contact me. If there is enough interest from those who would testify but are afraid for confidentiality reasons, I will look into finding a lawyer to accompany you to the hearing–someone whose job it is to represent your interests, and to make sure that you’re speaking up to the maximum allowed without putting yourselves at risk. But in order to do that, I need to know who you are. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not have to tell me anything except that you would be willing to testify as to the truth of the statements Jane made, but feel that you cannot except for the confidentiality clause.
(C) I don’t know the terms of the confidentiality clause. But there is one thing that I know for sure–silence breeds fear. And no matter how broad the confidentiality clause is, there are some things that it can’t prevent you from saying. So if you’re an Ellora’s cave author, editor, or cover-artist, and you would speak up but you’re afraid, say that much. Go on twitter. Post it on your blog or your Facebook page. “I’m an Ellora’s Cave author, and I’m afraid to speak up.”
Silence breeds fear. Speech–even if the only thing you say is that you are afraid–breaks silence.