Legal threat to 'fake' reviews

<p>Publishers and authors who anonymously post glowing reviews of their own books on websites such as Amazon could face legal action under a new European directive which comes into force in December.</p><p>The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive must be brought into UK law by 12th June this year and must come into force by 12th December. Simon Gorham, a solicitor in the litigation department at law firm Boodle Hatfield, said the directive was intended to hit businesses or individuals who induce consumers into making decisions they might not otherwise have made.</p><p>&quot;It encompasses commercial practices that are misleading or likely to deceive the average consumer even if the information is factually correct,&quot; he said. &quot;Businesses must not falsely represent themselves as consumers, for example by writing fake blog entries.&quot;</p><p>In 2004, a host of authors were unmasked as having written rave reviews of their own work, when a glitch on Amazon&#39;s Canadian site revealed the identities of thousands of anonymous reviewers. John Rechy gave himself an anonymous five-star review for his <em>The Life and Adventures of Lyle Clemens</em>, while Dave Eggers called his friend Heidi Julavits&#39; novel <em>The Mineral Palace</em> &quot;one of the best books of the year&quot;.</p>