Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, twilight, vampires

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

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.