OK, Now You Sue Me! 89


With grateful thanks to ANode – and to the others who submitted designs.

I repeat, that the producers of The Ambassadors, Big Tal, contacted me about acquiring the rights to Murder in Samarkand and hled a meeting with me in their office to discuss it at length.  They did not get the rights.  The concept of The Ambassadors, the series Big Talk subsequently produced, is very plainly based on Murder in Samarkand.  Big Talk are copyright thieves.

That is without the issue of making a state-sponsored satire with FCO approval and participation designed to justify and make light of our disgraceful collusion with the vicious Karimov regime.

This is the last correspondence I had from my solicitor on the subject – it would cost me £10,000 just to apply to see the scripts:

(a)    Application for pre-action disclosure

This is the next step highlighted in our letter of 6 March 2013.  This is an application to the court to order Big Talk to disclose certain information to you, namely, the treatment and the scripts.  This information would then enable us to understand if their show will infringe your book (or defame you).


The likely costs of proceeding with the application will depend somewhat on how the other side approach it, but at a minimum we will need to prepare a witness statement setting out the evidence to support your application, pay the court fee to issue the application, correspond with the other side and prepare for documents for the application and to appear at court to represent you.   Estimated costs for this application are likely to be in the region of £10,000 (plus VAT).

I don’t have money.  There is no access to justice for ordinary people against companies in this country.  So the copyright thieves of Big Talk can now sue me.  I would welcome any solidarity postings of the above image from other bloggers and media!

89 thoughts on “OK, Now You Sue Me!

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  • Mary

    The vultures made a killing today courtesy of St Vince and his advisers.

    ‘Royal Mail Shares Soar In First Trades
    The value of the Royal Mail jumps more than £1.2bn as conditional trading begins on the London Stock Exchange’

    The advisors to HMG were Goldmans Sachs and UBS.

    ‘The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.’

    Same old. Same old.

  • Emmpey

    “The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.”

    If Gideon is so commited to paying off the nations credit card why on Earth did they not try and get the best possible price? It defies all logic and sense.

    Meanwhile pay-day loan companies eagerly await the next inflation busting price increase on energy, which Gideon aproves of because that increase in energy spending is counted as ‘economic growth’ by his department – the ‘recovery’ is all smoke and mirrors to hide the systematic plundering of the nations last remaining bits of wealth by foriegners for foreigners; it’s no concidence that much of the PO stock has been sold to Qatar, who will no doubt be encouraged to build more unneeded office blocks and luxury apartments that proudly advertise “No Social Housing” in big letters on the £500 million worth of land that was not factored into the share price.

  • Mary

    Komodo I remember that you said earlier that ITV had acquired Big Talk.


    I see that until that took place at the end of July, BBC Worldwide had a 25% share.

    The founder, Nira Park, Kenton Allen and Matthew Juastice all made a pile in the takeover.

    ‘But it is Park together with chief executive Kenton Allen and managing director Matthew Justice who stand to net the most – jointly owning a 65% portion valued at £8.1 million by the sale.

    The initial payment of around £12.5 million is dependent on Big Talk’s 2012/13 financial performance, with additional payments linked to profits over the next five years.’

  • Mary

    O/T To anyone who has a helpful MEP.

    In July 2013, the European Commission announced new guidelines that aim to prevent Israeli projects in illegal Israeli settlements from receiving research grant funding and prevent Israeli companies and institutions that operate inside illegal Israeli settlements from participating in financial instruments such as loans. The new guidelines were broadly welcomed by Palestinian and European civil society organisations.

    But now Israel and its supporters are pressuring the EU to drop the new guidelines. There is a very real risk that the Commission will cave in to Israeli pressure and decide to continue the funding of, and support for, Israeli projects and organisations based in occupied Palestinian Territory. This would send a dangerous message that the EU lacks the political will to pressure Israel to end its war crimes and comply with international law.

    Take Action! Write to your Members of European Parliament
    Please use our simple e-tool to send a message to your members of the European Parliament and ask them to take action to support the new guidelines and make sure that the EU stops funding Israeli war crimes.


    Help us to spread the campaign – please share the event on facebook:



  • James Mason

    Just enjoy the programme Craig for the fun that it is. Perhaps not everything in life needs to be taken so seriously. No PM or MP needed to be so devasted by Spitting Image in its day. You protest too much and undervalue the importance of freedom of expression. It seems you want money through copyright rather than righteous justice through free speech which may be why freedom of expression is not your main argument.

  • Nextus

    @James Mason: I don’t think Craig’s grievance has a financial motivation. His unique story is the golden egg he salvaged from the deluge of shit that descended on him when he irked the establishment. A moral person would want to protect the moral heart of that story. There is an onus to protect it from being distorted for the purposes of propaganda or mass entertainment. If a production company says “We love your story and we want to turn it into a comedy”, it’s a fair bet that human rights aren’t high on their agenda.

