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Author Threatens To Sue Book Reviewers Over Trademark Infringement

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the let-me-know-how-that-works-out-for-you dept.

Books 218

Nate the greatest writes "Do you know what is crazier than sending DMCA notices to a site like Lendink which doesn't host any content? It's when an author threatens to sue book reviewers over trademarks. Jazan Wild, a comics creator, is sending out threatening emails to any and all book blogs who review a recently published book called Carnival of Souls. The book was written by Melissa Marr, and it happens to use a title which Jazan Wild owns the registered trademark. He's also suing the publisher for trademark infringement, but HarperCollins is laughing it off. The book blog Bookalicious posted the email they got from Jazan. Needless to say they did not take down the review."

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Next, chef sues recipe users ! (5, Funny)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41310311)

If DMCA can be applied to kitchen, maybe a chef who trademarked "salt" would sue anyone who dare to use salt in their cooking

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (4, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41310407)

That would lower everybody's blood pressure! Seems like a good move. All food will taste like shit, though...

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310471)

Mod parent down for disinformation.

The growing trend is to use absolutely insane amounts of salt in all fast food and chain restaurant food to try to make it taste better since it's crap quality and leads to health concerns. Lowering salt content is not the same as removing it all together.

Clearly daem0n1x doesn't eat at local and/or fine dining restaurants where salt is used to enhance flavors and never overused.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (3, Funny)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41310645)

I can only reply with one thing:

A big fucking WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | about 2 years ago | (#41310799)

Not sure if 3-hit-combo of wooshes or great sarcasm.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310785)

I wish Africa was trademarked.

Nice, docile little honey bees that do useful things like pollinate and make honey... then some jackass gives them African genes and they're ruthless super aggressive killer bees. Sure hope that guy is happy. Makes the rest of us feel so good about the next major genetic engineering effort.

Nice, docile inner cities where you can walk the street at night and not worry about it... then some jackass imports a bunch of African slaves and they multiply and now inner cities are filled with violent gangbangers who think accidental eye contact is a terrible form of aggression!

Lessee what else does Africa export? AIDS. Malaria. Blood diamonds. Extremist Islam. I would say Ebola but the afflicted don't usually get far. But thats not for lack of trying!

Lemme guess if you don't like AIDS you are a racist. Right? Maybe a continent-ist? Yes that is a new one for the liberals to cry about. Continent-ism.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41310805)

You've set off the douche alarm!

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310837)

You've set off the douche alarm!

Yeah. It's so non-douche to scream RACIST! at everybody who disagrees with you. What was I thinking, mocking those liberals. You racist.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41310929)

*head explodes trying to understand AC*

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311121)

Your sig is a wonderful contradiction... there's never anyone stupider than the person who should know better, but still decides to feed the troll. By doing it you lower yourself below their level. You let them win.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1, Troll)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41311385)

Admonished by an AC! However will I live?

*returns to SSRS 2005 (yes I know it's crap, no it's not my choice)*

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1)

psiclops (1011105) | about 2 years ago | (#41311193)

i didnt see the word racist in his post. was it some sort of easter egg and how do i unlock it?

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#41311241)

You forgot white people, they come from Africa too.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311327)

I live in Africa. You guys had girly bees that needed improvement to begin with

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310679)

If DMCA can be applied to kitchen, maybe a chef who trademarked "salt" would sue anyone who dare to use salt in their cooking

1. DMCA has exactly NOTHING to do with trademark claims.
2. IF someone were to trademark the word "salt", it would not apply to the use of salt but the use of the word "salt", for example in a recipe.
3. If such a trademark were ever actually granted, and they did NOT file suit against someone else using it, that would amount to failure to protect the trademark, thus rendering it invalid. So they HAVE to sue (or at least issue cease and desist).
4. Such a trademark would not be granted. You have to show that the TM is synonymous with your brand and isn't already a commonly used term.
5. Trademark does not cover any possible use of a word. Rather, it covers uses of the word in which one brand could be mistaken for another brand of similar or otherwise related items.

In short, you're either clueless or a troll. Based on your first post position, I think it's safe to call you a Troll.

