PDA

View Full Version : Sherrilyn Kenyon Suing Cassandra Clare



AnneMarble
02-10-2016, 09:25 PM
Has anyone seen this?
http://www.courthousenews.com/2016/02/08/copyright-clash-over-demon-fighting-stories.htm

Paranormal romance author is suing YA paranormal author Cassandra Clare over alleged copyright infringement (not plagiarism BTW).

I know a lot of readers (and writers) think this is great because of the plagiarism (not copyright infringement) problems from Cassandra Clare's fanfic days. That's the first thing I thought of when I learned about this case. Then I read more about it and thought... Wait a minute. I'm not so sure about this... Lots of paranormal romance series have similarities. That doesn't mean they're stealing from another author. But maybe there is more to come out in this case?... Oh, and apparently there are also some trademark issues in the case, but that seems to involve an error made by the publishers.

Just in the interests of disclosure, I met Sherrilyn Kenyon at a book signing several years ago, and she was great. :D She talked to fans, answered questions, had prizes, etc. She is also active with fans on-line. I don't follow Cassandra Clare on social media (or asocial media) much, so I don't know what her reputation is for interactions with fans, either on-line or in person. (I do know Clare had past ... issues ... at least during the fanfic days.)

BTW Courtney Milan has been tweeting about this. Be sure to check out her tweets.

jjdebenedictis
02-10-2016, 10:08 PM
On one hand, yes, a lot of fantasy series have similar elements, and you can't copyright ideas. On the other, this...sounds just like the sorts of plagiarism Cassie Clair was accused of, back in the day, and I'm disinclined to dismiss the claims as unlikely when the writer has a track record of stealing ideas, characters, and prose.

But back on that first hand, however, Milan does note Kenyon doesn't mention Clare copying any acts of expression.

Maybe Clare used Milan's books as a template, and Kenyon is morally outraged, but moral outrage aside, that might or might not be legal. It'll depend on the degree of similarity. A court taking a hard look at all the facts is probably the only way to figure this out.

So... I'll get the popcorn going?

Filigree
02-10-2016, 10:12 PM
As much as I might dislike aspects of Clare's writing, I think Kenyon might be reaching a bit here. Or maybe every single paranormal romance author from 1998 onward should sue every other paranormal author. And Charles deLint, Emma Bull, Tanya Huff, Diane Duane, and about a dozen others from mainstream SFF should hit all the later PNR authors with infringement suits.

anastasiareeves
02-10-2016, 10:41 PM
Re: Clare and her interactions with fans: I follow her on social media and she is very active with answering fan questions, she retweets and re-blogs fan art, and she is open and honest about things she probably shouldn't be. (Her thoughts on the new TV series "Shadowhunters" specifically).

AnneMarble
02-10-2016, 10:53 PM
On one hand, yes, a lot of fantasy series have similar elements, and you can't copyright ideas. On the other, this...sounds just like the sorts of plagiarism Cassie Clair was accused of, back in the day, and I'm disinclined to dismiss the claims as unlikely when the writer has a track record of stealing ideas, characters, and prose.
Yes, there is ... that.


But back on that first hand, however, Milan does note Kenyon doesn't mention Clare copying any acts of expression.

Maybe Clare used Milan's books as a template, and Kenyon is morally outraged, but moral outrage aside, that might or might not be legal. It'll depend on the degree of similarity. A court taking a hard look at all the facts is probably the only way to figure this out.

So... I'll get the popcorn going?

Something tells me we're going to need a lot of popcorn for this. And some people will be throwing the popcorn at Cassandra Clare. (Sentiments are high!)


As much as I might dislike aspects of Clare's writing, I think Kenyon might be reaching a bit here. Or maybe every single paranormal romance author from 1998 onward should sue every other paranormal author. And Charles deLint, Emma Bull, Tanya Huff, Diane Duane, and about a dozen others from mainstream SFF should hit all the later PNR authors with infringement suits.

I've read a number of books with very similar plots. Sometimes it's coincidence, sometimes it's a tribute, sometimes it's borrowing. And sometimes it goes farther than that. There was a case where an author wrote her own novel based on Whitney, My Love -- all the text was new, but every scene was kept from the original. Yes, she got caught, and the book was taken off the market. But I'm pretty sure that was a rare case.

Most similar things aren't really that similar. Fans will accuse authors of ripping people off all the time -- often because of general similarities. But most of those fans don't understand intellectual property laws. :) (Heck, neither do most lawyers. :D)

AnneMarble
02-10-2016, 10:55 PM
Re: Clare and her interactions with fans: I follow her on social media and she is very active with answering fan questions, she retweets and re-blogs fan art, and she is open and honest about things she probably shouldn't be. (Her thoughts on the new TV series "Shadowhunters" specifically).
That's good to know. I think some people are still basing everything on the way she acted when she was in her twenties. If someone judged me based on the way I acted when I was in my twenties, I would roll on the floor laughing. Or say "Hi, Bro!"

anastasiareeves
02-10-2016, 10:59 PM
(clipped)

Most similar things aren't really that similar. Fans will accuse authors of ripping people off all the time -- often because of general similarities. But most of those fans don't understand intellectual property laws. :) (Heck, neither do most lawyers. :D)

The fact that Stephenie Meyer has not taken EL James to court over 50 Shades drives this statement home for me. Twilight is what got me back into reading, and got me into YA. I read it several times over the course of a year or maybe two. So when I finally force read the Shades trilogy I was incensed at how similar it was. Nearly word for word in some spots. I wanted to sue James on behalf of Meyer I was so outraged. Then I got over it, because I realized there isn't anything original anymore. And I don't understand intellectual property laws enough to warrant my fan outrage. :)

anastasiareeves
02-10-2016, 11:08 PM
That's good to know. I think some people are still basing everything on the way she acted when she was in her twenties. If someone judged me based on the way I acted when I was in my twenties, I would roll on the floor laughing. Or say "Hi, Bro!"

I also think that when you're first starting out as a writer you are very precious about it and as you grow with it you realize no one is ever happy with you and the loudest voices are the ones accusing you of something. I don't know anything about Clare's time as a fanfic writer, I came into the Shadowhunter books way late. But I'm a fan. Not enough of one to be overly protective of her and her books, but enough to be saddened when I hear things like this about someone who's writing I admire.

veinglory
02-10-2016, 11:38 PM
If you read the suit it shows that in the past there resemblance included the main characters being called "dark hunters" and having "marks" some of which seemed to be basically the same as Kenyon's. So maybe the sensitivity holds over from the time when the works really did look extremely similar. That said, Kenyon trademarking just using the word "dream-hunter" or "were-hunter" is, well....

AnneMarble
02-10-2016, 11:48 PM
If you read the suit it shows that in the past there resemblance included the main characters being called "dark hunters" and having "marks" some of which seemed to be basically the same as Kenyon's. So maybe the sensitivity holds over from the time when the works really did look extremely similar. That said, Kenyon trademarking just using the word "dream-hunter" or "were-hunter" is, well....
And Laura Kinsale is thinking "Darn them all! I was there first with "The Dream Hunter." (OK, it wasn't a paranormal, but still...)

Milan showed samples of the marks and symbols that were in contention, and they didn't seem similar at all. Maybe other symbols are similar? Also, in most cases, wouldn't those symbols be created by the publisher (even if there was author input)? At least wouldn't the final artwork would come from the publisher?

