A freelance writer has asked a court to dismiss his $5 million lawsuit accusing author Kitty Kelley of plagiarism in her best-selling book about President Bush and his family.
Glynn Wilson said Friday that he decided to drop the suit, filed in November, because he feared that U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon was about to rule that copyright law didn’t cover his story on the Internet about Bush’s days in Alabama when he was in the National Guard in the early 1970s.
Such a ruling by Clemon would erode the legal protections that cover Web-based writers, Wilson said.
“That’s the more important principle here, and it’s a problem that’s got to be fixed,” he said.
Wilson claimed that Kelley’s book, “The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,” lifted large parts of a story he first posted on his Web site, Southerner Daily News, in February 2003, specifically passages about Bush’s drinking and drug use. Doubleday, a subsidiary of Random House, Inc., published Kelley’s book last fall.
Kelley said Friday that the claims in Wilson’s suit were “unfair and damaging” and that withdrawal of the suit is a victory “for the rights of all writers.”
In a statement, she said she was particularly gratified by the development “because, as an independent writer, biographer and journalist, I have spent my entire professional career adhering to the highest standards of writing and research.”
In court documents, the publisher denied plagiarizing Wilson’s work and said that Wilson failed to obtain a proper copyright before putting his story on the Internet.
Kelley, known for gossipy, unauthorized biographies of Jackie Onassis, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan, has said that four teams of lawyers checked her book for libel and slander before it was published.