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Once Upon a Desert Isle Keeper

Back in June or so, some bloggers formed a group blog called DIKladiesrule. It’s a fun place that features interviews with authors and alot of book chat about the bloggers’ favorite books. About late June, Dear Author started a feature called “If You Like” based upon the shelftalkers at bookstores. It came to my attention last week that Laurie Gold was unhappy about the use of both phrases because we did not give proper attribution to her site, All About Romance. But, really, I thought nothing of it. It did not seem like a big deal to me.

On Thursday, Laurie put up a post on her personal blog frustrated that she and AAR were not getting the proper attribution for the term DIK. If You Like was left out. Feeling like she hadn’t gotten enough responses, she then posted at the AAR board. She did not gain universal support there either. Not leaving enough alone, she is now asking for a web campaign to drive other bloggers and sites to dun the DIK ladies into . . . something. This is my response, since Laurie feels like this issue is important.

***

“Ohhhh!” Mary let out a cry of frustration and tossed the book she had been reading across the room.

“What’s wrong?” Her flatmate said, peeking her head up over the sofa. “Another wallbanger (tm unknown)?”

“Yes! How many TSTL (tm AAR discussion lists) heroines does it take to change a lightbulb (tm Edison)?”

“Five, if they are sisters,” Greta joked. “What about the hero, though, isn’t he alpha (tm unknown) enough? I saw the clinch cover (tm Fabio) and there was plenty of mantitty (tm Smart Bitches).”

Before Mary could respond, a knock sounded at the door. Greta hauled herself off the sofa and walked over to open the door. Another knock sounded before Greta could reach the door. “Hold your horses (tm unknown),” Greta shouted through the wood and steel.

Another knock sounded and a muffled voice stated “Attribution police. Let us in.”

“The attribution police!” Greta gasped with such violence that her bodice ripped (tm Non-Romance Reading Public). “But…sir…we haven’t done anything…(tm Barbara Cartland) I swear!”

“Open in the name of the law!”

Mary stepped around their towering TBR pile (tm romancelandia (tm unknown)). “Let them in, Greta,” she said. “We have nothing to fear.”

Greta held back another gasp as she opened the door and six feet four inches of lean, hard muscle (tm Romance Authors) strode into their flat, followed by a second male, whose rippling six pack (tm Budweiser) was apparent even through his uniform shirt. “What is the problem, officers?”

The second officer’s piercing blue eyes reminded Mary of a vengeful Italian billionaire's (tm Harlequin) she'd once known. Unfortunately, she hadn't gotten her HEA (tm Cinderella) and Care Bear (tm American Greetings) epilogue (tm Mrs. Giggles) full of precious babies named after their grandmothers (tm Stephanie Meyer). She just hadn't been enough of a Mary Sue (tm Star Trek (tm Paramount) fanzine (tm unknown) readers), she often thought. If she had been, everyone would have loved her, and as a bonus, she'd have had purple eyes (tm Elizabeth Taylor).

"We've received a complaint, miss," he said. "A complaint about how you've named your flat."

"Oh." Greta relaxed. "You mean the name we've put over the door. We've read so many romance novels, talked about so many of them, naming our "estate' in a way that demonstrates our love for the genre seemed like a fantastic idea."

The gorgeous officer smiled condescendingly. "But you've named it "DIK Court.'"

"So? It's about the romances we like best. A DIK is a keeper (tm unknown) book, the kind you'd want with you if you were stuck on a desert island (tm unknown) — you know that classic question? So, they're desert isle keepers, get it? It's a word that is all around the Internet (tm Al Gore), or at least in romancelandia. Just like TSTL, HEA, OMGWTFBBQ, LOL, and TBR. It's shorthand that anyone familiar with the community knows."

"Yes, but do you know where it originated?"

Greta shrugged. "I just saw it used around blogs (tm unknown) and message boards. I asked what it meant, and someone told me that it was one of those books that you just can't bear to part with."

The officer turned to Mary, his gaze stroking her from head to toe. "And you?"

"Maybe the All About Romance (tm AAR) site, because I've seen that they call their A-rated books and favorite books Desert Isle Keepers (tm AAR), and for a long time they were one of two romance-centric websites.” Mary said.

Greta interjected, ” Yes, but The Romance Reader was the first romance-centric website and it went by a three letter acronym too.”

Mary replied, “It might have started at AAR, though, and all of the people on the discussion boards just started using DIK to describe their keeper books."

"That's exactly right!" The officer gave Mary a cookie and another smoldering look (tm Rhett Butler). "Laurie Likes Books — LLB — first used the term in an At the Back Fence — ATBF — column in 1996. Yet you have been using it as the name of your house without permission or offering due credit to the history of the term. So LLB has issued a complaint, and has demanded that you either cease and desist in your use of DIK or inscribe a line into the front of your house that explains the term's origin and gives AAR proper credit."

Mary and Greta stared at him. Mary repeated, "Inscribe a line that says LLB coined the term and that it is historically "owned' by AAR?"

"Yes."

Greta began giggling (tm teenage girls). Seeing that her friend could not help, Mary challenged, "You're kidding me, right?"

The ruggedly handsome officer scowled, and got an erection that a cat couldn't scratch (tm Linda Howard.) "No."

"But you don't have to give attribution for words and phrases. Those aren’t copyrightable."

"No, but there’s still trademark law, ma’am."

"But, these words, they are so ubiquitous," Mary argued. "So…common."

"Are you calling me common?" The officer stalked closer to Mary, like a werewolf after his Mate (tm Paranormal Romance.) "Because I can tell you, miss, that I’m very unique. One of a kind, even."

"No, no!" Mary protested heatedly, and wondered if he could smell her arousal. "I’m saying the words that you are trying to enforce for attribution are so common. ”

“You could have put it in Google, found out the history, done the research.” The officer demanded. Mary sighed both over the issue and in frustration with the officer’s mullet (tm unknown) (How could an officer be so hot yet still have such a bad hair day (tm unknown)).

“But, Officer, we’re just fans, reading fans, and just trying to enjoy our books. Plus, Google? Srsly (tm Urban dictionary)?”

“My name is not Srsly and yes, Google. Google is now the affirmative source of all attribution. The first source that shows up on Google is the source who owns the term. That’s internet law.”

“Srsly is shorthand for . . . well, forget it. That’s not important. If you put DIK into Google, there are thousands of references to DIK from thousands of different sources. And, the reason that one blog post shows up before someone else’s blog post in Google Search results is dependent on so many things, including popularity. Can popularity equal ownership?”

The handsome officer scowled at her. “Don’t try to confuse the arguments with the facts. That’s not important here.”

“What is important then? It's not as if we're a journalistic site. We're just two fans of romance who love talking to people about the genre, inviting authors over to our place, and generally having fun.”

"It’s a morality issue, ma’am."

Mary placed her hand on her hips, arms akimbo. "Are you questioning my morals (tm God and/or gods)? Because I can promise you, big boy, that I have no morals." Mary paused, looking the officer up and down. She could bounce a quarter off that hard body (tm unknown), she realized. "Why don’t you come inside," she suggested throatily, "and tell me more about your…rules."

"Please don’t give me any backchat, ma’am, or I’ll be forced to restrain you (tm Marquis de Sade)."

Mary shuddered, “You promise?”

The officer's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You don’t seem to be taking this very seriously."

Mary unflinchingly met his dangerously narrowed eyes. "You would be right on the money then, because these words and phrases that you want certain people to be given credit for have become part of the everyday lexicon in romancelandia, and to parse out and give attribution for the use would make it nearly impossible to have discourse."

"Uh, but–"

"I'm not finished," Mary interrupted. "I think it’s great that someone coins a term and that term becomes commonly used that it is actually part of our everyday language, or raises a term out of print obscurity into online fame, but that person isn’t entitled to attribution for every use, not legally or ethically. At least, in my opinion."

The officer stared at the feisty wildcat, his sensuous mouth hanging open.

Mary cocked her hip and tossed her hair back over her shoulder. "Once you’ve gotten over that problem, handsome, why don’t you come up and see me some time (tm Mae West)?"

***

Btw (tm unknown), I checked and both DesertIsekeepers.com and desertislandkeepers.com were domains available for sale. And I bought them. These are now owned again by the internet as I refused to pay the renewal fees.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

188 Comments

  1. limecello
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 00:19:22

    Nice one the Al Gore there- but my favorite? The Barbara Cartland shout out! Spot on, Jane. I also don’t think I’ve read enough (any) Linda Howard b/c that reference weirded me out.
    Oh and I feel like “akimbo” should’ve gotten some sort of “tm” too. ;)

  2. Holly
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 00:25:24

    I feel like “akimbo” should have gotten a shout out, too.

    The whole situation is rather ridiculous, IMO (tm message boards?)..just as this post suggests.

  3. (Jān)
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 00:38:13

    *snort* If you’d have had them drinking Sprite (tm Coca-Cola) and eating Big Macs (tm McDonald’s) we could have charged money for this. ;D

    Seriously, if this is the only thing people have to worry about, I sure wouldn’t mind trading lives with them.

  4. anonymous
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 01:36:26

    ::cough::
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Island_Discs

    I think the BBC popularized the term ‘desert island…’ somewhat earlier than anyone mentioned in this ‘debate’.

    As is oft pointed out, it should be ‘deserted’ island anyway.

  5. Robin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 02:06:19

    I casually date the concept of the desert/deserted island book back to Robinson Crusoe, lol, with much use of the term, in various forms, during the intervening centuries. But even if DIK has become associated with AAR to some degree, does that automatically create a proprietary interest in the term and all of its variations? As Jane suggested, opening that door invites in all sorts of potential dilemmas, double standards, and competing claims of ownership. And as for all the legal stuff about trademark, etc., well, I wonder if a phrase like that could even have passed the threshold requirements for trademark (phrases can’t be copyrighted), which include a very high level of distinctiveness and participation in, well, trade.

    IMO the saddest thing about this is that Laurie’s posts read to me as if she feels that the value of AAR is diminished somehow by the existence of this other blog. And that’s so sad, because nothing external to AAR can diminish its value or its substantive, long-term contributions to the Romance community. I know Laurie’s feelings are hurt (although I think her proprietary claim is shaky at best), but I think she ironically belittled herself and AAR by taking things so far, and IMO she didn’t need to do that to highlight the unique contributions that AAR has made, which IMO are not at all reflected in a term that I think has extremely common origins.

  6. Emmy
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 03:29:51

    Heeee!

    no No NO, Jane…you’re supposed to copyright the term “Desert Island Keepers” and then send a C&D letter to quit using your property, since it doesn’t fall under fair use *g*

  7. rlynn
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 03:50:13

    I’ve noticed in the past that Laurie is incredibly protective of AAR and hyper-sensitive to any slights against it both real and perceived.

    I absolutely agree with Robin. I don’t think anyone aware of the birth of the online romance community would deny AAR’s foundational role. But it’s because of that history I find these public airings of hurt feelings so odd. But to be charitable to Laurie, maybe it’s just hard to recognize that AAR has matured as a concept and website and she doesn’t need to be so vigilant about protecting it anymore.

  8. rlynn
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 03:56:08

    I meant to add, I loved the Linda Howard shout out(tm TRL?)!

  9. Anion
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 04:59:23

    Absolute silliness. This sounds like a fourteen-year-old getting mad because her best friend decided to try a side ponytail too.

  10. Helen
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 05:08:50

    I don’t like the petulant tone LLB has taken, but then I don’t like the tone of AAR. It’s a website, not the Oracle.

  11. loonigrrl
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 05:22:19

    Interesting post. I don’t particularly like how Laurie’s handled everything, but I’m not so sure that I agree with this either.

    But even if DIK has become associated with AAR to some degree

    It seems to me that it’s not that DIK has become associated with AAR, but that Laurie/AAR coined the phrase. Whenever I think DIK, I always think of AAR. And that’s coming from someone who didn’t even know there was such a thing as an online romance community (or DIKs) until a couple years ago and hasn’t visited AAR’s site more than a handful of times since then.

    And it’s not that the idea behind a Desert Isle Keeper hasn’t been around for awhile. However, whenever I (or most people, I’m sure) got involved in these sort of discussions it was phrased as “If you could only take x amount of books with you on a deserted island, which would you take?” I never had a “What are your Desert Isle Keepers?” discussion. And that’s because that phrase is distinctive.

    I’m certainly no IP attorney, and I guess I don’t entirely understand the parameters of “common use.” Does a phrase become common even if it’s only used within a specific community? Because I certainly wouldn’t say that it’s become so common as to be part of everyone’s (i.e. anyone other than a reader/blogger/reviewer/author of the online romance community) every day language. For example, I would never hear my dad refer to the latest David Weber novel as one of his Deserted Isle Keepers.

    And while it’s true that Google isn’t the be all and end all of attribution, it is interesting that a google search of “Desert Isle Keeper” (with quotes) shows more than an abundance of results attributing the phrase to AAR. It may be commonly used now in the online romance community, but it’s commonly used as a phrase coined by AAR.

    I guess the only reason why I posted this is because I do feel uneasy that a group of experienced bloggers would use a phrase that is instantly recognizable because of AAR. My unease with the DIK blog name (which I didn’t know about until now) is that I find it very hard to believe that these bloggers didn’t know exactly where that phrase derived from. I would be very surprised to learn that they all just saw it on some discussion board somewhere.

  12. Jill Dunlop
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 06:42:40

    Jane, you reble rouser you –

    Personally, I can’t see getting worked up over this. I have other issues that are currently taking precident in my mind (oh I don’t know, the economy)

  13. Mora
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:14:13

    The desert(ed) island concept may have been around for ages, but “Desert Island Keeper” is something I associate with AAR. In fact, when I first came across the DIKLadies blog, I thought IT was associated with AAR in some way, until I took a closer look.

    Even if you think she’s overreacting or being silly…what would it hurt the DIKLadies to acknowledge AAR? Or to have at least replied to Laurie. Laurie may not have gotten so public about the whole thing if they’d taken the time to communicate with her when she first emailed them. IMO, the DIKLadies have acted just as silly as Laurie.

  14. Fiordiligi
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:14:47

    I have been online and aware of the romance community since about 2003. Of course I’ve also stumbled upon the term DIK, especially and foremost on the AAR site itself. As an English non-native speaker, I always assumed that DIK (desert island keeper) was a commonly used term/abbreviation like, say SUV (sport utility vehicle), BOB (battery operated boyfriend) or TBR (to be read). I have little knowledge of how copyright/trademark law works, but the “R” next to Ellora’s Cave’s term “Romantica”, for example, always conveyed to me the meaning of ownership and legal rights, while DIK appeared to be an everyday average word that AAR simply integrated into their grading system and thus made it popular. As someone above mentioned, AAR has been around for ages and distinctevly influenced our perception of romance. Frankly, the blog entries and forum discussion demonstrated again, at least to me, why I prefer other sites and blogs to AAR. As probably 99 out of 100 online romance readers associate the term with AAR, what better mouth to mouth advertising for AAR could there be? I am sure Q-tip, Kleenex and Cola don’t complain on their blogs about people loosely using their brand names (of course, nobody named a blog after them). I also have to agree with Robin who linked book and island with the tale of Robinson Crusoe. AAR defintely made the phrase famous, but the idea of it is probably much older.

  15. theo
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 07:15:40

    Brava, Jane! What a great post. You were dead on with almost all of them except I would think this one has to be tm too?