I think there was some issue with one of Kenyon's symbols accidentally ending up used in a companion book for the Shadow Hunter books, or something like that. Some of those books even made it to the shelves before they were caught. But that's an error on the part of someone in the graphics department -- not something the author would be involved in.

Cyia
02-11-2016, 12:12 AM
From the link:


On Friday, Kenyon sued Cassandra Clare aka Judith Rumelt aka Judith Lewis, claiming her "Shadowhunter" series initially used Kenyon's trademark "darkhunter."
After Kenyon demanded that Clare remove the word "darkhunter" from her work, Clare used the term "shadowhunter" for her protagonists instead, according to the lawsuit. The word "hunter" was also removed from the book title.

INAL, let's get that out of the way. And I never interacted with CC in her fanfic days, though I'm aware of the kerfluffles with her name attached.

SK likely had a point with "darkhunters" as it was trademarked. "Shadowhunters" was not part of that trademark, apparently, so the point is somewhat blunted.

You can't copyright ideas, and since samples are usually required for trademarking, you probably can't trademark them, either. (I honestly don't know.) But there are too many precedents for satire and interpretations of characters and series. Going by this reasoning, MAD magazine would have gone out of business decades ago.


"Both the Dark-Hunter series and the Shadowhunter series are about an elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat that seeks to destroy humans as they go about their daily lives," the 29-page complaint states. "These hunters, whether 'dark' or 'shadow,' preserve the balance between good and evil, protecting humans from being consumed or enslaved."

That's basically the premise of every [insert paranormal]-hunter in the history of paranormal lit.

You could probably even twist Dumbledore's Army into this same category of "warriors protecting humans from being consumed or enslaved."

It's too broad.



According to her website's frequently asked questions section, Clare says she got the idea for the "Shadowhunter" series from footprints on the ceiling of a tattoo shop. It "looked like some fabulous supernatural battle had been fought there," her website states

I know there are a lot of people with a Clare-shaped axe to grind, but this version of events is entirely possible, even probable. There's no reason you can't take an event unique to you, couple it with inspiration from an existing work, and make your own universe out of the two. That's how inspiration works.

ZachJPayne
02-11-2016, 02:15 AM
I read through the complaint, and, dear God above, I couldn't get the taste of sour grapes out of my mouth.

Of course, I've never heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon before this. And while I wouldn't call myself the most widely read person on the internet, I'm not exactly new to the library block.

Most of her complaints are BS, and I hope this case gets tossed out on its ass. If I was one of those creative judges, I'd charge Kenyon with wasting the Court's time, and sentence her to a year of scrolling through the Urban Fantasy section of TV Tropes. Because that's what most -- if not all -- of the "similarities" are.

Cyia
02-11-2016, 02:55 AM
Of course, I've never heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon before this. And while I wouldn't call myself the most widely read person on the internet, I'm not exactly new to the library block.

In fairness, you may not have heard of her, but she's a longstanding heavyweight in the UF, para-romance genre. I've got a relative who's crazy-fond of her novels, and her characters, some of which apparently keep their own blogs.

It would hardly be the first time an established, even best-selling, author got a nervous tic because a YA series was doing well in "their" genre. Laurell K Hamilton came out swinging when Twilight took off, claiming the genre she "pioneered" had been hijacked for children, or some such. This stuff always seems to center on paranormal fiction, especially properties involving vampires.

DancingMaenid
02-11-2016, 03:00 AM
Honest question, removed from any particulars of this case:

At what point are two works so similar that the story/character similarities can actually be considered copyright infringement even if there's no technical plagiarism in the sense of borrowing exact words?

No, you can't own an idea. But I feel there's a big difference between me writing a story about a boy who finds out he's a wizard and me writing a story that is literally a rewriting of Harry Potter with the names changed. Very little copying is that extreme, but where is the line drawn?

Cyia
02-11-2016, 03:13 AM
Honest question, removed from any particulars of this case:

At what point are two works so similar that the story/character similarities can actually be considered copyright infringement even if there's no technical plagiarism in the sense of borrowing exact words?

No, you can't own an idea. But I feel there's a big difference between me writing a story about a boy who finds out he's a wizard and me writing a story that is literally a rewriting of Harry Potter with the names changed. Very little copying is that extreme, but where is the line drawn?

If you write your boy wizard (assuming it's not parody), and the structure of the story is the same, beginning with him being dropped off at a careless caregiver's house after his parents' murder, after the first chapter is dedicated to showing how dismally dull the caregivers are, etc. and after the magical caregivers sneak him onto the stoop in the middle of the night to be found the next morning because his parents have been murdered.

Then, if you fast forward a few years and show him living in a basement or under the sink, and that he's got a magic scar and is forced to serve his oafish relatives, and there's a trip to the aquarium where he interacts with a shark and even though sharks shouldn't be able to stop, this one does and looks right at him. Then the oaf notices and is oafish and is then drenched when all of the water in the tank rushes out for no reason, only some of it stays where it is - because magic - and so on and so forth until he gets to the magical school where he's the best at everything, and the chosen one, and there's a 3-headed dragon, etc. Everything lines up along the same track as the original. It has the same beats, despite minor changes. It has the same outcome.

Plagiarism is seldom subtle. There was actually a case against a writer in Russia about a girl who had a magic scar on her nose and a magic guitar that was close enough to the HP storyline that it was legally declared plagiarism. Very very popular in the writer's home country.

AW Admin
02-11-2016, 03:21 AM
Honest question, removed from any particulars of this case:

At what point are two works so similar that the story/character similarities can actually be considered copyright infringement even if there's no technical plagiarism in the sense of borrowing exact words?

No, you can't own an idea. But I feel there's a big difference between me writing a story about a boy who finds out he's a wizard and me writing a story that is literally a rewriting of Harry Potter with the names changed. Very little copying is that extreme, but where is the line drawn?

That has to be decided in court, with a jury, and it's really really complicated.

It's very hard to explain to people who aren't writers or tangential to writing that even word-for-word copying is a problem.

And when it's ideas rather than word-for-word, well it's monumentally difficult. Look at cases like Star Wars vs the original Battle Star Galactica.


You have to explain things to the jury convincingly enough that they understand the argument in detail, whether you're the plaintiff or the defendant.

BenPanced
02-11-2016, 04:40 AM
So... I'll get the popcorn going?

Dibs on the lemonade and sandwich concessions.

jjdebenedictis
02-11-2016, 05:21 AM
Of course, I've never heard of Sherrilyn Kenyon before this. And while I wouldn't call myself the most widely read person on the internet, I'm not exactly new to the library block. Kenyon's books get sold in drug stores and grocery stores. She is a Big Ol' Deal, a.k.a. a bestseller.

That's why I'm getting out the popcorn. This is Star Author vs. Star Author, Battle of the (niche) Literary Legends.

As for the complaint, on the surface of it, this doesn't look like a strong case to me either. But IANAL, and the subtle sort of copying of ideas that a court case might tease out was the sort of copying that CC was doing back in her fanfiction days. Might she have learned her lesson? Sure, but she's also someone who has established she was once willing to be sneaky-dishonest, especially when faced with pressure to keep writing on a challenging schedule, and there's always the possibility she didn't learned her lesson. If I remember correctly, she didn't demonstrate much remorse after she got caught, way back when.

Could go either way, is what I'm sayin'. BenPanced, could you pass me a lemonade? This popcorn's salty.

