Friday, November 06, 2020

Getting Cute with Copyright--cover art and movie trailers

 It is generally understood that cover art and other material made to package and promote a product can be shared online.  However, it is also true that these materials are under copyright, creating something of a grey area when--as is usually the case--sharing is not explicitly permitted.  While cover images are shown on a massive scale on sites like Goodreads and book reviews sites, this is done based on the idea that is a reasonable risk, rather than an absolute right.

A similar situation exists with movie trailers. They are promotional materials that work best when they are able to be shared and reshared on platforms other than where they were originally hosted.  But copyright holders do have the discretion to assert their copyright and not allow sharing.  It is probably counter-productive to do so, hence the prevailing norms that sharing without explicit permission is okay--but the option to blanket-prohibit sharing is available and reasonable to use in some cases.

What might be legal but is not reasonable is to withhold permission to share copyrighted promotional material only when the review is critical or negative.  And this is exactly what Netflix is doing by reporting posts of the trailer for the controversial movie "Cuties' only when the accompanying comments are negative.

This is just like authors asserting copyright over their cover art, but only when it is shown on a negative review (as I have experienced multiple times).  It is not asserting rights over intellectual property, it is weaponizing those rights to suppress discussion for and between consumers of the product.  It disrupts the current normals of use without permission, and not for any good reason. As is so often the case, a large company is doing that which is legal with complete disregard for that which is good or right.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Defund Writing Associations?

CC by 2.0 Fred Merchan

It has long been apparent that Romance Writers of America struggles with issues of diversity leading to the collapse of the board this February. their past mis-steps included a profound failure to respect of include people based on race as well as GLBTQ+... and even more trivial publishing options like e-publishing or erotic content.

Meanwhile, International Thrillers Writers failed to act after a serious harassment issue at a convention, and "all lives matter" themed BLM statement, and yesterday all of their board members resigned except for the two co-presidents.

Did you also notice that in June the Board president and chair of the Poetry Foundation also stepped down after issuing a vague and non-specific BLM statement? Not only as the usual symbol of contrition but because doing so makes space for better representation on the board.

And later in June a similar set of circumstances saw 63% of the board members of the National Book Critics Circle stepped down.

It is a fairly common observation that as non-profit organizations grow they also become more conservative and less likely to make bold ideological statements or take related actions -- or indeed change very much at all.

The ostensible reason is to represent a broad representation, but this representation tends to focus heavily on the paying membership or industry representatives.  And this group tends to be white, affluent, and urban or suburban.  It tends to be the group currently most financially successful in the profession for prevailing and historical reasons.

But will the processes that created the old Boards, somehow now be able to fill those same seats with fundamentally different people who represent fundamentally different goals?  Because if we dig back into the theory large and increasingly archaic organizations are often unable to reinvent themselves so profoundly.  What happens is that new groups form in new ways and gradually grow up to replace them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

NEW MARKET Belong Books

Belonging Books is seeking romance fiction" submissions of all lengths from and about minorities—people of color, people with disabilities, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, etc."

Founded by Kit Willihnganz, L.S. Quinn, Anna Risher, and Robert Gatewood

See also
[Dec 2019] Belonging Books Prints Inclusive Love Stories

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Red Sofa Literary Agency Self-Destructs

Red Sofa literary agency imploded last night with tweet from the founder causing the immediate withdrawal of agents Amanda Rutter and  Stacey Graham.

Authors have also separated from Frederick as their agent including Andrew DeYoung and Tim Hanley.

Dawn Frederick tweeted that she had called police in response to the looting of a gas station.

Fredericks posted a response on her website. Frederick is the only remaining agent at Red Sofa.

see also

[Jun 1 2020] Foz Meadows

And now

[Jun 10 2020] Frederick is getting lawyers to try and suppress people tweeting or retweeting about what happened
[Jun 22 2020] At least 4 C&Ds have now been sent, Frederick in a hole and still digging

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Cocky Christine Feehan

Just when we thought it was safe to use words again....

A trademark application for the word 'dark' in a book series.

 Because that's totally unique to her series, natch.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Cocky Tamer?

The latest title trademark dispute to hit the news relates to two book series using the term "Tamer".

On one side is MSE Media which has registered a trademark.   A.k.a. author Michael Scott-Earle.

On the other Isaac Hooke and his Monster Tamer series.

On the MSE side:

  • The Hooke series doesn't just happen to use the same term they have very similar tropes such as being harem books where monsters and women are... tamed (cringe).

On the Hooke side

  • MSE has filed trademarks on DRAGON SLAYER and other pretty damn generic terms.
  • It's a commonly used word in the sub-genre. Draco Tamer-David Belwisk, Animus Tamer-DL Runeborn, Goddess Tamer-Neil Bimbeau etc etc et-fucking-cetera.
So in a scale from real trademark infringement (1) to Cockygate shenanigans (10) I would call this a sold 9.5

When is an Agent not an Agent: TV Writers and Conflicts of Interest

A dispute between TV Writers an Agents has blown up recently over a familiar sounding problem.  Specifically, that when agents are also TV producers they stop representing only the interests of the writer.  Agents that are also publishers should take note.