The Julian Assange book battle continues. After publisher Canongate went ahead and published the memoir Assange backed out of earlier this year, Assange released incriminating phone calls, proving Canongate went ahead and published the manuscript without permission. Canongate responded to Assange's allegations, defending the decision to publish the title. "The fact that Julian, for whatever reason, now wishes to retract and deny those stories that he supplied to his co-writer is sad and regrettable," reads the statement posted on the publisher's site. "We published the story he told. And we gave him ample opportunity (over 5 months) to retell it. He chose not to."
At its root this is a simple tale: after delivering a manuscript Assange decided he didn't want it published and Cannongate wanted its money back. When they didn't get it, they decided to go ahead and print the book over Assange's objections. No one will come out of this happy (the book is not selling well), but the back-and-forth is a fascinating look at what it's like to work with WikiLeaks's odd leader.
Both Canongate and Assange agree that Assange signed a contract, but that's about where the consensus stops. Canongate alleges that not only did Assange agree, but he also received an advance that he never gave back. "Canongate paid Julian’s agent – not WikiLeaks - a substantial signature advance in December for the book, money that he instructed his agent to hand over to his lawyers," reads the latest Cannongate statement. "Julian has said on Twitter that ‘JA has not, and will likely never receive a cent from this stolen text’. He has – it’s a six figure sum. And we will honour any further royalty payments that become due." Assange agrees that he received the money, but in a statement on his site he claims the advance was "paid without his consent" and "sits unspent in an FSI client account." Though, which refutes an earlier report that he had spent it all. Either way, Canongate never got the sum back.