Simon & Schuster releases Anson

Simon & Schuster, sued last week by investigative reporter/author Robert Sam Anson for allegedly breaching an agreement to publish his book on the Walt Disney Co., has relinquished all rights, title and interest in the potentially controversial work.

The action by S&S now gives Anson the freedom to sell the book — described as the “inside” story behind the success of Disney under former Paramount exex Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg — to another publisher.

According to a letter received March 19 by Anson’s attorney, Martin Garbus of the New York-based firm Frankfurt, Garbus, Klein & Selz, the relinquishment “is without prejudice to any and all rights and remedies of Simon & Schuster in connection with the litigation commenced by Robert Sam Anson.” This means that although S&S gave up their rights to the book, other aspects of the legal action will be addressed.

However, Garbus said Anson’s suit for damages will continue.

“Anson will seek additional monies in punitive damages because of Paramount’s wrongful conduct,” Garbus said in a statement.

In addition to seeking $ 1 million in compensatory damages, thesuit, filed March 18 (Daily Variety, March 19), asked that the book be “freed up, so Anson could get another publisher.”

Garbus, reached yesterday, said the fact that S&S has relinquished its rights to the book will allow the publisher to put the trial off for years, because there is now no need for an emergency injunction.

“My prediction is that they will do everything they can to exhaust him financially,” Garbus said, “and they will try to get the advance back.”

Simon & Schuster officials would not comment on the situation.

Garbus’ letter, dated March 22, and addressed to Simon & Schuster senior counsel Emily R. Remes, said, “Your attempt to reserve a claim to get back the advances paid to Anson after you canceled the book for alleged non-delivery 13 months before its delivery date is unprecedented in the publishing industry.”

Anson, also reached yesterday, said he was “excited to get the rights to the book back.”

Anson, who was given a $ 400,000 book contract to tell the “inside” story behind the success of Disney, alleges that the book was canceled because he dug up inflammatory information about Paramount Communications chairman Martin Davis and other Paramount and Disney executives.

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