A couple of months ago I wrote that one of the authors of a book I had reviewed had sued me because he felt that my review had caused him unquantified damages and that publishing it had been an ‘unlawful act’. I’m quite pleased to be able to announce that on 18 November the court has dismissed all his demands. My freedom of speech prevails over his hurt feelings!
In the verdict the court writes that I gave several arguments on which my negative judgement on the book was based. Middelkoop could have reacted in public, for instance on Twitter or other media. He could have countered my arguments, or could perhaps have found experts that disagree with me. And than it would have been up to the public to make up their minds, whether readers value my judgement better than his book. The court acknowledges that I occasionally used strong language in my review, but not in such a way that this could be seen as unseemly.
On the issue of the plagiarism of the article by Carl Bernstein, the court deems my statements sufficiently substantiated.
Also the rest of Middelkoops demands (basically that I should remove a couple of tweets concerning the review and some other issues) were dismissed.
More details on Kloptdatwel (in Dutch).