Wednesday News: Kenyon v. Clare, Editions at Play, Star Trek Continues, and Disney’s maybe-meta
Copyright Clash Over Demon-Fighting Stories – So Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing Cassandra Clare for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and false advertising, claiming that Clare’s “Shadowhunter” series infringes on Kenyon’s “Dark-Huner” series. According to the article above, Kenyon seeks an injunction, compensatory damages, and lost profits. Jane summarizes some of the relevant legal issues as follows:
Copyright and trademark infringement cases are largely questions of fact, which is why each case is so different and scholars caution individuals that what may have been decided in case A may not apply in case B. The model federal jury instructions ask two questions for a copyright case. Is there a valid copyright/trademark? If so, did the defendant copy original elements from the copyrighted work. Trademark is slightly different. Is there a valid mark? And if so, did the defendant, without the consent of the plaintiff in a manner that is likely to cause confusion among ordinary consumers as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or approval of the goods.
The petition itself states:
“The Dark-Hunter Series and the Shadowhunter Series are so similar that CLARE’S own publisher mistakenly printed 100,000 copies of a Shadowhunter Book referencing the Dark-Hunter Mark on the cover.”
“The confusion between dark-hunters and shadowhunters is so pervasive that many online library catalogs use PLAINTIFF’S Dark-Hunter Marks within their description of CLARE’s Shadowhunter Series. The Brentwood, Tennessee Library, The Williamson County Public Library, Portland Community College, King County Library System, Ames Public Library, McKinney Public Library, Clarkston Independence District Library, and the Burlington County Library System, among many other libraries in the Middle District of Tennessee and elsewhere, describe “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare as follows:
Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizarre world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster.< This description of “City of Bones”, which conflates the words Shadowhunters and Darkhunters, has even found its way into the book 101 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Teens by Nancy J. Keane, Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, Copyright 2012. Ms. Keane’s guide is ranked #69 by Amazon.com in the category of Academic Library books." In the practical world, motions to dismiss and summary judgments are not often won. (And many summary judgments go unruled upon.) Judges are more likely to allows cases to go forward due to overworked dockets and the genuine desire to let the litigants have their day in court. My prediction is that this case is either settled or tried to a verdict. >A general comment: plagiarism and copyright infringement are serious charges. Unfortunately, we have seen authors get away with plagiarizing content, often with readers catching the similarities. In cases like this — e.g. Rachel Nunes — it can be daunting to sue the alleged infringer, because of cost and other issues. When Nora Roberts was plagiarized by Janet Dailey, many in the Romance community blamed Roberts for pursuing litigation. At the same time, genre fiction is filled with tropes and even expressions that are routinely used among many authors, and their common use does not amount to plagiarism and/or infringement. Sadly, accusations of plagiarism have also been weaponized in whisper campaigns between authors in ways that can have harmful consequences, especially when the accused cannot directly respond and defend him/herself. Fortunately, Clare will have the ability to respond to the accusations directly and publicly, as it should be in these cases. – Jane Litte and Courthouse News Service
Google opens an online store for ‘books that can’t be printed’ – With two short, interactive works that are meant to be read on a smartphone, Google has launched Editions at Play, a digital bookstore that has two more collections in development, short stories and essays, and aims to capitalize on the fact that dedicated e-reading devices are giving way to reading books on smartphones and other integrated devices. Has anyone checked theses out yet?
It’s a simple manifesto that marks an interesting foray into the digital arts for Google. Editions at Play is all about exploring the idea of “digital books” — not just ebooks, but books that simply can’t exist on static, printed paper. The project launched last week with a pair of new titles: Entrances & Exits by Reif Larsen, and The Truth About Cats & Dogs by Sam Riviere and Joe Dunthorne. The first is essentially a point-and-click adventure game in Google Street View, while the second is a “failed collaboration” consisting of Riviere’s and Dunthorne’s diaries which readers can switch back and forth between. – The Verge
Watch Star Trek Continues: The Critically-Acclaimed, Fan-Made Sequel to the Original TV Series – Star Trek’s immense popularity belies the fact that it only ran for three seasons, but actor/director Vic Mignogna has created a web series that will examine possible next steps and stories for Captain Kirk and his crew. Apparently even Gene Roddenberry’s son approves of the direction the new episodes take.
Thanks to funding raised by two Kickstarter campaigns, you can now watch 5 episodes. Click play and watch the episodes on a Youtube playlist above, from start to finish. Or watch them on the official Star Trek Continues website, where, among other things, you can take a 360 virtual tour of the set. You can also make a donation, which will help support the 6th episode due out in May, and another 7 episodes beyond that. – Open Culture
This theory about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’ will freak out Disney fans like only everything can. – So who can resist a Disney reference in a post about copyright infringement?! Not me, that’s for sure. Anyway, according to Tumblr user disneymom, Disney, in Beauty and the Beast, may have engaged in some particularly clever self-promotion for its next release, Aladdin, by using it as the basis for Belle’s “favorite book” — the book she picks off the shelf in the bookstore. I could totally see Disney doing this. Although I guess we won’t know until they try to use it as the basis for some new copyright or trademark infringement/extension claim.
Aladdin came out almost exactly a year after Beauty and the Beast, so this would have been a great way to shout out the new movie during production. Those Disney people sure know how to build a universe. – Some Entertainment and disneymom/Tumblr