AnneMarble
02-11-2016, 05:52 AM
If you write your boy wizard (assuming it's not parody), and the structure of the story is the same, beginning with him being dropped off at a careless caregiver's house after his parents' murder, after the first chapter is dedicated to showing how dismally dull the caregivers are, etc. and after the magical caregivers sneak him onto the stoop in the middle of the night to be found the next morning because his parents have been murdered.

Then, if you fast forward a few years and show him living in a basement or under the sink, and that he's got a magic scar and is forced to serve his oafish relatives, and there's a trip to the aquarium where he interacts with a shark and even though sharks shouldn't be able to stop, this one does and looks right at him. Then the oaf notices and is oafish and is then drenched when all of the water in the tank rushes out for no reason, only some of it stays where it is - because magic - and so on and so forth until he gets to the magical school where he's the best at everything, and the chosen one, and there's a 3-headed dragon, etc. Everything lines up along the same track as the original. It has the same beats, despite minor changes. It has the same outcome.

*Sighs and tears up her manuscript, Parry Hotter and the Stoned Sorcerers * (Kidding. Except now I want to write that...)

Here's a little bit (http://www.mcnaughtized.com/JMBB/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=66) about the Whitney, My Love versus Defiant Angel case where Judith McNaught's publisher won a copyright infringement case against a book that had a plot that was far too close to Whitney, My Love. (The publisher had Defiant Angel taken off the shelves.) The author of Defiant Angel was apparently very new to writing and admitted she didn't realize you weren't supposed to write a book in which you recreated entire scenes of your favorite novel with a different setting and characters.

BTW Judith McNaught sounds so cool. :D Years ago, I posted something about seeing one of her romance novels misshelved in the SF section, even though the cover had a shell on it and nothing that screamed "SF" or fantasy. Although we had never met, and never even interacted on-line, she sent me an e-mail thanking me for the laugh. :)

Cyia
02-11-2016, 06:07 AM
*Sighs and tears up her manuscript, Parry Hotter and the Stoned Sorcerers * (Kidding. Except now I want to write that...)


I once did a crack!fic featuring Harry Pothead and a lot of Gryffindors with the munchies. No one seemed to mind. :greenie

jjdebenedictis
02-11-2016, 06:16 AM
*Sighs and tears up her manuscript, Parry Hotter and the Stoned Sorcerers * (Kidding. Except now I want to write that...)Do eeeeeet...

Hapax Legomenon
02-11-2016, 07:38 AM
What about the sequel, Harry Pothead and the Stoned Sorcerers go to the White Castle?

From the article it sounds kind of ridiculous but I wonder if there's something there? Who knows.

rwm4768
02-11-2016, 07:45 AM
*Sighs and tears up her manuscript, Parry Hotter and the Stoned Sorcerers * (Kidding. Except now I want to write that...)

I like to make up "adult" Harry Potter titles for fun.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stones.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Cigarettes.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ass Cabin.


Now back to the thread...

rwm4768
02-11-2016, 07:46 AM
As for the case, I have the feeling it wouldn't even exist if not for Clare's history. I also don't get the argument about losing sales because of it. If anything, readers often seek out books similar to those they like.

Filigree
02-11-2016, 08:05 AM
PNR readers are incredibly open to seeking out books in the genre. If anything, the two authors will see their sales jump from this. I have no dog in this fight, other than chomping popcorn on the side. I've read partway through Clare's Draco fanfic series a long time ago, but it didn't hold me like, say DementorDelta's work or some of the other Potterfic masters. I read one chapter into the first MI book and set it aside out of its sheer predictability (I am super, super picky about the YA I read).

I gave Kenyon a few tries, because an inky black part of my soul quite likes reading and writing abusefics...but hers were too histrionic, repetitious, and not mentally deep enough for me.

If the court case gets thrown out I'll be happy the court saw reason...but sad to be denied what will surely be a pissing-contest sideshow.

jjdebenedictis
02-11-2016, 09:54 AM
I tried one of Kenyon's books and found it...unsuited to my tastes. Quite dreadfully so; hoo, boy.

I've never read one of Clare's books because I knew about the fanfiction debacle and disapproved strongly. However, her writing would probably also be unsuited to my tastes, so that decision's no loss to me or the author.

PeteMC
02-11-2016, 02:41 PM
I've never heard of either of these people (they're certainly not famous over here in UK) but all the same, this looks like one to watch.

:popcorn:

Parametric
02-11-2016, 03:03 PM
There is a massive difference between copying entire passages word for word from other people's work into your fanfiction and writing original fiction that sometimes uses some of the same very common genre tropes that another author also used. I don't see why the latter is a problem even if it's Cassandra Clare doing it.

Filigree
02-11-2016, 03:12 PM
This is my beef: PNR in general has been so happy to copy, riff, and reinvent itself that I find Kenyon's complaint (which I have now read, and I feel she owe me $$ for the time spent away from more useful pursuits) mostly baseless. I suspect her royalties have slipped enough that she's feeling left behind, and she wants some of that lovely TV money. And Clare, through her own previous actions, has made herself a possibly viable target.

Parametric
02-11-2016, 04:02 PM
From the Judith McNaught link upthread:


There are actually two different terms used to describe the illegal use of another author's work: One is Plagiarism, the other is Copyright Infringement.

Plagiarism is when a block of text is lifted verbatim from the original work and inserted into the work of another author who purports it to be his own work. It doesn't have to be a very large block of text, (less than a page, as I recall), but it must be a verbatim copy of the original text.

This was the correct legal term for the Janet Daily/Nora Roberts incident. I don't know how much verbatim text was copied, but I seem to remember that it was from Nora's love scenes.

In my case, the author of DEFIANT ANGEL committed Copyright Infringement. In Copyright Infringement, the material isn't a verbatim copy, but it is so close to the original material--and it occurs for so long, or else so often--that it can't possibly be the result of accident or coincidence.

One of us is extremely confused about copyright infringement vs plagiarism.

AnneMarble
02-11-2016, 05:26 PM
From the Judith McNaught link upthread:



One of us is extremely confused about copyright infringement vs plagiarism.
Copyright infringement can be so ... squishy ... to define, can't it? :) The Wiki entry is mostly about piracy, but doesn't really go into other aspects.

In the case of Defiant Angel, I'm not sure if it qualified as plagiarism because it didn't plagiarize passages of text. (Although it might have plagiarizef some of the text or at least paraphrased it.) It was a scene-by-scene retelling of the work. Think of it as a book-length fanfic published by a major publisher.

Parametric
02-11-2016, 05:42 PM
Unless I'm extremely confused, copyright infringement is copying (or very closely paraphrasing) another author's text, while plagiarism is passing off another author's work as your own without attribution. Copyright infringement is illegal, while plagiarism is not in itself illegal, simply unethical. You can infringe copyright without plagiarism (if you attribute the copied work correctly but don't have permission), or plagiarise without infringing copyright (if you have permission from the copyright owner to pass the work off as your own). Commonly you get both at once, as the copying was done with neither attribution nor permission.

Which is the complete opposite of what Judith McNaught said. And since she presumably got that from a specialist intellectual property lawyer, perhaps I'm the one who can't tell the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism. :Shrug:

PeteMC
02-11-2016, 06:19 PM
plagiarism is not in itself illegal

Isn't it??? What a horrible thought, I always rather assumed it was!

Cyia
02-11-2016, 06:22 PM
Isn't it??? What a horrible thought, I always rather assumed it was!