Re:Next, chef sues recipe users ! (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#41311149)

2. IF someone were to trademark the word "salt", it would not apply to the use of salt but the use of the word "salt", for example in a recipe.

No, if there were a SALT mark, it would not apply to the word 'salt' where that word is used to mean an actual salt substance, e.g. common table salt. It would be generic in that context, and anyone could use it. OTOH, if you had a line of clothing called SALT, or SALT-brand brake pads for automobiles or something, that would be fine. If it helps, think of Apple, which has the APPLE mark for computers and consumer electronics, but has no power in the realm of fruit.

4. Such a trademark would not be granted. You have to show that the TM is synonymous with your brand and isn't already a commonly used term.

Again, as with APPLE for computers, you can use commonly used words as valid marks. You just can't use them in the context in which they're already commonly used. APPLE is a generic mark for fruit, and thus unprotectable; but it was arbitrary for computers, and thus quite strong.

3. If such a trademark were ever actually granted, and they did NOT file suit against someone else using it, that would amount to failure to protect the trademark, thus rendering it invalid. So they HAVE to sue (or at least issue cease and desist).

No, a mark holder does not have to file suit or even send off nasty letters when other people use the same thing. That's not required at all. So long as the relevant group of customers are not confused about the commonality of sources of goods and services labeled with the mark, there is no confusion, and no danger to the viability of the mark, and thus no need to take action to defend it lest it be lost.

Does he only sue for negative reviews... (-1, Redundant)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#41310315)

... or also for flattering reviews?

Re:Does he only sue for negative reviews... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310327)

It' not his fucking book, idiot. Did you not even read the summary?

Re:Does he only sue for negative reviews... (1)

cristiroma (606375) | about 2 years ago | (#41310829)

Don't know who modded you as flamebait, but clearly didn't read the summary either

Re:Does he only sue for negative reviews... (4, Insightful)

psiclops (1011105) | about 2 years ago | (#41311255)

probably related to the tone of his reply. had he said "the person suing is not the author of the book, they simply own a trademark of which they believe the book and anything related - e.g. reviews of the book infringe upon." he probably would have been upmodded.

in the world of argument facts are informative & insults detract from your point.

Well... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310323)

I feel bad for the guy. He's been using the mark since 2004 for his business with his wife. That's their brand. Sending the C&D's to review sites was a mistake, but these obviously aren't going out from a lawyers office... he's trying to get it solved himself while Harper Collins gives him the finger.

I generally don't like C&D's, but I don't like a huge publisher just screwing this guy and his wife because they can, either.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41310411)

As others have pointed out, "Carnival of Souls", even if trademarkable, is a pretty generic name and has been in use for FAR, FAR longer. Hell, I'm sure I've played at least one computer game where that was the name of a level, for instance.

It's like me trademarking "Emotional Rollercoaster" and then trying to enforce it. If he had a case, it's only against HarperCollins. And if he had a case, it would be expensive and difficult to win and would make him a lot of money from them playing off his established trademark.

I doubt he has a case. He has to enforce the trademark. But he does not have to enforce third-party reviews of the trademark (hell, that just adds to evidence of damages if anything else). But the second you sue HarperCollins, the first thing they will have done is work out if he had a case. Chances are that he just doesn't.

Re:Well... (2)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | about 2 years ago | (#41310809)

There's an instance of this same name in a article published today in /. about Magic the Gathering. It's a name of some card. So I guess it's an expression on public domain already. Therefore, the C&D letter is a troll.

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41310891)

Indeed.

Movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_souls [wikipedia.org] (1962)
KISS Album: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Souls:_The_Final_Sessions [wikipedia.org] (1996)
(some band I've never heard of): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Souls_(Miranda_Sex_Garden_album) [wikipedia.org] (2000)


I could go on, but my toast is burning. :)

Re:Well... (0)

jeremyp (130771) | about 2 years ago | (#41310925)

"Windows" is a pretty generic common name. But do you think Microsoft as a trademark on it? Of course they do. Will they sue you if you attempt to sell an operating system named Windows? Yes and they'll probably win.

If he has a comic book business or product called "Carnival of Souls" and a registered trademark and Harper Collins is also selling a comic book called "Carnival of Souls" it seems to me, as a not-a-lawyer, that he has a strong case.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311031)

Yeah, but that's not a comic book, and not even series, it's a fantasy novel.

