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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PIRACY, TRADEMARK, COPYRIGHT—OH MY!



Forgive me today. I need to rant. I don’t normally do this, but I’ve had a hellacious couple of weeks, more like a month of craziness.

We’ve heard and read a number articles, blogs, chat rooms lately in regard to today’s topic. We as authors are constantly dealing with concerns of our hard work being downloaded by “pirates” or “file sharers”, monopolizing our valuable time. Once a week, I Google (that’s a trademark, by the way) my name. Not only to search for possible illegal use of my books, but to check for blogs I've been on or reviews I've received. Last week I sent a DCMA, a takedown notice, to a new file share site. By the next day, the file was down. How long it will remain that way, I don’t know, but taking an hour plus out of my writing time is irritating. There are services available that do this, but I used one for six weeks and they said nothing showed up, except I continue to check because reviews also pop up. During the “trial” period with the service I found other pirate sites so I didn’t continue with them.

On the subject of trademark and copyright, I know several authors here on Romance Books '4' Us have dealt with this problem as well as this blog name. Not me personally, but someone I know also went through this recently. Wasn’t their pen name or a blog name, but the title of a series. The names were all different and the series had been published for two years. During investigating the accusation, no trademark had been filed, only copyrighted movies. That’s right, not a book, but a DVD movie. Because the attorney representing the claimant threatened a large monetary and drawn-out lawsuit if the books weren’t immediately removed and they get all royalties received over two years, they were pursuing the case against my friend. Of course, the publisher after conferring with their attorney said would be easier and less painful if they complied instead of fight. Was it right, probably not, but the “big boys” have the money to “bully” the little authors in Podunk, USA. The notion that you can’t trademark a title isn’t completely true. You can, and especially a series. If the author had written a stand-alone title instead of a series with a similar name, the other party probably wouldn’t have a case. But, who has $100,000 to go to court and fight it, possibly win but be bankrupt in the end?

My advice, for what it’s worth, if you plan to write a series, trademark it. Twilight is trademarked, Sherrilyn Kenyon's work is as well along with Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire, and Fifty Shades of Grey. Since I have several different series I’ve written, I’m definitely looking into trademarking at least one of them. Initially, doing the paperwork and paying for an attorney isn’t cheap, but the flip side is being sued for trademark infringement at an astronomical price, paying upfront is less expensive.

For the past month, I’ve been educated, frustrated, angered, and depressed. Writing is a passion, a necessity, and to constantly deal with the demotivating side of this business is stressful. All I want to do is write whether I make another dime or not. Between promotions, piracy, concerns with infringement by someone unknown out in the world might come after me, sometimes I question my passion and whether to continue and I actually did stop writing, asking myself why bother?

Then, I got edits on two stories last week. Working on them pulled me up by the bootstraps and maybe, just maybe, I might open up the last work in progress and start to click my fingers on the keyboard again. This isn’t writer’s block, which we all encounter from time to time, this was something else. Don’t know what to name it, but I’m determined to get over it and move on.

Do you have days, weeks, and months like this? What do you do to overcome the obstacles thrown down in your way?

Rant over. I’m going to hide in my writing cave the rest of the day and create the next best seller. Not!
Cynthia Arsuaga    
Erotic Romance Author
http://romanticwordsbycynthia.blogspot.com
http://cynthiaarsuaga.weebly.com  

7 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Wow - I had no idea we have to now trademark stuff. This just keeps getting more and more bizarre.

Cara Marsi said...

Cynthia, like Tina, I had no idea about the trademark stuff. It's scary. I know exactly what you mean about giving it all up. I've had many days, weeks when I wonder why I keep writing when I encounter one frustration after another. The last time I considered giving up writing, in 2009, I discovered the short story market. I sold stories to the confession magazines. Writing short stories and selling them pulled me up by my bookstraps. I still love writing shorts. I have months where my book sales are good, and lately, more months when they're bad. Frustration all the way around. Good luck with your writing.

Sandy said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing the information. Crazy world we live in now, with author's works just a button away from being pirated.

jean hart stewart said...

It's beyond bad out there. I admit I don't fight it, I just want to keep on writing. Maybe makes me a sissy but all the caveats and hoops you have to jump just leave me wanting to forget the whole thing and continue writing. That's what make me happy.....

Paris said...

When I first started publishing, pirating drove me crazy and still does but I just keep writing because if I don't, I've let them bully me into not writing. I hate a bully, whether they're some housewife who has decided she doesn't need to pay me for my work or some guy representing "the big boys" who can demand that I take down my work because it might be competition for them. Don't let them get you down.

Marianne Stephens said...

All well said and truthful...sad, but we have to be so vigilant as authors. Our work can be pirated, we can be sued for ungodly, idiotic "rights" someone seems to have for common words, etc., and the "big boys" who have all the money are "sue" crazy enough to go after authors...all over the title of a book??

Melissa Keir said...

These things are harder and harder to navigate. People who have their legal name too close to a performers are being told to not use their family given name.

We should have some way of fighting but you're right about the most money usually wins. Sad.

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