This letter was previously published only on the Ayn Rand Institute website.
November 15, 1946
Mr. John C. Gall
Gall and Lane
Washington 5, D.C.
Thank you for your letter of October 31. Excuse me if I have taken so long to answer, but I am stopped by the necessity to make a choice of the Italian attorneys whose letters you sent me.
I have read these three letters very carefully and I don’t think I can really judge them clearly enough to make a decision. Do you want me to be the one to decide? Since I don’t know Italian legal procedure, I have no way of estimating these attorneys’ attitude or knowledge.
I think you can judge their competence from the letters much better than I can. Also, perhaps you may have reliable sources to check up on them in greater detail. I can tell you my impressions of the letters, but I would like you to take the responsibility of selecting the attorney you prefer yourself. I would only urge you not to make a decision until you are certain, and not to take anyone if you have any doubts or reservations against him. Please check as thoroughly as possible, or have someone, whom you can trust, check on them in Europe before you make a decision.
Now as to my impression of these three letters, I have noted a few doubts against all three.
1. Mr. Luciani. He seems to suggest that he wants to be your permanent representative in Italy, as part of his condition for taking our case. I wonder if this is proper on his part. Also, I wonder whether what he calls “a mandate” or “warrant for law suit” (a copy of which you enclosed) is the proper thing for us to sign? This warrant ends on sentence: “He hereby promises to hold their action as firm and binding.” This seems to be a complete power of attorney which would give Mr. Luciani
November 15, 1946 2.
the right to dispose of the case in any manner he wishes. If I understood this correctly, I would certainly object to that. I think our Italian attorney should represent us, but the final decision on any settlement should be ours.
2. Mr. Marghieri. His letter seems to show the greatest interest in the case. But, as you noted, I wonder how he found out that the case involves my book. Unless mine is the only book by an American author that has been pirated by an Italian movie company, this might mean that he has some connection with Scalera. Also, I do not quite like the fact that the Colonel Walton whom he gives as reference is not in Washington, but in Italy, which makes a personal check-up impossible.
3. Mr. Graziadei. The fact that he is the attorney for a long list of American picture companies is both in his favor and against him. What disturbs me is the fact that in his first letter to the Ann Watkins office, Mr. Downs warned us that the Scalera Company has connections with the Hollywood crowd in Italy. Also, Scalera are making all kinds of deals with American picture companies here. So there is a possibility that the interests of one of the companies which Mr. Graziadei represents might clash with ours. If so, he would be in a difficult position, and I would rather not have an attorney with divided allegiance. Also, there is one point in Mr. Graziadei’s letter to which I object very much. He writes that: “No legal action is possible against the Italian film company if same has been authorized by Italian ministry”. Is he legally correct about that? Are we supposed to recognize as legal and binding the decrees of the Fascist government? If this point is open to doubt and interpretation, or is to be settled by the final peace treaty with Italy, yet Mr. Graziadei has already taken the above attitude in favor of Scalera—then he is certainly not the man for us, and I would reject him at once for this reason.
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The above are my opinions of the three letters. I will be very interested to know whether my amateur legal judgement is correct. Let me know your own opinion of this—and please let me know the reasons of your decision before you commit yourself to the attorney you choose.
I am sending a letter to the Superfilm Distributing Corporation, in the form you suggested, and I shall let you know as soon as I receive an answer.
The Ann Watkins office has written to me that Baldini & Castoldi are very anxious to have me sign the contract for the Italian publication rights to THE FOUNTAINHEAD. May I sign it or are you still uncertain as to how it will affect our case under Italian law? If it is too early for you to tell, I will not sign it now—there is no reason for me to hurry on this. But if you think that this will not affect WE THE LIVING at all, then let me know.
With best regards.