Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ShadowHunter in Court: Sherrilyn Kenyon vs Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare's ShadowHunter series has clearly been a success, most recently with its release as a television series.  However there has been ongoing conflict between Clare and Kenyon as to how derivative the series is of the Kenyon's also illustrious (but less multi-media)  Dark-Hunter books.

I have not read either series and so cannot personally judge whether there is much evidence of direct copying.  But to me the case seems weak. Paranormal fantasy and romance is replete with tropes that are far from distinctive. Claims such as "Both feature symbols reminiscent of ancient ruins, angels, and crystals" are pretty laughable to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the genre.

The fact that the Shadow Hunters had previous been called Dark-Hunters and were referred to as having "marks" does suggest that the resemblance between the two works was initially a good deal closer. But on the other hand the fact that Kenyon has trademark rights to “Dark-Hunter”, “Dream-Hunter”, and “Were-Hunter” regardless of font or presentation strikes me as pretty damn outrageous. What next, a trademark claim for "were-wolf"?  (Although I assume dispensing with the hyphen would prevent one for being sued?)

If you have read these books I would love to know whether you think this suit has substance.  FWIW my only direct experience of either of them is watching the new ShadowHunters TV series and found it rather insipid.  But perhaps I am not the target audience.

 See also:

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