Sometimes, internal industry shenanigans spill out to where the public can see it. This is one of those times.
Recently, an author registered and trademarked the word “cocky”.
Then she contacted every author who had the word “cocky” in their book titles or subtitles or on the cover anywhere and threatened them with legal action if they didn’t retitle their books or remove them from sale.
She also implied that the authors would owe all their royalties to her if they did not obey.
Then she contacted Amazon and told them to remove the offending titles from sale. Amazon, which always works in reactionary mode and considers things only later if someone screams loud enough, took down the books.
The hue and cry across the book world was instant and loud. Very loud. It has earned the hashtag #cockygate. A search on that will lead you through some of the vitriol and cursing that has resulted. (Brace yourself.)
Copyright and trademark law does not allow someone to trademark a normal, every day word the way this author did. There were various other errors and irregularities attached to her registration, too.
As the majority of authors impacted by this ridiculous overreach were romance authors (just imagine how many authors use that word!), the Romance Writers of America immediately swung into action to have the registration withdrawn.
They also managed to convince Amazon to return the books they had removed from sale, although how much money those authors have lost in the meantime is unknown and probably irrecoverable.
RWA are fighting the registration through legal channels, but as you can imagine, legal fights like this are expensive.
Therefore, a bunch of RWA members got together and built–almost overnight–a collection of Cocktales, in defiance of the registration. It is already available for preorder and will be released on May 26th.
It is a limited time only anthology. It will be withdrawn from sale on August 26, 2018.
90% of the proceeds will be donated to RWA, to fund their legal action against the author.
Personally, I think the anthology is an enormous piece of fun. How many times can you see “cocky” on the cover? If you scan the contents, there are some fun titles in there, too.
In defense of freedom of speech and against the limiting of author voices everywhere, please consider buying a copy of Cocktales.
PS: I think the author has well and truly killed her career–at least, under this pen name!
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