1. Gringoamericano
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    Gringoamericano New Member

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    Blackmailing the president of Cartoon Network

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gringoamericano, Jun 25, 2012.

    I'm writing a comedy based off of an incident in 2007, where an ad for the ATHF movie was mistaken for a bomb, and one of the consequences was that the head of Cartoon Network, Jim Samples, quit his job about a week after the incident.
    I decided that rather than having him just simply quit his job, a few higher-ups from Turner Broadcasting will walk into Mr. Samples' office and hand him his own letter of resignation, and tell him something along the lines of "You're going to sign this, or we'll make your job a living hell". I realize that this may be going completely against what really happened, but I find this series of events to be a bit more entertaining.

    The problem is, I have no idea what the president of Cartoon Network even does, let alone how to force him to quit. Can anyone provide any suggestions over how he can be blackmailed, or at least give me an idea over what the head of Cartoon Network even does?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You might also want to consult a literary attorney before tackling this project. It sounds like you could be at risk for a defamation (libel) lawsuit if you aren't careful.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I concur! I bet you a 90% if not a 100% chance that Mr. Jim Samples and/or his family will sue you for liability and such.

    If I were you, I'd tread very carefully here, and consult a literary attorney, like Cogito said.
     
  4. Gringoamericano
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    Gringoamericano New Member

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    What if I'm only posting this on sites such as deviantArt for free reading?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't matter - defamation claims aren't based on whether you got paid for the defamation, they're just based on what you said.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    where the mind is without fear...
    The higher ups will be the board of directors, and what you describe is not blackmail but kind of like offending face saving exit from his post.
     
  7. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Mr. Samples' lawyers won't be trawling deviantArt for defamation claims. If your story is famous enough for him to notice it and to risk a lawsuit over it, you're probably making so much money a small matter of a 'suit probably is just a small dent in your bank account. In fact, (this may be morally offsetting but it's a practical device that fiction authors use all the time) you can use the publicity generated from the suit(and it will have publicity, because ex. CEO vs famous author is always enticing) to rake in more readers.
     
  8. bo_7md
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    bo_7md Member

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    Easy! Google or wiki: the small pen*s rule. :)

    On a serious note, as people mentioned above, any person involved can sue you if he/she can prove it is them. Even if you aren't famous or making money out of it you are still at risk--search for The montana blogger Crystal Cox.

    You'll need to change a lot to make the character unrecognizable--gender, height, nationality.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's a foolish gamble, especially in the days of search engines and Internet virality. But it's your life.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can certainly be *inspired* by this incident, but I would suggest that you not use the real person's name (or anything close to the name -- i.e. Tim Gamples wouldn't be enough of a change), not make the channel The Cartoon Network, not make it owned by Turner Broadcasting, and not make the ad be for the ATHF movie. Lots of stories are inspired by actual events. Almost every episode of Law & Order is just a variation on some story that was in the news not too long before. There are lots of things you can change. The biggest thing you have to be careful about is changing the attributes of any of the people involved in the real life incident. The incident itself, though is fair game for inspiration of a fictional story.

    It may be better that you have no idea what the president of the CN actually does. You say "I realize that this may be going completely against what really happened..." but that's EXACTLY what you want. Certainly if it's not what happened, and you haven't made any kind of claim that it is what really happened, and you're not portraying your characters as the people who were involved in the incident, that should be fair game.

    That said, you can always be sued at any time. The more different your incident is from the real life incident, the better off you are.

     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it'd be the height of suicidal foolishness to go ahead with this without consulting a literary attorney first... period!
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    If this is the story that's in you, I'd write it first and and figure out the legal issues before publishing it or sending it out to the world. A literary attorney can't give you meaningful advice about something that doesn't exist. It will depend on the specifics of what you've written. What you end up with might be completely far away from and unrelated to the original issue that inspired you.
     
  13. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Following the footprints in the sand...
    Hmm...Pandora's Box.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why risk wasting all that time and creative energy on something that can only get you sued?... makes no sense to me... plus, any literary attorney worth his/her fee will certainly be able to tell you if a book based on a premise such as this one could be actionable, or not...
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ...or at least advise you in advance where to draw the line. You'll still want to run the completed manuscript by a literary attorney.
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose it depends on why one is writing. Many writers enjoy the process of writing -- exploring their thoughts and ideas and getting them down on paper, sometimes even if no one else sees it. Many find any time spent writing to be time well spent. Obviously, something that's never shared has zero chance of getting one sued. If the only reason for writing is to publish the piece, and if it turns out that for some reason it could not be published, then that would render the time spent writing entirely useless. If the writer does not value the practice and the lessons learned from the writing in and of itself, then I guess, yes, it would not be worth it.

    As far as whether an attorney could tell you whether the book would be actionable, I disagree. I'd run from any attorney who claimed he or she could give you a definitive answer (on anything), especially on a piece that was yet to be written. For ANY piece of writing, the answer to the question, "Could this lead to a lawsuit?" the answer is ALWAYS YES. Anything could lead to a lawsuit. Anyone could claim it was based on them or stolen from them or defamed them or harmed them in some way, even if the writer has never heard of or met the person. The answer is always dependent on the specific facts and the ability to prove an allegation, which in turn depends on numerous factors.
     

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