    “Open in the name of the law!”

    (tm some obscure law enforcement agency)

    :-D

    You know, I would think, if people are using a phrase of mine (and really, unless one has proof positive that they were the first ever to coin the phrase, one can’t really ‘own’ it, can they?) I would take it as flattery and a nod to my site. Certainly not as someone trying to steal something that, because it’s floating around in cyberspace, really no longer belongs to anyone.

    I might be wrong, but the whole thing is just silly. And frankly, I had no idea what DIK was. I had to keep looking at it until I got farther into your article so I would have never known who ‘originated’ it. I’m pretty sure the question, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what thing(s) would you want with you?” has been around a lot longer than the internet. I sure have and remember hearing it when I was young. So how does one ™ that?

  16. Devon
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:08:16

    Well done Jane. Very funny.

    Being familiar with the Desert Island Discs concept, and having seen offshoots of it elsewhere (i.e. Desert Island Movies), I didn’t give the blog a second thought. It’s not an original concept at all. There’s one word changed. I suppose there is some merit to LLB’s argument that she coined those particular three words put together in a phrase (I need coffee). But it’s a variation on a theme.

    They definitely should not be proprietary over “If you like…”

    AAR is an amazing resource. Don’t sweat the small stuff

  17. jmc
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:10:36

    Come on. I like AAR, but I think it takes a monumental amount of ego to assume ownership or invention of phrases that seem rather common.

    Desert Isle Keepers — okay, if you drop the capitalization, doesn’t the theory of this phrase date back to books like Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson?

    If You Like — twenty years ago my local library started a feature with the very same title and concept, except it was pre-Internet, so instead of being emblazoned on a blog or website, the title was splashed across posters, handouts and bookmarks. Should the library system now get its nose out of joint because AAR uses the phrase? I don’t think so.

  18. Keishon
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:15:01

    I don’t think DIK is proprietary but I just think that Laurie wants recognition since her site is one of the firsts to generate a romance community. And just for the record, TBR Challenge is tm since I put those three words together. *JJ*.

  19. Sarah
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:21:11

    Loving the whole Linda Howard cat scratching, such a great book and a once a year re read. Totally smexin (tm manga readers/youth).

  20. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:30:58

    I want to add that in spite of how many time Laurie Gold insists that TSTL started from her site, it originated from the old YAHOO Prodigy Romance board in the early-mid 90s when Laurie was popping in and out there advertising about her review site then. I remember well her long posts telling us about the topics being discussed at AAR.

    The YAHOO Prodigy Romance board had the best mix of authors and readers, all of whom discussed romance books and issues much like DA and AAR are doing today. Its members consisted of many wonderful authors, such as Anne Stuart, Shirley Hailstock, and Jennifer Greene, etc., who advised and joked around with many beginning writers as well as romance fans. We used terms such as TSTL, Keeper Shelf, TBR Pile, etc. back then. I still mourn its passing. I feel the authors who used the Prodigy service back then were definitely a different breed from today’s bloggers and posters because of the newness of the Internet Community.

  21. Elizabeth
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:36:17

    Read this three hours ago. Still laughing.

  22. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:39:01

    Hit sent too soon and the revision button is missing. ***sob***

    I wanted to add that Jane’s little writing scene was so good she should put it up on the Sat. first page review ;-). Thanks for the morning laugh, Jane.

  23. Angela James
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:41:39

    And just for the record, TBR Challenge is tm since I put those three words together. *JJ*.

    do you want flowers or champagne for all the times I failed to acknowledge you for this?

  24. Emmy
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:41:58

    *hurriedly trademarks Desert Island Chain Keepers, which shall heretofore be known as DICK* our motto being “if you don’t know great books, you don’t know DICK”. also trademarked.

  25. Jane
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:44:03

    Was that part of the CompuServe forum, Gennita? I think I remember that. I do think that AAR is a valuable part of the romance community and Laurie and AAR were groundbreakers (along with others) in the formation of that community. But AAR’s greatness does not reside in a few letters or acronyms.

    And I took out the edit feature because it was causing the page to load to slowly. I am looking into alternatives.

  26. Teddypig
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:51:07

    I remember the term Desert Island Keeper used to describe books we love at my High School Library back in the late seventies.

    So should AAR be signifying Piedmont Hills High School for that attribution or should we all realize that librarians have probably been the single point of inspiration for most of these book related phrases for years?

  27. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:54:56

    Jane, no it wasn’t part of Compuserve. I needed to edit YAHOO (and other stupid typos) out because…(tm Cartland) I don’t know why I added it in front of Prodigy. Prodigy was like Compuserve, one of the few service providers available back then. Their BB/forum board used a software with a paging feature that couldn’t be upgraded in 1999 and they did away with it and started the new sort of BBS/PHP type board we see now. No one went back. I was there to the bitter end ;-) when it finally shut down at midnight, saying goodbye to so many wonderful authors who dispersed and never returned. Wahhhh. (Which, btw, is why I love DA because the comaraderie here reminded me of those good old wild days)

  28. Devon
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:55:45

    Yep,yep Teddypig.

  29. Sunita
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 08:56:16

    Oh, excellent, Jane! Absolutely spot on. I didn’t know you had gotten feedback on the “If You Like” feature, which libraries and bookstores have been doing for years, long before the internet (as someone else pointed out, I hasten to say before I am accused of stealing proprietary stuff).

    I responded to Laurie’s post on the AAR board and pointed out that Desert Island Discs had been going for over 50 years when she “invented” the DIK. So it doesn’t seem farfetched to think that the blog appropriation was similar to her appropriation, i.e., not an invention but an adaptation. As Robin and others have pointed out, the *idea* goes back at least to Robinson Crusoe. But she completely ignored the point to focus on some secret emails that prove, at least to her, that they intentionally copied AAR. She also seems a bit muddled about fair use, but I don’t think there’s much point in continuing the exchange. This is about her hurt feelings and her need for everyone to recognize and explicitly validate the overwhelming importance of AAR, and I think this attitude has become stronger as AAR becomes more of a first gateway to web romancelandia and less of a necessity to long time readers and surfers. I am very grateful to the site, but I’m not building a shrine in my bookcase to it next to the DIKs ™.

  30. SarahT
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:02:38

    Frankly, I think this whole issue is ridiculous. As Teddy Pig pointed out, it probably wouldn’t be difficult to prove that DIK was used well before AAR came into existence. As long as DIK is not a trademarked phrase, I don’t see that there is a problem with a blog using it.

    As for the TSTL phrase, I remember using this years ago, and that was well before I discovered the online romance community.

  31. AAR Rachel
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:11:12

    Just to address the “If You Like” mention (since I edit this feature at AAR) – I twittered back to Laurie right away that this is pretty common usage among librarians (and books stores), and this cleared things up.

  32. BevQB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:28:01

    I guess the only reason why I posted this is because I do feel uneasy that a group of experienced bloggers would use a phrase that is instantly recognizable because of AAR. My unease with the DIK blog name (which I didn't know about until now) is that I find it very hard to believe that these bloggers didn't know exactly where that phrase derived from. I would be very surprised to learn that they all just saw it on some discussion board somewhere.

    I have NEVER, nor do I NOW, associated that phrase with AAR. And, while I now associate the acronym DIK, with the DIK ladies blog, I don’t associate the phrases “desert isle keepers”, or “deserted isle keepers” exclusively with them either. It’s a phrase that’s been around forever– even before the internet. You know, kind of like SNAFU.

    BTW, I am declaring that I coined the term EARGASM to describe Phil Gigante’s narration of the KMM HIghlanders audio books. Henceforth, I expect all uses of the word EARGASM to be attributed to ME!

  33. Angela James
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:40:36

    Well, if we’re laying claim to things, I want credit for the term “insperotical/insperotica (and any variable spellings thereof)” should someone ever decide to write one and publish it in that genre. In fact, maybe I’ll throw aside editing and write one now.

  34. Teddypig
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:45:18

    insperotical/insperotica

    Why do I see tons of references to passages in Psalms and the whole Garden of Eden thing will be involved?

  35. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:57:02

    Then I lay claim to coitus interruptus which I first used circa 1998, for Pet Peeves (TM Prodigy Romance Readers Boards). I have printed-out discussions from the Prodigy Boards to prove this, so there ;-P.

    Signed,
    Internet Pack Rat/IPR (TM Gennita Low)

  36. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 09:57:48

    Then I lay claim to coitus interruptus which I first used circa 1998, for Pet Peeves (TM Prodigy Romance Readers Boards). I have printed-out discussions from the Prodigy Boards to prove this, so there ;-P.

    Signed,
    Internet Pack Rat/IPR (TM Gennita Low)

  37. Sarah
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:00:02

    To be honest, Laurie of AAR drives me away from her site with these rather silly arguments. She always seems to be causing one rather petulant controversy or another.

  38. Meljean
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:03:09

    Gennita — I think coitus interruptus is (tm Onan.)

  39. BevQB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:18:00

    Oh, Sarah, that brought to mind another saying that’s been around since before the internet… DRAMA QUEEN.

    You know, the phrase “Like a fat kid loves cake” has been around forever. But I assert that Karen Scott has been given exclusive rights to its use in the blogosphere. Seriously, how many of us say “With apologies to Karen Scott” or “As Karen Scott would say” before we use that phrase now? Jane, is there an international legalese term for granting rights because the use is so closely identified with one person?

  40. Jessica D
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:23:01

    we haven't done anything…(tm Barbara Cartland)

    *SPITTAKE*

  41. DS
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:24:31

    Podigy was nationwide by late 80’s early 90’s. I’m pretty sure I had an account about 89-90 and I loved the romance board. It was the first time I realized that romance writers actually thought about writing in a serious way (through a discussion of the problems with Whitney, My Love)– I just couldn’t figure out why so many of the books I ran into didn’t reflect their thoughtfulness. I also remember Diana Gabaldon posting about her time travel historical novel having been accepted for publication. It was a fun time and place.

    But that is all OT.

    I personally associate the initials DIK with AAR but the concept of the Desert Isle Keeper and maybe even the term– don’t remember for sure, has been around for longer than I have. Ogden Nash who died in 1971 wrote a poem about which book he would choose if he was stuck on a desert isle and could have only one. (It was an Agatha Christie mystery because by the time he reached the end he would hav forgotten how it started.)

  42. sallahdog
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:25:10

    I am not an AAR reader. I believe I have visited it only a few times because of a kerfluffle that was linked to there…

    while the acronym may have coined.. The IDEA certainly wasn’t.. Since I remember even back in the 70s, the term “books you would take to a deserted island”….

    So keep your DIK… I will use DICK (tm Emmy)… Or I will just talk about BIL (books I love)…

  43. Emmy
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:30:41

    I heard rapper 50 Cent use “like a fat kid loves cake’ long before Karen ever used it.

    And we only humans girl we make mistakes,
    to make it up I do whatever it take
    I love you like a fat kid love cake
    You know my style I say anything to make you smile”

    And since he wrote those lyrics, I imagine he copywrote them as well.

  44. sallahdog
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:32:16

    BTW, I am declaring that I coined the term EARGASM to describe Phil Gigante's narration of the KMM HIghlanders audio books. Henceforth, I expect all uses of the word EARGASM to be attributed to ME!

    Yeah, well I coined the term Fugasm… which refers to someone who dresses so horrendously over the top that its art…. See Kelly Wertzler(a judge on Top Design, my newest obsession)…

    yes, I a person who rarely wears anything other than jeans and a tshirt, loves to look at really BAD fashion (I don’t feel so bad that I spend an average of 200 bucks a year on clothes, money don’t buy taste)… completely OT(tm ????)

  45. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:41:35

    Meljean, see, I don’t know Onan. I swear I thought that term up one day, dammit, so the phrase “coitus interruptus” is petulantly mine. Mine, I say!

  46. Maya
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:44:18

    *weak with laughter*

    “…so I bought them” Ha ha ha!

  47. BevQB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:46:55

    HAH! Gennita, back in junior high (waaaay back in the dark ages of the sixties) we were taught that “coitus interruptus” was a form of birth control.

    More recently, I have used the term to describe JR Ward’s handling of the Butch/V relationship.

  48. Teddypig
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:54:40

    Quick question, Is the AAR Reader’s Poll coming up or something?

  49. Lori
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:58:09

    Then I’m claiming the term *coinus interuptus* which would describe the state of my finances..

  50. Maya
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:03:24

    “coinus interuptus” Ha ha ha! Oh, that’s so good!

  51. Lynne
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:07:32

    I’ve been using online services since 1984. Like Gennita, I’m sure I remember those terms being thrown around on much older email lists and message boards, WAY before AAR. I don’t think AAR has any claim to those terms at all.

  52. willaful
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:34:04

    I’m sure “feisty wildcat” should have a tm. Judith McNaught, perhaps?

  53. Robin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 11:40:57

    It seems to me that it's not that DIK has become associated with AAR, but that Laurie/AAR coined the phrase.

    But coining a phrase means inventing it, and I think it’s been made clear that she didn’t *invent* the phrase, no matter how much some people in the Romance community might associate it with AAR.

    I’m not going to begrudge Laurie her hurt feelings. When she starts talking about trademark and Fair Use and copyright, though, I start to get itchy, in large part because she seems to be using legal principles to create this “historical ownership” concept she’s presenting. Which, as Gennita’s example of TSTL demonstrates, rips the top off a very big can of worms — for Laurie as much as for anyone.

    I mean, I remember not that long ago seeing the term “Romance shorthand” being used over at AAR, a term which I have been using for at least a year now and which I didn’t see anyone else using before me. Does that mean I can claim historical ownership of the phrase and should discourage anyone else (especially at AAR) from using it? That was part of Laurie’s lament, after all, that she didn’t seize a more formal ownership of DIK sooner (assuming she could have registered a trademark for the phrase, which is a process requiring a phrase to meet certain requirements). If you start down this road, can you imagine the ridiculousness of trying to talk about anything, let alone the hostility that would erupt as people try to protect “their” phrases (or argue over who really “owns” what)?

    OTOH Laurie insists that it would have been courteous for the DIK bloggers to acknowledge AAR, but there’s another kind of courtesy that comes in recognizing the public ownership of particular phrases (dare I say the public ownership), especially phrases in which two-third of the words are instantly traceable to other sources (as is the concept of DIK), within public communities. Do we tm the terms “participatory democracy” or “the marketplace of ideas” or “Romancelandia” or “if looks could kill,” etc. etc.? Also, if DIK really is that recognizable, then people would not fail to associate it with DIK, even at this new blog, right? And isn’t that what frustrates Laurie — that AAR is somehow being diluted through this other blog, that its uniqueness is being dishonored?

    Should the DIK blog have formally recognized AAR? I don’t know — that’s a separate discussion, IMO, and one that would require the balancing of a number of considerations.

    As it stands I’m surprised that more people haven’t come out of the woodwork to claim rights to phrases commonly used on AAR. I wonder if TRR has a beef because Laurie left there to create another Romance site with a three letter acronym (or any other features that might be similar). Maybe readers who saw that original post on her blog didn’t respond because, like me, they felt a little embarrassed for Laurie, not for her sense of hurt, but for the lengths she went to in publicly addressing it and seeking remedy.

