Is Random House selling Barack Obama’s book under false pretenses?
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Anthony R. Martin, J. D.
Professor of Law (Adj.)
February 21, 2007
Random House, Inc.
New York, NY 10019
Via fax (212) 572-6066
Crown Publishing Group
New York, NY 10019
Via fax (212) 940-7868
NOTICE OF CONSUMER FRAUD AND
CORPORATE FRAUD UNDER NEW YORK LAW
Approximately 2-1/2 years ago I notified Crown Books that Barack Obama (and Crown Books) were involved in a consumer fraud–by selling a fraudulent book on his life. He was selling a document that was being mischaracterized as an “autobiography” when it was a novelized version of his life.
Obama and Random/Crown have fooled others. I learned from my research, for example, that the free encyclopedia “Wikipedia” refers to your book as an “autobiography.”
The issue of the novelization of Mr. Obama’s life, as depicted in your publishing list, came to life again this week with stories in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Sun-Times. I am also enclosing 2004 stories.
Mr. Obama admits he created composite characters and other fictitious elements to move along his narrative. By no stretch of the imagination does his work qualify as “biography” or “autobiography” as it is identified on your publishing list (see attached).
I have no objection to your selling Mr. Obama’s book so long as you label it with a clear disclosure that it is a fictionalized version of his life, and do not represent on either your web site or in any other sales matter or manner that the book is “autobiography” or “biography.”
Biographies are expected to provide scrupulous accuracy, not novelization. For example, you just don’t say “I don’t remember” a major character in a brief (then 35-year) life such as his; you go and find out that person’s name and include it accurately.
Obama’s “biography” is a fraud. The Sun Times reported yesterday that in trying to find out whom the “real” people in the book were, his own staff was forced to start from scratch, without any help from the senator who obviously can’t remember his own fabrications.
If you refuse you take what I believe to be reasonable action I will choose a legal forum where the book is being sold, including the United Kingdom, and file a legal action under both general and consumer fraud laws to restrict the marketing/advertising of Obama’s book by both Random House/Crown Publishing and any booksellers.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss this matter further. If you wish to rely on any legal authority to publish as “biography” what is clearly now fiction, then by all means provide it to me so I may review your legal research and respond to you appropriately.