Romance author Faleena Hopkins earned the wrong kind of notoriety when she registered a trademark on the word "cocky" for use in romance novel titles and then began indiscriminately threatening to sue her peers for using this common trope.
It's earned Hopkins a spot in EFF's Hall of Shame. Katharine Trendacosta describes Hopkins' wide-ranging abuses, and the dubiousness of her trademark:
There’s a lot that went wrong here. Hopkins was able to get a trademark and use it to intimidate authors like T.L. Smith and Melissa Jane into throwing away money to change the title of a book when they didn’t have to. Even when faced with an illegitimate claim, independent authors won’t always have the resources to fight back.
Amazon’s quick draw on suspensions is also very dangerous—and reminiscent of what we see all the time in copyright takedowns. Even though a claim is bogus or based in an overinclusive trademark, creators who don't have the resources to fight back are still deprived of a large marketplace. If companies like Amazon act unthinkingly in response to infringement claims, even shaky ones, it creates a sledgehammer that is all too simple to wield. And not everyone is going to be lucky enough to generate enough noise to get backup.
Author Trademarks the Word 'Cocky,' Earns the Ire of Romance Writers Everywhere
[Katharine Trendacosta/EFF Deeplinks]
My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), […]
For decades, architectural critic and photographer John Margolies obsessively documented roadside attractions: vernacular architecture, weird sculpture, odd businesses and amusements. By his death in 2016, his collection consisted of more than 11,000 slides (he published books of his favorites, with annotations).
After the EU Copyright Directive passed with a slim majority that only carried because some MEPs got confused and pressed the wrong button, the government of Poland filed a legal challenge with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the Directive -- and its rule requiring that all online discourse be filtered by black-box algorithms […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]
Life isn’t getting any less hectic, and pressure cookers are a quick, healthy solution for a growing number of kitchens. But if you thought your Instant Pot was versatile, there’s a major upgrade on the market: The Yedi 9-in-1 Total Package Instant Programmable Pressure Cooker. If you’ve somehow never used a pressure cooker before, try […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]