  54. vanessa jaye
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:03:46

    I still love AAR, although not as much since the board format changed ( the discussion have lost some of their energy/verve since the change),

    But…. (TM Cartland) this all seems a bit too much ado over not much (nod to ole Will). A single blog post by Laurie, pointing out her hurt/concern, would have been enough. I also get the feeling this has (a lot) to do with a concern/fear that AAR isn’t as dominant/relevant in the online romance community as it once was. But, really, AAR’s rep will not rest upon due attrition of an acronym.

    Gennita, I first came across coitus interruptus on the eharl boards, just thought it was one of those witticisms that crop up on the message boards. Not surprised to hear you came up with it. (Was Prodigy affiliated with Compuserve? I used to lurk on Compuserve big time.)

    Although, I *recognize* ‘like a fat kid loves cakes’ as one of Karen’s favourite sayings (along with ‘sucks big hairy donkey balls’ and ‘I can’t be arsed’), count me as another one who primarily associates it to rapper 50 Cent.

  55. vanessa jaye
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:08:08

    Totally forgot the edit button is missing.

    I still love AAR, although not as much since the board format changed

    That should be that I don’t *enjoy* AAR as much since the change in format.

    But, really, AAR's rep will not rest upon due attrition of an acronym.

    *Attribution* of an acronym, not attrition.

  56. Seressia
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:23:14

    Someone help me…

    (through a discussion of the problems with Whitney, My Love)

    Every time I see this book title, I don’t see the “n”. I know it’s bad. I am a sad person, and I need help.

    Back on-topic: I think I’ve been to AAR once or twice when someone sent me a link to a discussion there of AA books. Haven’t been back. Had no idea DIK was associated with them, as I’ve seen that phrase all over the place.

    I coined the phrase “Savage Gate”, and I did have someone attribute it to me. Do you really think I’d flip out if someone used it without letting folks know I coined it? Not really. Now, using whole paragraphs of mine…

    I use other phrases too: “blow my skirt up” (tm Marilyn Monroe’s white dress) “hack my cheese” (tm all cheese cutters) and “life’s a bitch–and then it has puppies” (tm-who knows the first part) I’m not going to get my nose out of joint (tm Owen Wilson) over people using those phrases, especially when the idea of those phrases were inspired by something/someone else.

    Re: 50 cent using a phrase that has become synonymous with Karen S. Outkast used “shake it like a Polaroid picture.” I’d posit that more than half the people who downloaded that song don’t know who or what Polaroid is, but those of us who do know you had to sometimes shake a Polaroid to develop it faster. Polaroid created it, but it’s now forever associated with “Hey Ya.” I’m sure Coca-Cola wasn’t happy with the nickname for cocaine either, but what can they do about it?

  57. Keishon
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:26:22

    Quick question, Is the AAR Reader's Poll coming up or something?

    Tsk, tsk for assuming that this could all be a publicity stunt, TP.

    I mean we can at least see why she would be hurt by this but I disagree with her methods in making a website acknowledge her historical use of an acronym that doesn’t require attribution. There’s more going on here besides crying foul about lack of attribution. It seems (to me) to be about respect and AAR’s place in the romance community. Maybe she feels threatened by readers blogs like DA providing another choice for romance readers to congregate and discuss books.

  58. Fiordiligi
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:34:03

    Ok, this is my curiosity asking, but does coitus interruptus have a special meaning where romance is concerned? So far I have known the term only in a medicinal context as described here: meaning that it’s an unsafe and nowadays rather oldfashioned method of contraception.

  59. Lynne
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:47:29

    OMG, Seressia! I do the same thing with the name of that book. I have this mental quirk where I often misread stuff that I see out of the corner of my eye — usually with hilarious results — and that book nearly always got a “WTF??!” out of me when I passed it on bookshelves.

  60. Robin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:49:05

    I coined the phrase “Savage Gate”, and I did have someone attribute it to me.

    Yeah, and I’m probably going to be doing it again in my Monday Access Romance Readers Gab post, lol.

  61. Jane
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:15:12

    I wanted to ask, why does “akimbo” need attribution?

  62. Teddypig
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:25:01

    Quick question, Is the AAR Reader's Poll coming up or something?

    Tsk, tsk for assuming that this could all be a publicity stunt, TP.

    I mean we can at least see why she would be hurt by this but I disagree with her methods in making a website acknowledge her historical use of an acronym that doesn't require attribution. There's more going on here besides crying foul about lack of attribution. It seems (to me) to be about respect and AAR's place in the romance community. Maybe she feels threatened by readers blogs like DA providing another choice for romance readers to congregate and discuss books.

    Well, it just seems like so much to do about nothing. I am sure other people have used the whole Teddy Pig name before because there is a type of Guinea Pig called a Teddy. So you get Teddy Pig so even if I made it up a quick check would correct that misunderstanding.

    Same as people have been talking about things they would take to a Desert Island like forever.

    Why is it the only time I even hear about Laurie is when she is busy promoting her site by ripping on someone else’s?

  63. JenB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:42:18

    BevQB – Did you come up with “eargasm” before Outkast rapped about it? ;)

    I don’t think I’ve coined any phrases. I feel so left out.

    Jane, I love you.

    Kiwi Sarah, I love you too. *smooches*

  64. Kiah
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:56:22

    I do think that AAR is a valuable part of the romance community and Laurie and AAR were groundbreakers (along with others) in the formation of that community. But AAR's greatness does not reside in a few letters or acronyms.

    So you don’t think AAR’s greatness lies in a few letters or acronyms though you do acknowledge (as do others here) that those acronyms were made commonplace within the online community by AAR. You decided what’s important about AAR but perhaps it means something else to Laurie? I just can’t believe you have taken it to this level of mockery. If you’ve read Laurie’s message board posts on AAR then you read this:

    I see your point as well, but I’ve heard from an anonymous source since starting this discussion that AAR was mentioned when the idea of naming the blog came up. I can’t go into more detail at this point because I don’t have full permission – the individual may come forward herself OR give me full permission to use her email – but that tells you it wasn’t an organic out of the blue thing on their end. They knew what they were doing…and did it anyway.

    Does that mean she can claim copyright infringement? No. But it does give her reason to feel some hurt.

    I’ve got a sick feeling in my stomach at the pettiness of your whole post but this topped it.

    Btw (tm unknown), I checked and both DesertIsekeepers.com and desertislandkeepers.com were domains available for sale. And I bought them.

    Wow. Just wow. And though it’s trite and will be pounced on by other commenters, I can honestly say that I won’t be back here again.

  65. BevQB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 13:59:33

    I heard rapper 50 Cent use “like a fat kid loves cake' long before Karen ever used it.

    BevQB – Did you come up with “eargasm” before Outkast rapped about it? ;)

    If you guys knew my taste (and distastes) in music, you’d know how funny it is to think I would have heard music from either of those sources. Although, as I pointed out earlier, I have heard the fat kid/cake saying for years and years before Karen used it.

    But, in any case, Jen, I am claiming ownership of EARGASM because 1)- MY use was the first time I ever heard it, so any prior uses don’t count and 2)- I created the definitive use of the term.

    So sez I. ;-p

  66. Barbara B.
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:00:05

    Fiordiligi said-
    “Ok, this is my curiosity asking, but does coitus interruptus have a special meaning where romance is concerned? So far I have known the term only in a medicinal context as described here: meaning that it's an unsafe and nowadays rather oldfashioned method of contraception.”

    I’m wondering about that one, too. The phrase coitus interruptus sure as hell wasn’t coined by anyone living today.

    “I wanted to ask, why does “akimbo” need attribution?”

    Don’t know about that, but that word always makes me laugh. There was a time when it must have been mandatory that “akimbo” be used at least once in every Harlequin romance, particularly the Presents line. The same goes for the requirement that the hero have a “wide, mobile mouth”.

  67. Jane
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:03:45

    Actually Laurie did try to use a legal foundation to form the basis of her “ownership” and I don’t find that to be accurate (nor her claims that fair use is only for temporary purposes). The point of the post is that there are so many terms that have become part of the ordinary course of discourse that it is not possible to always know the source. It’s clear from the comments that DIK is not likely to have been originally coined by LLB but it may have rose to prominence because AAR itself was prominent within the romance community. But prominence does not equal ownership, not in the eyes of the law and not in ethical terms, in my opinion.

    If ownership of certain terms was so important for AAR, it should have bought those domain names. The fact that they were available to anyone should tell you how strongly those terms are or are not protected.

    If you believe that I am being petty and are sick to your stomach from reading this post, then yes, I think that there are probably other forums that would suit you better than Dear Author. That’s the beauty of a large and vibrant online community for romance – there are dozens, maybe hundreds of sites – that have a variety of personalities and opinions.

  68. Barbara B.
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:07:25

    I think eargasm is pretty old. I used to hear DJs on the radio use the phrase back in the 70s. R&B singer Johnnie Taylor even released an album called Eargasm back in 1976.

  69. Teddypig
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:30:57

    So you don't think AAR's greatness lies in a few letters or acronyms though you do acknowledge (as do others here) that those acronyms were made commonplace within the online community by AAR.

    Acronym usage made commonplace by AAR? Gee, I could have sworn the CIA and the FBI and the AARP and NCAA and DOJ and AA and AAA were all about that first.

  70. azteclady
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:42:33

    Without haven’t read the comments: Jane, I love you. And LLB has to be effin’ kidding. Srsly.

  71. MS Jones
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:43:14

    Let's not forget Jane's Romance Ramenâ„¢ and Regency Ramenâ„¢ for pre-packaged novels about rakish Dukes and virtuous virgins (so ironic that a promiscuous man is a rake but a promiscuous woman is a ho).

  72. vanessa jaye
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:43:46

    Coitus interruptus — The numerous fake-outs or big tease scenes in romance. The sole purpose of which is to ratchet up the sexual tension (good) and/or for other shaky-plotting purposes (bad).

    The H/h are about to kiss aaaannd…. the phone rings. The H/h are about to kiss again aaaand…. one of them suddenly has second thoughts. They’re at second base in the gardens, his hand is busily up her skirts, her bodice has been lowered shamelessly, she reaches for the buttons on his breeches aaand…. Lady Bigassgossipham and cronies catch h/H in compromising position. And so it goes, instance after instance. Now the newly married H/h are in the privacy of their bedroom, it’s their wedding night, their both nekkid as the day they were born, both wet and erect aaaaannnnnd…. the bed curtains catch on fire from a candle flame that flared up when the villianous vampire swoops through the open window.

    Srsly? It’s page 280 of a 300 page book, but because of a bunch of these sizzling(!) near-misses, the chick still has her hymen and barely been kissed. Go figure.

    Done well coitus interruptus is delicious and amps up the anticipation of that first kiss, and/or first lovescene. But done badly or over-done and it (really) pisses the readers off.

  73. Jane
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 14:54:14

    Actually, romance ramen and romance shorthand were both terms coined by Robin (aka Janet).

  74. RfP
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 15:03:27

    I think both Laurie’s stance and Jane’s blur the line between credit and ownership. They aren’t the same, and if they’re carefully separated perhaps the entire issue could appropriately (and possibly more effectively, in terms of resolution) be argued in terms of courtesy rather than origination.

    I wasn’t around when DIK came into use online, but because I associate it with AAR I’ve been a bit uncomfortable when I see it used elsewhere. That’s not because I have any certainty that AAR originated the phrase; I have no idea. But I think simple courtesy dictates that if you got the idea somewhere else, you should acknowledge it. That’s part of the point of “via” and “hat tip”. (I haven’t tried to figure out who got what idea where; it’s possible the new DIK group came up with it on their own. In which case, sorry Laurie, the infinite monkeys with typewriters have struck again.)

    Focusing on ownership also ignores the *application* of the idea. It’s not always the idea’s originator who inspires others, but someone else’s clever take-off on the idea.

    Acknowledging inspiration doesn’t imply ownership, but it credits *either* the idea or an admirable or attention-getting execution that spawned more applications. Acknowledgment alone can often prevent hurt feelings–or at least change the tone from “thief!” to “flatterer!”

    I casually date the concept of the desert/deserted island book back to Robinson Crusoe, lol, with much use of the term, in various forms, during the intervening centuries. But even if DIK has become associated with AAR to some degree, does that automatically create a proprietary interest in the term and all of its variations?

    Why does the argument have to be all or nothing, i.e. all of its variations? As you say, “desert island” with the meaning of “precious objects” is far too old and widely-used to be attributed to AAR. But “desert island keeper” is a specific usage. “White House” can’t be trademarked, but “White House o’ Porn and Cacti” can.

    Laurie insists that it would have been courteous for the DIK bloggers to acknowledge AAR, but there's another kind of courtesy that comes in recognizing the public ownership of particular phrases (dare I say the public ownership), especially phrases in which two-third of the words are instantly traceable to other sources (as is the concept of DIK), within public communities.

    I agree that being grabby about phrases is not good citizenship. However, it shouldn’t matter how many words in the phrase are instantly traceable to other sources. By that argument, if I were the first blogger ever to respond to all comments with the phrase “Go fish, dickwad”, and then “GFD” became common currency, I wouldn’t deserve any (dubious) credit for popularizing it, because Go Fish is a game and I wasn’t the erudite and articulate soul who came up with “dickwad”. I’m not saying I would *want* to claim “GFD” and sell rude T-shirts, nor that I *coined* the phrase, but if the phrase became common I’m sure some people (at least initially, in uses that seemed especially apropos) would append “(TM RfP)”, and if you started a site called GFD.com some people would feel you should attribute the phrase to me. You could ignore it, or placate my adherents by mentioning me in some inconspicuous way… or if we played our cards right, we could have a flamewar and drive up the price of GFDwear. The partnership agreement is in the mail.

  75. azteclady
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 15:07:51

    What is sad, from where I sit (and having read the comments by now) is that if LLB has posted, “Hey, look at that! A group of ladies started a blog using the DIK just like we do! Isn’t that cool?” she would have gotten the recognition and all sorts of positive attention, as well as fostering a sense of camaraderie with the readers who share the DIK blog.

    Lost opportunity in favor of a petty rant. *shrug*

  76. RfP
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 15:14:44

    Azteclady, exactly. Flattery versus theft.

  77. azteclady
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 15:45:19

    Someone else: I’ve been using the handle azteclady (one word, lower case) online since late 1996 or early 1997. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I became aware that Aztec Lady is a magic trick.

    And before that, there were actual Aztec people around (though they didn’t call themselves that) and at least a few must have been referred to as “lady” Should I add a paragraph to my name explaining all that to “give credit where it’s due”?

    Please.

  78. Robin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 16:38:43

    Why does the argument have to be all or nothing, i.e. all of its variations? As you say, “desert island” with the meaning of “precious objects” is far too old and widely-used to be attributed to AAR. But “desert island keeper” is a specific usage. “White House” can't be trademarked, but “White House o' Porn and Cacti” can.

    But there’s a significant difference between the examples in your comment and DIK. In your examples, *an entirely different meaning* is produced by the addition/combination of particular words. In the case of DIK, though, the meaning is pretty much the same whether it’s Desert Island Discs, Desert Isle Flicks, Desert Island/Isle Keepers, Deserted Isle/Island Books, etc. Were AAR’s use of DIK distinctive in its *meaning* and its *construct* I think the conversation would be quite different.