    Viewed from another perspective, this TV series might be the opportunity he’s been waiting for: i.e. a hook to interest Joe Public in the trials and tribulations of representing British interests in the context of corrupt ex-Soviet dictatorships. I think the next two weeks could be pivotal. A well-aimed, measured article in the Sunday papers could reignite interest in the horrors committed abroad in to advance the so-called ‘war on terror’.

  • Jives

    James Mason,

    I think youre wrong.

    I believe Craig’s focus is on the very serious issue of torture and the creation of a “market for torture’ that the War On Terror has inculcated.

    Id be angry too if some persons and/ or agency had used my work/experience as the basis for making light of/satirising an extremely serious issue.

  • Tepp

    “The TV business is a cruel and shallow
    money trench, a long plastic hallway where
    thieves and pimps run free and good men
    die like dogs.
    There’s also a negative side.”

    To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson

  • NR

    @ Craig
    “Daniel Rich @ Craig Murray: … have you considered to contact either Assange or Wikileaks, explain your situation and see if if they have someone in their lawyer pool whose willing to step up to the plate without lining his pockets first?”

    Or have you consulted with your US agent and parties who optioned/own the TV/Movie rights? They may have a financial interest in copyright violations, or refer you to a US law firm that would pursue the matter on a contingency basis.

    Under US law, particularly the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, there are sometimes surprising outcomes, such as an award of US$17,000,000 including treble punitive damages, though that was for a straight, small-time copyright violation involving pirated DVDs.

    The other technique is the lawyers make claims that the defendant or its insurer finds it cheaper to settle than defend in court or risk a jury verdict.

    Though on the surface I think Komodo has a point: “If it’s lifted material wholesale from your book without acknowledgement, you’ve perhaps got a case. A better case, when it’s released. If it merely takes a sideways dig at a (fictional) previous incumbent of the (fictional) Tazbek Embassy, I wouldn’t think you had. You won’t be identifiable, and let’s face it, apart from your loyal followers and trolls here, the viewing public won’t even recognise the allusion. To you, or your book. And as I said, those images of smirking comedians probably belong to someone. Be careful.”

    Don’t forget, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.* If you stir up a stink, it should increase book sales.

    * Have you considered an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” partnering the charming Gulnara?

  • TO

    Using history or someone’s personal experience or even their writing as a basis for your own satire isn’t a crime, though, copyright or other. It’s a normal part of the tradition of art and literature, though I can see why a person at the centre of it might in some cases find it very unpleasant.

    I’m hopeful that this show will present a more interesting and complex view than Craig fears (in my experience satire is sometimes the most effective way of making serious points), but even if he does turn out to be right that their portrayal is ethically problematic and misleading, I really think the most effective way to address that is by engaging directly with the public – for a few weeks while this show is on, central Asia will be in people’s thoughts far more than it usually is, and it seems to me like the perfect opportunity to try to bring people’s attention towards the area in a more serious way.

    This show is fiction and comedy anyway and doesn’t appear to make any claim otherwise, so it should be easy enough to remind people that it’s just fiction, while inviting them to look at some more accurate and serious information.

  • charlie tiberius drake

    these 2 flabby clowns are full on mi spooky operatives just like armstrong and miller.
    in the old days tavistock got writers to write songs for fab type bands like the beatles and the stones.
    music is not what it was so tavistock moved on to other hooks and lines.
    comic jokers fat fucking gatekeepers.
    have they killed anyone these run to fat two.
    no but they died many times but we love them what what donte you nose.

  • Komodo

    “The government’s valuation of Royal Mail is based on advice from the investment banks Goldman Sachs and UBS after £21.7m in fees was paid to advisers.”

    That advice in full: “Pile it high and sell it cheap”. (Different costing principles are applied to the financial advice itself.)

    Obviously, the objectives were (1) to make sure of a healthy profit for the institutional investors whose friends Osborne would like to be and (2) to let The Markets (ie hedge funds) further into the public service sector. It was very little to do with balancing the government’s books, much more to do with ideology. Otherwise, the share price could have been double what was floated, and the pigs would still have been jostling to get at the trough.

  • John

    If the stuff you wrote about actually happened, and it’s now a matter of historical record, then where’s the copyright infringement in writing a fictionalised story about it? As far as I understand it, seeking the approval of people who reported real-life events is essentially a formality — they don’t legally need it in order to write their own account, especially if it’s satirical.

    As others have pointed out, once the series launches any newspaper in existence would LOVE to post the story “New BBC sitcom stole my story in order to heartlessly misrepresent the ruthless regime I wrote about” (that, er, may need to be edited for headline space). The Daily Mail in particular is always itching for muck to sling at the Beeb.

    You get your criticism of the show out there, you raise awareness of the true story, you get paid for your trouble and you get publicity for your book and your work. What’s the downside? That the TV show you object to continues to exist? Given your stated concern for free speech, that doesn’t seem like much of a downside.

