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Reporting stories

mrzbot

Recently, I started reading a story called Shipwrecked. I noticed it seemed very familiar but didn't think anything of it until today. In my random feed I came accross an older story called Taboo Island. It appears that Shipwrecked is an only slightly altered version of this older story. How do these issues get reported?

Switch Blayde

@mrzbot

I'd notify the author of the original story and let him decide if he wants to take action.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I'd notify the author of the original story and let him decide if he wants to take action.

Sorry, but I'd take more aggressive action than that. After all, there's no guaranteeing the original author is still around, or even answering an older email address. Instead, I'd notify Lazeez (assuming they were both posted on SOL). It's up the administrator to curtail copyright violations on the site. If the site gets a reputation for copyright violations, the entire site loses as authors and readers lose trust in the site. (As ASSTR has for many authors.)

That said, there's a big difference between the same plot and copying the original author's words, which copyright protects. Changing names doesn't clear outright theft of a story, but don't confuse similar stories with story theft.

Replies:   cave jug
ustourist

There is a basic difference, one is parents and daughter, the other is parents and son, but that aside the start of the story shows it to be a blatant rip off almost to cut and paste level.

Ironically, in the foreword to the original the author states .. This is an epic story of three people, a mother, father, and son, stranded on a deserted island. It is loosely based on a movie from 1974 directed by and staring George C. Scott, named "The Savage is Loose."
However, the first author acknowledges inspiration, and the recent story isn't inspiration, it is a poor and very slightly edited copy of the earlier story. It isn't just similar, it is story theft in this instance.

Ernest Bywater

Top right hand corner of most SoL pages is a link to Webmaster report the story with a link to it, and let Lazeez decide what action he wishes to take.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater

Top right hand corner of most SoL pages is a link to Webmaster report the story with a link to it, and let Lazeez decide what action he wishes to take.


Don't forget to link to the original story as well.

cave jug

@Crumbly Writer

there's a big difference between the same plot and copying the original author's words,


Hi there CW, sometime, could be last year on the old forum, I've tried to bring this up as "plagiarism", and it was rejected as ... not quite being so, another author is retelling it in his style, different participants and so on....

I can only speak for myself and as a reader, so, let us say I like the fries you make, the color, size, time you take to cook them, even the size of spuds you use, and you sell them at your shop and nowhere else.
Now, I'm on the road, feel a need for chips/fries, I grab a first packet, it is a different packaging, brand name, same size and color though, but to much salt, stale and soggy and after a third bite, I'll bin it. I'll reach for another brand, I do like fries you can tell and these are just as bad!

If a story gets to a point where there is to much familiarity, it is uncomfortable and to spend more of my precious life on it makes no sense to me. No matter how different one has retold and repackaged it,
I am reading it for the content first.

It should be acknowledged, in my opinion, that this site is littered by contributions of many, who have, no other ways of saying this, have stolen an idea,a premise,location, participants, a theme and so on.
On the bases of tags and the short description given by an author that helps me choose, I am truly running out of reading material here.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@cave jug


It should be acknowledged, in my opinion, that this site is littered by contributions of many, who have, no other ways of saying this, have stolen an idea,a premise,location, participants, a theme and so on.


An idea, A premise, or a theme are not protected by copyright or any other form of IP, they are not the property of a particular author and therefore cannot be stolen.

A location can not be copyrighted unless wholly fictional, and even then is only protected in the specific, not in the general. An island is not a protectable location and can't be stolen. The island of Fubu would be different.

As with location, participants are only protectable in the specific, not in the general. To be a copyright violation, they have to have a good deal more in common than generic roles such as mother or father.

I haven't read the two stories in question, so I can't say if the newer is or isn't a copyright violation.


On the bases of tags and the short description given by an author that helps me choose, I am truly running out of reading material here.


Then you are running out of reading material everywhere. At the high level of abstraction you are using, there are a finite number of stories that can be told.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

A location can not be copyrighted unless wholly fictional


Not true.

A location can be trademarked. Kentucky trademarked their name in 1990. Anyone using their name for business would have to pay a license.

That's why Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC. The Kentucky Derby was changed to The Run for the Roses. And Neil Diamond's song Kentucky Woman was dropped from radio playlists at his request because the license fees were higher than the royalties he got for the airtime.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

A location can be trademarked. Kentucky trademarked their name in 1990. Anyone using their name for business would have to pay a license.