    There’s a reason that so many trademarked terms are whimsical words — Kleenex, Xerox, Woolite, etc. The more fanciful the word (and that’s an actual term in trademark law), the stronger a *distinctive* connection is made between that term and the product for sale is, and the stronger the case for trademark protection is. The more generic or descriptive a phrase is, the less protectable it is, as well (and the greater the need for what’s called secondary meaning in the term). It’s the same logic behind the inability to copyright common phrases — the dilution of protection and the inability of people to use common terms without competing claims of ownership.

  79. rebyj
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:12:19

    I too recall the desert isle keeper from high school. It was part of the Robinson Crusoe discussion.
    I think my choices back then were Gone with the Wind and the Betsy books, and I got laughed at because we were evidently too old for the Betsy books. I now have no idea what the Betsy books were really titled. But I remember I liked them way back then !

  80. Sunita
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:30:04

    Thanks, Robin and Jane, for the cogent explanations.

    RfP, I agree that there is a difference between asking for credit and claiming property rights or ownership, but as I read it, Laurie is trying to do both. She’s arguing that she created the term and she is also seeking credit for that creation from anyone who uses it. I have a couple of problems with this. First, if she didn’t know about the BBC program, then it’s another case of monkeys, typewriters, and Hamlet, but I think she would still have had a difficult time getting legal monopoly over the term, especially since a US party has held a license to produce the program here for most of the time she’s claiming to have used it. Crusoe may be in the public domain, but DID is one of the few BBC programs that can’t be replayed or podcasted precisely because of copyright conflicts. Ironically, the blog transforms her use of DIK in a way that brings it closer to the program (6 books, explain why they matter).

    Second, while AAR may have popularized the term by using it for their A reviews, it’s the readers, posters, and bloggers who have given it the wide currency it has online, and so it’s hard for me to see how AAR is solely responsible and deserving of credit. I think this is the same point Robin has made about public usage, but her version is much clearer, as usual!

    To echo Robin again, I can understand why Laurie feels dissed by the DIK blog, and tweeting about it is an understandable response, as is the initial blog post. But to then complain that people aren’t as up in arms as she is, to take it from her personal blog to the AAR boards, and to write additional posts to both containing a sample letter we are supposed to send to the blog upbraiding them for unethical behavior, goes way over the top. I doubt she approves of astroturf letters in political campaigns, so why are they okay here?

  81. RfP
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:39:41

    In the case of DIK, though, the meaning is pretty much the same whether it's Desert Island Discs, Desert Isle Flicks, Desert Island/Isle Keepers, Deserted Isle/Island Books, etc.

    Yah, I realized (maybe I should have voted for the edit feature after all : ) that I didn’t really want to bring up the White House issue, because my point isn’t about the legalities at all. My main point is that that approach obscures the issues of courtesies and inspirations.

    As I said above, I don’t think it’s a good thing to try to trademark every phrase under the sun. However, I think some of that kind of possessiveness could be avoided one on side (the imitators’) by a more careful courtesy over chains of ideas. Unfortunately fixing the other side (the originators’ or inspirers’) isn’t as easy to address: I don’t think there’s an easy way to transmit the conviction that most ideas *are* free, and *your* expression of it is the only thing you control.

  82. Val Kovalin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:41:22

    Coitus interruptus -‘ The numerous fake-outs or big tease scenes in romance. The sole purpose of which is to ratchet up the sexual tension (good) and/or for other shaky-plotting purposes (bad).

    Thank you, Vanessa, for this and even more for the examples that follow. I’m learning new stuff every day on this site. :)

  83. Bridget Locke
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:47:57

    I’m sorry, but I find this whole situation completely & totally ridiculously ridiculous. I’m part of the DIK community and have been for quite some time. I have not been, nor probably ever will be, a part of AAR. I’ve never been to the site and after this kerfuffle, I’m not sure I ever would.

    It’s ridiculous that something so innocent would be treated not only like a crime, but also like we went out of our way to use this person’s use of an acronym in a bad way. For pity’s sake, get over it already!

    I find it sad that in the world of romance, there are all of these little stabs at other people just because of implied threat and/or upset. I find the whole thing to be an insult to me and to the romance world in general.

  84. RfP
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 17:56:17

    while AAR may have popularized the term by using it for their A reviews, it's the readers, posters, and bloggers who have given it the wide currency it has online, and so it's hard for me to see how AAR is solely responsible and deserving of credit.

    Sunita, “astroturf” is the mot juste!

    I agree, there’s not much point Laurie trying to assert ownership. I’m not arguing that she’s correct on that, and I don’t think AAR is “solely deserving of credit”. But as I said above, I think it’s generally worth crediting the train of ideas, regardless of ownership (and only in part because that can avert some of this argumentation). Crediting an inspiration doesn’t mean it’s necessary to hunt down the *first* instance–the coiner–and cite it, nor to falsely credit AAR with inventing the concept. I’m not a fan of over-trademarking *or* of silently appropriating others’ ideas; I see those as two sides of the same possessive approach to ideas.

  85. Mike Briggs
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:11:01

    Sheesh, what a tempest in a teapot.

    I read Laurie’s posts, and I can understand her irritation at seeing something that she popularized be used without attribution. On the other hand, if every catchy phrase were permanently attached to it’s creator with apron-strings of attribution language and communication would quickly break down. At some point in time, when a word is adopted by the popular culture, attributions are left behind. Think of it as a growing up process. Laurie can be proud she popularized a term that has become part of the common vocabulary.

    When she began conflating her dubious “rights” to the term with copyright and trademark concepts, however, she really hit my hot buttons.

    Copyright law is SUPPOSED to secure reproduction rights to the creator a limited period to encourage creativity. In recent years it’s been co-opted to virtually incarcerate the common culture, and has become a serious impediment to many creative endeavors. Trying to stretch laws already diaphanous by extension to cover this bit of petty ego-stroking is simply too much.

    Trademark, likewise, was designed to insure that corporate identities were properly associated. If Nike spends a few million making better shoes with “swoosh” emblem, they want to make sure that K-mart doesn’t market shoes with a identical markings. First it was applied to logos, and later to fanciful words used as brand names. Ultimately, it has been applied to slogans/mottos using English words. This last use is (supposedly) very restricted to prohibit any common or colloquial phrases from being trademarked. Even so, it’s opened a can of legal worms. I suspect that if Laurie tried to register the terms, she’d be flatly denied.

    The only thing she hasn’t claimed is patent law — and they’re just about lazy/crazy enough to grant her one. Maybe she should try there next.

    So, in a nutshell. The “protection” of intellectual property in the USA is a mess — even the big businesses who pushed for harsher penalties and more liberal interpretation of what should be constitute a protected work are finding it difficult to move forward and create anything of value in the legal minefield they’ve created, so changes are coming, and hopefully not to cover trivial expressions of creativity like Laurie’s.

    Laurie’s pet phrase is NOT protected by copyright or trademark, nor should it be. This is a “politeness” issue, not a legal one, and by raising the specter of “legal rights”, she’s lost any sympathy I might have had. Laurie: grow up, and play with the grown ups, or take your website down and go home.

  86. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:30:05

    Fiordiligi and Val K., sorry I didn’t get to answer your questions about what “coitus interruptus” was (RL (real life) Interruptus happened–ha!), but what Vanessa Jaye said, plus a few more example. I was starting to read romance a lot back then and “learning the craft” (TM RWA), and was struck by how many books had these incredible heros with the Dickus Retractus skill. They would do EVERYTHING to the heroine but then she would change her mind and he would be “oh, okay, next chapter, then, sweetheart.” Or, he would actually stop right after he gave her pleasure because she was a virgin, and you know, he could wait till the end of the book, really.

    One day, I posted a question on the Prodigy Boards: Can some authors explain to be about these “Coitus Interruptus” moments? You know, in those days, when I posted examples and actually asked the authors about them, I never thought about the authors yelling at me about being mean or have them send their posse after me :). I must admit that this is no longer true, LOL.

    So…(TM Barbara Cartland) don’t care if you heard it when you were young. I coined it on the boards so this phrase is my intellectual property, nyahnyah. BTW, I’m so happy to see a few of you remember those wonderful boards, even Diana Gabaldon’s happy post about selling that certain manuscript!

  87. Gennita Low
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:35:48

    Oh, I think I remember an interesting kerfluffle. Maybe someone can tell the whole story.

    There is a readers board called RBL Romantica. Been around for years, way before Ellora’s Cave. EC copyrighted the word Romantica and if I remember, EC emailed the girls running the RBL Romantica board to take down that word because it’s theirs. There was quite a bit of indignation, if I recalled. This was many moons ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. The RBL’ers, as they are called, have used “Romantica” for the very sexy/sexual romances wayyyy before anybody in the publishing industry made it a genre.

  88. Val Kovalin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 19:49:50

    Thank you, Gennita! Having read almost nothing in the romance field, I’m now getting curious about it, and find myself having no preconceived notions but also no real background in it whatsoever, ha, ha! So I love these glimpses of trends and tropes that you longterm readers and writers have come to know. What you said here

    these incredible heros with the Dickus Retractus skill. They would do EVERYTHING to the heroine but then she would change her mind and he would be “oh, okay, next chapter, then, sweetheart.”

    is just too funny!

  89. Robin
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 20:02:26

    The only thing she hasn't claimed is patent law -‘ and they're just about lazy/crazy enough to grant her one.

    LOL! Hey, if they took the average ten grand or so it costs to get an application filed and applied it all to the mortgage crisis, maybe we could avert the bailout. Give a patent to avoid poverty — yeah, now there’s a patriotic idea, right?

    Second, while AAR may have popularized the term by using it for their A reviews, it's the readers, posters, and bloggers who have given it the wide currency it has online, and so it's hard for me to see how AAR is solely responsible and deserving of credit.

    I just want to pull this out of your comment, Sunita, and highlight it, because it’s the concretization of what I was suggesting earlier, and one of the things that cuts right against the “historical ownership” argument Laurie’s making, IMO. Because she’s not really arguing for historical ownership on behalf of the AAR *community* even, and, well, the whole ownership concept, as you said earlier, is presented as the foundation of her belief that she deserves credit. Just that graphic she designed naming AAR “home of the DIK” sustains and empowers the idea that Laurie invented the phrase and made it famous — and that she owns it in some way (i.e. you better only use it here, under my rules).

    As Mike Briggs said, this is largely a politeness issue, which makes it tricky — like the difference between Rodney Dangerfield’s comic shtick about getting no respect and Sally Field’s wince-inducing “you really like me” speech at the Oscars. Suggesting that the DIK bloggers were engaged in something unethical, if not illegal, IMO shifted the issue from one of hurt feelings to someone else’s fault, which is where she lost me.

  90. Sarah
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 20:45:31

    Woot Gennita. RBL is such a cool little community and where I 1st started reading romance blogs/sites in 1997/1998 – when we had a dial up connection @ 33k. Eeep!

    Even as a long time reader of RBL, I do not even remember the romantica kerfluffle… you’ve a much better memory than me! But… I wonder if that is part of it. The pace at which the internet and tech moves and things get absorbed, adopted and changed. There is nothing static about it. Which is half the fun but can be difficult for some. I kinda like – Everything flows, nothing stands still and I believe that might be Heraclitus.

  91. BevQB
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 22:39:46

    So…(TM Barbara Cartland) don't care if you heard it when you were young. I coined it on the boards so this phrase is my intellectual property, nyahnyah

    In the same spirit as Gennita, let me state that I don’t care where you (Barbara, Jen, Emmy and any and all other party poopers) heard EARGASM (TM BevQB) before, I didn’t hear it and as far as I am concerned, I coined it on my blog (monkeys, typewriters), so this term is now MY intellectual property, nyahnyah (TM Gennita Low). So GFD (TM RfP)

  92. RfP
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 23:10:57

    So GFD (TM RfP)

    Er, thanks, BevQB. I’m so proud. But feel free to use it without attribution. Please. Really. I mean it.

  93. Lynne
    Sep 27, 2008 @ 23:18:28

    I have been an amateur meme farmer for years and am always delighted to see a phrase or frame I developed take hold. (I haven’t done anything huge, by any means.) If something that means a lot to me gets picked up and popularized, that’s reward enough.

    I believe in protection for creative expression — written word, music, visual arts, etc. — and for inventions. I also believe in limited trademark protection for brands — Harry Potter, Pepsi, IBM, and so forth.

    But I draw the line at phrases and ideas, particularly something like Desert Island Keeper that is itself based on other pop culture references. Claiming to own the phrase is pretty silly, IMO, but organizing a letter writing campaign to attack another group for using it? That’s way off.

  94. Kaetrin
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 02:56:33

    Thanks Jane – I especially loved the post script!

    “- so I bought them”.

    Har Har!

  95. Sparky
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 06:41:15

    This is beyond silly. The idea of “Desert Island…” has been around for years ever since the BBC had Desert Island Discs. Since then I’ve seen Desert Island Books, Desert Island Games, Desert Island food and drinks. In no end of programmes I’ve heard presenters, characters etc refer to “stuff I’d want on a desert Island.” The concept has been around for years, long before she decided to say “Desert Island Keepers” and has been used by people who have never even come anywhere neasr Romancelandia.

  96. Jane J
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 07:33:53

    I hesitated about whether to comment about this or not. Full disclosure I reviewed for AAR and so you can guess that I’ve never been a proponent of the “if you can’t say something nice crowd”. In fact, I’ve taken flak for reviews I’ve written – and that’s as it should be. AAR set up discussion boards for readers to discuss reviews we’d written and over the years, discuss they did.

    My issue here isn’t with Jane taking issue with Laurie’s thoughts on the matter. Jane has often discussed issues having to do with intellectual property on this blog and I would expect her to discuss Laurie’s points. In fact several of the commenters here have made nice points (RtP) about the difference between unethical behavior (I’m looking at the DIK ladies here) and illegal behavior. Good discussion.

    But that isn’t the route Jane choose to take. She instead took the route of the kid in the lunchroom. You know the one I’m talking about. The one who’s noticed someone else doing something different or wrong. The kid who when they’ve noticed decides to make sure that everyone else has noticed as well and makes sure that everyone is pointing and laughing and taunting. That kid. I think we called her the bully in my school.

    Jane lost sight of the central debate – whether it was right that the DIK ladies knowingly used the name they did for their blog – and instead went the route of the bully.

    Surprised the heck out of me, I can tell you.

  97. theo
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 08:23:25

    Personally, and this is just me, I think Jane took a ridiculous argument and made it entertaining. No schoolyard bully here as far as I can see. Simply a very clever way to make a serious point.

    I never heard anyone call McDonald’s ™ MickeyD’s when I was in Jr. High (back in the late 60’s), but I did. I’m sure someone much more clever than I came up with that the day they opened their doors for the first time. Same with calling those little things you get at Taco Bell ™ a spork. First time I ever saw one, that’s what it reminded me of. I’d never heard the term before. Did I coin it? Who cares? It’s just another phrase, catchword, inconsequential tag for something.

    Donald Trump is trying to trademark the phrase “You’re Fired”. I have a sneaking suspicion Noah probably said that to one of his family members long before any of us were even thought of so I find that just plain silly.

    Same goes with this. I’ve heard variations of this phrase for almost 50 years now. If one wants to give credit where it’s due, then one has to find the originator of the question/phrase/saying/title from eons ago and that would include Laurie doing her homework and giving the right person credit since she’s not the original concept inventor.

    I’d never heard the phrase DIK in relation to AAR or the DIK blog or really, anything else internet related. Until now. And it’s a shame that I look on it, as I’m sure after this kerfluffle many others do too, with distaste that such a minor thing can be blown so out of proportion.

