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]
Disney is being sued by the Michael Jackson estate for using fair-use clips in a biopic called "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" -- in its brief, the company decries "overzealous copyright holders" whose unwillingness to consider fair use harms "the right of free speech under the First Amendment."
This week, I sat down for an hour-long interview with the Yale Privacy Lab's Sean O'Brien (MP3); Sean is a frequent Boing Boing contributor and I was honored that he invited me to be his guest on the very first episode of the Lab's new podcast.
For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world.
The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is the foundation on which many creatives build their careers, but some of its programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, are notoriously complex, making it difficult for aspiring designers, photographers, and the like to break into their field. But, don’t get discouraged. The Pay What You Want: Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle […]
From self-driving cars to Siri, we’ve already gotten a taste of what AI can do, and now this groundbreaking technology is making its way to education and revolutionizing the way we learn new languages. Mondly uses state-of-the-art speech recognition to help you speak foreign languages like a true local. Lifetime subscriptions are on sale for […]
We’ve all used Excel at some point in our careers, but chances are most of us have only scratched the surface of what this ubiquitous program can do. From automating simple tasks to presenting data through beautiful charts and PivotTables, Excel brings a ton of utility to the table that can make a huge impact […]