If he'll be stupid enough to actually let it go to the court, he'll probably lose the trademark as lacking distinctiveness AND remain in Internet's memories as an asshole sending C&D's where he shouldn't.

If he's smart, he'll try and settle with HarperCollins out of court and license the trademark to them. This way he'll keep trademark and might get some pocket change from HarperCollins (but still remain in Internet's memories as an asshole sending C&D's where he shouldn't).

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311039)

Microsoft may have a trademark on the term "Windows". They probably have a trademark on the term "Microsoft Windows", but the term "Windows" on its own is too generic and was in use long before MS created their shitty OS. And, if you sold an OS called Jeremy Windows and MS sued you, and you had enough money to defend yourself, you would probably win. Notice "OpenWindows", "DECwindows" and of course the "X Window System", commonly known as "X Windows".

Disclaimer: I haven't done any research on this recently at all. But I bet you a buck (one shiny dollar) that I'm more correct than you are.

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#41311041)

This guy seems to have a history of suing people for generic, carnival-themed horror. Here he is suing NBC for Heroes' having a carnival scene.

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/05/see-carnival-of-souls-comparisons-from-60-million-heroes-lawsuit/ [comicbookresources.com]

I'm can't say with 100% certainty that this Jazan Wild is filing frivolous lawsuits in hopes of getting some easy money, but I find the idea that he truly believes that he invented the macabre carnival idea, or that he coined the term "Carnival of Souls" hard to swallow. In addition, this guy be be completely nuts to think he can sue reviewers for copyright infringement. I say he's just fishing.

Re:Well... (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41311291)

Let's assume the Windows thing is true for a second.

I've just said Windows. Can I be sued for trademark infringement? No.

Windows is shit.

Now can I? No.

Windows is the biggest turd I've ever seen in my life.

Now can I? No.

But the person who infringes on the trademark - they can. This isn't about enforcing a trademark. It's about suing people for mentioning two words together, even when they've been told it's the name of a product (and if that IS a problem, then you need to sue the product manufacturer, not the reviewer who - at best - might want to put a correction/clarification up at most).

The parties being sued did not choose that name or use it to sell items themselves. Someone else did that. That someone else is HarperCollins - the ONLY people he has a basis to sue at all.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 2 years ago | (#41311115)

The thing is, it's a trademark. Trademarks must be defended against any potential threat, or you risk losing them. It doesn't matter how strong his case is. In fact, I doubt he expects to win anything. He's just doing what he has to so no-one can say he didn't defend his trademark and just take it away from him later.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311297)

I doubt he has a case.

He doesn't. Book titles aren't protectable under IP laws.

Books, yes, but not their titles.

Re:Well... (1)

knightri (841297) | about 2 years ago | (#41311333)

I think the concern from the authors point of view is another 'series' being created with the same title. If this is the case, which I don't think it is since the next book from Ms. Marr has a different title, he would be in the right to sue the publisher.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41310429)

Reading a bit I would agree with the very un-/. opinion that this is not completely without merit.
The C&D's to review sites are plain wrong, but he may indeed have a valid claim to the trademark with the publisher or author.
It's not so much the title of a single book, which cannot be trademarked, but a title of a series of books, which can be trademarked.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

Tx (96709) | about 2 years ago | (#41310459)

FTA: "Any sane person would have put a few minutes thought into the matter and realized that such an obvious phrase as Carnival of Souls would likely have been used as a title many times before. In fact, Bookfinder turned up at least a couple dozen different books, movies, TV episodes, and more – some of which dates back to 1962. And if you look inside books, Google says that it found the phrase no less than 5600 times (with some duplication, obviously)."

You do get that, right? A phrase used dozens of times as the title of books, movies, and TV episodes. If it was an original phrase that had never been used before, then his case might have some merit, but it's not, and he's just trolling.

Re:Well... (1, Informative)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41310527)

You do get that, right? A phrase used dozens of times as the title of books, movies, and TV episodes. If it was an original phrase that had never been used before, then his case might have some merit, but it's not, and he's just trolling.

