Amazon did not give me the opportunity to submit a counternotification. They told me the book had been taken down, and they would take no further part in the discussion. It was up to the two parties to resolve the issue. They made it clear that the only way they would put the ebook back on sale was if Random House withdrew their claim.
Thanks for those thoughts, much appreciated. The only reason US law might be relevant is that the republication of the interview was on Amazon, a US-based company. I have been told that courts in copyright cases do tend to look at the situation in other countries, even if there is nothing binding about the cases. They simply take them into account.
Thanks for that comment, which is what I assumed all along. Bryson would have little idea what he said that day if I hadn't written it down, and of course the interview only includes what we discussed that was relevant to his writing. Private chat about family matters was omitted, and the interview shaped into a more logical order.
It took two days of my time (and expenses) to travel to his village, stay overnight nearby, meet him the next morning, and then the time it took me to write the interview from my notes.
Now if only I could get one of my legal advisors to come out and say it as simply as you did! I'm still waiting on their verdicts.
Thanks for those questions. The interview took place in the UK, and at that time I was a UK citizen and UK resident.
Bill Bryson is, of course, American, but at that time was living in the UK. He is a US citizen but I would imagine (I don't know for sure) that at the time of the interview, as he had been living in the UK for a number of years, he had dual citizenship.
I assume from your questions you're thinking UK law would prevail.
One other thought. Many of Bill Bryson's books include quotations of things people said to him. In his travel books these are frequently used to make fun of people, and I assume he doesn't ask their permission to quote their words.
In his more serious books, like Shakespeare, he interviews Shakespeare scholars and quotes them. They must give their permission at the time, just as Bryson gave his permission to me 19 years ago to interview him, but if they later withdrew their permission, as Bryson is now doing to me, surely Random House would have to withdraw the book from publication as it breached other people's copyright.
In other words, if Bryson also has to abide by the claims he is making against me, he would have to withdraw some of his books from publication if anyone objected. I'm taking a stance against this for your sake, Bill, as a writer yourself.
As the author of the interview I've seen this reported in several places but this is the most interesting discussion thread I've seen.
Just to explain things further, I am now a resident alien of the USA, the ebook was published in the USA by Amazon, but is available in the UK. Now, Amazon in the USA accepted a communication from Bryson's lawyers in the UK telling them that the ebook was in breach of copyright (I'm assuming this as I didn't see the communication) and on the basis of that communication removed the book from sale without consulting me or give me or my lawyer a chance to reply. Obviously Amazon assumes that if a lawyer at Random House says something is true then it must be true, with no further need to investigate.
One possible consequence of this is that if Random House's claim proves not to be true, I would have claim against them for defamation and loss of earnings.