1. Trademark is not copyright.

2. The validity of that trademark is dubious at best.

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has long held that government entities cannot copyright their output. The reasoning behind this would be highly applicable to trademarks as well.

On top of that, as a matter of statutory law, trademarks can only be issued for use in a particular field of business and uses of the mark in other fields are not violations and don't require licensing.

3. Cite a case where Kentucky has actually litigated this trademark and won.

That's why Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC.


I rather doubt that. Can you cite a press release by KFC stating that as the reason.

The reason I am doubtful is that around the same time a lot of other corporations with well known initialisms re-incorporated with the initialism as the companies official name. IBM is just IBM, not International Business Machines. BP is just BP, not British Petroleum.

The Kentucky Derby was changed to The Run for the Roses.


If it was, it was changed back. https://www.kentuckyderby.com/visit/derby-week/derby-day-schedule

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Can you cite a press release by KFC stating that as the reason.


http://www.americanantiquities.com/sodaro.html

http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.asp

note the references of:

Allin, Richard. "Freeing Us from Fat?"
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 21 June 1994 (p. E1).

Power, Christopher. "And Now, Finger-Lickin' Good for Ya?"
Business Week. 18 February 1991 (p. 60).

Keegan, Peter O. "KFC Shuns 'Fried' Image with New Name."
Nation's Restaurant News. 25 February 1991 (p. 1).

Kirschembaum, Alan I. "The 'Original Recipe' for International Success."
Business Dateline. May 1992 (p. 17).

Associated Press. "KFC Tweaks Colonel Sanders Logo."
ABC News. 14 November 2006.

Replies:   Capt Zapp  Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@cave jug

If a story gets to a point where there is to much familiarity, it is uncomfortable and to spend more of my precious life on it makes no sense to me. No matter how different one has retold and repackaged it, I am reading it for the content first.

That's true, but it's not what copyright protects. Copyright protects the words used themselves (which often get hacked apart anyway by a decent editor), not the plot idea. You can't copyright ideas. But, following up on your idea, it isn't the repeated plot which makes these other stories unreadable, it's a bad presentation.

Stories aren't just a string of words. It's attitude, style, phrasing, characters, pacing, etc. There are multiple variables, and a hack won't understand the majority of these minor details. They'll have one-dimensional characters, and the plot isn't well-crafted. It isn't the story idea which makes a successful author, but the actual execution.

That said, creativity counts, a LOT! You can be a tremendous English major, but if you can't formulate an original story, no one's going to be interested in it. But again, it's not the 'idea' of the plot, it's the execution, how you tie everything together, what you include and what you don't.

In my case, as popular as post-apocalyptic stories are, it's unlikely anyone could duplicate all the various factors in my "Great Death" series. Nor could they create characters that readers care deeply about.

@Switch

A location can be trademarked. Kentucky trademarked their name in 1990. Anyone using their name for business would have to pay a license.

That's the difference. You can protect specific names using a trademark, but not using copyright. That said, copyright will also copy specifics in books (say "Middle Earth", or "Abakazan").

Capt Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

Associated Press. "KFC Tweaks Colonel Sanders Logo."
ABC News. 14 November 2006.


I don't know about the rest of the world, but I think KFC needs to 'tweak' something. The 'Colonel' they use now makes him look like a complete IDIOT (which, IMHO, is probably what they think of their consumers).

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Sorry, I am looking for an official statement by the company itself. Speculation about their reasons by third parties proves nothing.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

I rather doubt that. Can you cite a press release by KFC stating that as the reason.


http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.asp

the real reason behind the shift to KFC had nothing to do with healthy food or finicky consumers: it was about money - money that Kentucky Fried Chicken would have had to pay to continue using their original name. In 1990, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, mired in debt, took the unusual step of trademarking their name. Henceforth, anyone using the word "Kentucky" for business reasons - inside or outside of the state - would have to obtain permission and pay licensing fees to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde


http://www.snopes.com/lost/kfc.asp


Sorry, this is just third party speculation. The trademark by the state of Kentucky is bogus and wouldn't have stood up in court. I will remain doubtful unless you can produce an official statement by the company to that effect or an on the record statement by an executive level insider.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

The trademark by the state of Kentucky is bogus and wouldn't have stood up in court.

