Penguin backs down on Katie.com

Book renamed, order restored

Penguin Putnam’s decision to rename one of its best-selling books could mean that one of the Net’s oddest domain name battles may be drawing to a close.

The dispute is odd because it is not over ownership of a domain name, but about its use as a book title. It is quite a saga, but in short Katie.com is two things. It is book by Katie Tarbox, in which she writes about how she was molested by a paedophile who she met online while he was posing as a teenage boy.

But before all that, it was a totally unrelated website belonging to Katie Jones.

Penguin decided to call the book Katie.com despite the fact that the domain itself had already been registered and belonged to Jones. It says this was an oversight, and that the domain was brought to its attention after publishing. Whatever the order of events, once the book was published, Jones says she was inundated by emails from people mistaking her for the author of the book.

You can read the full story here and here on The Reg or browse through Katie Jones’ diary.

Jones' efforts to have the name of the book changed were unsuccessful, until last week, when Penguin Putnam announced that it is to rename Katie.com A Girl’s Life Online.

In a statement, the company says: “This is an important book about predatory pedophiles on the Internet and how we can protect our children. We changed the title to keep focus on this issue. We have always taken this situation very seriously. And we hope that by making this title change, it will demonstrate just how dedicated Plume is to clarifying this matter.”

Katie Jones, meanwhile, is a very happy bunny indeed. On her site katie.com she says: “I am sure that this sudden change of heart by the publisher is largely to do with the support this issue has received from the online community and once again I'd like to thank everyone very much indeed.” ®

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