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Iconic Publishing, LLC / Jonquil Press / Red Lizard Press

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Torgo

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I am not a lawyer, but just registering copyright doesn't, as far as I know, actually change the ownership. Registering is about creating a record for the purposes of litigation and commerce. It's like putting an advert in the paper saying you bought a car; it doesn't suddenly make you the owner of the car if you never actually bought it.

Your contract doesn't seem, from what you've said, to transfer or assign it elsewhere; instead, it says the publisher has to register it in your name. So it would appear (and again, I am not a lawyer) that you still own the copyright, but that the publisher has made a false claim on it.

I can't advise a course of action, but I think the paper trail would clearly show that you own the work and that the copyright never went anywhere else. Good luck with it.
 

Little Ming

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One attorney told me it could cost up to $40,000 to sue him. I've asked other attorneys to take the case on contingency, but haven't found one willing to do that yet. Any advice would be appreciated!

Contact your State Bar. They can usually put you in contact with attorneys willing to work pro bono or for a lower fee in some cases.
 

JournoWriter

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Are you able to ID the publisher?
 

MarigoldBlue

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Thanks for your all's responses. Torgo, you are correct. I think anyone would rule in my favor. The problem is, getting the books taken down now will be next to impossible, and getting free and clear of him will only happen if I sue him.

JournoWriter, another author told about her nightmare with this publisher, on this site, and he sued her. He's since dropped the suit, but I'm wary of naming him.

Thanks again for the advice--Little Ming, that's a great idea. I'll try it and let you know what happens!
 

Little Ming

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Have you tried contacting Writer Beware? They keep everything confidential and Victoria Strauss is a member here. They also have a legal section that might be helpful to you. If you can, try to get other writers involved in this mess to contact them too. It's important to warn others about what's going on.
 

veinglory

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The fact they copyrighted your work can be confirmed easily, and so there is no basis for a suit if you juststate that it happened. The publicity might cause them to backtrack.

But actually the first thing to try is to just tell them they made a mistake and ask them to correct it. Even of the chance if this working is quite low it is a good idea to give them the chance to quietly make it right with you.

IMHO if you want the moral high ground, give the other guy a generous opportunity to dig a hole for himself first.
 

patskywriter

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… The problem is, getting the books taken down now will be next to impossible, and getting free and clear of him will only happen if I sue him. …

I'm certainly no lawyer, but I'd think that the breach of contract would automatically mean that you can walk away. What claim could they have once it's proven that they didn't honor their own contract?
 

MarigoldBlue

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Have you tried contacting Writer Beware? They keep everything confidential and Victoria Strauss is a member here. They also have a legal section that might be helpful to you. If you can, try to get other writers involved in this mess to contact them too. It's important to warn others about what's going on.

I did talk to Victoria about this several months ago. She advised me to get a lawyer.

I terminated the contract months ago, as have two other authors, but he refuses to acknowledge it. He continues to sell the books. His response was basically, "Come to Georgia and sue me." He knows the expense involved would keep us from doing that, so he's doing whatever he pleases. I have walked away, but all that's done is kept me from promoting my book. I can't republish it as long as he's still selling it. I have 108 reviews on Amazon right now. If I had a choice to buy a book that had 108 reviews vs. one with the same title and no reviews, I'd buy the one with 108.
 

Ketzel

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If you don't want to hire a lawyer to represent you, you might try making a complaint to the Georgia Attorney General's Office. A business operating within their jurisdiction with a pattern and practice of fraud might be of interest to them.
 

Torgo

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I can't republish it as long as he's still selling it.

That's a slightly different issue to copyright. The way things usually work is, you own the copyright but license the publishing rights to a publisher. While that license is in effect, you can't sell copies of your own edition, for obvious reasons. In your case, it seems clear that you still own the copyright, notwithstanding the registration; but are the publishing rights still with the publisher? If they're not, then it would seem you could indeed publish it. (I AM NOT A LAWYER.)
 

MarigoldBlue

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Ketzel said: If you don't want to hire a lawyer to represent you, you might try making a complaint to the Georgia Attorney General's Office. A business operating within their jurisdiction with a pattern and practice of fraud might be of interest to them.

Three of us sent letters to the Georgia AG and our own state's AG. They told us they couldn't help us because it wasn't a consumer affair. We also filed complaint forms with fraud.org, but I was told unless there are a lot of people involved and/or a lot of money, they won't look at the case.
 

patskywriter

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This is from not too long ago. Sad. :
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232072


The author of this book apparently lost all control over her book and all she could do was to send this in to Amazon under "Editorial Reviews":
"From the Author

The Claiming Words was edited and formatted by Jano Donnachaidh. Errors in editing and formatting (including the spelling in the author's name on the copyright page) have been brought to the publisher's attention, but have yet to be corrected. Please direct any complaints to [email protected] or contact Amazon directly to report quality issues. The author has no control over the book.***
The book cover should be credited to Skylar Faith with Truenotdreams. The Kindle edition credits the wrong cover artist. Again, the author does not have the ability to correct any errors. Complaints should be directed to the publisher or to Amazon directly.
***
I apologize for any inconvenience caused by quality issues. As the author, quality is important to me, but I'm in a position where the publisher has total control over formatting and distribution. ~ Tricia Drammeh



About the Author

x "
 
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Witch_turtle

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Damn :( I have no advice to give, I just wanted to say I'm really sorry this happened to you. Best wishes.
 

patskywriter

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… I've now made it my mission to caution new authors against signing with any new publisher. …

… especially when they only graduated from high school in 2006. I can't imagine putting in so much work and then losing it—although I still don't think you've actually lost it. It's your work and you can prove it if you have to.