There are a lot of things that wouldn't stand up in court (eventually), but it's cheaper & a lot less grief not to contest them.

I will remain doubtful unless you can produce an official statement by the company to that effect or an on the record statement by an executive level insider.

You could always track down & checkout the references they provided.

Personally, I always thought it was just a corporate branding thing- Kentucky Fried Chicken just sounded old fashioned, KFC sounded trendy to all the kiddies, so they went with that.

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

I am pretty sure there is a difference between the kind of copying that started this topic and writing stories in say the Naked in School universe where the author gave explicit permission, or some of the other universes that visit SOL like Damsels in Distress or Hairy guy that makes pots. (Are damsels in dis dress when they are nude?)

Most NIS stories have a similar plot, one or two students have to go nude for a week, typically each day is a chapter, or sometimes two, there is not a lot of choice for antagonists for the protagonists, basically some other students, some teachers, the Principal or some of the staff. Where does copying all that material vary from "plot theft"? Most of the pickup scenes in Thinking Horndog's Swarm Cycle by various authors (Its probably several dozen at this point) are very similar. Should we discourage authors from writing in public universes, and some like HP that are just plain stolen? Shakespeare's Tempest was about characters on an island. Do we declare all plots using the topic starting story plagiaristic. (Having the character of being plagiarism.)

Using exactly or almost exactly the same words with maybe some names changed looks bad to me. On the otherhand if someone starts a story "It was a dark and stormy night" are we going to hand him his head? Or do we want the Supreme Court Justice's opinion, "I know it when I see it." Speaking of Shakespeare, I remember hearing many, perhaps most of his plots were "adapted" from other sources.

Some of the authors here have done NIS or Damsel stories. Perhaps their opinions on why it isn't copying "too much" would be helpful.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Grant

You could always track down & checkout the references they provided.


I did, all of them are industry analysts (outsiders) speculating with no evidence to support their speculation other than the timing.

Personally, I always thought it was just a corporate branding thing- Kentucky Fried Chicken just sounded old fashioned, KFC sounded trendy to all the kiddies, so they went with that.


As I said previously, a lot of large multinationals with no connection to Kentucky did the same thing right around the same time, IBM and BP to name just two. This is why I am skeptical of claims based on nothing more than timing vs the Kentucky trademark.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

As I said previously, a lot of large multinationals with no connection to Kentucky did the same thing right around the same time, IBM and BP to name just two.


I don't believe that's true for IBM. When I do a stock quote on Fidelity.com for BP I get a company name of BP PLC. When I do it on HCP (I happen to own this REIT stock), I get HCP Inc. But when I do IBM, I get International Business Machines Corp as the company name.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Some of the authors here have done NIS or Damsel stories. Perhaps their opinions on why it isn't copying "too much" would be helpful.


With the Damsels in Distress stories it's legal because the inventor of the universe gave permission for people to write stories within his universe. He can do that, the same as any copyright holder can give people permission to use their property.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

On top of that, as a matter of statutory law, trademarks can only be issued for use in a particular field of business and uses of the mark in other fields are not violations and don't require licensing.


Don't know if you're right under US law, but get this story and explain how a University Trademark applies to alcohol, please.

http://www.kentucky.com/news/business/article44671668.html

http://dailycaller.com/2015/10/23/univ-of-kentucky-sues-tiny-distillery-because-it-has-decided-it-owns-the-word-kentucky/

http://www.themountaineagle.com/news/2015-10-21/Front_Page/Kentucky_Mist_gets_legal_help_in_fight_with_UK.html

http://national.suntimes.com/national-world-news/7/72/1988165/university-kentucky-says-moonshiner-cant-use-kentucky-t-shirts/

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Don't know if you're right under US law, but get this story and explain how a University Trademark applies to alcohol, please.


It doesn't. The dispute between UK and Kentucky Mist is over clothing. A space both Kentucky Mist and UK sell products in.

http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article50944775.html

In November, the Whitesburg distillery filed suit because UK threatened legal action to stop the company's registration in a trademark category that includes hats, hooded sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shirts, shoes and socks.