I am no lawyer, but the difference here is the difference between a copyright, which you automatically get upon creation, and a trademark, which you have to apply for and pay the USPTO for.

Re:Well... (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#41311083)

You can't go around trademarking terms already widely in use. It doesn't matter that it's not a copyright. It just means this guy should have his trademark challenged.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

subreality (157447) | about 2 years ago | (#41311061)

If it was an original phrase that had never been used before...

You're thinking of patents and prior art. Trademarks don't work that way - they belong to whoever registers them in specific categories.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#41311185)

You do get that, right? A phrase used dozens of times as the title of books, movies, and TV episodes. If it was an original phrase that had never been used before, then his case might have some merit, but it's not, and he's just trolling.

No, that doesn't matter.

Trademarks don't care about originality; you can get protection for your mark even if you copied your mark from somewhere else.

Trademarks don't care about novelty; you can get protection for your mark even if the word or symbol that constitutes the mark already existed prior to your use of it as a mark.

You think that Apple or Nike invented the words they use as marks?

Read the trademark! (5, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41310583)

This is Slashdot and nobody seems to have done a simple USPTO search!

He has not (and I think cannot) trademarked a comic title. He has trademarked a trademark for sources of downloadable media content. From a read of the grant, this does not cover books or reviews. He cannot landgrab his trademark to cover areas outside its applicability. Much as I personally dislike HarperCollins, I suspect that the response of their lawyers will be (correctly) the same as in the famous Arkell v Pressdram.

The USPTO search should be compulsory reading before commenting on these issues. It quickly shows whether someone has a case, may have a case, or doesn't understand how trademarks work. IANAL, this does not constitute legal advice or opinion etc., but in this case I suspect he falls into my last class.

Re:Read the trademark! (4, Interesting)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 2 years ago | (#41310893)

He has not (and I think cannot) trademarked a comic title. He has trademarked a trademark for sources of downloadable media content. From a read of the grant, this does not cover books or reviews.

He has two registrations, the first of which most certainly does cover books.

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:m2hq6u.2.2 [uspto.gov]
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4008:m2hq6u.2.1 [uspto.gov]

I'd have thought the term already sufficiently generic enough to refuse these trademarks, let alone allow him to assert ownership over pretty much any fucking use of the phrase.

Pro tip for Kazan Wild: Did you know that the phrase "The Good Book" is yet to be registered as a trademark for religious multimedia content. Go grab it, and while you're on your way down to the the USPTO, don't bother looking before crossing any busy roads you encounter.

Re:Read the trademark! (1)

raynet (51803) | about 2 years ago | (#41310945)

You did notice that hey have two registrations of the mark in USPTO, one made in 2009 for 'Comic books; Graphic novels; Novels.' and second in 2011 for 'Downloadable motion pictures and television shows about drama, carnival themes, fantasy, supernatural themes; Motion picture films about drama, carnival themes, fantasy, supernatural themes; Motion picture films and films for television featuring children's entertainment'

Re:Read the trademark! (4, Funny)

Snaller (147050) | about 2 years ago | (#41310995)

"This is Slashdot and nobody seems to have done a simple USPTO search!"

Because we use Google, not some weirdo search thing!

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310885)

Go to the linked review site. He's staunchly defending his C&D letters against review blogs. He's a little shit that needs a crotch punch.

Re:Well... (2)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 2 years ago | (#41311017)

Go to the linked review site. He's staunchly defending his C&D letters against review blogs. He's a little shit that needs a crotch punch.

Assuming he's actually a thoughtful and decent guy, he appears to be roleplaying as a batshit crazy cunt of a man. Seems that this isn't his first stab at asserting ownership over things that existed long before he ever put crayon to paper.

http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/05/see-carnival-of-souls-comparisons-from-60-million-heroes-lawsuit/ [comicbookresources.com]

carnival of souls is an invalid trademark (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | about 2 years ago | (#41310329)

the universe already owns the rights.

publicity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310359)

might as well be orchestrated to drive the sales of the new book... in these times, everything is possible

this is beyond ridiculous (-1, Troll)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41310381)

when there's no money to be made in creation, when the only money to be made is in litigation, then it's time to ditch ALL patents and trademarks, overhaul the system COMPLETELY and start over! And NO NEW PATENTS FOR OBVIOUS SHIT, NO NEW PATENTS FOR IDEA INCLUDING THE WRITTEN WORD OR SOFTWARE CODE AND NO PATENTS FOR RECTANGLES WITH ROUNDED FUCKING CORNERS!!