    It’s a done deal. Grow up, get over it, move on. The more it’s dragged through the mud with all the little ad-squares and such on the AAR blog and site, the worse that site is going to look in the end. Not what I’d want for my site. But then, I’m not Laurie either. I’d have thanked them for the nod, myself.

  98. Peggy P
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 08:29:25

    OK, it’s Sunday morning so maybe Jane doesn’t know yet that you called her a bully…but you’re gonna be in big trouble when she finds out!

    So what do you call the kid at school who urges other kids to send electronic notes to the kids she’s mad at?

    I call her a goofy twelve year old.

    OK, Jane, close the comments on this thread because I’ve sunk it to a whole lower level.

  99. (Jān)
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 08:37:42

    Jane lost sight of the central debate – whether it was right that the DIK ladies knowingly used the name they did for their blog – and instead went the route of the bully.

    Your definition of bully is different from mine, I think. My definition of bully is someone in a position of power going after a new or different person out of a lack of self-respect to make themselves feel better. They think that it will prove their own self-worth. They do for silly reasons like having a name or using a phrase that the bully feels entitled to own.

    When someone stands up to that bully and makes her back down, the word for that has always been ‘hero’.

  100. Teddypig
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 08:38:33

    Oh noes! She called Jane a “mean girl”.

  101. Jane
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 08:43:45

    I appreciate you coming and voicing your opinion Jane J. I have a lot of regard for AAR reviewers and AAR will always have a very fond place in my heart.

    I can tell you that I never intended to post on this subject. Even when LLB’s feelings on the subject went from twitter, to her blog, to AAR, I felt it was largely a matter between her and DIK bloggers. When she posted her “Please Consider” post urging others to post a public letter and button to shame the DIK bloggers into giving her credit for something that she may or may not have coined, that to me seemed very bullying.

    I choose the format I did so that it would be lighthearted but show how futile and, yes, silly, that it would be to try to enforce the type of “historical ownership” concept LLB was trying to get everyone to buy into.

    It obviously hit you wrong and I accept that.

  102. Jane J.
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 09:44:28

    Someone a couple of comments up brought up the definition of a bully as someone in a position of power and I agree with that. Though you may have thought your take on the subject would capture the lightness of tone that you felt Laurie’s argument warranted, you had to know how your readers would take it. Like it or not you are in a position of power. This is a popular blog and you have a large fan base. Understandable. But also understandable that when you use such a dismissive and mocking tone, it’s going to be picked up by your readers. And that’s as may be.

    What bothers me is that the central point is lost and most of your commenters have focused on taunting, because that’s where you led them, then on a good discussion of the point. The DIK ladies knew what they were doing when they picked their name. They (at least a good number of them did, I’ll accept Bridget’s word that she did not) know of AAR’s existence and have known about it for a long time. Whether the idea of things we’d take to a desert isle has been around forever or not is moot. The fact is that for more then ten years AAR has used Desert Isle Keeper in reference to romance novels that are especially good. By calling their blog what they did, these women took the idea without attribution. Broke laws? No, definitely not. But you and I know what they did.

    Perhaps it’s a minor point to you and many others. And I can understand that. But to those of us who’ve reviewed at AAR for years and to Laurie it wasn’t such a small thing. Did she handle it as well as she could have, probably not. None of us do handle everything as well as we should. Which is why it would have been a good jumping off point for discussion of attribution and ethical behavior.

    I’m sorry you didn’t see it that way.

  103. Emmy
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 09:53:16

    most of your commenters have focused on taunting, because that's where you led them

    Naw, we get there just fine on our own without Jane’s help, tyvm. Go back and read a few other posts.

  104. kate r
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 09:54:43

    I lurve this so much I want to marry it (tm probably SBTB) Except when I first saw the DIK site, I was really surprised to discover it wasn’t associated with AAR. Sure, I inhabit a small universe and maybe DIK was used elsewhere, but I hadn’t see it. I can sort of understand Laurie’s POV (tm some writing teacher, I suppose)

    It’s not quite the same as the example of sending your baby Andrew to school and being shocked that there are three other Andrews in his class.

  105. Mist
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:00:46

    I remember a time way back in the day (tm P Diddy) when the owner of AAR brought to notice on one of her boards an article about Robin Lee Hatcher dissing romances in a newspaper, which caused a huge flame war between AAR and a few authors on the net. Essentially, people called LLB a bully for bringing up the topic, but she stuck by her stance of where she acted as a “commentator with an opinion”. I have a hard time differntiating what Jane has done and what LLB did, and at times still does. One has just been a bully in romance land longer than the other I guess.

  106. theo
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:06:15

    Um…just an off the wall question but…can someone familiar with AAR tell me why Laurie didn’t go after Kiplinger’s when they came up with their “Desert Island Keepers” list of mutual funds/stocks back in…oh, 2000? Was there the same brouhaha then? Or is it just that the DIK blog isn’t a big corporation like Kiplinger’s report?

    There are thousands of hits for the phrase Desert Island Keeper(s) on the internet. Is every one of them going to be contacted and told they must mention AAR in their blog/article/website?

    And I agree with Emmy. Everyone gets where they want to go on this board all by themselves. Free thinking.

    yeesh…

  107. Keishon
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:10:01

    The DIK ladies knew what they were doing when they picked their name. They (at least a good number of them did, I'll accept Bridget's word that she did not) know of AAR's existence and have known about it for a long time

    May I respectfully ask this question: what does using the DIK acronyn take away from AAR?

  108. Kaye
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:11:31

    Has it occurred to anyone else that all this controversy is drawing attention to, not away from, the DIKladiesrule website?

  109. Michelle
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:16:00

    Ok-LLB goes after a group of women using the DIK in their blog. It has been pointed out numerous times that the phrase DIK has been around a lot longer than LLB. So Jane points out the hypocrisy of throwing a hissy fit over something that you have no legal claim to. So Jane is a Bully/Mean Girl. Yeah thanks for clearing that right up.

  110. Meljean
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 10:35:54

    The DIK site has responded (it’s at the end.)

    And in closing here are my final thoughts for the week:
    We here at the DIK blog are not associated with AAR, but by many reports, they coined/developed the phrase Desert Island Keeper/DIK in relation to romance, and we raise a drink (with a little umbrella in it) in appreciation and mutual love of the genre.

  111. Jane J.
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 11:07:23

    So Jane points out the hypocrisy of throwing a hissy fit over something that you have no legal claim to. So Jane is a Bully/Mean Girl. Yeah thanks for clearing that right up.

    I never suggested that Jane shouldn’t have posted about the whole thing. I said that I thought she had been wrong in how she went about it. I stand by that. This isn’t something she tossed off with a moment’s thought. It took time to write her little story, time to think exactly how to make fun of the issue and of Laurie. She has every right to do so, but it diminished the respect I’ve had for this blog and the ongoing discussions it has often undertaken on online behavior.

    Someone else said I should read other posts on this blog so that I can understand things better. I have read this blog. That’s why her post surprised me so much. Jane has often talked about what ethics are required in blogging. She has often discussed the borrowing of ideas and what does and doesn’t constitute theft. I agree with her that what the DIK blog did doesn’t rise to the level of theft or infringement or anything else actionable from a legal sense.

    But it’s not silly or evil of me to feel offended by their borrowing of the name either. I do think they were unethical and I do think they knew what they were doing – though I’m happy to see that they have added the note Meljean mentions. Like the reviewers here, I reviewed at AAR for love of the genre. When I could award a DIK to a book, it meant something to me because that was our gold standard.

    Sorry I’ve digressed a bit.

  112. azteclady
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 11:44:16

    Here is what I am reading from JaneJ’s comments:

    * LLB is right in believing that the DIK ladies behaved unethically by using that three letter acronym
    * LLB is right in demanding that the DIK ladies give attribution to her or change their blog name
    * When the DIK ladies do not respond with the alacrity and deference LLB expects, given the “historical” importance of AAR, LLB is right in starting a campaign against the DIK ladies.
    * LLB has a “position of power” given the “historical importance” of AAR, but what she is doing with her campaign is not bullying because… why, what the DIK ladies did is unethical in JaneJ’s view so LLB’s behaviour is right and just and not abuse of said “position of power”
    * the fact that Jane@Dear Author does not see what the DIK ladies did as unethical is appalling to JaneJ
    * the fact that Jane@Dear Author chose to highlight the ridiculousness of trying to appropriate a commonly used phrase, particularly when throwing around legal terms in the middle of a petty tirade, means that Jane@Dear Author is a bully because she is in a “position of power”
    * the fact that Desert(ed) Island Keeper/Book/Disc/(add your noun here) has been in use for decades is irrelevant, because only LLB/AAR are right on this issue.

    Oh, and I am being just the slightest bit sarcastic (TM whomever)

    ==================================

    Seriously, what a waste of a wonderful PR opportunity. If instead of looking at the use of DIK as an attack/offense/theft, LLB could have gotten over herself enough to consider it an homage, imagine the good will it would have generated for both sites, as well as all the possibilities for collaboration and what not.

    Ah well.

  113. Meljean
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 12:03:22

    I do think they were unethical and I do think they knew what they were doing – though I'm happy to see that they have added the note Meljean mentions. Like the reviewers here, I reviewed at AAR for love of the genre. When I could award a DIK to a book, it meant something to me because that was our gold standard.

    I’ve received a DIK, and it meant something to me, too. It was an absolutely incredible moment. But I’ll also add that the DIK blog in no way diminishes that for me, because I see a real celebration and love for the genre there.

    And at the same time, I wonder how the DIK blog giving credit is going to accomplish anything except soothe understandably ruffled feathers (not that smoothing things over isn’t worth something; it’s just that the root of the problem — the use of DIK without appropriation — is still rampant throughout the community).

    If the issue of the dilution of the DIK brand (for lack of a better term) is at the heart of this, then it feels a little late for AAR to start policing the term and asking for credit. In my lurkings, I see blog posts and message board threads all the time asking “what are our Desert Isle Keepers/DIKs?” (and many of those commenters DON’T regularly visit AAR, and have no reason to think they should be attributing it to anyone else.) So “DIK status” is being given to books all over the place, and there’s not a single mention or reference to AAR.

    And I can easily see this becoming an issue over and over again, with bloggers and commenters new to the community, who have never visited AAR, whose lack knowledge of DIK’s origins is never in question and so the issue of politeness and a reason to smooth feathers doesn’t even really exist. If that’s the case, do they give credit? Should AAR start policing the term more rigorously (venturing outside of the AAR site) so that it’s never in doubt? The community has grown so large, I don’t think that it’s fair to assume that credit will be given out-of-hand.

    I really doubt that this is going to be a one-off. And so that means either AAR is going to have to let it go in the future, or they will have to start cracking down on the use of DIK outside of AAR.

  114. Robin
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 12:17:43

    For those of you who think the DIK ladies acted impolitely or unethically by naming their blog the way they did, what do you think the bloggers should have done?

    Should they have told Laurie they were planning on naming a blog DIK because AAR has used the term? Or should they have asked her “permission”?

    I get the sense from what Laurie has written that she expected some kind of permission request, seeing as she’s claiming “historical ownership.” But does Laurie really have the right to give or grant permission? And is everyone confident that she would have granted it (assuming we’re working off the model in which Laurie claims ownership of the term)? And if she didn’t, then what position would the bloggers have been in, having the right to use the term but putting themselves in a position where they would now be explicitly acting against Laurie’s wishes by doing something they had every right to do. That seems strange, at the very least, and extraordinarily problematic regardless.

    But even if the expectation was simply letting her know or crediting her with the phrase, then would that really have put the issue to rest? Like, is Laurie going to be all, ‘okay, that’s what I wanted’ now and stop the campaign requests? Are all those proprietary feelings toward the term going to be at rest now?

    I know nothing about how the DIK blog was started or about what any of the bloggers did or didn’t know. But I do think they were in a tough place, because what has become really clear to me over the past couple of years is that Laurie has extraordinarily strong proprietary feelings toward certain things she associates with AAR, feelings that are not universally shared. And it seems that if the DIK ladies were to set up their blog in any way that would affirm those feelings, they would be giving Laurie a right and a power she doesn’t inherently have, which at the very least would set up some big precedent problems and at worst would have further exacerbated hurt feelings.

    One of the reasons I get a kick out of throwing an attribution at Seressia Glass when I use the term “Savage Gate” is that I distinctly remember reading the phrase at her blog and don’t anticipate her coming after me and trying to establish any rules around how I might or might not use the phrase. Had I read the term from somewhere else, I might not feel at all inclined to do the little attribution gesture at all.

    I don’t know the situation of the DIK bloggers, but if they weren’t aware of the AAR thing when they named the blog should they be made to acknowledge it? And it they were, how could they have best acted to protect their own rights in the situation? Does the DIK letter writing campaign make people feel more or less confident that Laurie would be okay with others using anything she believes to be part of AAR, even if others don’t share that belief?

  115. Jane
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 12:18:09

    I’m not sure I see where you are coming from, Jane J. I understand that there are some proprietary feelings toward the acronym of DIK and perhaps the longer phrase of Desert Isle Keeper.

    If LLB wanted a serious discussion about attribution then accusing people of intellectual dishonesty at best, and at worst, some illegal activity, didn’t seem to me the way to go about it. I felt it was an issue of hurt feelings and manners/courtesy but NOT an issue of ethics.

    You seem to want Dear Author to host the discussion that LLB did not. The problem is I thought the notion of discussing the “theft” of words and phrases to be silly because, again, to me, the reuse of commonly used words and phrases does not ring an ethical bell for me. I couldn’t engage in a discussion of the ethics about it because I don’t believe it implicates any ethical issues.

    I don’t pretend to know all the inside issues but I do know that the individuals who started the DIK blog state that they did not know of AAR or did not know that DIK started with AAR. I take them at their word.

    I don’t see anything I’ve done in this blog post to be inconsistent with the opinions and conduct I’ve engaged in the past. But I do appreciate your willingness to come and state your opinion when it is not the popular one. I know that can be hard.

  116. RfP
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 13:07:44

    theo: can someone familiar with AAR tell me why Laurie didn't go after Kiplinger's when they came up with their “Desert Island Keepers” list of mutual funds/stocks back in…oh, 2000? Was there the same brouhaha then? Or is it just that the DIK blog isn't a big corporation like Kiplinger's report?

    I think that drives home the essentially personal (not legal) nature of the disagreement. A trademark applies beyond the community where the phrase was originally used; does Laurie really want DIK to be off-limits to everyone, everywhere, in every business? I somehow doubt it. I don’t know Laurie but my guess is that, were she aware of the Kiplinger’s list, she wouldn’t have been upset because those other usages are outside the romance community, which means
    (a) They aren’t competing for exactly the same concept–presumably she only feels ownership of DIK romances, not funds or discs or what have you.
    (b) Kiplinger’s list was probably created without reference to AAR and thus doesn’t feel like a personal slight.

    The personal flavor of the dispute is also why I would say it’s more about politeness, position within a community, and the evolution of ideas rather than “ethics” per se:

    Jane J: the difference between unethical behavior (I'm looking at the DIK ladies here) and illegal behavior.