The category is one in which UK claims use of the word "Kentucky" to identify its athletic uniforms and various articles of clothing sold to fans. UK had wanted Kentucky Mist to bow out of trying to register its products in that category; Kentucky Mist had asked the court to rule that there was no infringement by Kentucky Mist Moonshine's use of the word "Kentucky."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article50944775.html#storylink=cpy

Dicrostonyx
Updated:

re: KFC

I rather suspect that all reasons given above had some weight on the final decision of the company, but none of them was the reason for the name change. Just rebranding all locations would have cost the company tens of millions of dollars; changes in existing contracts with suppliers and advertisers would cost more, and on top of that would be lost revenue due to customer confusion.

No multi-million dollar company would take on that sort of headache for a singular reason, and certainly not as a knee-jerk response to a possible tax. The decision to change the company's name and image had probably been in the works for years, it just happened to have the good (or bad) timing of happening to go through just as other situations were brewing.


Most of the pickup scenes in Thinking Horndog's Swarm Cycle by various authors (Its probably several dozen at this point) are very similar.


Actually, there are over 200.

It is worth noting, though, that there are different ways of handling shared universes. NIS seems to be fairly open; permission was given for other authors to write their own stories, and they are free to do so without oversight.

With the Swarm Cycle, I believe that Thinking Horndog retained a degree of editorial oversight, as least officially, and some Swarm stories are considered to not be canon. Similarly, until recently there were Swarm stories on SOL that were not on TH's ASSTR sub-site, stories there which were not on SOL, and a few stories that had been posted years ago that were apparently lost or pulled by their authors. These differences were not simply due to differences in allowable site content, but to an active choice by TH.

While not as hands-on, TH's style seems to be closer to some published shared universes, like Wild Cards or Heroes in Hell. In those cases, the original creator, editor, or publisher retained copyright control over the property as a whole and invited a variety of authors to write stories in the universe.

For that matter, the traditional method of criticism was interpretation. Rather than reviewing or recommending a novel as we would today, an author would often reinterpret the same idea into a new form. The new work, while certainly based on the original, is a completely separate piece and is considered to be a response to the original, rather than an attempt to copy.

Crumbly Writer

Understanding copyright, is essential to every author, because the risks of plagiarism are so prevalent. However, the whole discussion about registered trademarks, who owns the name "Kentucky" and whether a comedian makes a good Colonel Sanders are delving into the infantile category. I doubt anyone here will write anything SO successful they'll need to register a book's title to prevent people from copying it. Registered trademarks are only important so you don't walk into a legal landmine over using one, and in that case, it's more a matter of avoiding offending certain corporations (cough, cough, Disney), rather than obeying the law.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Registered trademarks are only important so you don't walk into a legal landmine over using one, and in that case, it's more a matter of avoiding offending certain corporations (cough, cough, Disney), rather than obeying the law.


When working on Shiloh I had to change the name of the university and the names of the mascot etc. because they threatened to sue over the usage when they became aware of it. So it is a minefield you have to take care with.

When writing Odd Man in College I wanted to set it in a specific college, but they refused permission to use their name, so it became a nameless college to avoid any legal issues.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


When working on Shiloh I had to change the name of the university and the names of the mascot etc. because they threatened to sue over the usage when they became aware of it. So it is a minefield you have to take care with.


I don't know Australian trade mark law. In the US, while there are some companies that make such threats, they are baseless.

Under US law, trade marks are issued for a specific field of business, Technically, you can only violate a trade mark by using it to market products in the field in which it was issued.

Under US law, the only action they can take against someone using the mark outside of the field in which it was issued is if someone is disparaging the trade mark. Basically this means you are either using the mark to fool people into thinking you are the company that owns the mark for purposes other than selling counterfeits or deliberately trying to weaken the mark by using it to refer to other similar products so as to transform the trade mark into a generic term.

One big example of this is Kleenex(tm). They had to start suing because people were starting to use Kleenex as a generic term for facial tissues.

The reason for this is that trade marks don't expire, but companies can lose a trade mark if they stop using it or if people start using it generically and they don't take action to stop it.

Under US law, If you are using the trade mark to refer to the specific company/product for which the owner registered the mark then you are safe. Allowing companies to charge people for using trade marks in the correct way actually defeats the purpose of trade marks which is to prevent consumer confusion.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Under US law, trade marks are issued for a specific field of business, Technically, you can only violate a trade mark by using it to market products in the field in which it was issued.


