I run a small imprint about a niche topic (in fact, I use POD services, so it may not be considered an actual imprint/publisher), but I was approached by an author who is writing a book about an actual crime investigation he is doing (related to fraud).

I think the book would be very interesting and I want to publish it under my imprint -- however, I am a bit scared of the actual legal repercussions.

If he is doing accusations in his books, who would be legally responsible for that? Can I make a contract with the author where he is 100% legally responsible?

1 Answer 1


Both the author and the publisher are at risk. The author for making libelous claims and the publisher for disseminating libelous materials.

Defamation law is complex and thorny and varies across regions. Its a difficult balance between the publics right to know and free expression. As a publisher, a legal understanding of your risk is very appropriate and warrants exploring the matter with appropriate counsel.

Since you are aware that the author’s claims might be actionable, you are unlikely to be able to claim Innocent Dissemination. Asking this question, in this forum, would seem to nullify claim.

If you can show the author’s claims are truthful, then that is an absolute defense against libel. There seem to be more and less difficult standards, but they vary by nation. Due diligence would be to do very careful research, including engaging counsel, to assess your risk prior to publishing the manuscript.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.