    Jane J, I’m not saying you misunderstood my point; I’m only quibbling about the word “ethics”. I don’t believe the infraction is of that type. You probably mean “ethic” as “accepted code of conduct”. Such codes are community-mediated, and it doesn’t appear that they’re clear or accepted in this case. Like Meljean, “I really doubt that this is going to be a one-off”–not only for the DIK concept but for many others.

    (I should say that apart from those more cogent points, I’m quibbling over “ethics” partly because I’m interested in how ideas are objectivated and externalized to frame discourse, and attribution can be important to how concepts move, meme-like, through a community.)

    Robin: I don't know the situation of the DIK bloggers, but if they weren't aware of the AAR thing when they named the blog should they be made to acknowledge it?

    No, just as I said they shouldn’t have to do “due diligence” and cite the first-ever usage. None of that applies if it’s an issue of politeness and community. In it’s about politeness and community, then if the DIK ladies are outside the AAR/DIK community and didn’t intend offense, it’s a case of infinite monkeys (or osmosis of ideas: we often don’t realize who’s influenced us) rather than direct derivation, and if Laurie’s feelings are hurt she’s over-personalizing the situation.

    The sticky ground would probably be if they explicitly claimed to have invented the term–I imagine some in the community would then want to make them acknowledge AAR. (That’s how some online communities handle such situations, with sometimes elaborate “history” pages detailing the development of the language of the community. Discussion-heavy sites like TWoP spawn such trails within their own structure. As far as I’ve seen, more distributed fandoms often create attribution projects as a result of friction.)

  117. Meljean
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 13:23:04

    the use of DIK without appropriation

    *headdesk* I meant attribution. Sigh.

  118. kate r
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 13:24:09

    Nice civilized response from the DIK site. Maybe that’s all LLB was looking for: A hat tip, a drink raised. If so, then this particular kerfuffle is done.

  119. carolyn Jean
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 13:45:28

    The online world has one bad thing in common with traffic – interaction without face to face or even voice to voice contact.

    In the highway world, when somebody does something that seems fucked up, studies find it’s automatic for other drivers to presume it was intentional and personal when it usually wasn’t.

    So somebody cuts you off, and you think they’re an asshole trying to mess with you instead of my 70-year old mother or a driver who was upset or maybe just learned to drive. And suddenly you have angry honking and gestures and then it’s really is something.

    I get that this DIK name usage thing seemed wrong to some people, and here we have a lively debate about whether it was or wasn’t, and this is an excellent debate and hell if I know the answer.

    But I guarantee, the use of DIK was not intentional and personal against another blog.

    Most people associated with DIK blog don’t know AAR or its association with DIK stuff. In fact, 80% are pretty new to the community. And those few that did know AAR really got swept along in the tide without specifically opting in, and were not founders in a back room plotting, and now I see they are feeling bad when they have no reason to.

    It was a fun group mob sort of thing with an energy of its own and no one leader, and the experience of coming home to a hundred emails that you maybe read or maybe didn’t, and terms flying around that felt universal, but nobody was trying to steal from AAR.

    Frankly, yesterday morning most of us were pretty shocked to wake up embroiled in a fight. People felt defensive,and there were as many different suggestions of how to respond as there are members, and lots of hurt and angry feelings, the way you get when you’re wrongfully accused of something. Like you wake up and you’re this bad person.

    I’m not speaking for the whole blog or weighing in on whether we have a “right” to DiK, but I can say the whole “unethical/knew what they were doing” thing…I can see why it looked like that. It was simply NOT the case.

    From my experience with the DIK Island, I can say this is a group of women with really big hearts and good intentions, and I have no doubt that Laurie of AAR has a big heart and good intentions, too, and is trying to do the best for her blog, but we’re stuck in these different cars and honking at each other and it sort of sucks.

  120. Catherine
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 13:48:17

    Wow. I never knew what DIK was. In fact, never seen it before this post. I guess I’ve been living under a rock.

  121. Kate
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:09:18

    I’ve been vaguely reading and involved in romance blogs for just under a year.

    I’ve only visited AAR once, and that was because of this kerfluffle (i.e., it was today.)

    I’ve seen the phrase DIK all over romance blogs and it took me weeks to figure out what the hell it was. Then I associated it with the BBC.

    This is a tempest in a teapot. There’s no legal leg, and not even much of an ethical leg if the DIK ladies are like myself and assumed that DIK was a common acronym, like POV, TSTM (still don’t know what that means), HEA. It’s a case of ruffled feathers.

    And I’m very interested in Meljean’s comment above about depending on how this pans out, how much more vigilant AAR may be/become about the DIK moniker. Although I don’t think they have any right to monitor it.

    Just chiming in as someone new to the Internetland. I guess like Catherine I’ve been living under a rock.

  122. Kate
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:10:12

    Oh my gosh, the entire look of the blog changed after I hit send. I AM MAGIC!!! Let’s see if it happens again.

  123. Margaret
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:11:16

    Don’t turn into what you’re fighting against.

  124. Treva Harte
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:29:30

    Not going to get into a heavy intellectual property discussion here, especially since legal issues involved with trademarks and copyrights are usually very fact specific and I know nothing about the facts nor do I feel like researching to see how diluted this mark is in this specific instance for this specific purpose. (And I’m never linking to anything ever again, but that’ s a different issue from a different post.)

    However, before starting a website that you intend to put a lot of effort into, it’s always a good idea to run a quick trademark search and Google a bit. That will also help you clarify how willing you are to police use of a mark. Doing that can avoid a lot of unhappiness after the fact.

  125. Christine
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:30:30

    I participate in the dikladiesrule blog, and while I’m fairly sure that most of my peers on the blog in question don’t think this issue is serious enough that we have to take a defensive mode here, either legally or ethically, but these women are my friends and I feel compelled to protect their reputations. So as soon as commenters here on DA started claiming we HAD TO HAVE KNOWN about AAR’s claim to the acronym DIK, I decided to speak up. How very pretentious to think that everyone who reads romance or blogs about romance novels should be so intimately familiar with AAR. That’s so not the case.

    So to anyone who believes the participants of the dikladiesrule blog are in the wrong regarding the use of DIK, please consider the following facts and may the speculation of the unethical behavior, discourteous intentions, lack of response or whatever, of the blog’s members, can be put to an end:

    1. Some of the participants of the DIK Ladies Rule blog are new to reading romance.
    2. Many participants of the DIK Ladies Rule blog are new to blogging.
    3. Most participants of the DIK Ladies Rule blog have never been to the AAR blog. They had no idea who Laurie Gold is or her association with the acronym DIK prior to the last day or two.
    4. Only two of the participants of the DIK Ladies Rule blog are technically the authors of the blog and hence they are the only ones who receive emails related to the blog.

    Considering the last item above, it’s absolutely ridiculous that Laurie would send an email to the two authors of the dikladiesrule blog on a Monday and be up in arms by lack of response and disrespect by Friday morning. (I got this information from Laurie’s post on her personal blog dated Thursday, September 25, 2008.) Laurie allowed less than four business days before she went off an a petulant tirade in attempt to demean and discredit fellow romance bloggers who don’t even know she exists!!! I can think of numerous possibilities why Laurie did not get an immediate response from the authors of the dikladiesrule blog. Here are a few that come to the top of my head”
    1. The author of the dikladiesrule blog or someone in her family is sick.
    2. Someone in her family died.
    3. Her boyfriend just broke up with her.
    4. Her husband just left her.
    5. She is in the middle of moving.
    6. She just lost her job.
    7. She just got a new job.
    8. Her internet service got f*cked up and she’s waiting for the cable guy to show up. Damn. We many not hear back from her in another week at this point.
    9. She dropped her laptop and it’s in repair.
    10. She’s busy making adjustments in her investment portfolio.
    11. She’s out volunteering in her community to get people to register to vote.
    12. She’s spending her free time watching debates, news programs, etc., to best prepare herself for the upcoming election.
    13. She’s on vacation.
    ETC.

    If another week has since passed, and Laurie still hasn’t gotten a personal response, perhaps the members of the dikladiesrule blog are trying to figure out what the hell happened that in a matter of a few short days there is now a hate campaign growing towards them and what might then be the most appropriate and mature course of action to sooth the wounded feelings of Laurie Gold.

    Consequentially, a statement was made on the dikladiesrule blog today regarding this issue.

  126. Ciar Cullen
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 14:37:57

    I thought this was a Survivor ™ thread. It’s a boring romance thing? Dang. I don’t have the energy to go lean on the fence today, but this was a good chuckle, thanks.

  127. Bev(BB)
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 17:44:07

    This entire situation smacks of a huge internal fandom brouhaha, plain and simple. Seriously, it’s a classic pattern of newbies trying out their wings over in a tiny corner who don’t know and therefore don’t always use accepted fan terminology appropriately being smacked down for their presumption by an old guard.

    Happens all the time in most fandoms, sooner or later. Over and over again.

    What’s unusual is that this fandom is so spread out over multiple sites and blogs making communication of the very terminology that the newbies are supposed to be aware of almost ridiculous for them to learn, much less process. It’s definitely too spread out to effectively police in any classic fandom way by the very old guard that’s outraged by the offense. There always have been too many subgroups within the romance community to “educate” everyone on what’s acceptable and what’s not. That’s only assuming the newbies ever visited the right sites to get educated. That’s something that Laurie, for all her good points, has never truly understood, however. If she did, this wouldn’t be happening.

  128. JenB
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 18:43:38

    I’m one of the DIK Ladies and I knew before we started the blog that AAR used the DIK acronym. But I’ve also seen the acronym all over the Amazon discussion forums and countless blogs, so I never assumed that AAR “created” or “owned” the acronym. I actually saw DIK mentioned on Amazon months before I even knew AAR existed.

    It’s obvious that AAR has popularized the term, but I think claiming creation and ownership are taking it a little far. It would be like Paris Hilton trying to claim ownership of “That’s hot.”

    I don’t feel any shame or embarrassment with being associated with the DIK Ladies, and I don’t feel that I owe AAR anything.

    I really do equate this with grade school copycat quibbles.

    “Mom, she’s wearing pink shoes. I had pink shoes first. Make her take hers off!”

  129. Gennita Low
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 18:48:02

    I just think Laurie isn’t happy that the kerfluffle she had hoped to generate on her tweeter, blog, website and writing campaign ended up here on DA.

    OT: WOOT (TM Wootster peeps)! I got my gravatar back! Haven’t seen it in a year.

  130. Bev(BB)
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 18:53:34

    And she expected it to end up where?

  131. Gennita Low
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 19:14:13

    Bev(BB), She expected the chitchat traffic at her site, right? Didn’t she blog about her disappointment that no one continued the discussion on her blog? There were a couple of comments on ARR but none quite as diverse and spirited as here. Of course, I don’t know the response to the letter writing campaign.

    I get that her feelings are hurt. I don’t understand it, but I get it. But no one’s bullying her, at least not in the way she was trying to bully the DIKladiesrule bloggers (using the analogy of “position of power” (TM Jane J)). She got what she wanted–an acknowledgment. Like Meljean, I’m wondering how this is going to pan out, who she’ll go after next for using the DIK phrase. What if a group of young bloggers start a new weblog called TSTL? Or At The Back Of The Fence?

  132. Karen Scott
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 19:15:35

    Does this mean that I can’t form my new Man-Titty Rulez group without getting permission from Sarah and Candy?

  133. Teddypig
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 19:53:28

    Honestly Laurie whats her bucket has spent her last cent on me.
    If the only thing she is good for is a laugh when she attacks another unsuspecting blog she is not in my community she is a attention whore that needs to do something else.

    Goodbye AAR, bye bye, you mean nothing to me.

  134. Lori
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 19:55:02

    mullet (tm unknown)

    Thought I’d help you out on this one…

    Mullet (tm Billy Ray Cyrus)

  135. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 20:06:46

    I’m not going to try to keep up with all the commentary here, but I do want to say that up until I’d seen ‘memes’ going around about Desert Island Keepers, DIK’s, whatevers, I’d never heard the term.

    I don’t frequent every big romance site, but I have been to AAR a few times.

    I’ve never made an association between DIK and AAR.

    My two cents on it is that unless AAR can ‘prove’ that they coined the phrase, they really can’t expect attribution. Quite a few people seem to imply the term has been around for a lot longer than AAR.

    I’m sorry if there’s some hurt feelings about the issue, but just because a phrase is popular, doesn’t mean it can be ‘owned’. Just because a particular site may have contributed to a phrase’s popularity doesn’t mean it can be owned.

    If I decide to go and blog about books I like and I make it a regular column, titled I’m Lovin’ It featuring these books books I love, I don’t think I should have to attribute anything to McDonald’s. They’ve made it a popular slogan, but I don’t think they can claim ‘ownership’ over it unless they coined and trademarked the phrase. If I’m getting the legalties wrong, my apologies. But there’s my take.

  136. Bev(BB)
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 20:58:07

    Bev(BB), She expected the chitchat traffic at her site, right? Didn't she blog about her disappointment that no one continued the discussion on her blog? There were a couple of comments on ARR but none quite as diverse and spirited as here. Of course, I don't know the response to the letter writing campaign.

    Don’t know either since I’d already decided to stop visiting AAR before all this broke. Now I’m definitely not going back any time soon.

    I do think it’s missing the point to get so hung up on the site/blog name issue, though. All fandoms have “glossaries” of terms that get used over and over again. Terminology that gets “coined” by fans for use within that fandom even though it may mean something else entirely elsewhere. Terms that can pass into even broader general use. (Witness the Star Trek lingo that abounds today.) Eventually no one knows who originally started tossing them around but everyone is using them. The problem is that most of these phrases did exist before the fandoms. They’re part of our language. It’s the way we use them that make them part of our fandoms.

    So, this could be more an issue of fandom canon and identity than anything else. I say that quite seriously because the whole acknowledgement thing strikes me as being about identity. Status. Not simply ownership of a phrase. And that’s very much right out of a familiar fandom behavior pattern.

  137. Jia
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 21:04:25

    Wow. I never knew what DIK was. In fact, never seen it before this post. I guess I've been living under a rock.

    Don’t feel alone, Catherine. Before I joined DA, I had no idea what AAR was. In fact, it was a few months after joining that I first learned what it was from Jane and the other bloggers.

    But I did know what DIK stood for. So what does that say?

  138. (Jān)
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 21:05:55

    Bev(BB) says:

    This entire situation smacks of a huge internal fandom brouhaha, plain and simple.

    Truly, the first thing I thought upon reading this today was “How long before this shows up on Fandom Wank?”

  139. Julia Sullivan
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 22:32:33

    This is the silliest tempest in a teapot in the history of tempests and teapots. (TM me, hat tip to Barney Frank!)

  140. Hope
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 22:53:07

    Oh, I love this site! Such interesting discussions and points of view!

    Jane’s story was hilarious and demonstrate exactly how everything we say and hear today all evolved from someone or somewhere else, a long long time ago. And communication and freedom of speech would be sadly lacking and slowed if we have to do research for every popular phrase ever spoken so we can give attribution to the right person/group/source, etc. There’s nothing new under the sun (tm ?).

    As for AAR or whatever that site is, I’ve never been there and have never associated “DIK” with them, and I’m an avid reader of romance for 20 years.

  141. PBK
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 23:25:11

    I know! I’ll create a website called dearauthors.com, where I’ll write patronizing, condescending letters to authors that are supposedly reviews for their books, but really are ways for me to flaunt the editorial skills I think I have but can’t put to the test because I don’t work in publishing; where I can fool myself into thinking that all authors, editors, and publishers out there really give a damn what I think; and where I’m cheered on by fangirls who aspire to be just like me.