Even copyright infringement isn't a criminal offense, IIRC. It's a civil/business matter that can end in a monetary judgment against you.

slashedkaze
02-11-2016, 08:50 PM
Here's a list outlining all the similarities of the two series. After looking at all of it, I honestly can't agree that Kenyon's claim is baseless. This goes far beyond 'having a few tropes in common.'
http://www.courtneymilan.com/cc-complaint/1-3.pdf

NateSean
02-11-2016, 10:07 PM
So, if I understand this correctly, there are similarities between Shadowhunters of the Immortal Instruments universe and the Dark-Hunters of the Dark-Hunter novels and this is what the bare bones of the lawsuit is about.

But... I saw a fantasy/romance series written by another author that involved the Greek God Poseidon creating a group of immortal warriors by branding them with a special mark to make them immortal. The opening paragraphs of one of these books used the same fast paced, flippant tone and style of the Kenyon novels. Yet this author escapes notice? Is it because Clare has slightly more name recognition now?

Interesting.

By the way, I am a fan of the Dark-Hunter series, though I haven't read it much since Time, Untime.

Toothpaste
02-11-2016, 10:30 PM
Here's a list outlining all the similarities of the two series. After looking at all of it, I honestly can't agree that Kenyon's claim is baseless. This goes far beyond 'having a few tropes in common.'
http://www.courtneymilan.com/cc-complaint/1-3.pdf

Fascinating list. And you can see how they are building their case. Though I still question, since this is evidence in her favour, whether one could not make similar lists from other paranormal books. When we whittle down characters to such bare bones like in this list, many can seem similar (people like to do a side by side of Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter for example). There are tropes and archetypes (and stereotypes) in all genres.

That being said . . . man . . . that's a lot of similar tropes to use in one work . . .

Cyia
02-11-2016, 10:44 PM
That being said . . . man . . . that's a lot of similar tropes to use in one work . . .

Some of them go beyond tropes into plot points and character make-up. I've never read CC or SK, so I'd have to see actual passages side-by-side, but some of those points were fairly specific.

There's a huge difference between the idea of tropes like:


Luke Skywalker: unassuming youth realizes that he's possessed of hidden, possibly supernatural, power which he must learn to harness if he wants to destroy the villain who murdered his father.

Harry Potter: unassuming youth realizes that he's possessed of hidden, possibly supernatural, power which he must learn to harness if he wants to destroy the villain who murdered his parents.

Those are similar, but they're also vague repetitions of the standard hero's journey.

When you get into character appearance and personality, along with actual plot points and overlapping motivations, goals, and paths to those goals, then you're in dodgy territory.

One or two characters / scenes being *similar* (not lifted), and you've got yourself an homage. More than that, and you're toeing a very thin and fading line.

Lillith1991
02-11-2016, 10:45 PM
Fascinating list. And you can see how they are building their case. Though I still question, since this is evidence in her favour, whether one could not make similar lists from other paranormal books. When we whittle down characters to such bare bones like in this list, many can seem similar (people like to do a side by side of Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter for example). There are tropes and archetypes (and stereotypes) in all genres.

That being said . . . man . . . that's a lot of similar tropes to use in one work . . .

I'm not sure tropes adequately explains all the similarities between the two series. I read that list and almost all the characters are just renamed versions of the other characters‚ and in some cases they're also gender flipped and renamed. Way I see it‚ tropes sharing and analogous characters isn't the same as ripping off someone's work and slapping a fresh coat of paint on things. You can have a sweet natured and passionated Juliet analog without her acting like the one from the play. And many writers manage to turn analogous characters into fully realized people‚ even when they're heavily trope/archetype based.

At the very least‚ I would call this bad writing on Clare's part.

jjdebenedictis
02-11-2016, 11:32 PM
Here's a list outlining all the similarities of the two series. After looking at all of it, I honestly can't agree that Kenyon's claim is baseless. This goes far beyond 'having a few tropes in common.'
http://www.courtneymilan.com/cc-complaint/1-3.pdfWhoa, that is a looooong list of characters, character traits, and plot points that are almost identical.

Kenyon's claims are starting to sound stronger to me, and again, what she's describing is pretty in keeping with the sorts of things Clare was doing when she got caught plagiarising as a fanfic writer--minus the actual lifting of passages.

Cereus
02-11-2016, 11:43 PM
http://www.courtneymilan.com/cc-complaint/1-3.pdf

Cassandra Clare is a mess.

Wow @ the use of the magical negro.

Why is Courtney Milan a part of this? Sorry if it's obvious why.

Toothpaste
02-11-2016, 11:53 PM
Sorry, I guess my post wasn't clear. My last sentence was supposed to indicate that it seemed to me to be a bit more than just a coincidence of tropes. Sorry I wasn't clear guys. I'm on the same page as y'all. :)

Bicyclefish
02-11-2016, 11:58 PM
Suspicions and/or accusations of lifting ideas from Kenyon appear to go back a while.


I've noticed that CC has an actual book coming out in 2007 and it mentions DarkHunters --- er DarkHunters are written by Sherrilyn Kenyon, the Dark Hunter Series, has oh I dunno I think 6 or more books in the series right now. Funny, the synopsis on CC's web page sounds suspicious like one of Sherrilyn Kenyon earlier books Kiss of the Night that came out in April of 2004.
ONTD (http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/100213793.html?thread=17255895329#ixzz3ztHZrKiq)

Sure Claire was "young" wen the fanfic drama happened, but as far as I know she never owned up to or apologized for her behavior and bullying; in fact, I believe a few years ago she ran some kind of "anti bullying" campaign, despite allegations she was setting her fans on critics in 2012.
(http://alli6.tumblr.com/post/47193982199/cassandra-clare-and-things-you-probably-dont-know)

ElaineA
02-12-2016, 12:09 AM
Why is Courtney Milan a part of this? Sorry if it's obvious why.

Ms. Milan has a legal background...she was an Intellectual Property prof at a law school. She's not involved, she just tries to offer some legal framework to these cases to keep the writing community informed and apprised of what's going on.

slashedkaze
02-12-2016, 12:32 AM
I found this on another part of the internet, but apparently Clare had originally named her Shadowhunters Darkhunters (Kenyon's name.) She agreed to change it when pressed, but here's a pic of the back cover of her book's first print run, lol. Seems like they'd forgotten to edit that part.

http://i65.tinypic.com/k0qcr6.jpg

anastasiareeves
02-12-2016, 12:44 AM
Honest question: Cassandra Clare has 2 series of short story collections in the Shadowhunters world now, co-written by 3 or 4 different YA writers. Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan off the top of my head. Are those writers on the hook now too? Is there an "aiding and abetting" for copyright infringement?

rugcat
02-12-2016, 01:04 AM
Honest question, removed from any particulars of this case:

At what point are two works so similar that the story/character similarities can actually be considered copyright infringement even if there's no technical plagiarism in the sense of borrowing exact words?

No, you can't own an idea. But I feel there's a big difference between me writing a story about a boy who finds out he's a wizard and me writing a story that is literally a rewriting of Harry Potter with the names changed. Very little copying is that extreme, but where is the line drawn? The classic case of this comes from back in the 80s, when Avon books recalled 60,000 copies of book called Nevsky's Demon, which was clearly modeled after John D McDonald's bestseller The Dreadful Lemon Sky.

I remember picking up a copy of Nevsky's Demon at a used bookstore, knowing nothing about the controversy and being instantly struck by the similarities, to put it mildly. As I read further, I became astonished. I couldn't believe it. I remember thinking, "how in gods name can this guy get away with this?"

It never went to court, but he didn't.

