Is It Possible To Be Too #Cocky?
I usually refrain from getting involved publicly, but as a reader, I feel strongly about this. Trademarking a single word under the guise of "protecting readers" from purchasing another author's book containing the same word in the title is ludicrous. And insulting to readers, implying we're not intelligent enough to search a book by the author's name. Or notice who the author is. Or return an incorrectly purchased book. By obtaining a trademark for the word "cocky" as it pertains to a series of romance novels, and then sending cease and desist letters to authors who had already published their books, requiring them to change the title, Faleena Hopkins has singlehandedly nailed the final nail in her career's coffin. Well, with a little help from some fine, upstanding legal counsel. (Yes, that was sarcasm, in case that wasn't clear.) Not a single reader I've seen online who is aware of Faleena Hopkins' "cocky" trademark will buy her books now, and many are returning or deleting what they do have and seeking out romance titles containing "cocky" and purchasing those books.
Here is a link to a petition to have the trademark rescinded. I'm not sure who started the petition, but if this is something that concerns you, you can make your voice heard and sign it here. If this trademark is left to stand, what's next? Trademarks for words like alpha, billionaire and step-brother? My gut tells me either someone in the Trademark Office didn't do their job of researching correctly, or there's something that went on behind the scenes to push the trademark through. Really, tradmarking the word "cocky" for romance novels would be like giving a development company a trademark on the word "app" or "application." And, ironically, when I searched the Trademark Office, there were no trademarks on those two words. Hmm.
Indie publishing is a tight community and, for the most part, they support each other. Erin Nicholas set her new rom-com series in Bliss, Kansas and then discovered Jamie Farrell had published a book entitled Blissed. Rather than having a problem between the two authors, they now support each other's work. C. M. Seabrook was publishing a book, Wild Irish, when she realized Mari Carr had a series by the same title. When Seabrook contacted Carr, rather than making any accusations about copying, Carr promoted Seabrook's book. This is far more representative of independent authors than Ms. Hopkins' aactions, and only one of the reasons I love and support them.
If you want to find out more about what's been happening, just search #Cocky, #CockyGate, and even #ByeFaleena. I also came across an interesting blog post written by an attorney about this issue, which you can read here. Very informative, including the comments. Until next time, dear reader
Much love between the covers,