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Shack Author and Publisher in Legal Battles

The Los Angeles Times calls it a “Cinderella story.” A man is encouraged by his wife to write a story for his kids that lets them know who he is and what he values. He writes the piece and trudges off to Kinko’s Copy Shop where the initial printing of The Shack consists of fifteen — count ’em, fifteen — copies.

That was twelve million copies ago, and almost just as many blog posts and published articles; some praising the manuscript and others deriding it for doctrinal and theological error.

In between, the story fell into the hands of Wayne Jacbosen. If you’ve read He Loves Me or So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, it’s possible to imagine the guiding hand of Wayne all over the manuscript. The cover — which on the original Kinko copies said, “by MacKenzie Allen Phillips;” and then was published as “by William P. Young;” and then was changed to “by Wm. Paul Young;” — might have equally said “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacbosen;” or even “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings.”

Windblown Media, the upstart company Cummings and Jacobsen formed could have done that. But they didn’t. While Jacobsen’s editorial involvement has been unquestioned, there has never been a consideration of co-authorship; which the triple-authored Bo’s Café proved the company more than willing to do.

Paul Young

The Times article informs, “On March 11, Jacobsen and Cummings asserted their claim to co-authorship with an amended copyright filing to the Library of Congress. They also accused Young of reneging on a deal to help Jacobsen and Cummings turn The Shack into a movie.”

But now we find the entire “Cinderella story” blown apart in lawsuits and counter-suits; with the general-distribution publisher Hachette Book Group being forced to deposit the royalties in a trust account until the courts can sort it all out.   The legal battles have implications for the various foreign translations of the work as well; currently involving at least twenty languages.

Sad really.

You can read the entire, long story here at the L.A. Times.


Thanks to the blog Bene Diction Blogs On for making us aware of this story.   This story is being jointly published Saturday on my general interest blog, Thinking Out Loud.

~Paul Wilkinson.

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