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/08/03/books/borrowing-in-a-novel-is-admitted.html

This was a case where no rational person could doubt but that it was copyright infringement. But it's rarely this clear – there is a whole gamut of similarities in books, ranging from sheer coincidence and unimportant similarities to clear rip-offs. Where in the spectrum a particular book falls can be difficult to assess from a legal standpoint.

Musicians have similar problems – songwriters will sue over similar songs, and some win and some loose.

See George Harrison's losing court case involving"My Sweet Lord," for example, vs The Chiffons "He's So Fine."

Cobalt Jade
02-12-2016, 01:15 AM
I remember reading an adult erotica piece called Harriet Hotter, where the female protagonist was spanked by her family and then by everyone at the school.

heza
02-12-2016, 01:52 AM
When you get into character appearance and personality, along with actual plot points and overlapping motivations, goals, and paths to those goals, then you're in dodgy territory.

For some reason, what struck me the most was that the heroes (I guess, I haven't read either) are both tall, blonde, goth, sarcastic, and left handed. Most writers I've read don't make a point to specify characters' handedness, so that seems to be suspiciously coincidental.

On the other hand, I agree with Toothpaste that this list is definitely in SK's favor so it might looks a lot worse for CC than it is.

Perks
02-12-2016, 03:56 AM
Yeah, that list is pretty shocking. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I've seen a bit of chatter here and there bemoaning that some people are holding Clare's past with plagiarism against her. I can only be surprised that they're surprised. The stink of that doesn't wear off all the way.

Jamesaritchie
02-12-2016, 04:42 AM
What about the sequel, Harry Pothead and the Stoned Sorcerers go to the White Castle?

From the article it sounds kind of ridiculous but I wonder if there's something there? Who knows.

Done correctly, that's perfectly legal because it would be a parody.

Jamesaritchie
02-12-2016, 04:44 AM
"Similar" is not plagiarism or infringement. Using the same idea is not plagiarism or infringement. The simple fact is that if this case actually has merit, a court will make the correct ruling, and award appropriate damages. If it has no merit, it either won't go to court, or if it does, the judge will very likely come down hard on the plaintiff, and possibly make her pay damages and legal fees.

Weirdmage
02-12-2016, 05:14 AM
I see people are taking the list of similarities as a given indicator of there having been some sort of infringement.
I've seen people other places comment that they have read books from both authors, and that they think they aren't very similar.
Considering we are talking two series of books here, the similarities aren't really that many. There seems to be some superficial resemblances, but not having read any of the books concerned I can't say what the differences are.

I'll also note that those who previously have criticised Clare for just filing off the serial numbers of her Harry Potter fan-fiction have pointed out her main character is really Draco Malfoy. Clare can't both have made Draco Malfoy her main character and stolen him from Kenyon.*
(I've also seen Harry Potter fans who've read Clare's books say they don't feel it is Draco with a new name.)

Lots of the similarities Kenyon claims are pretty much tropes/archetypes/stereotypes of Urban Fantasy/YA. It would be interesting seeing someone setting up a list of similarities between Kenyon's books and a randomly selected Urban Fantasy book. I don't necessarily think the list will be shorter than that on the suit. Kenyon('s lawyers) are of course cherry-picking examples, and I think it's important to keep that in mind when looking at the list. And also to keep in mind that Clare's lawyers will very likely point out a lot of examples where the characters and events diverge.

Personally I think that without Clare being known for plagiarising fan-fiction more than a decade ago, I think most people would dismiss this suit. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was that that made Kenyon take the chance on suing her.

*However, if Clare stole her character from Rowling...Why is Kenyon's character so similar to it?

ZachJPayne
02-12-2016, 06:11 AM
I just saw the bit in the complaint about how CC's Shadowhunter rune looks similar to Kenyon's (I didn't see the similarity, but w/e).

In that case, I have to hope that Ancient Scandinavian zombies don't have a penchant for litigation, or they're both screwed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odal_(rune)

jjdebenedictis
02-12-2016, 06:34 AM
I'll also note that those who previously have criticised Clare for just filing off the serial numbers of her Harry Potter fan-fiction have pointed out her main character is really Draco Malfoy. Clare can't both have made Draco Malfoy her main character and stolen him from Kenyon.*
Well... When the fanfic plagiarism scandal broke, it really wasn't clear how much of Claire's "Draco" was lifted from other sources -- and those sources were not the Harry Potter books. They were other books and also television shows.

The Draco Trilogy was written from 2001 to 2006, and Sherrilyn Kenyon's first Dark-Hunters book was published early in 2002 (Edit: And Kenyon published two to three of them every year for the next four years! So there was a lot of material out there.) It's not impossible that some of the material Claire/Clare pilfered came from Kenyon's first (Edit: ten) books.

Lillith1991
02-12-2016, 06:40 AM
I see people are taking the list of similarities as a given indicator of there having been some sort of infringement.
I've seen people other places comment that they have read books from both authors, and that they think they aren't very similar.
Considering we are talking two series of books here, the similarities aren't really that many. There seems to be some superficial resemblances, but not having read any of the books concerned I can't say what the differences are.

I'll also note that those who previously have criticised Clare for just filing off the serial numbers of her Harry Potter fan-fiction have pointed out her main character is really Draco Malfoy. Clare can't both have made Draco Malfoy her main character and stolen him from Kenyon.*
(I've also seen Harry Potter fans who've read Clare's books say they don't feel it is Draco with a new name.)

Lots of the similarities Kenyon claims are pretty much tropes/archetypes/stereotypes of Urban Fantasy/YA. It would be interesting seeing someone setting up a list of similarities between Kenyon's books and a randomly selected Urban Fantasy book. I don't necessarily think the list will be shorter than that on the suit. Kenyon('s lawyers) are of course cherry-picking examples, and I think it's important to keep that in mind when looking at the list. And also to keep in mind that Clare's lawyers will very likely point out a lot of examples where the characters and events diverge.

Personally I think that without Clare being known for plagiarising fan-fiction more than a decade ago, I think most people would dismiss this suit. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was that that made Kenyon take the chance on suing her.

*However, if Clare stole her character from Rowling...Why is Kenyon's character so similar to it?

This is strangely dismissive. There's a difference from an archetypal character or what I like to call a super-trope like the romance plot or hero's journey and ripping someones work off. Archetypes and supertropes are similar of course, but the story doesn't have to end the or have the exact same characterization on a superlevel.

I could write an M/M tragic romance and have a good natured but passionate main character and a romantic character. That doesn't mean the story is the same as Romeo and Juliet even if both die in the end. A tragedy plot progresses in the same way, romantic or not, and ends the same when looked at from a god-like view. There's usually some form of ruination or death of some sort. It's the characters and their personal stories which are different, that are what get the most tweaking. Just the characters alone in that list are exact copies of each other on that most basic level and serve the exact same plot role from what I'm able to discern. It would be interesting to compare several in the genre, but I'm willing to bet those two will still be the most similar.

blacbird
02-12-2016, 08:36 AM
"Similar" is not plagiarism or infringement. Using the same idea is not plagiarism or infringement. The simple fact is that if this case actually has merit, a court will make the correct ruling.

You have a lot more confidence in the consistency of court rulings than most people have. The simple fact is that, if the case makes it to court, the matters involved will get expressed and argued, and a judge and/or a jury will be charged with deciding things. I recently served on a jury in a civil lawsuit in which the "merits" of the case were debated for three days before we could, grudgingly, come to a presentable consensus. Nothing about the case was plainly obvious, cut-and-dried.

