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Author: Subject: Loreena Mckennitt and "banned book"

World Class Peach

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  posted on 4/9/2008 at 06:40 PM
Just wondering how many of our august members have been aware of the story. LM sued a fellow Canadian in English courts to get a book pulled from circulation, using both English law and EU law. A copy of the first edition is however still listed in the collections of the British Library, and hypothetically, I acquired a copy of the second edition, and again hypothetically pdf'ed and hidden off-shore. Thing Johnny Depp.....

If the author had published it in the US, our First Amendment would have provided a much higher safeguard, hypothetically

When in doubt, conduct non-violent anti-establishment guerilla warfare....hypothetically.

[Edited on 4/9/2008 by carlosofcoronado]


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Peach Head

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  posted on 4/10/2008 at 12:47 PM
I have heard about this. I probably dont want to know what was in the book that made her sue the author. There is no dirt that I know of about LMK and I don't want to find any out. Her music is great and that's good enough for me!

Extreme Peach

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  posted on 4/10/2008 at 04:45 PM
I have NOT heard about this... I'm confused. Please explain. The book was about her?

World Class Peach

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  posted on 4/11/2008 at 10:08 AM
Howdy all,

The story draws upon the differences between Western (US/Canada) rights under expanded protections versus UK/EU law which does not have a similar expansive Bill of Rights.

The struggle dealth with Ash's book and which Mckennitt ORIGINALLY sought 38 deletions, which included discussions of her reaction to her fiance's death, her early career as a busker, the condition of a newly purchased cottage, and the "fact" that Mckennitt had had sex in a hotel room, while her mother was in the same room. She won 8 of the 38 deletions and when the author acceded to the court order and issued a second volume, Mckennitt sought EU protection and wore down the opposition via financial attirtion. If Ash had published it in the US, or, Canada, it would not have been a problem.

The English, Irish, Canadian, and American presses all remarked at the radical nature of the "suppression" found in Europe. If one remembers Naomi Campbell's famous case, it will ring a bell. Campbell was photographed in public leaving a drug rehab establishment in London and sued the press for invasion of privacy. She won. That has set up the potential, as seen in the press, for someone like Bono, for example, to fall down in Hyde Park and break his leg, then claim it was a violation of his privacy, in Europe, to report on it or publish photograhs.

Below is a wonderful story from the Irish Times:

By the time the quarrel had concluded, with the couple paying McKennitt £67,000 (EUR 99,000) in a legal settle-ment, their friendship was at an end. "I was devastated," says Ash. "I got ill with the whole thing. I couldn't believe it was all over."
IN ORDER TO try to come to terms with the collapse of their relationship - "a cathartic exercise" - she decided to write a book about her experiences, called Travels With Loreena McKennitt: My Life as a Friend. To ensure control, Ash also arranged to publish it herself.
Published in June 2005, the book is essentially about the nature of celebrity, though it clearly dwells on intimate personal matters too. McKennitt has given many interviews herself, but had previously stopped the publication of an-other book about her songs, citing her right to privacy. So Ash cannot have been too surprised when she launched a le-gal action to ban the book. She later reduced that to a demand that 38 separate sections be deleted, some as small as five lines.
But it was the cause of action that was so surprising. She did not sue for libel, which is fairly normal in such cir-cumstances, but claimed the book breached her privacy.
An affronted Ash refused to accede to the demand and, having previously armed herself with insurance, decided to fight the case. Once the insurers' money ran out, its lawyers were forced to retire, and Ash represented herself in the high court. It is impossible to know whether Mr Justice Eady's decision would have been different if Ash had had the benefit of an experienced barrister, but his ruling certainly astonished the legal community.
In finding for McKennitt, and insisting that eight of the 38 instances should be expunged, the judge tipped the bal-ance away from freedom of expression for the media, and towards "the legitimate expectation of citizens to have their private lives protected".
He drew heavily on the controversial European Court of Human Rights victory by Princess Caroline of Monaco over pictures of her taken in public. Eady decided that information does not forfeit its "private" quality simply because it concerns events that could have been witnessed in a public place or because third parties are involved. In other words, authors cannot assert they have a right to freedom of expression if, in telling their own life stories, they reveal informa-tion about someone else's.
The judgment, delivered in November 2005, came as a shock to Ash. "I was amazed, and I'm still amazed," she says. "If I had published my book in the States or Canada, there's no way she could have stopped me saying what I did." As proof of that fact, the Toronto Star last year published several of the passages that the judge said must be deleted. I have read them and, though I cannot tell you what they said, I cannot understand why such relatively mundane details should not have been published. [The Judge allowed only 8 deletions of the 38 requested by McKennitt].
I agree with the conclusion of the Star journalist, Judy Stoffman, who said that even the most personal revelations "seem not at all gratuitous" and are clearly "intended to illustrate Ash's affection and care for McKennitt over nearly 25 years".
It was noticeable during my interview with Ash in the London house she shares with Fowkes that her admiration for McKennitt's achievements, and her respect for her musical talent, remains undimmed.
BUT SHE IS facing ruin if she is pressed to pay the costs of the various court actions. She lost her appeal against Eady's judgment and also lost her petition to the House of Lords. Her appeal was backed up by a letter from leading UK media companies, arguing that there was a potential impact on the media's ability to report, but to no effect.
Ash has also published a new version of the book, deleting the offending material but adding a chapter that deals with the trial. "It was held in private and I think that was grossly unfair," she says. "As for the judgment itself, let me just say that I believe it was seriously flawed."
McKennitt has issued a statement greeting the House of Lords decision, talking of her right to privacy having been secured and adding: "As an artist I naturally feel strongly about freedom of expression, and I feel vindicated that the law supported my view that freedom comes with responsibility for decency, fairness and truth."
That, of course, is a reasonable response. But it's hard to see, from the available evidence, that Ash was anything other than decent and fair and truthful. "It isn't a kiss-and-tell book", she says. "It's about friendship and fame. It's my story, and I should be allowed to tell it." ... - Guardian service

