Re: It's a nice idea....
"...but that would not hurt Assange (who has had half a million pounds in royalty advances), it would hurt Canongate (who are currently half-a-million out of pocket)."
To me his responses to the matter in press substantiate something interesting that I have noted for a while now. His upbringing evidently did not include 'rule following' and, being a 'pro-social' feature of co-operation in human life, rule following - conforming to social conventions, obeying laws - is what prevents people from tearing one another apart, reneging on commitments, and so on. Indeed, if you read about his early history (as described by his mother) you will find that her idea of creating a questioning mind was to tell him to reject such patterns of rule following. Cleckley long ago identified the phenomenon, and much of clinical research is derived from his early writings.
In short, do not trust people who reject 'pro-social' behaviour, laws, conventions, the sorts of things that protect you from hurt. Those who do these things may be glib (appear to communicate meaningfully but in fact offer only a salad of meanings that only stand up to superficial scrutiny), charming and to support the good things in life, but the chances are that they will do only harm. They have no difficulty in benefiting from such rules, and then - as with Canongate - breaking from them, to their benefit and to the harm of those to whom they are committed in a contractual relationship.
Much of the current imbroglio could be his way of a) benefiting from the relationship, knowing that the material will be published irrespective of his supposed opposition and b) retaining his 'street cred' (does 'plausible deniability' ring a little bell here?) for the benefit of those people who have thought him to be other than a lying capitalist, whose idea of selling the secrets of state bodies to gullible, dewy idea electronic idealists, who claims to 'own' secrets stolen from another country, massive salary and other cash raising schemes, all the while treating Bradley Manning as a disposable asset.
Oh dear. This sounds very much like the sort of thing that Julian Assange (TM), knight in shining armour, supposedly opposes.