It's also more likely that some settlement will be reached out of court, and those generally involve nothing more specific than that a settlement was reached. Details of such things are usually not revealed.

caw

Hapax Legomenon
02-12-2016, 08:56 AM
Even copyright infringement isn't a criminal offense, IIRC. It's a civil/business matter that can end in a monetary judgment against you.

I think copyright infringement can become a criminal matter if there's enough money involved and I think has to be "for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain" or something. However I don't think the feds waste time on it.

onesecondglance
02-12-2016, 01:00 PM
Here's a list outlining all the similarities of the two series. After looking at all of it, I honestly can't agree that Kenyon's claim is baseless. This goes far beyond 'having a few tropes in common.'
http://www.courtneymilan.com/cc-complaint/1-3.pdf


Whoa, that is a looooong list of characters, character traits, and plot points that are almost identical.

Kenyon's claims are starting to sound stronger to me, and again, what she's describing is pretty in keeping with the sorts of things Clare was doing when she got caught plagiarising as a fanfic writer--minus the actual lifting of passages.


Ms. Milan has a legal background...she was an Intellectual Property prof at a law school. She's not involved, she just tries to offer some legal framework to these cases to keep the writing community informed and apprised of what's going on.


I asked the same question over the length of the list on Twitter, and Ms Milan pointed out that, given the number of books in contention on both sides, it works out to an average of ~1 similarity per book. And a lot of those "similarities" aren't that specific.

I've not read either author, but some of the other participants in that Twitter conversation said they have read both, and thought that the document was very carefully worded to give the impression of stronger similarities than actually represented.

Weirdmage
02-12-2016, 04:11 PM
This is strangely dismissive. There's a difference from an archetypal character or what I like to call a super-trope like the romance plot or hero's journey and ripping someones work off. Archetypes and supertropes are similar of course, but the story doesn't have to end the or have the exact same characterization on a superlevel.

I could write an M/M tragic romance and have a good natured but passionate main character and a romantic character. That doesn't mean the story is the same as Romeo and Juliet even if both die in the end. A tragedy plot progresses in the same way, romantic or not, and ends the same when looked at from a god-like view. There's usually some form of ruination or death of some sort. It's the characters and their personal stories which are different, that are what get the most tweaking. Just the characters alone in that list are exact copies of each other on that most basic level and serve the exact same plot role from what I'm able to discern. It would be interesting to compare several in the genre, but I'm willing to bet those two will still be the most similar.

I am pretty well versed in the Urban Fantasy genre, and have for the past eight years followed a lot of talk/debates, and read a lot about, UF/PR*. Urban Fantasy is probably the SFF subgenre that makes for the least diversity in types of stories. UF/PR, from all I can tell, has even less diversity in types of stories. (It has the added Romance element, but I'm putting that aside since it is not relevant in this case.) So, generally speaking Urban Fantasy or UF/PR stories will have many similarities.

Specifically in this case, like I said
Kenyon('s lawyers) are of course cherry-picking examples, and I think it's important to keep that in mind when looking at the list. And also to keep in mind that Clare's lawyers will very likely point out a lot of examples where the characters and events diverge.
I'm being dismissive because of my previous knowledge, and after having read the complaint, I think it is not close to being copyright infringement.

Here's a description of a book series that goes some way to explain how you can cherry-pick similarities in characters:
-The hero doesn't remember his parents, as they were murdered when he was a young boy.
-The hero then grows up with his aunt and uncle.
-Later the hero learns that he has magical powers.
-The hero is trained, by among others, an old bearded man and a younger (than the bearded man), but still old, woman.
-The hero picks up friends/companions/protectors along the way, one of whom is a shapeshifter.
-The hero defeats the main evil guy.
-The hero marries a redhead.
Sounds like a very brief, and extremely unhelpful description of Harry Potter, right?
Well, it's actually a very brief and unhelpful description of David Eddings's Belgariad. The Belgariad was published from 1982-1984. I'm not in any way suggesting that Eddings's estate has any reason to sue Rowling for stealing his character. What I have done is cherry-pick enough similarities that it can look obvious that this character is stolen if you don't look further. -I'm sure other people can do the same with other characters in books they have read.

* There's anough diferrences between Urban Fantasy - the genre that existed in the 1980s and 1990s and is most closely associated with Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint, and UF/PR - the genre that gained popularity in the early 2000s and is what this complaint is about, that I don't find it helpful to talk about them as the same thing.
Just to clarify, there is no value judgement in that at all. Just an acknowledgement that they are two different things.

Cyia
02-12-2016, 04:15 PM
other participants in that Twitter conversation said they have read both, and thought that the document was very carefully worded to give the impression of stronger similarities than actually represented.

This is entirely possible. The list isn't neutral; it's written by one side of the argument with the intent of making a case for that side.

There was a similar situation with a girl who tried to sue (emphasis on tried) S. Meyer over her fourth book. The girl had either been rejected by Ms. Meyer's agent, self-published, or both (too long ago, can't remember) and her book was paranormal and involved half-human child, etc. She took this as "proof" that her book had been stolen.

Then there's the cases with J.K. Rowling. "Ra and the Muggles," which claimed that she "stole" the word "Muggle," even though the book was a coloring book and the Muggles were weird little potato people. And the case of "Wally the Wizard" that sued for book 4 (what is it with 4th books?!) because there was a magic train and a contest.

It's not all uncommon a belief. Sometimes it can be hard to accept that more than one person can come up with similar content independent of one another.

Weirdmage
02-12-2016, 04:17 PM
Well... When the fanfic plagiarism scandal broke, it really wasn't clear how much of Claire's "Draco" was lifted from other sources -- and those sources were not the Harry Potter books. They were other books and also television shows.

The Draco Trilogy was written from 2001 to 2006, and Sherrilyn Kenyon's first Dark-Hunters book was published early in 2002 (Edit: And Kenyon published two to three of them every year for the next four years! So there was a lot of material out there.) It's not impossible that some of the material Claire/Clare pilfered came from Kenyon's first (Edit: ten) books.


I don't have inside knowledge into that event. And those that claim to know what it was all about are giving conflicting versions of what happened.
Nobody disputes that Clare was plagiarizing, and that some of it was other fanfics, but there seems to be a lot of different opinions on where she stole what from. That suggests to me that it isn't as easy to pinpoint where something is lifted from, or where an inspiration comes from as some people claim.

Parametric
02-12-2016, 04:32 PM
I don't have inside knowledge into that event. And those that claim to know what it was all about are giving conflicting versions of what happened.
Nobody disputes that Clare was plagiarizing, and that some of it was other fanfics, but there seems to be a lot of different opinions on where she stole what from. That suggests to me that it isn't as easy to pinpoint where something is lifted from, or where an inspiration comes from as some people claim.

Further details about the fanfiction plagiarism incident (http://fanlore.org/wiki/The_Cassandra_Claire_Plagiarism_Debacle). It's a complicated situation because I entirely agree with the author's argument that quoting iconic lines from popular shows and books is intentional homage and the reader is meant to recognise the reference. But the author also copied lengthy sequences from a Pamela Dean novel all but word for word, which is undoubtedly plagiarism.

Twick
02-12-2016, 07:33 PM
This is entirely possible. The list isn't neutral; it's written by one side of the argument with the intent of making a case for that side.