Since the original story was using the university's trademarked name, mascot, and team name to refer to a university, mascot, and team name I think the courts would see that as being in the same field of business and affecting the universities image. Personally, I think they would have got a lot of good advertising out of it, but since they threatened to sue they lost the opportunity for the PR. Whether the case would've stood up in court or not wasn't worth the trouble of finding out. Much easier to just change it and side-step the whole issue than take a chance on trouble that can be avoided.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I don't know Australian trade mark law. In the US, while there are some companies that make such threats, they are baseless.

Try telling that to the MIAA. Just try to use the name of a Disney movie as a title, even it's just an actual person's name, and see just how baseless the threat is. Each movie title (as least those by the major studios) is copyrighted. That's why, once a movie is launched, you won't find any other uses to that title. Using the same name for any other use, however far removed, will potentially cost you millions.

The whole issue with trademark isn't what becomes of it after 50 years, when the company who owns it becomes essentially powerless to fight it anymore, it's what happens to those who piss-off the wealthy owners at the moment (and at the height of the owner's financial power).

Just try publishing an insulting picture of Mickey Mouse. Sure, it's perfectly legal, and virtually every law of 'free expression', artistic and corporate rights are on your side, it won't protect you from defending yourself dozens of times for the same offense, as you fight off dozens of high-powered lawyers on your own dime.

The key with writing, is knowing where you can draw the line. You can't title your next book "Mulan", but you can reference a character visiting a "Mulan" movie, just as you can have them visiting a McDonalds. However, cast them in a bad light, say by suggesting your daughter get abused during the movie, and you'll have a tough time defending yourself.

Thus copyright really boils down to placating the copyright holders, rather than defending yourself in court. You can use the term as much as you want, as long as you don't piss off the people with the money to back up a personal grievance.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Just try to use the name of a Disney movie as a title, even it's just an actual person's name, and see just how baseless the threat is.


If you are using the name of a Disney move as a title for your own work, Disney has a valid beef.

On the other hand if you are suggesting that they sue people for using their movie titles to refer to their movies, that is absurd, If they did that and it had any chance of not being laughed out of court, there could never be any movie or book reviews. Bookstores and theaters would be unable to advertise what they have for sale.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Just try to use the name of a Disney movie as a title, even it's just an actual person's name, and see just how baseless the threat is.


Using it as a title for your own work is a black letter law trade mark violation.

If you are actually referring to their movie in a way they don't like, you will probably get a nastygram from their lawyers, but lawyers send nastygrams with no legal basis to do so all the time. Even if you ignore the nastygram, odds are against it going any further. If they file a frivolous trademark suit that can get their trademark revoked,

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Using it as a title for your own work is a black letter law trade mark violation.

My point, was that Disney is able to get, and litigate such common titles as "Frozen" and "Cinderella", which aren't exactly unique phrases in the English language. Now, because Disney make a movie called "Frozen", the title is forever off the list of legitimate titles. I have no clue how they're able to claim such generic terms. (And yes, I realize that Cinderella isn't a 'common phrase', but it's been in common use for hundreds of years. I also don't understand how they can trademark the names "Aladdin", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Brave".

The U.S. Trademark Corp. needs to grow a spine!

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

I understand based on hearsay rather than personal experience the Olympic Committee has no patience at all with businesses or other use of the word Olympic. They let the mountain range and the peninsula on which those mountains rest use Olympic, but businesses that try to use Olympic hear from lawyers. Like Olympic Dry-cleaning, to use the geographical name and what the business does. Since the capital of Washington State is Olympia, they let that variant slide.

Replies:   graybyrd  Dominions Son  tppm
sejintenej

@Dominions Son

a lot of large multinationals***************** did the same thing right around the same time, IBM and BP to name just two. This is why I am skeptical of claims based on nothing more than timing

It seemed to become fashionable around that time to change to shorter easily remembered names with many companies in the UK following suit. For example Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation became HSBC somewhere around the time it moved to the UK.
As far as I recall British Petroleum had become highly international, doing more business outside the UK so it was no longer purely British. I SUSPECT also that the reference to Britain had become diplomatically difficult in some areas of the world.

graybyrd
Updated:

@richardshagrin


businesses that try to use Olympic hear from lawyers. Like Olympic Dry-cleaning, to use the geographical name and what the business does. Since the capital of Washington State is Olympia, they let that variant slide.


