Yesterday I came across a post on social media where a fairly well known author was falsely accused of plagiarizing a book title by a very unknown author. I'm assuming the unknown author is new and most likely indie published. If the unknown author wasn't new to the game he/she would have known this:
Copyright law does not protect names, titles, or short phrases or expressions. Even
if a name, title, or short phrase is novel or distinctive or lends itself to a play on
words, it cannot be protected by copyright.
The U.S. Copyright Office cannot register claims to exclusive rights in brief combinations of words such as:
Names of products or services
Names of businesses, organizations, or groups (including the names of
Pseudonyms of individuals (including pen or stage names)
Titles of works
Catchwords, catchphrases, mottoes, slogans, or short advertising expressions
Listings of ingredients, as in recipes, labels, or formulas. When a recipe or
formula is accompanied by an explanation or directions, the text directions
may be copyrightable, but the recipe or formula itself remains uncopyrightable.
It's interesting to me because I recently discovered that I have a series titled with the very same title as another book by another author. I don't want to mention the title here or the other author because I don't like promoting people that way. However, I didn't even give the title to my series. My publisher came up with that title and I agreed to it. This isn't one of my indie books. I have all the e-mails to prove that the title wasn't even my idea. Plus, in a blurb the author of the other book with the same title actually states that he changed the name of his book, without going into detail about why he removed the original title.
In any event, I think in my case it's a matter of coincidence. I don't believe for a moment the other author stole my title. I believe it was completely innocent. And I would never accuse anyone of something as serious as plagiarism, especially not with a title. To accuse someone of plagiarism when they are innocent is about as low and dirty as anything can get. And if another author were to accuse me of something like this at this point in my life, I would go after him or her in ways they never imagined were possible.
I hate to break the bad news, but you can’t copyright an idea. Nobody can.
I suggest reading that article completely, too.
Tea and Sexual Consent
This is a video that explains the concept of "sexual consent" in a plain and simple way...with tea.
What you probably didn’t know, though, is that you can teach the basic principles of sexual consent with a tea analogy.
The result is the most British thing you will ever lay your eyes on.
You can check this out here.
It's just a shame these things have to be explained and everyone doesn't just know them through that good old fashioned thing called "common sense."
Frank Ocean's Political Blunder?
Frank Ocean, an openly gay rapper whom I've posted about before very highly here on this blog, recently made a BOLD statement slamming Donald Trump for comments that Trump made about the Paris Attacks. It's in all caps...verbatim:
LOVE TO PARIS AND ANY INDIVIDUAL OR FAMILY WHO’S LOST LOVED ONES TO EVIL ANYWHERE IN THIS WORLD. CHILL W/ THE ANGLES [sic] ON THE REAL THOUGH DONALD TRUMP. HOW IS IT ‘INTERESTING’ THAT THESE SHOOTINGS HAPPENED IN A COUNTRY THAT’S TOUGH ON GUNS? TELL US DON? BECAUSE IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT VACUOUS OBSERVATION WAS ABOUT GIVING YOUR NRA-LOVING CONSTITUENCY A HANDJOB AND SPINNING A TRAGEDY FOR POLITICAL GAIN AND I’M THINKING MAYBE USING A SITUATION WHERE DOZENS OF INNOCENTS HAVE JUST BEEN MURDERED IN THE STREETS ISN’T THE BEST TIME. NO?”
First, do people care what Frank Ocean has to say about politics? Second, will a comment like this hurt Ocean and cost him more than a few fans? Third, does Donald Trump even know who Frank Ocean is?
I don't know the answers to these questions but I do know we're living in highly charged political times.
You can check that out here, along with some very mixed comments from readers. Rob Lowe tweeted something after the Paris Attacks that caused an even bigger reaction and I have no doubt he did lose more than a few fans.