Because it's scum like that who choke the living shit out of creativity and the desire to create for fear that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE MIGHT HAVE HAD THE SAME OR SIMILAR IDEA WHILE HAVING A WANK!

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41310437)

But I would agree to a patent on TYPING ALL CAPITALS.

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (-1, Offtopic)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41310457)

um, wha? I didn't trip the filter, if that's what you're getting at... besides, it's my keyboard, my thoughts. What are you, a punctuation Nazi?

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41310533)

um, wha? I didn't trip the filter, if that's what you're getting at... besides, it's my keyboard, my thoughts. What are you, a punctuation Nazi?

/quote>
Capitalization nazi, not punctuation nazi. And apparently also a semantics nazi.

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#41310745)

Capitalization nazi, not punctuation nazi. And apparently also a semantics nazi.

Nazi should be capitalized.

So you're anti-semantic? (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | about 2 years ago | (#41310755)

And apparently also a semantics nazi.

Wouldn't being a semantics nazi make you an anti-semantic?

Re: So you're anti-semantic? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310915)

And apparently also a semantics nazi.

Wouldn't being a semantics nazi make you an anti-semantic?

No, it makes you a nigger lover.

Nein, das wäre eine antisemantics Nazi sein (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41310937)

It would just make you demand that everybody recognise your right to impose semantics on everybody. Or perhaps Symantec. This is our last territorial demand on your computer! Install Norton or the Tigers roll at dawn!

Re: So you're anti-semantic? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41311127)

Wouldn't being a semantics nazi make you an anti-semantic?

I know I am. Their anti-virus solution sucks!

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (0)

psiclops (1011105) | about 2 years ago | (#41311409)

capitilization can be considered a part of punctuation (although some may not consider it to be) but one would not be wrong to class incorrect capitilization as incorrect punctuation

punctuation is essentially a tool/set of tools to make sentences easier to read and avoid disambiguation capitilization is part of that

semantics is a fun game

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310603)

That patent is easily circumvented by using copy&paste.

Captcha: nations — makes sense in the context of typing all capitals. :-)

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (2, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 2 years ago | (#41310499)

If you think that by using caps lock you can get me to do what you want... Well, that's where you're right. But - and I am only saying that because I care - there's a lot of decaffeinated brands on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing.

Re:this is beyond ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311279)

Thanks for making me laugh this morning! Had to post as AC because I used a mod point on you. :)

He's got nothing... (4, Interesting)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41310383)

His comic was put out in 2006, but the title/phrase has been in use since at least 1962.

He will have to show that people would somehow confuse this book, with his comic, which would be fairly hard.

In need of Attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310395)

will convulse, roll, scream to be noticed. Please ignore.

Harper Collins did infringe his trademark (2, Interesting)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | about 2 years ago | (#41310427)

The problem is in granting him trademark ownership of the phrase "Carnival of Souls" in the first place. He's just acting to defend it against any infringement as any other trademark owner would. Of course threatening reviewers is ridiculous but the publisher is going to have to pay him off. No way can they put out a book out with the same title as an existing trademark using for comics/graphic novels etc. Someone in Harper Collins legal department should get fired.

Re:Harper Collins did infringe his trademark (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310501)

Actually their are many books with the same name...

Re:Harper Collins did infringe his trademark (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310569)

You cannot copyright or trademark the titles of books.

Re:Harper Collins did infringe his trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310609)

Quickly! Publish a cookbook called Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Let us know what happens...

Re:Harper Collins did infringe his trademark (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#41310769)

Well, not exactly; what you cannot do is use a single book title as an example of trademark usage, which is required to register it. You can, on the other hand, use a book title if it's part of a series or group of products.

