News/Discussion: Kenyon-Clare Lawsuit

February 10, 2016     erinthebooknut     Discussion, Feature, News, Opinion Piece, Rant, Timely Topic

I’m sure by now you’ve heard Sherilyn Kenyon (author of the Dark Hunter Series) is suing Shadowhunter series author Cassandra Clare for copyright and trademark infringement.

First, here is the complaint from Kenyon, provided by Courtney Milan on her Twitter: I hope you can read legal-ese

Basically, as I understand it, SK is claiming Clare violated an INFORMAL agreement regarding the term “Shadowhunter” and that she stole the concept of the books from SK. She is also claiming trademark infringement regarding covers and symbols as well as suing 50 john does involved in the writing of the film adaptation and the TV show.

Basically she’s taking on one BIG monster of a suit.

Now, let’s get it out there, Clare HAS been accused of copyright infringement in the past, but NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVEN IN A COURT OF LAW! Therefore it is not considered relevant in the case. That’s how the law works. Also let’s remind everyone than an informal agreement, if one occurred, is not legally binding.

The biggest thing that pisses me off about this entire case is that SK thinks she can copyright an idea. A band of powered individuals saving regular people from demons without them ever knowing, sorry hun, you didn’t invent that. Let’s see what else has a similar idea…hmmm….oh yeah Supernatural! Or what about 50% of urban fantasy EVER WRITTEN!

Ideas are not subject to copyright. If they were no one would ever be able to write anything ever again. It’s the execution of the idea that can be tied up in a little bow and called yours.

As far as the trademark issues? Muscly tattooed guys on covers? You don’t hold he market on that. IE Gena Showalter’s adult books’ covers. The Shadowhunter symbol is also under contention, which, as Tessa Gratton has shown, is total bullshit. Most of the Shadowhunter runes are based on thousand year old runes from various mythologies. The main one is norse, turned upside down. You don’t own the world, SK, sorry.

Here’s the thing, a lot of Urban Fantasies borrow from the historical record as well as various mythologies (Roman, Norse, Greek, Indian, Chinese, Arthurian, and anything else you can think of!) There’s only so many out there, so of course there will be similarities. Nothing is new anymore. Ideas are recycled again and again, combined in various ways to make something different. That’s writing. That’s storytelling. And I’m sorry but none of that is copyright infringement.

Personally I find the whole thing to be rather petty. I think the case is completely ridiculous and hopefully it’ll totally fall apart if anyone in the court system has any brains. There’s a lot of reasonable doubt, a lot of heresay, and a lot that’s very subjective. The thing is SK is taking on not only Clare but members of the television and film communities. There’s a lot of power in Hollywood and I certainly wouldn’t want to set myself against them.

I just find it funny that this is only coming out now after the TV show has started and a new book series is on the way. Not when the movie came out, not when The Infernal Devices came out, but now. Does anyone else find that suspicious?

What are your feelings on the lawsuit and the parties involved? Share in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,


2 responses to “News/Discussion: Kenyon-Clare Lawsuit

  1. I agree – the timing is a little too… well, it leaves a dirty taste in my mouth anyway. Plus, regardless of how anyone personally feels about Cassandra Clare or other accusations, if Kenyon were to win this without having to prove some conscious intent on Clare’s part, it would set a very DANGEROUS precedent for every creative industry out there.

    • erinthebooknut

      It seems so suspicious too me, it definitely leaves a bad taste. And yes, I have a hard time justifying this suit without evidence to intent. Which I doubt Kenyon has any.

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