    Oh, and if Jane has a problem with it, guess what? Too bad, it’s not like she patented the idea of reviewers writing letters to authors. I don’t even have to credit you.

    Okay, I’ll leave now and you guys can go back to your chortling and your back-slapping. The funniest part of this thread–no, not Jane’s sad attempt at satire–Jan of Dear Author calling Jane of Dear Author a hero! A HERO! Regardless of other people’s actions, how the hell has what you done made you a hero? Only in this warped little world. You don’t need to look any farther for evidence of this site’s narcissism and greatly inflated sense of self-importance than that.

  142. Mike Briggs
    Sep 28, 2008 @ 23:59:19

    PBK:
    Go ahead, make my day, punk! (tm Clint Eastwood)

  143. Barbara B.
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 00:23:06

    PBK’s got a bit of a hard-on for Jane.

  144. Marianne McA
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 03:04:27

    I said what I thought on AAR, but I want to respond to this thread as well.

    I know the tenor of the thread has been anti-Laurie, but it’s almost convinced me of the opposite: I started reading thinking that ‘DIK’ was a generally understood term, and thus open for general usage, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
    If so, then perhaps there are grounds for confusion – and that seems to me to be what matters. (That is, if I start a blog reviewing movies, might be better not to use ‘rotten tomatoes’ as my grading system, even though rotten tomatoes clearly existed before the internet, and no-one living can claim credit for the phrase.)

  145. Shannon C.
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 03:18:50

    @Jan:

    Truly, the first thing I thought upon reading this today was “How long before this shows up on Fandom Wank?”

    Not gonna lie, I have been tempted. However, I’m lazy. And I’m alergic to direct exposure to so much silliness. So I’m going to hope someone else makes the wank report. In the meantime, I am playing the drinking game here at home!

  146. Jane
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 07:36:30

    PBK – if the DIK ladies had named their blog “AllAboutRomance.blogspot.com” or “likesbooks.blogspot.com” I might have a different feeling because those are names that are directly associated with AAR.

    I wish you the best endeavors on blogging at dearauthors.com. I hope you get some help because blogging on a regular basis, by yourself, can be grueling.

  147. Tumperkin
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 07:51:26

    I’ve been watching this play out over the last few days with a growing sense of disbelief.

    I have been actively part of this *community* for two years or so and have had my own blog for a year. I visited AAR once or twice when I first started visiting romance blogs but it wasn’t my cup of tea. Like most people, I formulated my own favourites list and have kept pretty much to that, adding the odd new one as I go along.

    I’ll be honest, I did notice they had a ‘desert isle keeper’ grade. But by then I’d visited dozens of sites that also used that phrase and I must have seen it hundreds of times since then without any credit being given to AAR. More significantly, I’m a Brit and a long-time listener to Desert Island Discs. I strongly associate the phrase *desert isle/island* with that programme. I did not and do not associate that phrase exclusively with AAR. I’m not saying I don’t associate it with them at all. But definitely not exclusively. I think it merits explaining that, because there seems to be an assumption in a number of comments in this thread that we all share a common set of reference points – and that is clearly not the case.

    In these sorts of communities, certain usages inevitably become common and widespread. Some commentators on this thread seem to think (maybe because they’ve been frequenting this community since 1996 or because they visit AAR a lot) that it’s obvious that ‘desert isle keeper’ is associated with Laurie Gold/AAR. In my view that is not an assumption that can be made. It doesn’t apply to me (even though I have visited AAR once or twice). And it certainly doesn’t apply to the many ladies on the DIK blog who haven’t visited AAR at all.

    We are talking about romance-novel blogging here! It’s something that most of us do in our spare time. And we do it purely and solely for the love of the genre, not for financial reward. Ok, there are professionals – writers, publishers, agents – involved too. But most people in this community are amateurs in the literal sense of that word. We love romance and we want to talk about with other people who feel the same way. And yet, the focus of this discussion has been on concepts of a commercial marketplace: ownership and intellectual property rights. What precisely does AAR claim to have here that requires legal protection? What precisely do they consider they have lost or had taken away from them?

    Are we really talking about courtesy then? Quite honestly, I’m pissed off with the number of comments in this thread that tear AAR’s claims to own this phrase to shreds but then go on to state that they understand Laurie’s ‘hurt feelings’. That assumes that the DIK ladies set out to deliberately or recklessly hurt her. Let me be absolutely clear: not only did no-one set out to act in an unethical way, no-one even intended to hurt anyone’s feelings here.

    I’m sorry if Laurie Gold feels bad about this but I can’t honestly say I understand her hurt feelings because they are based on a number of erroneous assumptions. However, I hope that when/ if she reads these comments that she will realise that there was no intention on anyone’s part to cause any hurt to her.

  148. Tumperkin
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 08:24:36

    stupid HTML tags *grumble grumble*

  149. Sunita
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 08:59:10

    Quite honestly, I'm pissed off with the number of comments in this thread that tear AAR's claims to own this phrase to shreds but then go on to state that they understand Laurie's ‘hurt feelings'. That assumes that the DIK ladies set out to deliberately or recklessly hurt her. Let me be absolutely clear: not only did no-one set out to act in an unethical way, no-one even intended to hurt anyone's feelings here.

    I'm sorry if Laurie Gold feels bad about this but I can't honestly say I understand her hurt feelings because they are based on a number of erroneous assumptions.

    When I said that I understood why Laurie might feel dissed, I was also working under one of those erroneous assumptions: Laurie referred to an email which she claimed made clear that the DIK ladies knew about AAR. If that was true, then given AAR’s role in romancelandia, a hat tip (of the kind that the site provided yesterday) seemed courteous. (I’ll reiterate that I don’t think she has either a legal or ethical claim, given it’s not her invention in the first place)

    But after Laurie wrote that, a number of contributors to the blog have stated that they weren’t familiar with the AAR/DIK connection, in which case I don’t think her unhappiness is warranted, except as a generalized dismay that things that she has helped popularize don’t stay connected to her for everyone who uses them. Edited to add: And obviously that means that the DIK blog doesn’t “owe” her anything.

    I’ve been reading romance boards for nearly a decade at this point, and when I started, TRR, AAR and Mrs. Giggles were pretty much all we had for independent, fun reviews. In the last few years in particular, there has been a huge explosion of blogs and websites, and I understand that it’s entirely feasible for someone to become enmeshed in conversations about romance novels and blog about them without once visiting AAR. But that’s a relatively recent phenomenon.

  150. veinglory
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:15:48

    Until reading this thread I hadn’t the faintest idea what DIK meant and don’t recall ever seeing it used. I think Romancelandia is often assumed to have a more homogenous citzenry than it actually does.

  151. Bev(BB)
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:42:06

    In the last few years in particular, there has been a huge explosion of blogs and websites, and I understand that it's entirely feasible for someone to become enmeshed in conversations about romance novels and blog about them without once visiting AAR. But that's a relatively recent phenomenon.

    Actually, there’s pretty much always been alternative communities out there. That sites such as AAR, DA and SBTB are at the top of the search engines is a distinction not a rule. If one searches for romance novels and keeps searching, particularly through various sub-genre and specialties other than reviews (i.e. bookstore, publisher, etc.) it’s fairly easy to find a lot of other sites and communities, too. They’re just not as well known as reader destinations, sure, but they are and always have been out there. They are just as much romance communities as any of the others. Of course some of them have come and gone over the years but that’s all part of the nature of the Internet, too.

    Do any of you remember me saying over the last or so that the romance community online is fracturing? Well, I’m not sure even I realized what I meant or what I was seeing but I think stuff like this is part of it. Because I was looking something up the other day and ran across a site for a romance database run by an independent bookstore, complete with forums and everything including links pages. Seemed to be very active for what it was doing.

    Didn’t see AAR, DA or SBTB mentioned anywhere though. That’s not a dig. That’s an observation on the fact that in their little corner of the world the three so-called largest sites in our “community” weren’t even on their radar. In fact, I’m not sure if that’s an example of fracturing or simply reality. The Internet is a big place. It covers the world. Not everyone knows everyone else even within specialized areas of interest.

  152. Sparky
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:43:36

    Was Jane’s post bullying? Hardly. It was light hearted and fun. I’ve seen Jane’s posts when she’s taking off the gloves and this doesn’t come close!

    Was this mockery? Why, it most certainly is. And? The position of AAR here is infinitely mockable!

    Frankly I didn’t know about “DIK” being used by EITHER sites before now, but I’ve often used the phrase “Desert Island…” from drinks and food to the gadgets I just can’t live without. It used to be a car game on long road trips – 10 {insert thing here – celeb, music, tool, sex toy} that you’d take on a Desert Island and why.

    My gods, I’ve been using a phrase I psychically picked up from AAR without attribution… or, y’know, I used a phrase that’s in common useage IN GENERAL and AAR has as much to do with it’s creation and popularising as I do with inventing and marketing the wheel.

    Frankly there’s 2 loads of silliness here. 1) assuming that someone who created a catchy phrase should then get huffy because the catchy phrase is repeated without attribution (Shouldn’t all the people involved ACTUALLY be crediting Roy Plomley by that argument?) and 2) claiming to be some kind of originator of a phrase that has been in existance in the media since 1942 and was likely around long before that

    Bully? No. But mock? Hell yes – and with extreme justification!

  153. BevQB
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 09:48:50

    Sunita:

    given AAR’s role in romancelandia

    Veinglory:

    I think Romancelandia is often assumed to have a more homogenous citzenry than it actually does.

    And that is what I see as the crux of this entire kerfuffle. I’ve been reading romance for decades. I’ve been online since 1994. I have visited AAR looking for a review or two, but no more so than any other review site (as opposed to blogs). So, not only do I not even remember if I ever noticed the term DIK used over there, I was not even aware who was behind AAR or that SOME people think of her as influential in the romance community. I DO know that I had not the slightest inkling that the terms desert/deserted isle/island keepers was associated with ANY particular site. And I DO know that the phrase has been applied to one thing or another for as long as I’ve been around– which was LONG before AAR.

    In fact my understanding of how the DIK Ladies blog came about is this: One blogger stated that if she was stranded on a deserted island, she’d want certain books.

    Now I can’t remember which blog started it, how the questions were phrased exactly, or what the sequence of events were, but I DO know that from books, they then went into trading romance heroes (kind of like the NFL Draft). The discussions and trade negotiations were hilarious and took place across MULTIPLE BLOGS, both reader and author blogs, for multiple pandemonium filled weeks. Oh, I should also add that I thought the acronym DIK was just a clever turn of a phrase that incorporated both the desert isle keeper concept but also a much discussed male body part (did I mention that the DIK Ladies are as earthy as I am?)

    After it was all over, it is my understanding that the ladies didn’t want the fun to end so they created the blog and it really is a fun place to visit. You never know what guests will be stopping by to list his or her desert isle keepers.

    Having said all that though, I can also understand how Laurie would have been irked if she felt that the DIK Ladies KNOWINGLY COPIED a concept that SHE identified as being associated with her site. I’d feel the same way and so, I think, would any other site owners.

    But as an observer of the madness that was the original desert isle keepers week, I’m pretty sure that the DIK Ladies blog was created in the glow of their exuberence from that crazy, fun-filled week and NO slight towards AAR was intended.

    My guess is also that, had Laurie not tried to kill a fly with a bazooka, much less damage would have been done and, the DIK Ladies, who all seem extremely nice, would have realized they’d hurt her feelings and that it would be nice to give a tip of the hat to AAR- which they have now done.

  154. Sunita
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:03:59

    That's an observation on the fact that in their little corner of the world the three so-called largest sites in our “community” weren't even on their radar. In fact, I'm not sure if that's an example of fracturing or simply reality. The Internet is a big place. It covers the world. Not everyone knows everyone else even within specialized areas of interest.

    Oh, absolutely. I knew I’d get called out on that! Sloppy generalizing on my part. For any topic, there are so many non-overlapping communities. In romance, it’s always been a bit odd that AAR and Mrs. Giggles rarely reviewed or talked about Harlequin novels, even though they’re among the most widely read. And AAR board posters frequently talked about how “out of the mainstream” they were. Nonetheless, AAR/TRR/MrsG had a lot of visitors and members that are now part of the bigger blog world, who used to be regular contributors to the old boards but aren’t anymore.

    Do any of you remember me saying over the last or so that the romance community online is fracturing? Well, I'm not sure even I realized what I meant or what I was seeing but I think stuff like this is part of it.

    Agreed. What’s also interesting about this stuff to me is that it shows how fragmented even this particular sub-community is. People who take AAR’s role for granted (like me) have assumed that even though it is less important now, it is historically a central player. I see 3 categories of people in this community: (1) people who have lived at AAR for a long time; (2) people who used to live there but don’t anymore; and (3) people who never have but are just as informed and passionate about romance novels. Category (3) didn’t overlap much with (1) and (2) for a while. They clearly do now. Which is why this is more about AAR’s loss of influence within the community it felt it dominated than it is about ownership of anything, and perhaps that sense of loss triggered the completely inappropriate and over the top response.

  155. azteclady
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:27:57

    BevQB

    had Laurie not tried to kill a fly with a bazooka

    Exactly.

    It is the whole melodramatic overreaction that practically begs for mocking, IMneverHO

  156. RfP
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:35:08

    I'm pissed off with the number of comments in this thread that tear AAR's claims to own this phrase to shreds but then go on to state that they understand Laurie's ‘hurt feelings'. That assumes that the DIK ladies set out to deliberately or recklessly hurt her.

    No, it doesn’t. Someone can have hurt feelings without anyone deliberately causing the hurt.

  157. veinglory
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:35:59

    That is a good summary, Sunita. It also covers that those who never frequented AAR are just as likely to have been long time romance fans. I often see it implied that because AAR was an important historical development, those ignorant of it must be romance newbies, which is not the case.

  158. Robin
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 10:52:47

    Quite honestly, I'm pissed off with the number of comments in this thread that tear AAR's claims to own this phrase to shreds but then go on to state that they understand Laurie's ‘hurt feelings'. That assumes that the DIK ladies set out to deliberately or recklessly hurt her.

    No, it doesn’t, at least not in my case.

    It just means that I understand that Laurie feels a sense of ownership toward certain things in AAR and she takes it personally when others don’t share that view. She even admitted on her blog that she recently had a “crisis of confidence” regarding AAR, and that she had to separate emotionally from what other venues were and weren’t doing. In fact, in that post, she claims she believes that the DIK bloggers “didn’t consider what they were doing” when naming the blog.

    Now my position is that the DIK bloggers didn’t do anything wrong, whether they knew of the AAR connection or not (and I wrote a whole piece on this issue v. plagiarism today at Reader’s Gab I’m sure hardly anyone will read). But because I know Laurie tends to be very proprietary and because I think she tends to take things very personally, I can *see* her hurt feelings even if I don’t see the situation the same way as she does and don’t agree with her at all. Because you can’t really control other people’s feelings or assumptions (I mean, you’re mad because you assume that anyone who understands Laurie’s feelings is blaming the DIK blog, but I don’t think that’s true at all — still, I can’t make your pissed offness go away simply by saying there’s no need to feel that way because your assumptions aren’t necessarily correct), and IMO understanding someone’s feelings is NOT the same thing as endorsing them.

