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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Article 13

Europe has now passed a copyright bill that includes the controversial Article 13.  As someone who wanders widely on the internet, I see some communities celebrating this as a much-needed defense against privacy, and others as the decriminalization of memes and fan-fics.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and largely unclear at this point.  This article uses some pretty vague language to say that online media platforms must make efforts to prevent unauthorized sharing of copyrighted works.  That is, they can't just ignore the problem and maybe respond to take-down notices when they feel like it.

This is likely to narrow the current zones-of-tolerance for some less transformative types of fan-sharing and fan-works--and mistakes are bound to be made.  The main methods of achieving compliance will be automated processes and false positives will abound.  But requiring any kind of less-error-prone manual assessment would quickly make content sharing platforms slower or more expensive to access.

Essentially this bill represents battle that large rights-owners (such as music organizations) have won over large content-sharing platforms (like Google and YouTube).  It was never really about small scale producers or users and the outcomes for us are bound to be mixed as blunt instruments are employed by both sides. 

I just hope that everyone can now start to have a more nuanced conversation about the difference between acts of exploitation like plagiarism and piracy, and acts of fan engagement like live-streaming video-game play and creating fan-works.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

F+W Media (incl. Reader Digest) Files for Bankruptcy

After a failed attempt to move their focus from subscription publications to online retailing, F + W ended up in debt.  The profitable publications in their stable will be sold off, but many of the smaller ones might be coming to an end.

Some indication of why they can't effectively modernize can be seen on their website where their products are divided by gender where Men "explore, build and collect" while Women are "creatives and artists".  FFS.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Excessica closed to Submissions

I missed this announcement when it first came out, but Excessica is closed to submissions for the foreseeable future.  See this thread for more information.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Plagiarized Love

It seems that the latest prolific plagiarist to be uncovered is Cristiane "Cris" Serruya (#CopyPasteCris).  

Courtney Milan has posted a thorough explanation.  Other authors have now found their work in Serruya's books including Courtney Milan, Victoria Alexander, Bella Andre, Christa Caldwell, Loretta Chase, Kresley Cole, Tessa Dare, Lynne Graham, Abby Green, Lisa Kleypas, Karen Marie Moning, Trish Morey, Alys Murray, and Nora Roberts.

Ethics aside, in a digitally connected world this shit won't work for very long, so why even bother?

Cris is claiming "Fiverr ghostwriters running amok" as her defense.  To a largely skeptical response because, well shit, who wouldn't copyscape or otherwise check ghostwritten work these days? (And if this is true she submitted ghostwritten work to the RITAs.)