Looking here in my Island-Skagit telephone directory business listings, I find the following:

Olympic 4X4 Supply;

Olympic Pipe Line Co;

Olympic Pipeline (a different company);

Olympic Propeller Co, LLC; and

Olympic View Mobile Home Park.

That last one is maybe a little shaky--they don't have a very good view of the Olympic Mtns from here on the north end of Whidbey Island.

I could call a couple of those and see if they've been threatened with legal action, but it might stir up a little paranoia. Everybody can be sued by anybody for anything these days.

Speaking of the law and lawsuits, it's simple fact that those with the gold make the rules. Good luck taking it to court. And yes, Portia, we do have the equivalent of debtor's prison in the USA today. Just check with people who've been jailed for being unable to come up with a cascading series of court penalties for not having the money to pay an initial bogus traffic citation. The municipal courts in and around St. Louis, MO established that principle in spades!

It was very much like the bank bouncing your check for a $3.75 overdraft, pegging a $35 penalty to it, then immediately bouncing it back to another overdraft, and another $35 penalty. Sometimes the same check would bounce three or four times in a brief period. A very nice way to harvest money. Yes, it's true ... it happens.

Again, them's what gots the gold gets to make the rules. Don't screw with Disney or Chase-Manhattan Bank. Fail to return an overpayment to the bank, and go to jail. Bank wrecks world economy via blatant fraud, not one single one goes to jail.

Gold rules

sejintenej

@graybyrd

I could call a couple of those and see if they've been threatened with legal action, but it might stir up a little paranoia. Everybody can be sued by anybody for anything these days.

Exactly why I changed the language in one third of my screen name.


It was very much like the bank bouncing your check for a $3.75 overdraft, pegging a $35 penalty to it, then immediately bouncing it back to another overdraft, and another $35 penalty. Sometimes the same check would bounce three or four times in a brief period. A very nice way to harvest money. Yes, it's true ... it happens.

You got that wrong; the $35 charge pushed the overdraft into a higher category so there was a £70 charge on top of that.
There was a court case a little like that in the UK where the financial institution lost everything. That was not my employer but we were forced to act as if the courts had it in for us - we would be careful in dealing with the third level distant illegitimate cousin to the chauffeur of the secretary of the Ruritania's ambassador on the grounds that diplomatic privilege would be granted by the courts.
Very seriously I was dealing in loans with large scheduled repayments and if a payment did not arrive on due date we had all sorts of possible problems ranging from our own financing arrangements to meetings to decide whether to sue, allow a day or so or reschedule. All very simple but costly so our loan agreements had a clause giving a (percentage of the amount overdue) charge should this happen. We knew that de facto the courts consider such charge to be a fine and because only the courts can impose fines we would time in prison for contempt of court.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

My point, was that Disney is able to get, and litigate such common titles as "Frozen" and "Cinderella", which aren't exactly unique phrases in the English language.


Get, yes. Litigate, I doubt it. You aren't supposed to be able to trade mark ordinary words, so Frozen isn't a valid trademark.

The US Trademark Office is a bureaucracy and like all bureaucracies it has a process and it doesn't deviate from that process.

When someone tries to register a trademark, others in the same field have an opportunity to object. If no one objects, the USTO rubber stamps the trademark.

The courts on the other hand are not so forgiving. There used to be a Linux fork called Lindows. Microsoft(MS) Threatened to sue claiming that it was a violation of their trademark on Windows.

However, MS did not win that lawsuit. The near penniless Lindows developers stood up to MS and challenged the validity of the trademark.

In the end, rather than risk the court invalidating the Windows trademark, MS paid the Lindows team millions of dollars to change their name.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

I understand based on hearsay rather than personal experience the Olympic Committee has no patience at all with businesses or other use of the word Olympic.


They issue a lot of threats, but I have never heard of them actually suing anyone in the US. Probably because they have zero chance of winning under US law.

Crumbly Writer

@graybyrd

Again, them's what gots the gold gets to make the rules. Don't screw with Disney or Chase-Manhattan Bank. Fail to return an overpayment to the bank, and go to jail. Bank wrecks world economy via blatant fraud, not one single one goes to jail.

The point I was making about Disney, is that trademark law follows the money. You learn who not to piss off and avoid referencing those in any context!