    That is, if I start a blog reviewing movies, might be better not to use ‘rotten tomatoes' as my grading system, even though rotten tomatoes clearly existed before the internet, and no-one living can claim credit for the phrase.

    I actually think that grading system is trademarked, although I don’t know how long it’s been that way (the site is owned by Rupert Murdoch, so it’s already part of a big corporate news machine, changing the terms a bit, IMO). But also, Rotten Tomatoes is a whole site — the tomato grading system started out to be the entirety of their purpose. Still, before the term was trademarked, they didn’t have a monopoly on it or its origin.

    I don’t think that associating the DIK with AAR creates the kind of “historical ownership” Laurie is seeking. And I guess that’s the thing that I really object to here — that she’s asserting some kind of ownership rights. Not just that she’s claiming association or even community recognition of AAR as the established “home” of the DIK, but that she wants recognition of *ownership*.

  159. Keishon
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:55:09

    Quite honestly, I'm pissed off with the number of comments in this thread that tear AAR's claims to own this phrase to shreds but then go on to state that they understand Laurie's ‘hurt feelings'. That assumes that the DIK ladies set out to deliberately or recklessly hurt her.

    No, it doesn't, at least not in my case.

    It just means that I understand that Laurie feels a sense of ownership toward certain things in AAR and she takes it personally when others don't share that view. She even admitted on her blog that she recently had a “crisis of confidence” regarding AAR, and that she had to separate emotionally from what other venues were and weren't doing. In fact, in that post, she claims she believes that the DIK bloggers “didn't consider what they were doing” when naming the blog.

    Now my position is that the DIK bloggers didn't do anything wrong

    Exactly. I empathize with her but have no sympathy in regards to this matter.

  160. Frannie
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 11:58:26

    I’m just an old lady lurker who has enjoyed both sites immensely because they’re about books. I’ve tried to ignore this whole commotion, (“Don’t get involved!!!”) but I just can’t any longer. What I say will probably change no one’s opinion but I just had to set this forth. I’ll await the brickbats.

    Please, let’s all be honest. What was done to Robin was insensitive, inconsiderate and lazy. Lazy because everyone involved knew damn well that DIK was associated with AAR whether it was legalized or not. They were too lazy to think up a title or a catch phrase of their own.
    Now all anyone can do to explain or excuse it is spit out vitriolic statements about the hurt party instead of just saying, “Hey, we’re sorry. It was not a nice thing to do.”
    Is that so hard? Geez.

  161. Maya
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:12:57

    “You seem to want Dear Author to host the discussion that LLB did not”

    An intriguing point.

  162. azteclady
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:15:18

    Frannie said:

    Please, let's all be honest. What was done to Robin(sic) was insensitive, inconsiderate and lazy. Lazy because everyone involved knew damn well that DIK was associated with AAR whether it was legalized or not. They were too lazy to think up a title or a catch phrase of their own.

    Contrary to the highlighted assertion, more than one of the ladies involved have stated, unequivocally, that *they* didn’t know about AAR’s use of DIK.

  163. (Jān)
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:32:09

    The funniest part of this thread-no, not Jane's sad attempt at satire-Jan of Dear Author calling Jane of Dear Author a hero! A HERO! Regardless of other people's actions, how the hell has what you done made you a hero? Only in this warped little world. You don't need to look any farther for evidence of this site's narcissism and greatly inflated sense of self-importance than that.

    Give me a break. Everything about Laurie’s posts say narcissist and inflated sense of self-importance. How many times do you have to see her repeat this pattern for that to sink in?

    I’ve been in the online romance community since TRR started, and I’ve seen this kind of whiny power play from Laurie more times than I wish to count. Maybe hero is too strong a word, but anyone who stands up to that kind of crap certainly has my admiration and support, because I’m tired of LLB’s tantrums.

  164. Jessica
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:43:03

    Sorry to be OT — consider this comment a brief palate cleanser before starting up the main meal again — but if there’s any chance at all something positive could come out of this … it’s that a history of the romance blogosphere should be written. I glean from comments that there is an AAR — TRR — Mrg G relation I knew nothing about. Not THAT’s interesting stuff!

  165. veinglory
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 12:47:44

    And at the same time perhaps the complex and sometimes inbred history of the epublishers could be tackled ;) The War of the Roses is easier to understand sometimes….

  166. MaryK
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 13:44:46

    Margaret says:
    Don't turn into what you're fighting against.

    Too late.

  167. rlynn
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 14:01:35

    a history of the romance blogosphere should be written. I glean from comments that there is an AAR -‘ TRR -‘ Mrg G relation I knew nothing about. Now THAT's interesting stuff!

    Well, I wasn’t on the listservs so I can’t help you with that even earlier history but I was there for TRR and Mrs Giggles and AAR. I believe TRR was the first, short for The Romance Reader, and it was the first site that gave romance reviews. It also felt a little more “professional”. I’m not sure that’s the best term but basically the reviews were more like newspaper reviews or magazine reviews, i.e. the reviewer’s personality is not front and center. AAR (All About Romance) is an expansion of the TRR style. When the TRR website lost energy (reviews got more infrequent, audience drift) all that energy started to gather at the newer site. AAR also did the “professional” style reviews but also expanded that magazine feeling. They had author interviews. They had a monthly “At the Back Fence” feature that discussed topics common to romance (meatier topics like what do romances express about female fantasies and female sexuality). And in the spirit of a magazine, AAR also awared DIK’s (Desert Island Keeper) which was their equivalent of an oscar, an AAR seal of approval for a fabulous book.

    Mrs Giggles, on the other hand, is pretty much a precursor to blogs. She was there in the early days and she has a huge archive of reviews but her personality is front and center, crochety and snarky. She has a definitive point of view and her reviews reflect her opinions not just on the books alone but also indirectly her opinions of the romance industry as a whole.

    Nowadays, it seems like online energy is moving toward blogs and away from the more “magazine” establishment style pioneered by TRR and AAR. Also just to note, Mrs Giggles and AAR are both still alive and kicking as website entities (TRR, not so much).

    And I’ll close with, I’m by no means an expert so this is by no means a definitive history.

  168. Anne Douglas
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 15:54:25

    Frannie… and then there are people like me who have been reading romance for the last 25 years, who are hooked into the net like they are the Borg, an author, and still had no clue AAR even existed let alone that it was ‘influential’ until this post.

    My google-foo must be having an epic fail.

    Yet I’ve been familiar with the ‘what would you take to a desert island’ concept since, what? primary school?

    I don’t know who anyone is in this storm in a teacup, but it just seems such a silly thing to get your panties in a wad over.

  169. Hope
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:07:21

    Frannie, that is just silly. Just because someone doesn’t know what you know, it doesn’t make them inconsiderate and lazy. The DIK ladies have already said they were not aware of the association between that phrase and AAR.

  170. Lynne Connolly
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:27:45

    I’ve been listening to “Desert Island Discs” all my life. It’s on at the same time on Sundays, repeated on Fridays as long as I remember. The late Roy Plumley developed it.
    When I read “Desert Island Keepers,” I immediately thought of Desert Island Discs. Immediately. It’s the same premise – if you’re stranded on a desert island, what 8 records/what books would you choose to keep?
    So if anyone wants to sue, it should be the BBC and Roy Plumley’s widow.

  171. DS
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:41:23

    I am very interested in the idea of a history of Romance on the internet. Is there already a Romance Wiki? I think that is one good thing that could come out of this kerfluffle.

  172. Laura Vivanco
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 17:51:14

    Is there already a Romance Wiki?

    Yes, it’s here and as it says there, “everyone is invited to contribute to the wiki”. It’s got all sorts of different kinds of romance-related information on it, including details of lots of authors and books, Harlequin Mills & Boons listed by series and number, old writing guidelines from various publishers, and a section about the scholarship on the genre.

  173. Sparky
    Sep 29, 2008 @ 18:36:17

    Frannie:
    Just because you think something doesn’t make it so – why should anyone assume that a phrase that has been in common parlance since the 40s be the invention, property or otherwise connected to this romance website?

  174. Tumperkin
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 07:40:38

    Can I please backtrack a bit? I do not in fact assume that everyone who indicated they could understand the ‘hurt feelings’ of Laurie Gold assumed that the DIK ladies set out to hurt those feelings. My unreserved apologies. That was sloppy writing on my part. There were a number of comments posted in which commenters indicated that they understood her feelings on various bases and I should not have lumped them altogether. Sorry.

  175. Jules Jones
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 15:52:17

    And another Brit who thought “Desert Island Discs” on seeing the DIK thing mentioned on the blog of one of the people involved. Particularly as part of the DID format is what book would the celebrity want on their desert island.

  176. azteclady
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 16:19:01

    I conducted an experiment yesterday. I mentioned “desert island” to my s.o., and he asked, “you mean Desert Island Discs? how many books am I allowed?”

    Methinks LLB’s claim of original ownership is just a tad shaky.

  177. Karen Scott
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 17:05:33

    I think her reaction comes from a place of fear.

    I honestly believe she’s afraid of being left behind in Romanceland. Which is nonsensical to me, but probably feels very real and scary to her. Though I doubt she’d admit it.

    Talk about a storm in a teacup.

  178. Janet W
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 22:11:06

    Confession time: I haven’t read all the previous posts … I just skimmed them. Count me in the camp that totally associates DIK in Romance*landia with AAR — it was the first romance website I found and I still find it to be first among equals. I was in hog heaven when I discovered their DIK website — I printed it out, went off to the library and a wonderful friendship, passion, obsession was born. Who am I to say that others might not know the connection … it’s clearly possible. But a gentle tip of the hand in friendship to someone who for a long time was the only game in town — don’t see a problem there. I’ve met a lot of romance authors since I first discovered AAR and to a one, the day they got their first DIK review was a pretty big deal to them.

  179. Jen
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 22:50:32

    Truly, the first thing I thought upon reading this today was “How long before this shows up on Fandom Wank?”

    I do believe we may have a case of “butthurt” (cf Encyclopedia Dramatica entry here)

  180. Ann Somerville’s Journal : On politics and not shutting up
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 23:14:48

    […] Smart Bitches are. Even Jane Litte, a far more polite and clever person than me, was attacked for her witty parody of silly ‘copyright’ claims, because she might hurt someone’s […]

  181. Mrs Giggles
    Oct 01, 2008 @ 06:28:34

    Hello there. About the relationship between me, TRR, and AAR, well, I do not have any relationship with them. They were, however, my inspiration.

    I do know, however, that TRR is the first review site that attempted to present a professional front about romance novels. At that time, we have Romantic Times and various online avenues that did nothing but raved non-stop about romance novels. I still remembered my burst of excitement when I found TRR. At last, fun and professionally-written reviews that I can trust! I bought a lot of their five heart keepers and never regretted them much. They also introduced me to Connie Brockway, bless them.

    Laurie Gold, AKA Laurie Likes Books, started out as a reviewer on TRR. She also had an online column. There was some kind of editorial differences between Laurie and chief editor Dede Anderson, I believe, that led to Laurie eventually leaving TRR and moving her column to Romancing The Web and, eventually, her own website that became All About Romance.

    Personally, the phrase DIK is associated with AAR in the context of romance novels because that website was the first to use the phrase. But I don’t see why one should try so hard to “own” concepts and ideas when you couldn’t stop other people from using them or coming up with them independently. We are all working together, in the same team, for the love of romance novels, no?

  182. MD
    Oct 01, 2008 @ 16:01:56

    I hope PBK isn’t serious about starting her own book review site. She doesn’t seem to have any particular comprehension of what is being discussed in this thread, nor how pitiable is Laurie’s behavior and her reaction to the DIK bloggers. I’d hate to think what PBK’s book reviews would be like.

  183. theo
    Oct 01, 2008 @ 16:58:00

    You know, I manage a little site for a small group of us who have a prompt sent out once every two weeks (though we’ve all taken some time off now) and on that site, I used AAR’s ratings system AND! gave the nod to them saying specifically we used theirs and posted the link to that page.

    I have since removed that and gone with a modified version of Romantic Times. Better to remove any possibility of how or why I posted them being misconstrued in any way, though I doubt our twenty seven members would raise any kind of kerfluffle….since they’re really also the only ones who read there….

  184. Is courtesy out of fashion? Is the f-bomb funny? « Donna Lea Simpson
    Oct 02, 2008 @ 13:21:02

    […] So, in the fallout from LLB’s Desert Isle Keeper plea for credit, some bloggers and commentors have taken Laurie to task for being, among other things, over-sensitive and proprietorial. It seems […]

  185. Kassia Krozser
    Oct 03, 2008 @ 21:12:41

    The always-charming Mrs. Giggles has the chronology correct, if my old brain is functioning properly. Laurie was originally associated with The Romance Reader before leaving that site. Man, that was a long time ago, especially in Internet years.

    And, thank you, Laura! There is indeed a RomanceWiki, and I do encourage everyone to participate. Despite somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,000 pages of good content, including Laura and gang’s incredible database of academic works on the genre, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the genre… (apologies to Jane for the commercial interruption!)

  186. Jane
    Oct 03, 2008 @ 21:17:16

    Not at all. We’ll have to do a post publicizing it. I had someone email me today about the origin of the word Bodice Ripper.

  187. Shinjinee
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 18:00:23

    Nice summary. I particularly enjoyed comments # 10, # 147, and # 149. I used to read All About Romance (AAR), and I have to say that I associate the abbreviation DIK with that site. That isn’t to say that it hasn’t passed into general usage (just as many brand names have become common usage e.g. Xerox, Kleenex).

    I think that Laurie did overreact. [Note: She was very supportive when I used to review books – not at AAR, but at Amazon – and we still keep in touch]. I know that e-mail responses can take time, and that I personally have several e-mail accounts and rarely check on all of them even weekly. So, I can’t fault the blog authors for taking the time to response. I have to say that I found the comments here more useful than the blog entry.

    I personally still check AAR from time to time (but only a few times a year these days). It was the site that brought me many new authors and introduced some new romance genres. I too would love a history of writing about romance on the internet. (Does RomanceWiki have a page on this?). Having said that, I realize that most romance readers do not necessarily follow any review/ commentary website, and that if they come online, they probably just go to their favorite author’s website. This has been pointed out by some publishers, but it is also my gut feeling.

    I know that if I want to buy a book (a serious commitment for me these days, because my library space is very small), I first check reviews online via Google. Since I mostly read outside the romance genre, romance review sites are usually not an option. I then check to see if the author has a website, and if an excerpt has been posted. That done, I then buy or order the book…

    As the number of sites dedicated to romance – author websites, author blogs, review blogs, fan blogs, magazine-style sites like AAR – grow, the individual influence of each one naturally declines. [More sites – more competition – less percentage share for each]. I haven’t followed AAR regularly since 2003/04, and thus can’t comment on the change in style etc. I don’t look at the message boards anymore. What I do know is that Laurie Gold is NOT part of AAR anymore, although she remains in touch with the site administrators, at least according to her now-defunct blog and other sources. The blog is available as read-only, and cannot be commented upon.

    I didn’t see this or her comments earlier, or I would have posted earlier. Thanks for reading.

    Shinjinee

  188. Jane
    Jun 11, 2009 @ 20:18:43

    @Shinjinee – I remember you from the AAR boards. I hope you stick around and comment as your message board contributions were always insightful.

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