I'd still go ahead and reformat that rascal and release it online—for free just out of spite. And because you can. In the new "foreword" of the book I'd explain what happened without actually naming names. It's your work and you can undercut the villain by giving it away if you want to. Sure, he can threaten you, but he's the thief, not you.

I once had a dispute with someone—the details aren't really relevant to this discussion. But the man was in breach of our contract and didn't send the money he owed me. I sent a strongly worded letter, explaining that the courts frown on fraudulent acts but really frown on fraud committed across state lines (citing "RICO"). I (quite visibly) cc:'d the letter to a lawyer friend, with his permission. Got my $$$ in a couple of days. Don't let this guy bully you into submission.
 

LindaJeanne

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Now that someone has named the publisher -- I remember that thread. Horrible that a writer who had already been screwed over by them then to be threatened with a lawsuit on top of that!

Best of luck to all of you in regaining control of your work.
 

MarigoldBlue

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LindaJeanne--the whole situation is horrible.
Patskywriter--we'd actually talked about offering our books for free. Any idea where we could post them for free download?
 

victoriastrauss

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I did talk to Victoria about this several months ago. She advised me to get a lawyer.
When we corresponded, you hadn't yet discovered the copyright registration issue. Could you contact me again, please? I'd like to document this, so I can post a warning about this publisher on my blog. beware [at] sfwa.org. Thanks.

- Victoria
 

MarigoldBlue

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Thank you, Filigree, Witch_turtle, patskywriter, Stacia, and Victoria. I appreciate your comments. Victoria, I messaged you!
 

victoriastrauss

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MarigoldBlue--

I just corresponded with an IP lawyer I know. Other than seeking legal counsel, she suggests you file a copyright correction with the US Copyright Office, attaching a copy of your contract highlighting the copyright clause, and whatever else there is in the contract that confirms that you were not contractually required to surrender copyright to the publisher.

Here's the circular from the Copyright Office that describes how to file a correction.
Who May Apply for Supplementary Registration?
Once a basic registration has been made for a work, any
author or other copyright claimant or any owner of an
exclusive right in the work who wants to correct or amplify
the information given in the basic registration may apply for
supplementary registration. A duly authorized agent of any
such author, claimant, or owner of exclusive rights may also
submit an application for supplementary registration.

How to Apply for Supplementary Registration
The application for supplementary registration must be sub-
mitted on Form CA. To apply for supplementary registration,
an applicant should submit the following:

1. A completed Form CA

2. A photocopy of the front and back of the certificate of the
registration being amended

3. The nonrefundable filing fee in the form of a check or
money order payable to Register of Copyrights. Do not
send cash. Mail to:
Library of Congress
Copyright Office-RACD
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559

Form CA and all Copyright Office forms and publications
are available from the Copyright Office website at
www.copyright.gov. For best results, fill in the form on-screen,
print it, and mail it to the Copyright Office.
You'll need a copy of the copyright registration certificate. Anyone can request this; here's the Copyright Office's circular on how to do so.

Hope this helps.

- Victoria
 

victoriastrauss

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I checked copyright registration records. Two of the authors pubbed by Iconic seem to have had the foresight to register their own copyrights. One book, a compilation, has no copyright registration at all. But the rest show the following notation:
Copyright Claimant: Iconic Publishing, LLC, Transfer: By written agreement.
I've now been told by three authors that they never provided agreement, written or otherwise, for copyright transfer. And the Iconic contract, which I've seen, doesn't mention a copyright transfer anywhere, and clearly states that the publisher must register copyright in the name of the author.

This sure looks like fraud to me.

I'm going to do a post about all this, but in the meantime...Iconic authors, there are a bunch of you. Get together, pool your resources, and hire an intellectual property attorney to pursue this guy. Alternatively, contact the police in Marietta, GA, where Iconic is located. I can tell you from my own experience in trying to get law enforcement interested in literary scammery that it's an uphill battle, but local police sometimes do take an interest, because they don't like the idea of fraud taking place in their own back yard.

- Victoria
 
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MarigoldBlue

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Victoria, I'm in seeing in two different places that Iconic Publishing has the copyright to Wayne Zurl's books: http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pw...rlp-v0hagA-jb9dezBb1TGNua&BROWSE=1&HC=7&SID=4

and:

http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=1&ti=1,1&Search_Arg=Heroes%20%26%20Lovers&Search_Code=TALL&CNT=25&PID=cgdJhJZPHqLrXMEunC5sHNTt5I&SEQ=20130809144218&SID=1

Type of Work: Text Registration Number / Date: TX0007701928 / 2013-03-27

Application Title: Heroes & Lovers.

Title: Heroes & Lovers. Description: Book, 225 p.

Copyright Claimant: Iconic Publishing, LLC, Transfer: By written agreement.

Address: 1050 E. Piedmont Rd, Suite E-119, Marietta, GA, 30062.

Date of Creation: 2012 Date of Publication: 2012-08-11

Nation of First Publication: United States Authorship on Application: Wayne Zurl; Domicile: United States;

Citizenship: United States. Authorship: text. Rights and Permissions: Jano Donnachaidh, Iconic Publishing, LLC, 1050 E. Piedmont Rd, Suite E-119, Marietta, GA, 30062, (404) 372-9788, [email protected] Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.

ISBN: 9780985138899 Names: Zurl, Wayne
Iconic Publishing, LLC
It looks like both Wayne and Iconic have copyright. The copyright is still pending under my name. The woman I spoke with at the copyright office said it was possible to have more than one copyright on a work.
 

victoriastrauss

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Ah. You're right. I checked a couple of his other titles pubbed by Iconic--A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE and REENACTING A MURDER--both are registered to him, so I assumed the others were too (my bad).

Thanks for the correction.

- Victoria
 

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