Note: Having said that, I including an adventure in a Disney Park in a story with the Disney staff featured as the bad guys. Apparently even those of us who know better don't always act on it.

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@mrzbot

n my random feed I came accross an older story called Taboo Island.


"Taboo Island" seems to have disappeared as of today. "Shipwrecked" is there, however.

bb

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

May just have been a glitch in the system for a few seconds.
I just picked it up as still there
http://storiesonline.net/s/69485/taboo-island
But Shipwrecked has now disappeared :0)

Replies:   Bondi Beach
cave jug

@mrzbot

And I thought, in this thread, we were talking about, how one story resembles another, how one author, emulates another, how, once story was read by a reader lingers in one' memory and when another "copy" of it, jars once recollection.

Now, we are with Disney, State of Kentucky and the lawyers!
WTF?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
tppm

@richardshagrin

I thought Olympic Dry Cleaning was on Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles (so named in 1932).

Also there's the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, besides Mt. Olympus in Greece.

Bondi Beach

@ustourist

May just have been a glitch in the system for a few seconds.
I just picked it up as still there
http://storiesonline.net/s/69485/taboo-island
But Shipwrecked has now disappeared :0)


Pretty obvious Lazeez has an automatic no-duplication software loop. You can have one but not the other ...

bb

Replies:   Joe_Bondi_Beach
Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Bondi Beach

Pretty obvious Lazeez has an automatic no-duplication software loop. You can have one but not the other ...


Oh, wait. "Shipwrecked" is back.

bb

Grant

One for those that are interested.

Compare-
http://storiesonline.net/s/52022/spirals
with
http://storiesonline.net/s/69435/a-good-man-tutelam-venit-book-one

Opinion?
(I only got as far as Ch4 in the second book when I stopped reading).

mrzbot

Interesting, I perhaps should have clarified that this was a newer story called shipwrecked by an author called victoria95. There is another one that is unrelated to my original comment. That being said, the story in question and even the author's page appear to be gone now.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Get, yes. Litigate, I doubt it. You aren't supposed to be able to trade mark ordinary words, so Frozen isn't a valid trademark.


It's my understanding with some of the Disney films they have a trademark on the name for the film but not as a book or story film because they made a film of a book / story that's in the public domain and because the original is a public domain story / book they can't touch that field for that name at all.

Ernest Bywater

@cave jug

Now, we are with Disney, State of Kentucky and the lawyers!
WTF?


Thread drift goes a lot further than a snow drift.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

It's my understanding with some of the Disney films they have a trademark on the name for the film but not as a book or story film because they made a film of a book / story that's in the public domain and because the original is a public domain story / book they can't touch that field for that name at all.


The fields for which trademarks are issued are fairly broad. The relevant field for Disney title/character name/character image trademarks under US law is entertainment. This covers movies, book and music.

On the other hand under US law a trademark is valid only as long as the owner is actively using it. For a movie or book title, that means if they let it go off market the trademark goes poof.

As for public domain stories, they shouldn't be able to get a trade mark even as a movie title. But that isn't really relevant for "Frozen"

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

It's my understanding with some of the Disney films they have a trademark on the name for the film but not as a book or story film because they made a film of a book / story that's in the public domain and because the original is a public domain story / book they can't touch that field for that name at all.


The fields for which trademarks are issued are fairly broad. The relevant field for Disney title/character name/character image trademarks under US law is entertainment. This covers movies, book and music.

On the other hand under US law a trademark is valid only as long as the owner is actively using it. For a movie or book title, that means if they let it go off market the trademark goes poof.

As for public domain stories, they shouldn't be able to get a trade mark even as a movie title. But that isn't really relevant for "Frozen"

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son


The fields for which trademarks are issued are fairly broad. The relevant field for Disney title/character name/character image trademarks under US law is entertainment. This covers movies, book and music.


I can't find the original court case reports, too tired to think about the search criteria properly. But there were some newsworthy copyright cases involving Disney within about 12 months of each.

1. Disney lawyers jumped on a daycare centre about murals. Snopes has the details.

http://www.snopes.com/disney/wdco/daycare.asp

2. In another case Disney took action against some people because they had costumed characters at an entertainment venue with the same names as several Disney characters It went to court and Disney lost because the court ruled the names were public domain due to being from public domain stories and all Disney owned were the visual appearances of their characters, which were different from the costumes being used.