Soon /. (1, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41310441)

will only talk about patent trials, copyright trielas and related counter-trials.
Which will make the site boring (and sued by almost all comment publishers).
Please, Moderators and meta-Moderators, quit from letting that crap to be published.
We need the ol' good /. ! (aka SlashDotBang)

Re:Soon /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310845)

We need the ol' good /. ! (aka SlashDotBang)

said the guy with UID > 2e+6

Sorry, but there is a valid point here (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | about 2 years ago | (#41310461)

Jazan holds the trademark over "Carnival of Souls", and he has a legal obligation to legally defend it or lose it.

It may seem silly to sue review sites, but the legal duty of a trademark holder is to actively defend illegitimate use of the trademark or risk dilution.

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310535)

He'll still have to take them to court and get money out of them. Nobody is taking him serious, because he's only talking, not doing.

BTW, are you going to get sued too?

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310713)

He'll still have to take them to court and get money out of them. Nobody is taking him serious, because he's only talking, not doing.

BTW, are you going to get sued too?

No, he doesn't have to take them to court if they respond to a cease and desist request and stop using it. He only has to take them to court if they refuse.
And no, he doesn't have to win any money from them, all he needs is a ruling saying his TM is valid. Even if the courts determine the alleged infringement was not actually infringing, as long as the TM is found to be valid it will still stand.

But if you do not take the proper actions against any case where it appears to be infringement of the TM, you lose it.

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (1)

Kasar (838340) | about 2 years ago | (#41310557)

The trademark office created the joke by giving him the trademark. There've been at least two movies by that name, one http://archive.org/details/CarnivalOfSouls1962 [archive.org] and the other a Wes Craven movie in 1998.
Maybe I should try to register Psycho or something.

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#41310685)

This is a trademark, not a patent. Is prior art relevant? "McDonalds" is a trademark, but the name existed for centuries before the fast-food chain.

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about 2 years ago | (#41310899)

Prior art does matter. The whole point of the trademark is that it specifically differentiates the particular thing to which the trademark refers: in the context of fast food places, McDonalds has a trademark on that name; they wouldn't have been able to get this trademark if there were already restaurants with the name McDonalds. Because there are already artistic works called Carnival of Souls, then that would significantly impinge the validity of the trademark.

For a good example of the importance of existing names for trademarks, look up 'Hungry Jacks' in Australia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_Jack%27s)

They didn't (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41310959)

See my post above. The trademark applicability is very restricted (and does not seem to include books, or reviews of books.)

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41310833)

"but the legal duty of a trademark holder is to actively defend illegitimate use of the trademark or risk dilution."

So if you don't defend someone who is using your trademark illegitimately, then there is a risk you will be diluted? That sounds a bit harsh.

Don't worry, we know what you meant:

"but the legal duty of a trademark holder is to actively defend against illegitimate use of the trademark or risk losing the trademark due to trademark dilution."

Re:Sorry, but there is a valid point here (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41311183)

It may seem silly to sue review sites, but the legal duty of a trademark holder is to actively defend illegitimate use of the trademark or risk dilution.

No but, just two separate sentences. It may seem silly to sue review sites. Period.

Actually it IS silly to sue review sites. There's never been a documented case anywhere that says when someone writes a review of something that it causes a trademark to be invalid. That notion is simply absurd as is the action of sending a C&D to the reviewers.

Jazan suing HarperCollins is understandable and defendable in this trademark case, but don't excuse all actions by this guy who I can only assume has sought some "free" legal advice.

yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310539)

Yeah theres something called Fair use

Great... (1)

Docasman (870959) | about 2 years ago | (#41310573)

Now /. will be getting a DMCA notice too.

The author's take on this (4, Informative)

Kergan (780543) | about 2 years ago | (#41310621)

The author's take on this is further down in the comment section of Bookalicious. Quoting the key parts:

I want you to understand something. We contacted Ms. Marr and Harper Collins, way back in June and asked them to please respect our trademark. (...). My wife and I have built our company Carnival Comics over the last 10 years. In that time, we invested endless hours and tons of money building our brands. We have been very blessed. Carnival Of Souls, our series was the number 1 ebook on Blackberry for over a year. It was featured in the LA Times. (...)

So we protected our time and money and brand by registering a trademark for CARNIVAL OF SOULS. I started using the mark in commerce, way back in 2004. I applied for registration in 2009. and the USPTO granted me a mark.

