The most infamous case of the last century has turned into one of the biggest P.R. disasters of this one.
After nearly universal criticism, from both within and outside the company, the News Corp. has pulled its plans to publish a book by O.J. Simpson — and to air a television interview with him — in which the ex-football star describes how he “might” have killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
Hypothetically, mind you. ‘Cause he didn’t. And he is still searching America, or at least every golf course in America, for the person who murdered his ex-wife.
(News flash: Even Rupert Murdoch will only go so far — or sink so low.)
For those of you who are well-versed in the legal issues surrounding publishing contracts, some questions from the Washington Post:
Who owns the book now? Will Simpson still be paid? And what will happen now to Regan, whom many in the industry condemn for what they consider bottom-feeding instincts while grudgingly admiring her audacity?
Some info about these issues, from the New York Times:
Standard publishing contracts call for a percentage of an author’s advance, usually up to 50 percent, to be paid when a contract is signed, and for the remainder to be paid when the finished book is accepted by the publisher. The [anonymous] executive [involved in the deal] said Mr. Simpson’s book was covered by a standard publishing contract.
In an interview last week, Judith Regan, the publisher, said ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, had signed a contract with “a manager who represents a third party” who owned the rights to Mr. Simpson’s account.
Because the News Corporation and ReganBooks decided on their own to cancel the book and the television special, that money is likely to still have to be paid.
Your further thoughts are welcome, in the comments or via email.
Under Pressure, News Corp. Pulls Simpson Project [New York Times]
News Corp. Pulls Plug On O.J. Book, Fox Special [Washington Post]
Earlier: This Is Why the Founding Fathers Gave Us the Double Jeopardy Clause