3. A company was planning to make a film on a public domain book (I think it was Cinderella, but not sure) and Disney heard. The Disney lawyers threatened action and the court held they ahd a right to make the film since the name was the same as the story in the book and Disney didn't own it.

I can't remember if the later two were in the USA or not, but the first one was.

But they were all close in time and showed the Disney attitude about anything they touch.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

1. Nastygrams but no law suit. Meritless nastygrams cost little and have little to no downside.

2. Disney lost, not because it was outside the field, but they only had a image trademark, not a name trademark.

But they were all close in time and showed the Disney attitude about anything they touch.


I don't dispute Disney's attitude about these things. The suit in your #2 had no down side for them other than their own legal costs.

However, suing over a trademark like "Frozen" that was issued but is statutorily invalid has a much bigger down side. It can lead to the court revoking the trademark as Microsoft found out the hard way when they sued over Lindows.

Yes, they will issue all kinds of legal nastygrams over "Frozen". However, even Disney will think twice about actually taking such a weak trademark into court.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
BlinkReader
Updated:

Ufff...

Again you poor americans :D

When you move outside in real world, you will learn that your is only that you could produce and sell as hard good, not same idea, couple of electrons saying that's zero and that one, copyright ...

Ideas are very dangerous - so they are free for grab :D

PS: stealing one's work - specially writing is bad. This is what I stand for, and will be standing with my last breath.

But you guys (and hope girls too) are losing a lot of time arguing around fire that has burned long time ago.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Yes, they will issue all kinds of legal nastygrams over "Frozen". However, even Disney will think twice about actually taking such a weak trademark into court.


I've mentioned before Disney's reputation in the professional arts networks. Disney will sue anyone who depicts a Disney character in any venue, despite a clear legal precedent which allows virtually any use (commercial or non-profit) as long as it's not mass-marketed as a consumer product (which competes with the original). How they get away with this, despite the courts rejecting the claims in most cases, is each suit takes multiple years, and as soon as one is thrown out, they (Disney) launch two more on slightly different grounds, keeping the artist's work unavailable, and racking up huge fees they can't hope to cover.

Disney has a horrible reputation as a Corporate bully, going all the way back to Walt. They have no respect for the actual law, or what's allowed and what's not. Their main intent is in sheer intimidation. As a result, aside from a couple famous lawsuits, few artists are willing to take Disney on, regardless of how well-known the artist is.

Note: That said, I also know a couple SOHO artists who took them on, and succeeded (at least in terms of keeping their art on the market). As far as I remember, one won in the end, while the other gave up after the fourth of fifth lawsuit over the same painting.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@BlinkReader

But you guys (and hope girls too) are losing a lot of time arguing around fire that has burned long time ago.

Sorry, Blink, but I don't see it that way. While I agree with your understanding of the issue, it's important for author's to understand what's protected, and under which rules. Thus I don't mind restating the obvious differences between trademark and copyrights. It's not so much about beating dead horses, as it is trying to grasp what's allowable and what's not.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Disney will sue anyone who depicts a Disney character in any venue, despite a clear legal precedent which allows virtually any use (commercial or non-profit) as long as it's not mass-marketed as a consumer product (which competes with the original).


I don't dispute that, but those suits are over character image trademarks which are on solid legal ground, so there is no risk of the trademarks being revoked as a consequence of losing the law suit.

A lawsuit over a trademark for a title like "Frozen" which is vulnerable to a challenge of it's validity is another matter.

Their main intent is in sheer intimidation. As a result, aside from a couple famous lawsuits, few artists are willing to take Disney on, regardless of how well-known the artist is.


Very true, but sending nastygrams without filing suit gives them 80% of the intimidation value for less than 1% of the cost of filing suit.

I don't think Disney's lawyers are stupid enough to actually file suit over a trademark that is vulnerable to having it's basic validity challenged without pushing back and making the CEO think twice about it.

As I said before, when MS threatened Lindows with their "Windows" trademark, the Lindows developers stood up to them on a shoe string budget and and came within a hairs breath of having the Windows trade mark invalidated by a court. The only thing that saved MS's Windows trademark was MS as plaintiff in the suit offering the defendant Lindows a settlement where MS paid Lindows a boat load of money.

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