Category Archives: Writing Tip Tuesday

Copyright vs. Trademark- Why this sh** matters

The internet and beyond is still in a flurry over #cockygate and the chaos that has come from it. Authors are scrambling to protect themselves in case their series titles get stolen out from under them. Faleena Hopkins has argued that she is doing this to pave the way for new authors to stand up for their work.

Image may contain: text– From a Facebook post by Faleena Hopkins to her fan group “Cocky Readers- Cocker Bros. of ATL.”

Authors are confused about how to protect themselves in the best way and for good reason. The words “copyright” and “trademark” are being thrown around and are being swapped for one another in the midst of this discussion. I want to be clear that copyright and trademark are two separate things.

According to legalzoom.com:

“[…] Copyrights protect creative or intellectual works, and trademarks apply to commercial names, phrases, and logos. Copyrights primarily protect the rights of people who create literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works (like history tests, and software code.) Trademarks protect the use of a company name and its product names, its brand identity {like logos) and its slogan.

So basically, Faleena would be in the right to copyright her series because it is her intellectual property. Whatever series name she’s using now, that would be completely legally protected by filing and enforcing the trademark. If she were truly to trademark anything it would be her production company “Hop Hop Productions” as that is her company name. She has every right to protect her company. But by filing trademark on her series rather than just a copyright, she’s creating a huge mess, as we’ve all seen.

When you file a copyright or trademark, they both must be enforced to hold any legal sway, which is why Faleena sent out the cease and desist letters. She was trying to enforce her trademark, which I’m certain her lawyer told her to do, but there is still so much wrong with the situation

I saw a post recently about the author of the “Shifter World” series, Nancy Corrigan, trademarking the phrase “Shifter World” because that’s the universe she writes in. However, she went on to say that she wouldn’t be enforcing use of the words “shifter” or “world” because she just wanted to protect “Shifter World” as a whole. The problem here is, she should’ve just filed a copyright. She creates an issue for herself that won’t exactly stand up in court because she said:

“Keyword: Shifter World

As this has been brought up in a couple of posts, I just wanted people to know that i filed a trademark application for Shifter World as it’s the identifying phrase of my brand of inter-related spinoff series, namely Shifter World: Royal-Kagan, Shifter World: Shifter Affairs, and Shifter World: Generations (coming soon). I never intended and still have no intentions of limiting Shifter or World in anyone’s books, titles, series, etc. My intention is that I don’t want anyone to name a series Shifter World: xxx. Please continue to write your own shifter stories. Readers love them. I would never think to limit them.

As I said in my profile post, I am in touch with my attorney to see the best way to proceed with this application to reflect my intention and I will implement her recommendations”- Nancy Corrigan, as posted in the Author Support Network group on Facebook

She is stating that she isn’t going to enforce the trademark in that sense. By copyrighting “Shifter World” and each subsequent series under her name and wording, she would be able to protect her series and not own those words. She would be able to protect her series and prevent others from using the series name “Shifter World” without creating a situation where she is not enforcing a trademark because she doesn’t want to force people to follow it.

Please let me be clear, in case I haven’t been: You have every right to copyright your book series. There is a reason why the websites are different. By trademarking a word or phrase, you are removing the ability for others to use it in whole or in part, for the specific purposes that you are stating in your trademark application. By stating that you’re not going to enforce part of your trademark, you are essentially voiding it. If you copyright your series, you protect yourself from exactly what Faleena, Nancy, and every other author that’s a part of this thing is afraid of.

There is a big gap in education for authors. And I understand how that sounds, but hear me out. While there are big trad publishing festivals and events with workshops and assistance for trad authors, there isn’t much in the way of assistance for self-publishing authors. Of course, traditionally published authors have an entire publishing house behind them to help with all of the really detailed work. There are few events for self-publish authors, or would be authors, that help educate and guide them through the industry. I mean, we have to do all of this ourselves and it can get overwhelming AF. Starting with editing, and working through publishing and copyright, something like this geared toward self-published authors would be incredibly beneficial. Because I can guarantee that a lot of authors that self-publish went into this blind. Hell, I was one of them. I didn’t know a lot about how the industry worked. It wasn’t until I worked for an attorney and he explained to me the differences between copyright, trademark, and what the importance was for me to copyright my books, that I even knew about this! (By the way if there is someone out there willing to organize something like this, please let me know.)

People are continuing to run into the fair-use issue, as well as parody laws. Changing covers is a ton of work on its own, let alone all the work it takes for branding, merchandise, and everything else that goes into publishing a book. There has to be a streamlined solution for these issues, but people are running all over each other to get ahead of the game.

Anyway, I hope these ramblings helped, even a little. Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment down below telling me what you think. 🙂

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What the HALE is happening to the writing community?- A special Writing Tip Tuesday

I work from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Wednesday. I get up in the morning, lightly browse Facebook, get ready, and I’m out the door. Typically when I come home from work, there isn’t a lot going on. I mostly talk to Tricia, attempt to write and inevitably get distracted by shiny things on the internet. The reason I wanted to give a break down of my day is because it’s boring. I look at reviews, I check in with my other author friends, and that’s about it. The real life of most self-published, or small named authors is pretty boring. Or, at least I thought it was.

