A publisher says -- and news outlets are repeating -- that the release of a tell-all book about the NBA by Tim Donaghy, the former referee who ended up in prison after a betting scandal, was canceled because of "concerns over potential liability."
The concept that the Triumph Books representative had in mind, I believe, was "libel."
Because "liable" and "libel" sound a lot alike, people seem to confuse them, or at least think they're related. It's not uncommon to hear a copy editor say something like "If we say he was arrested for murder, we'll be liable!"
The words are not related, etymologically. They are related only in the sense that the loser of a libel suit may be legally liable to pay damages. (Not the same thing as damage, but that's another rant.)
In other words, the publisher was right to be concerned about liability, but its immediate concern should have been libel.