There was a similar situation with a girl who tried to sue (emphasis on tried) S. Meyer over her fourth book. The girl had either been rejected by Ms. Meyer's agent, self-published, or both (too long ago, can't remember) and her book was paranormal and involved half-human child, etc. She took this as "proof" that her book had been stolen.

Then there's the cases with J.K. Rowling. "Ra and the Muggles," which claimed that she "stole" the word "Muggle," even though the book was a coloring book and the Muggles were weird little potato people. And the case of "Wally the Wizard" that sued for book 4 (what is it with 4th books?!) because there was a magic train and a contest.

It's not all uncommon a belief. Sometimes it can be hard to accept that more than one person can come up with similar content independent of one another.

There's a very good online review of Rah and the Muggles, and it's clear that there is no significant similarity between it and Rowling's books. However, I recall reading the plaintiff's list in that case, and if you don't know the books, you would think they were indeed similar. Some creative license, shall we say, was used to find similarities.

For example, "Muggles are non-magical people" in both books. Sounds damning, except that in Rah, there were no "magical" people at all. And the Muggles have conversations all the time with animals, etc., which would make them somewhat magical to my eyes.

The colouring/activity book was the one that (supposedly) had a bespectacled boy named "Larry Potter". As if the writer who created the names Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Severus Snape would have to be inspired to select "Harry Potter" from that.

So, without reading both books to compare, it's hard to say whether the list in the Kenyon/Clare case is accurate, or simply the fact that for two fantasy books involving angels and demon-hunters there will be, through coincidence and shared tropes, some similarities.

ElaineA
02-12-2016, 08:38 PM
And Clare's attorney has responded as one would expect. From Publishers Lunch (http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2016/02/briefs-10/)

Claudia Gray
02-13-2016, 03:44 AM
I haven't looked at this in-depth, but to me it looks as though Kenyon has absolutely no copyright/plagiarism case against Clare. The rune thing might raise some valid trademark concerns, but that's about it.

amergina
02-13-2016, 04:05 AM
From the Publisher's Lunch article:


These "basic factual inaccuracies" include the identification of a main character’s "stepfather as her 'best friend,' alleges that the term 'daimons' appears in her books (the word is never used) and claims that one of her main characters is based on a Kenyon character whose similar attributes were first revealed some three years after Cassie had created and told the backstory of the relevant protagonist.

If Clare wrote and published a "similar" character's backstory before Kenyon wrote and published the backstory for the character she claims Clare copied...I don't see how Kenyon can claim that Clare copied it...?

Jamesaritchie
02-13-2016, 04:42 AM
but where is the line drawn?

It's drawn in court.

Jeneral
02-13-2016, 05:33 AM
From the Publisher's Lunch article:



If Clare wrote and published a "similar" character's backstory before Kenyon wrote and published the backstory for the character she claims Clare copied...I don't see how Kenyon can claim that Clare copied it...?

I was actually wondering about this when I first read the complaint. I was a pretty big D-H fan back in the day, up till about Acheron's book. I read the first Nick YA-spinoff, but got turned off that it wasn't consistent with the backstory already in place. So when I read the complaint & the similarities listed, I didn't recognize a lot of the stuff on the list, which tells me it came from books post-Acheron/first Nick YA book (2008 and 2010).

Assuming this doesn't get dismissed outright, I'm interested to see where this case goes.

Weirdmage
02-18-2016, 03:47 AM
Slate has published an article about this (http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2016/02/author_sherrilyn_kenyon_sues_cassandra_clare_for_c opyright_infringement.single.html).
The article helps me understand the discrepancies I have seen in the descriptions of what happened in Clare's fanfic days. It also confirms to me many of the things I have deduced from seeing snippets of internal fanfic disagreements; it's not as clear cut as some people would have it, and there is usually more behind these disagreements than purely the facts.

I guess the next thing to do now is wait for an official responce to the initial complaint/suit by Clare's lawyers. I for one is interested to see where this is going to end up.

Parametric
02-18-2016, 04:25 AM
I think that's a pretty fair article. I think the perception is that she financially and professionally exploited her huge popularity from the Harry Potter fandom in a way that had never really happened before and went against the ethos of fandom. Fanfiction wasn't supposed to be for profit, but all the way back in 2004, Clare was making thousands of dollars (perhaps even tens of thousands) from fundraising drives (http://fanlore.org/wiki/CharityWank#LaptopGate) from fans of her smash hit Draco Trilogy. She changed fandom, and not in a good way.

Rebekkamaria
02-19-2016, 02:57 AM
I think she has no case here, and it's pretty terrible that she thought this was the right thing to do. I read the long list of "similarities" and it's just stupid. I'd like to see anyone do that about her books and compare them to earlier UF books. I have no love for Clare, but this is just bullshit. I hope it goes nowhere.

Weirdmage
02-19-2016, 03:22 AM
I think that's a pretty fair article. I think the perception is that she financially and professionally exploited her huge popularity from the Harry Potter fandom in a way that had never really happened before and went against the ethos of fandom. Fanfiction wasn't supposed to be for profit, but all the way back in 2004, Clare was making thousands of dollars (perhaps even tens of thousands) from fundraising drives (http://fanlore.org/wiki/CharityWank#LaptopGate) from fans of her smash hit Draco Trilogy. She changed fandom, and not in a good way.

Someone pointed out in a xomment on the Slate article that Clare was far from the first to move from writing fanfic to being a commercial author, and that many authors had their beginning in the Star Trek fanfic community of earlier decades.

Jamesaritchie
02-19-2016, 03:52 AM
I see people are taking the list of similarities as a given indicator of there having been some sort of infringement.
I've seen people other places comment that they have read books from both authors, and that they think they aren't very similar.
Considering we are talking two series of books here, the similarities aren't really that many. There seems to be some superficial resemblances, but not having read any of the books concerned I can't say what the differences are.

I'll also note that those who previously have criticised Clare for just filing off the serial numbers of her Harry Potter fan-fiction have pointed out her main character is really Draco Malfoy. Clare can't both have made Draco Malfoy her main character and stolen him from Kenyon.*
(I've also seen Harry Potter fans who've read Clare's books say they don't feel it is Draco with a new name.)

Lots of the similarities Kenyon claims are pretty much tropes/archetypes/stereotypes of Urban Fantasy/YA. It would be interesting seeing someone setting up a list of similarities between Kenyon's books and a randomly selected Urban Fantasy book. I don't necessarily think the list will be shorter than that on the suit. Kenyon('s lawyers) are of course cherry-picking examples, and I think it's important to keep that in mind when looking at the list. And also to keep in mind that Clare's lawyers will very likely point out a lot of examples where the characters and events diverge.

Personally I think that without Clare being known for plagiarising fan-fiction more than a decade ago, I think most people would dismiss this suit. And I wouldn't be surprised if it was that that made Kenyon take the chance on suing her.

*However, if Clare stole her character from Rowling...Why is Kenyon's character so similar to it?

It's not about whether people dismiss it, or whether this or that reader thinks they are or aren't too many similarities. It's about what the court says, and the courts doesn't take sides, doesn't care what happened ten years ago, and has very strict standards about plagiarism and copyright infringement.

Some extremely superficial similarities will happen, but this is not enough to have a court decide in your favor. It's almost never enough to even get a case into court. I don't think anyone who hasn't read both series really has a clue. Nor do most who have read them. This simply is not about what you think, or what I think, or even what most readers think. It's about the law, and the law nearly always gets it right in matters like this.

