Jazan Wild, a comics creator who is most well known for suing NBC in 2010 for $60 million over copyright infringement, is now pursuing a different lawsuit against HarperCollins. Wild is claiming that one recent HC title, Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr, infringes upon his trademark.
Not copyright - trademark.
Wild is claiming that HarperCollins is using the trademarked phrase as the title of a book to intentionally confuse readers into thinking that a fantasy novel which was published last week was related to a comics series which Wild had published in 2006.
Crazy, right? 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).
But that's not the end of the craziness. No, it's with the book reviewers that the crazy truly begins.
Wild is now sending cease and desist letters to any book reviewer who has mentioned or posted an excerpt from the new novel. He's accusing them of trademark infringement.
The Bookalicious blog posted a copy of an email they got from Wild today. This blog posted a review of the new novel, not an excerpt, and Wild is freaking out over the fact that they mention the title of the book:
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:
The guy also shows up in the comments thread following that notice to continue the craziness. For a raving lunatic he is quite a nice person.
I probably don't have to say this but:
Authors, don't be this guy. First, don't file frivolous nonsensical lawsuits but most importantly don't threaten book bloggers. One threat sent to one blog and everyone is going to know about it. The book community is large but juicy stories like this will spread fast.
In the past I've pointed to the Lendink lynch mob as an example of how not to react to piracy, and one of my recommendations was to figure out who to ask for advice. I've already pointed out a couple law blogs, so let me add a third source. Dear Author is a book review blog run by a lawyer, Jane Litte. In addition to the book reviews each week she posts on a legal topic relevant to authors. I'm going to pass this along to her and see if she thinks it's worth explaining just how crazy this guy is.
image by mlcastle