Author Using Questionable Copying Claim Against Twilight Author For Publicity

from the idea-expression-dichotomy dept

Copyright is only supposed to cover the specific expression, not the idea or concept -- but for many, that's tough to grasp. Unfortunately, the group of folks who sometimes don't understand has included some judges, leading to some wacky rulings at times. However, it still hasn't reached the point where novelists are able to claim ownership of basic plot concepts (though some are trying to claim you can patent a plot). Yet, pretty much any time you have a really successful author, someone shows up and claims that the idea for the famous book was "stolen" from them. It happened (multiple times) with The Da Vinci Code. It's happened (multiple times) with Harry Potter. And, now it's happening to the author of the Twilight vampire series, Stephenie Meyer. Another author (represented by his lawyer, J. Craig Williams) is claiming that the plot of one of the books has similarities to a book she wrote a few years earlier. However, the supposed copying seems weak at best:
In a cease-and-desist letter Williams sent to Hachette Book Group, he provided comparisons from the two books of a wedding, a sex-on-the-beach episode and a passage where a human-turned-vampire describes the wrenching change.

As another instance of similarities, Williams pointed out that characters in both books call their wives "love."
As you look at the details, it's almost always a situation where the jealous author is really just using the lawsuit as an attempt to get publicity for their book (which is why we're not naming the other book). As if to prove that, the author's lawyer claims:
"I think the fans have to read both books and make up their own mind, like a judge is going to have to," Williams said.
Shouldn't there be sanctions for abusing copyright law to file bogus lawsuits just to get some press for your book?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 4:44pm

    That's pretty stupid all around, but then again, those damn eyebrows still haunt me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    Rhetoric

    "Shouldn't there be sanctions for abusing copyright law to file bogus lawsuits just to get some press for your book?"

    Is that a rhetorical question?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Speaking of rhetorical...

    Will it have to be proven that both novels in question sucked equally?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Alias (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    C/W sanctions

    >>Shouldn't there be sanctions for abusing copyright law to file bogus lawsuits just to get some press for your book?

    Frivolous C/W lawsuit statute? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Speaking of rhetorical...

    Again with the rhetoric....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:23pm

    Re: Again with the rhetoric...

    But this time it is Mike!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

    Twilight actually reminds me a lot of a straight-to-dvd-movie called "The Brotherhood" in the US and "I've Been Watching You" in Europe. I'm not sure why.

    It makes me giggle though because the film is *terrible*.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    I should get a patent over anything made of matter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    reboog711 (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Streisand Effect at work?

    Isn't this the Streisand Effect at work?

    Although I have ethical reservations about filing frivolous lawsuits and/or using such lawsuits as marketing tactics; I can respect the marketing attempt from a business perspective.

    Or of course, this lawsuit could be real in hopes of getting a settlement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 3:44am

    are teenage girls really like that?

    The book's even more terrible as I had to find out the hard way while driving with teenangers and listening to the audiobook. From what I'm told the movie fortunately has scrapped most of the

    "OMG, like, he totally looked at me"

    teen girl yearnings.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 8:32am

    Re: Streisand Effect at work?

    Not exactly. The Streisand Effect is when an attempt to remove publicity instead results in a greater amount of publicity.

    In this case, the intent isn't to get the Twilight books off the public radar...This is just a plain old money grab.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Streisand Effect at work?

    > In this case, the intent isn't to get the
    > Twilight books off the public radar

    Really? What exactly do you think the "cease and desist" part of a cease-and-desist letter means?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Travis (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Streisand Effect at work?

    He probably realizes the Cease & Desist will not work because it is a ridiculous claim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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