from the holy-crazy dept
Maybe you're like me and you thought that trademark stories didn't get much crazier than apparent confusion between products like ice cream and hardcore pornography. Or maybe you thought that dead half-chef, half-spy zombies crying foul over facts would win the nutso championship. Well, my sweet little innocent lambs, I give you the following story about a comic book author
suing threatening to sue book review websites for reviewing a book by another author that had the same title.
Jazan Wild, comic book creator, is suing both Harper Collins for publishing Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr as well as a bunch of websites that reviewed her book. Not for copyright, mind you, but trademark, because Wild released a comic book called Carnival of Souls in 2006. Wild is claiming that the publisher is intentionally trying to cause confusion between a new fantasy novel and a comic book released six years ago. If you think this sounds crazy, The Digital Reader agrees.
Any sane person would have put a few minutes thought into the matter and realized that such an obvious phrase as Carnival of Souls would likely have been used as a title many times before. In fact, Bookfinder turned up at least a couple dozen different books, movies, TV episodes, and more – some of which dates back to 1962. And if you look inside books, Google says that it found the phrase no less than 5600 times (with some duplication, obviously).
Now, if that were the end of the story and Wild was only bringing suit against Harper Collins, we could all sit back, take a sip of our coffee and have a nice guffaw at the silly guy waving his arms around needlessly. Unfortunately, Wild is on a mission here to break the record for most wrong thoughts over a single issue. That's the only explanation I have for why he would then send cease and desist letters to websites that reviewed Marr's novel, claiming they were infringing on his trademark as well. Just to be clear, these sites are only posting reviews, no mention of Wild's works (why would they?), no exerpts from the novel or the comic book. Just a review of a novel with an apparently common title.
To whom it may concern,
This is a cease and desist. “Carnival Of Souls” is a trademark owned by Jazan Wild and Wild alone has the exclusive right on the United States of America to use the mark in classes 16 and 41 of which a novel is included. Posting a chapter from a novel using this mark is a willful and malicious infringement of Wild’s mark. Please remove.
The Trademark Infringement:
Hypothetical time. Let's say I broke into your house, tied you up to a chair, put a gun to your head, and told you that you had to come up with the perfect way to derail an argument about customer confusion of the title of a fictional work in the next thirty seconds or I was going to kill you. Could you come up with a better way than including in your C&D letter the URL of the supposed trademark infringement when that URL mentioned that the damned book was by a different author? I don't think you could.
More to the point, pissing off sites that review creative works when that's the business you're in is treachorous ground. But, at least it's entertaining. So here's to you Jazan Wild. May your crazy never cease to entertain us all.