Writer Says Alabama’s Drummer Did Him Wrong

     BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CN) — A writer claims in court that he helped the former drummer of the band Alabama write his autobiography, only to have the musician publish the tome without giving him any credit.
     Neal Wooten a professional writer and novelist, claims in a federal lawsuit filed in Birmingham that he contacted Mark Herndon in 2011 about the possibility of putting Herndon’s life experiences in a book.
     According to the May 20 lawsuit, the parties exchanged emails and eventually came to an agreement on the joint project. Wooten says under the terms of the agreement, Herndon would send him rough drafts of pages and chapters, and Wooten in turn, would edit them and suggest chapter titles.
     Wooten says after two years of working together on the project, he asked Herndon if he could share credit on the book, rather merely its ghost writer.
     He says Herndon agreed, and wrote an email saying, “Neal, I have no problem sharing credit, or a percentage … whatever we work out” the lawsuit says.
     Wooten says he had 22 chapters on file for the book and an image he created to be used as the cover, when Herndon suddenly had a change of heart about crediting him as the book’s co-author.
     Wooten says Herndon sent him an email out of the blue that said, “I feel that putting anyone else’s name on the cover would dilute the impact of the story actually being my words.”
     The complaint says the email ended with the assurance, “Of course you will receive the percentage agreed upon and as mentioned, creds o’plenty in the thanks section.”
     Wooten says he tried to reason with Herndon, but that the musician was still “obstinate” and insisted on not giving the writer a credit on the cover.
     With that, Wooten says the agreement between the two men unraveled. He says told Herndon that if he decided to publish a book on his own, he could only use his original rough drafts, and had no right to use any of the manuscript they crafted together.
     Despite these reminders, Wooten says, in March 2016, Herndon published his book “The High Road: Memories From a Long Trip” with The Fresh Ink Group LLC — also named a defendant in the lawsuit.
     He claims that not only did Herndon and Fresh Ink use the jointly created manuscript, they also used the cover image he created.
     Wooten goes on to say that his anger was compounded by the fact he received no credit or acknowledgement anywhere in the book.
     Instead, the book’s inside cover suggests that Herndon edited the book and owns the copyright, the complaint says.
     Wooten seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as the agreed upon percentage of gross sales for his “uncompensated and unrecognized” work.
     He is represented by Stephen Heninger of Birmingham.
     Representatives of the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

%d bloggers like this: