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Dooced Again: Blogger Settles w/Jilted Publisher

Heather B. Armstrong became a household word a few years back when she got fired from her job after employers discovered her blog, Dooce. The notoriety gave her a huge audience, making her a natural candidate for one of those blogger book deals you hear about—in fact, back in January, when mediabistro.com interviewed Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, he gave us the impression that she would be writing a book for Kensington’s Rebel Base Books line. That’s because, according a court complaint Kensington filed in June (PDF courtesy of Trainwrecks.net), publisher and author were busy hammering out the details of a two-book contract while that interview was being conducted.

But if there’s a court complaint, you know there’s a twist: Armstrong’s agent sent an email to Kensington in late April stating that all the terms had been successfully negotiated and requesting signature copies for Armstrong to sign, then told the publisher a month later that, because Ruby-Strauss was no longer working there, Armstrong refused to sign the contract. But then, Kensington’s attorneys claimed, Armstrong herself told the publisher a different story; she was upset at the lengthy negotiations and the “nerve-wracking” lack of contact, and now she wanted out. Kensington maintained it already had a valid and binding contract with her, so they sued to get her to uphold it.

Armstrong has announced a settlement on Dooce, “officially ending what has been the most traumatic, agonizing, demoralizing experience of my life.” In case there’s any other doubt as to the outcome, she adds:

“I have no faith in our legal system, one that guarantees victory only for the party who can afford to pay for it, one that would allow a large company to bully a private citizen because it knows that she has no money with which to defend herself. I am angry and bitter and feeling all sorts of unbecoming emotions. More than that, though, I am afraid that these people are watching everything I say here, ready to pounce on a single word, twist it, manipulate it, and then sue me again.”

More info on the actual settlement terms as our queries get responses…

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