Now, the Canadian and American press, not subject to UK/EU laws were free to discuss the case at length, including various of the deleted portions. Some are also found on US/Canadian blogs, though, Europeans cannot, apparently, originate the traffic, they can access it abroad....shades of Chinese Democracy.

The British Library received a copy of the original first edition and still lists it, causing me to think that the BL is on the side of free speech and press. The second edition got only a very few press copies out before the ultimate settlement. Notwithstanding the Mckennitt success, book banning and book burning do remind one of things done by dictatorial regimes....however, only Nazi Germany gets the boos here, because Mckennitt is such a good musican......

One shudders to think what would have potentially happened to Randy Poe's book on Duane Allman had he published in the UK or EU. Galadriel may have been empowered to stop the distribution. Now while some hate the Freeman book, if it also might have been published in the UK/EU, the potential exists again for members of the ABB to "suipress" it.

Since the book involves a variety of issues,and I do not intend to make this a "political" discussion, rather the issue found under our own first amendment, several of us historians and a few legal experts have been working on that very premise. People like to hide their "shadow"...the questions arise from the fact that there are no exclusionary rules in history and historians are dedicated to the search for the truth, as opposed to hiding it. Closely related to the banned book and the actors, a number of questions that may in themselves be controverial and fit the theme of the Irish Times article are:

(1) What is the "truth"?

(2) Who owns the "truth"?

(3) Whose responsibility is it, if any, to sort out the "truth" from the "lies"?

(4) What are facts and how might they be interpreted?

(5) Can opinions or rumors be confirmed by secondary sources as opposed to primary sources?

(6) What happens when the author is also the subject of study, that is, when a so-called "trained professional" turns such skills to their own life-story?

(7) What happens to the concept of privacy when one has used it to create misdirection or a public image/illusion? That is, can someone’s privacy be “breached” when they themselves have used secrecy, deception, and yes, even lies, to change the course of “history”, so to speak? Does privacy always trump the truth?

(8) What happens to the privacy of others who have willingly or unwillingly cooperated in the maintenance of the situation cited just above?

(9) How far can, or should, one go in using all legal available sources, banned books
public documents, official records, the INTERNET, and, interviews, to connect
these questions?

(10) What is the effect of time on memories, even in the presence of still existing documentation and records, on all parties involved in a mystery?

(11) And, finally, when events happen personally to a "historian", what is the obligation, if any, to disregard it as an historical moment?

Anyway, I hate the suppression of books, moreover, I hate the ability of well-funded organizations (Scientology) and individuals buying justice by banning books. In the Ash case, one learns a lesson, pre-emption is anathema in American law, book banning by the courts is generally limited to national security issues, and Mckennitt's efforts have the proverbial Streisand Effect working. That is by seeking to ban the book, she drew more attention to it, and the press in the US/Canada gave more scrutiny to the deleted passages. Interestingly enough, while the book is "unavailable" commercially in the UK/EU, I suspect folks have already perused the deleted passages elsewhere.

Finally, this issue goes to the heart of something folks here have raised questions about. One included the famous drunken tirade by Duane on the New York radio interview. In fact, Poe drew the ire of several for publishing the details, as if they were secret. Many of us possess the audio and to pretend it did not happen is to hide history. Another touchy subject is Gregg's 1982 videoed/audioed comparison of himself to the slain Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers. We would all like to believe that our heroes are on pedestals with nary a slight stain.

The first respondent has a right not to read a volulme, however, the EU/UK cases indicate that citizens there might not have that right, the right to choose not to read a book. One fears that ever becoming the active attitude in the US (and Canada).

Many regards, and apologies for the length here.


Carlos "Hitler was evil for banning books, but not others?" Rivera


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Universal Peach

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  posted on 4/11/2008 at 11:00 AM
I can understand how this would reflect badly on McKennitt to some, but considering that she does seem to be an extremely private person, I'm not surprised.

Just to play devil's advocate, I would be interested to hear Ash answer this question:

If she has so much "respect" for McKennitt, and the nature of the book isn't a "kiss and tell" tabloid expose, then if Loreena doesn't want you to do it, why write the book?
I have a hard time imagining writing a book about my experiences with one of my "friends" without their explicit consent and active participation.

On the other hand, I can see how Ash feels like it is her story, and just because Loreena plays a starring role doesn't give her the right to censor it. A most curious case....

Oh well, Loreena is still the greatest singer alive by a wide margin, in my opinion.

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