Saturday, February 25, 2012

Author Paula Commerford gets C and D letter

Attorney for PublishAmerica, Victor Cretella issued a Cease and Desist letter to outspoken former PublishAmerica author Paula Commerford. Mr. Cretella alleges that Mrs. Commerford "published false and disparaging e-mail about PA to the American Consulate on Leipzig, Germany, as well as Maryland agencies and media organizations."

Mrs. Commerford has a PublishAmerica information website at She has also been a guest on xzone radio which also operates the website.

The remark made to Commerford in this letter is in response to a solicitation sent out to their authors (PA claims they have tens of thousands of authors) as well as published on their website. One of their promotions involved the U.S Consulate in Germany.

"Dear author:

The U.S. State Department wants your book.

They promote American literature abroad.

We have been contacted by the U.S. Consulate General in Leipzig, Germany. They want to present our best books during the Leipzig Book Fair next month. Last time around PublishAmerica also promoted its best books in Leipzig, together with the American consulate.

Activate today if you want your book to be sent to the U.S. Consul General.

Go to to activate for $39. Your book will upon being selected be sent to Leipzig for promotion and display during the Leipzig Book Fair in the U.S. Consulate General's booth. After the event it will be donated to a public or university library. If for whatever reason your book doesn't pass the selection process, you will receive a full refund of your activation fee.

Must choose a shipping option to activate. No use of coupons allowed. Valid for one title at a time. Mention your book title.

Thank you,

--PublishAmerica Bookstore"

Paula Commerford followed up with them on this solicitation and was told that the U.S. Consulate Leipzig in Germany hasn't heard of PublishAmerica nor do they ask companies to solicit books for a fee on their behalf.

Cretella pointed to Commerford's use of the term "promo fraud" and demanded that her statements "be removed from the internet now." He stated (Maryland) case law and again named Dave Kuzminski and the 53,000 judgment. What Mr. Cretella omitted here is that this was a personal lawsuit filed by him on his own behalf against Mr. Kuzminski. PublishAmerica was not a litigant in it.

Mr. Cretella defined "defamation" in the letter as "a statement is defamatory if it tends to impair a person's reputation in the community."

The actual definition is a bit different than that.

"An attack by speech on the good reputation of a person or business entity. Speech that involves a public figure--such as a corporation--is only defamatory if it is false and said with actual malice. It also must be factual rather than an expression of an opinion. In the United States, because of our strong free speech protections, it is almost impossible to prove defamation of a public figure."

I think "good" reputation is the key here. A quick Google search will demonstrate that PublishAmerica does not have a good reputation.

Even the Better Business Bureau gave this company an F rating.

"This Business is not BBB accredited"

By the way, FYI for both Mrs. Commerford and Mr. Cretella, the name of Harry Potter's author is J. K Rowling, not Rowlings.

1 comment:

  1. Vic is a busy guy these days. I mean considering PA is his only client and all. Judith Reed also got a c and d and he must have this saved to a template or something. It looks like PA has to send out so many of these threatening letters that they have become a form letter to them. Her letter is almost verbatim.


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