Today, I logged on Facebook and I saw one of my friends had shared an article from Buzz Feed entitled “This is What Happens When an Author Tracks Down a Critic in Real Life.” I was completely shocked. I mean, I know that the battle between bullies and the rest of the publishing world has been raging on in the background for years, but I never thought it would turn into something in the public eye. If you decided not to take a look at the aforementioned article because you found it TL;DR, I’ll explain:

Author Kathleen Hale wrote an article for the Guardian called “‘Am I being catfished?’ An author confronts her number one online critic” and it talks about her brush with a pseudo-book blogger, sock puppet type. The article spoke about Hale’s descent in to obsession about one particular reviewer named “Blythe Harris.” The bulk of the article touched on Hale’s own insecurities about the reviewer and how the reviewer went on to cyber-stalk her. With several alcohol fueled investigations, she did everything from pay ($19) for a background check on the name used by the reviewer, to requesting the reviewer interview her as part of a blog spot in an attempt to get more information. She even obtained the reviewer’s address (which she said would be for a giveaway) and Googled it, finding out that the reviewer used a pseudonym. Hale went on to rent a car, drive to the reviewer’s home and showed up at her door. Even though she chickened out, she still managed to call the reviewer, not once, but twice, in regards to the entire situation.

 

Every author deals with bullies at some point in their career. Most have their worst experiences at the beginning, when they’re still young enough in the community to get upset by bad reviews. The social websites, like Goodreads, are full of trolls look for people like Hale. They harass and attack authors in hopes of getting a reaction. Of course, there are authors who try to “counter attack” by using sites like Stop the Goodreads Bullies, under the guise of “protecting themselves.” If you know about STGRB, you know that the majority of the community look at them as sick, twisted psychos who stalk and harass anyone they feel they can by claiming that they’re trying to counteract bullies. STGRB has been on the black list for a long time due to their shameless sharing of private information (real names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) and they’re considered the scourge of the writing world. Kathleen Hale contacted “Athena Parker,” one of the founders of STGRB (pseudonym) ((shocker, there, right?)), to get some more insight into how to respond to the bully. I went into a bit of detail about STGRB because I wanted you to understand that when Hale mentioned them in her article, I lost what little empathy I had for her.

Now, don’t get me wrong, “Blythe Harris” was just as much in the wrong as Kathleen Hale. Harris stalked Hale by over commenting on any positive review that was left on Hale’s book. She even “live tweeted” Hale’s tweets, mocking them mercilessly. Considering “Blythe Harris” probably won’t be commenting any time soon, let’s assume Harris’s recount of the situation is mostly spot on.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but you NEVER comment on your own reviews. You NEVER respond to bullies. You NEVER harass them, because then you’re no better. I kind of though “don’t STALK them” would be a given, but maybe I’m being to optimistic. Regardless of how you feel about a reviewer, regardless of how merciless they become, you are better by not responding. You are better by not finding out who they are and going to their house.

Needless to say, both parties were wrong in this, and both should take serious looks at their own lives. The fact that Hale wrote an article about the situation makes her look more like the wrong-doer in the scenario, but I want to be clear that I don’t feel one has more guilt in the situation than the other. I think it’s wrong that either side is getting sympathy.

So when you sit at your keyboard, in hopes of starting your first/next book, think about this situation. Think about how both parties looked at the end of the situation. Think about how you want to look if something like this happens to you.

Writing Tip/ Moral of the Story: TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT!!!

Synonyms for the 96 most commonly used words in English- Writing Tip Tuesday

These are incredibly useful to have as a list. I hope that you all check them out.

Just English

Amazing incredible, unbelievable, improbable, fabulous, wonderful, fantastic, astonishing, astounding, extraordinary

Anger enrage, infuriate, arouse, nettle, exasperate, inflame, madden

Angry mad, furious, enraged, excited, wrathful, indignant, exasperated, aroused, inflamed

View original post 1,561 more words

Writing The Emotionally Complex Character- Writing Tip Tuesday- Reblog!

A great post! I think this is perfect!!!

Give Your Writing More Impact by Defining Who You are Writing for- Writing Tip Tuesday

http://www.writepublishnow.com/give-writing-impact-defining-writing/

 

I think that this is very important for every author to do at some point during their career. I mean, who are you writing for? What do you want them to take away from your work? Having a defined image will help you become a better author.

Really Interesting Words to Spice up Your Writing

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/the.carpenters/words1.htm

 

Ray Bradybury’s Advice on Writing- Writing Tip Tuesday

http://airshipdaily.com/blog/08222014-ray-bradbury-writing-advice

One of my favorite authors with some amazing tips. Be sure to check them out.

The Self Publishing Forums on Absolute Write! Writing Tip Tuesday

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=47

 

Considering the size of our community, absolutewrite.com is a great place to go to meet some of the amazing (and not so) writers that exist in the self publishing world. It’s a place to get opinions and swap ideas. I hope everyone checks it out (even if you’re only a lurker.)

Writing with Emotion by: Janalyn Voigt- Writing Tip Tuesday

http://livewritebreathe.com/writing-emotion/

 

Every successful story is capable of rendering emotions with its readers. This is a great little piece about writing with emotions

20 Reasons You Should Write a Book in Your 20’s

http://elitedaily.com/money/20-reasons-you-should-write-a-book-while-in-your-20s/

 

A great article every one should read. I think that this applies to everyone, no matter what their age.  These are fantastic reasons for ANYONE to write a book.

 

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