I really don't see why a writer would even risk having too many similarities. It's not creative writing, it's just cashing in on someone else's talent, imagination, and hard work, even if the courts never convict you of anything. But people can argue this for a hundred years, and it simply doesn't matter. Only the courts get to decide. Everything else is just meaningless opinion.

LJD
02-19-2016, 04:11 AM
The "tall and very handsome" comparison made me laugh.

Cyia
02-19-2016, 04:16 AM
The "tall and very handsome" comparison made me laugh.

Yeah. If it had been all in one book, I'd have very quirky eyebrows right now, but spread out over dozens? Eyebrows remain at Defcon-5

Lillith1991
02-19-2016, 09:26 AM
Someone pointed out in a xomment on the Slate article that Clare was far from the first to move from writing fanfic to being a commercial author, and that many authors had their beginning in the Star Trek fanfic community of earlier decades.

And what the commenter forgets is that the people published in fanzines weren't making even a token bit of money from it. Those trek zines were free and still are. If someone got noticed because someone that publishes the liscenced trek books notices their writing in a zine at a con, that's not the same as Clare's literally making money off of her Draco fanfics.

Cobalt Jade
02-19-2016, 12:06 PM
Some of the fanzines were for sale, though. I remember in the early eighties seeing a table of them at a con. I innocently picked one up and leafed through it, and youwza... naked, tongue-kissing Kirk and Spock.

The sale was only to cover printing costs, however. I don't think the authors were paid, nor did they receive royalties.

Lillith1991
02-19-2016, 12:38 PM
Some of the fanzines were for sale, though. I remember in the early eighties seeing a table of them at a con. I innocently picked one up and leafed through it, and youwza... naked, tongue-kissing Kirk and Spock.

The sale was only to cover printing costs, however. I don't think the authors were paid, nor did they receive royalties.

Good point! However, as we both said, that wasn't the writers themselves or even zine destributors making a profit. Clare did make a profit from her fanfiction. Not from a scrubbed and modified for publication story or liscenced continuation like the Stargate and Star Trek novels, but honest to god fanfiction.

Weirdmage
02-19-2016, 05:59 PM
And what the commenter forgets is that the people published in fanzines weren't making even a token bit of money from it. Those trek zines were free and still are. If someone got noticed because someone that publishes the liscenced trek books notices their writing in a zine at a con, that's not the same as Clare's literally making money off of her Draco fanfics.

The previously posted link (http://fanlore.org/wiki/CharityWank#LaptopGate) does not mention Clare asking for any money. I've not seen anyone else claiming Clare asking for money, or receiving any donations outside of what is mentioned in the link either. So, I wonder what your source for this claim is?

heza
02-19-2016, 05:59 PM
Good point! However, as we both said, that wasn't the writers themselves or even zine destributors making a profit. Clare did make a profit from her fanfiction. Not from a scrubbed and modified for publication story or liscenced continuation like the Stargate and Star Trek novels, but honest to god fanfiction.

Are you referring to the laptop fundraising?

Lillith1991
02-19-2016, 06:47 PM
Are you referring to the laptop fundraising?

Not the fundraising particularly, but that she has a history of money being made and gifts received prior to the fundraising issue (http://web.archive.org/web/20111018081229/http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Cassandra_Claire) and the fact the money from before said issue can't be tracked at all, nor can the gifts she got if she did receive them.

heza
02-19-2016, 08:14 PM
Not the fundraising particularly, but that she has a history of money being made and gifts received prior to the fundraising issue (http://web.archive.org/web/20111018081229/http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Cassandra_Claire) and the fact the money from before said issue can't be tracked at all, nor can the gifts she got if she did receive them.

ah, I see. Thanks for the link.

Cobalt Jade
02-19-2016, 11:32 PM
How do Harry Potter fans regard her these days?

ACAuthors
02-23-2016, 08:24 PM
I think my problems with this whole story is the accusations of cyber bullying. Instead of trying to explain things (and no, throwing well known quotes into your story with explaining the reference because they're well-known and turning it into a game is NOT okay), she harassed and called the police on them. Plus, I feel like there is a fine line between similarities and plagiarism. Her own publishers couldn't tell the difference between her story and Kenyon's. That's a problem. I understand jumping on a trending bandwagon, and I think the lawsuit should go deeper than a simply using a similar title for a group of people, but this could be a real defining case for the literary world. At what point do we move from "being influenced by" and "stealing" other authors work?

Filigree
02-24-2016, 03:37 AM
When readers stop begging for 'more of the same'? (That won't happen until a fad runs its natural course.)

Cyia
02-24-2016, 04:06 AM
The delineation is already there. You "steal" from a work if you plagiarism it. Otherwise, people with similar backgrounds and interests will naturally create similar works independently of one another. Ask any agent who suddenly has twelve dozen were-octopi stories fill her inbox in a single week without warning.

Around the time of Twilight, but not actually starting with it, tons of vampire stories happened independently of one another. Ten years prior, the current writers of vampire fiction had been reading Vampire Diaries, Silver Kiss, Christopher Pike and RL Stein. A couple of years later, gargoyles popped up out of the blue (not highly popular with sales, though). Wouldn't you know, those were the adults who had been kids when Gargoyles was a hugely popular cartoon for Disney. Outside the writing world, there's the sudden, inexplicable rise of the baby name Gage. "Experts" were stumped when it made a huge popularity jump in a single year. Coincidentally, it was the first crop of kidlets born to people who had all loved a specific character from a short-lived ambulance show as teens or tweens. The favorite character was named Gage.

It's all cyclical. We take in different ideas and then they're retranslated through the lens of our own experience.

onesecondglance
02-24-2016, 04:28 AM
... no, throwing well known quotes into your story without explaining the reference because they're well-known and turning it into a game is NOT okay

Allusion, paraphrase, and quotation are standard parts of the literary tradition. Outside of books, they're all over TV and films as "shout outs" or "easter eggs".

I'm not interested in getting into a debate about this individual's fanfic past, and it may well be that said individual crossed the line, but a blanket statement like that is just silly.

Filigree
02-24-2016, 07:45 AM
Brief Easter eggs, shout-outs, riffs, and homages are not plagiarism. On that point alone I will defend Cassie.

skylark
03-04-2016, 09:06 PM
How do Harry Potter fans regard her these days?

You mean the average HP fanfic writer at fanfiction.net? If they've heard of her at all, it's in the context of her original novels. They have no idea she ever wrote fanfic, or that she was the focus of a massive plagiarism row. You have to remember that most fanfic writers are in their mid-teens. This all happened when they were toddlers. The "made the jump to professional writing, there's hope for me too" author they're aware of is EL James.

I help moderate a large forum over at fanfiction.net, and the last time someone mentioned Clare the reaction from everyone except a very few of us "oldies" was "Cassandra who?"

Liosse de Velishaf
03-04-2016, 09:55 PM
You mean the average HP fanfic writer at fanfiction.net? If they've heard of her at all, it's in the context of her original novels. They have no idea she ever wrote fanfic, or that she was the focus of a massive plagiarism row. You have to remember that most fanfic writers are in their mid-teens. This all happened when they were toddlers. The "made the jump to professional writing, there's hope for me too" author they're aware of is EL James.

I help moderate a large forum over at fanfiction.net, and the last time someone mentioned Clare the reaction from everyone except a very few of us "oldies" was "Cassandra who?"

Noobs.


To be fair, when I wrote fanfic back in the mid 2000s, no one knew about her outside whatever circles she ran in. Fanfic communities can be pretty insular.