  • A Node

    Komodo 14 Oct, 2013 – 9:01 am

    “Obviously, the objectives were (1) to make sure of a healthy profit for the institutional investors whose friends Osborne would like to be and (2) to let The Markets (ie hedge funds) further into the public service sector. It was very little to do with balancing the government’s books, much more to do with ideology. Otherwise, the share price could have been double what was floated, and the pigs would still have been jostling to get at the trough.”

    …. (3) ensure that only those selected institutional investors who have agreed to sell on their shares to T.N.T at a pre-agreed profit within a pre-agreed time scale are allowed to get their snouts in the trough.

  • David

    Just really daft thought…. have you had a look at crowd source funding ? After all if you win then presumably the program makers will have to pay you significant amounts of money, so in theory you could offer a return on someones “investment”

    Probably wouldnt work, but if you really want to have your day it might just be worth a look.

  • fuddlededee

    After 21 hours the comment finally appeared.
    How many more subtle or shameless plugs can be made before the comments close?
    So far two plugs for Craig’S book

    Does any one read The Independent Online these days?

  • Mary

    Will be thinking of Craig tonight as the drivel is broadcast.

    This lightweight review says all that needs to be said about the series and its participants. No images of bodies boiled alive will be shown.

    There is a bit of politics here too – the morality of arms dealing – but we need not get too bogged down in this. Ambassadors is pretty gentle and ultimately fairly throwaway, but after coasting in panel shows (well, coasting compared to the early morning location shoots and lines-learning graft of, say, Peep Show) and nice-for-the-bank-balance voiceovers this is a chance for Mitchell and Webb to stretch themselves with some proper acting and a proper script. No need to be diplomatic in this preview, Ambassadors is genuinely top quality television. Just one thing missing. I guess Olivia Colman was too busy to join in.’

    Ambassadors starts on BBC2 on October 23 at 9pm.


    It was also featured in Saturday Review.
    And in a new BBC Two comedy drama, David Mitchell and Robert Webb star as the British ambassador and his Mission deputy who are busy in Tazbekistan, trying to secure a 2 billion pound helicopter deal for the British government.

    I reckon it will bomb.

  • Iain Orr

    The review by Sam Wollaston in today’s Guardian – see http://tinyurl.com/nfe5lou starts with the obvious linkage (“Remember Craig Murray?”) and when I looked had already attracted 108 comments. What I found most disorienting is that in height, shape of face and even a few mannerisms (and the ability to knock back the vodka and deal with the plov), David Mitchell is well cast as the Craig look-alike (Craig might not agree). However, in terms of illustrating the rare phenomenon of ethical diplomacy, that role is given to the Deputy Ambassador. The standard is way below being a “Yes, Foreign Secretary!” extension of the Jay/ Jim Hacker franchise, but is clearly aimed in that direction. The script has a few good moments but has far too much over-the-top silliness and stereotyping, which generally means it has little claim to being satire.

    I don’t see it as amounting to an infringement of copyright, more a somewhat tacky exploitation of the genuine diplomatic dilemma of how to balance human rights v commercial and political interests. In skilled hands that could produce real black comedy; this is mostly played for cheap laughs.

  • James Mason

    Having now seen the programme you may be able, Craig, to share the costs of any legal effort with a large number of serving and former Ambassadors (not only British ones perhaps) and other ranking diplomats who will have shared so many similar experiences. A lot of those have gone into print and may be able to argue copyright infringement. Mathew Parris’ Parting Shots and The Spanish Ambassador’s Suitcase reproduce equally available material which might be used in your collective failure in the Courts to present a successful case. Sorry but I don’t think you have a case so sit back and enjoy or turn off the telly and focus elsewhere. JM

  • Stuart

    All of the above commentators who claim this programme isn’t a direct clone of Craigs book should read the book again. I recognised every character and many of the situations in the book. The Ambassador was even a Norwich City supporter. The play on words with the rubbish battle re’enactment band was so obviously the Battlefield Band brought out for Craigs British Days he had in Tashkent. It is similar to someone doing another star wars film and calling the main character Daft Vander. If the BBC had not have had access to ltaCraigs scripts book and drafts then they may have been forgiven but to use them to toteal the story is just plain wrong. I am sure you could never win an action against the BBC but they are playing dirty by not acknowledging Craig or even offering him a consultancy fee.

  • Mary

    ‘Plagiarism’ is the word James Mason.

    ‘Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. The idea remains problematic with unclear definitions and unclear rules. The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement.

    Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like expulsion.

    Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry it is a serious ethical offense, and cases of plagiarism can constitute copyright infringement.’


  • foolish rules

    Have you tried asking media / human rights firms and asked them if they would do a contingency / Damages Based Agreement (DBA)?

  • Alexandra Murrell

    I have enjoyed the two episodes of the Ambassadors I have seen. It is about more than the ambassador unlike Murder in Samarkhand , after all the sheep are wrong, the city has far too many lights to really be in central Asia.

    I think it shows the dilemmas that embassy staff face, as well as putting stans on the map.
    I dont think the President in the series is based on a real person.


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