THOMAS SKADE-RASMUSSEN STRØBECH versus GYLDENDAL PUBLISHERS & DAS BECKWERK/HELGE BILLE NIELSEN
The main character in a novel sues his author, brings him to court and accuses him for having stolen his life story.
Is this possible? Can this be for real?
If then the borders between reality and fiction has once and for good disappeared.
They have! Take a look at this:
The picture above is the front cover of the Beckwerk novel "Suverænen" ("The Souverain"). The book is a novel, no doubt about that. "ROMAN" it says on the cover. A work of fiction. And the person on the front cover is of course also a work of fiction, a product of the Beckwerk imagination. Inside the book, in the very text, this person is named Rasmussen. And this Rasmussen is himself based on the even more fictional character named Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech. A name so impossible that we were sure there would be no other person neither in the world of fiction, nor in the real world, bearing such an incredible and "fantastic" name.
But readers have a tendency to identify with the life, emotions and stories of novel characters. Oh, the reader thinks, he is just like me! And this also happened to an average Danish reader; a no longer that young man. He read the novel and looked at the front cover and said, "Oh, this is the story of me, the sad story of my life!" And as he by chance happened to be named "Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech", he turned the relation between reality and fiction upside down. In his bewilderedness he thought that the character in the novel identified himself with him, the reader. He got jealous on his double and closed the book and grabbed his phone and called a minor newspaper and told a journalist that HE was the real Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech, and that his name and his life and his story had been stolen. And while the journalist wrote, the reader called and hired a lawyer who then sued the author and the publisher for "theft of identity and biography".
This is of course absurd. As Beckwerk producer Morten Krogh recently stated in an interview with the Danish Magazine Højskolebladet:
"In principle it would have been more relevant if we had sued the man who claims to be the real Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech. After all he is the bad copy."
The case was first put on trial in the city court of Copenhagen, but as it is a unique case that might turn the relation between reality and fiction upside down for good, not only in Denmark, but worldwide, the case has been moved to High Court. And so:
8 + 9 SSEPTEMBER this year, 2010, the spectacular case Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech versus Das Beckwerk and Gyldendal Publishers should have taken place in Eastern High Court (Østre LAndsret) in Copenhagen. But just days before, the case has been postponed until later this fall.
The proceedings will be public and everybody is welcome to attend!
Follow THE TRIAL TIMELINE here:
Das Beckwerk and Gyldendal Publishers release the novel SUVERNÆNEN (the Sovereign) on the Danish market.
Few days later Information - a daily newspaper - asks their literary reporter to close the book and instead go out in reality to look for the main character Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech.
And against all odds and philosophical rules the reporter finds the fictive character, in reality, in Vieanna.
25. September 2008 Information brings the story about the search for the fictional in the real, and on top of it: even a real interview with the fictive man. In the interview Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech accuses his creator for have stolen
his private life story, and declares that he will bring his creator to court and have him sentenced.
The fictive character hires a real lawyer and:
27. January 2009 Attorney Christian Harlang - on behalf of his client Thomas Skade-Rasmussen Strøbech - sends a letter to Gyldendal Publishers and to the late Claus Beck-Nielsen (presuming that this deceased author should be the creator of the novel about his fictive client). In the letter the lawyer demand the publisher to withdraw the novel and both parts to pay an amount of (real!) money to the novel character. If this is not done within 10 days, the lawyer will take out a writ against author and publisher.
27. March 2009: On behalf of his fictional client TS-RS, lawyer Christian Harlang takes out a writ against Gyldendal Publishers and Helge Bille Nielsen (meanwhile even the lawyer have realised that it might be in vain to sue a dead author, and instead he takes out his writ against an employee of Das Beckwerk).
March 2009: In Information, Beckwerk employee Helge Bille Nielsen states that like other great men of world history, like Milosevic and Karadzic etc. he intends to conduct his case himself, being his own barrister.
March-April 2009: Gyldendal Publishers hires the young lawyer star and expert in personal law Martin Dahl Pedersen from the major Danish lawyers group Kroman & Reumert to conduct their case.
May 2009: Gyldendal and Helge Bille Nielsen (on behalf of Das Beckwerk) agree on joining forces, and so HBN entrusts the conduction of his (or Das Beckwerks) case to Martin Dahl Pedersen.
10. June 2009: Star lawyer Martin Dahl Pedersen as lawyer for the defendants hand in his reply to the City Court of Copenhagen.
18. June 2009: The City Court of Copenhagen refers the case to High Court:
Being the first case of this kind in Denmark in more than thirty years, the result will be a guideline for all future interpretations of the freedom of speech and the artistic freedom of all present and future authors in Denmark. And so the City Court on the request of the lawyers of both plaintiff and defendants decides to refer the case to High Court, with participation of 3 judges + 2 expert advisers.
10. August 2009: Attorney Harlang - lawyer of the plaintiff - requests a 3 weeks delay of the deadline for his first replication in the case, as his client is in the process of researching crucial matters.
8+9 September 2010: The proceedings should have taken place in Østre Landsret (Eastern High Court) in Copenhagen. But just days before the procedings have been postponed untill later this fall
Read the newspaper stories about the lawsuit: www.information.dk/166651