The person you should be mad at is Harper Collins, who themselves own trademarks for book series. This is a big company, looking at someones lifetime of work and just taking it. We begged them to do the right thing. I had hoped Mrs. Marr would stand up for the rights of trademark owners, but she did not. Would you be angry at J.K. Rowling for stopping someone from putting out a HARRY POTTER series? She has a trademark as well.

See my point? I am not doing anything but trying to save my series from an out and out attack by a billion dollar corporation that feels they are above the law. I knew that if they released the Marr book, I would be the bad guy, for trying to defend my trademark. But what else can I do? Would J.K. sit back while someone else released another HARRY POTTER series. I think if you look at the facts in the case, you will see, that Harper Collins, should have not released a book and series, with a mark that they knew, was already out there.

Re:The author's take on this (2)

mrbester (200927) | about 2 years ago | (#41310683)

So what about Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Carnival of Souls?

Re:The author's take on this (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#41310839)

That's as maybe but I suspect J. K. Rowling might have run into a hitch if she'd titled her first novel Harry Potter, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Re:The author's take on this (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310919)

Would you be angry at J.K. Rowling for stopping someone from putting out a HARRY POTTER series? She has a trademark as well.

No, I would not, because there wasn't already material published under that name. A quick google search will show that the title "Carnival of Souls" is the title of a Horror movie from 1962, which has had a remake as recently at 1998. It was also used in the title of a KISS album in the mid 90's.

Doing a little more digging I find a comic published on Amazon for the Kindle called "Jazan Wild's Carnival of Souls", with the TM attributed to both Carnival Comics AND Jazan Wild (one of the authors). A little more searching, and look what I find: This is the same guy who tried to sue NBC over the plotline of Heroes, alleging it was ripped off from.... you guessed it- his comic books series "Jazan Wild's Carnival of Souls". Huh, imagine that.
Now, "Jazan Wild" is actually a pen-name for a Mr. Jason Barnes, just to avoid confusion if you're looking into this as well.

It's also the name of a (fanfic) novel based on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, published in 2006.
It's also the name of a card from the card game "Magic: The Gathering" which was released in 1999.
It's also the name of a mission in the Funcom MMO "The Secret World".
It's also the name of a song by a group called "Jedi Mind Tricks".
It's also the title of a bootleg CD of a Jane's Addiction show from 1989.

If this was targeted at another comic or graphic novel, then yes I could see him trying to enforce his TM. But it's already been used as the prominent title for both a movie and various types of music, so he can't try to apply it to any form of media or entertainment. And as for a book, since he still hasn't filed a suit or issued a C&D over the Buffy book, all Harper Collins has to do is say "Well, here's a list of book titles published prior to the TM, and another list of books published after the TM was granted which they have not attempted to defend." In short, Mr. Barnes will be lucky to walk away from this with his TM intact, let alone get anything out of HC.

Citations:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Souls_%28Buffy_novel%29
http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/05/17/27327.htm
http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/05/see-carnival-of-souls-comparisons-from-60-million-heroes-lawsuit/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_of_Souls:_The_Final_Sessions
http://janesaddiction.org/bootography/janes-addiction/cd/carnival-of-souls/

Re:The author's take on this (0)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41310971)

He lost me at "we have been very blessed". Protestants who conveniently forget the bit about not serving God and Money, and confuse worldly success with God's approval, are part of the reason we need the likes of Richard Dawkins.

Re:The author's take on this (2)

martinX (672498) | about 2 years ago | (#41311025)

If it's the title of a series, surely the smart thing would have been to disallow a trademark for "Book Title" and allow one for "Author's Name's Book Title". That would have allowed him sufficient coverage, and given other authors the ability to use the same title without confusion.

Proofreading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310663)

"The book was written by Melissa Marr, and it happens to use a title which Jazan Wild owns the registered trademark"

Huh?

"FOR which Jazan Wild owns the registered trademark".

Morbo voice: "Trademarks do not work that way!" (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41310669)

You can't use trademark law to stop reviews of your crappy product any more than you can use copyright law to do the same. Where's the possibility of confusion with the actual product if you are reviewing it? Ford or GM can't stop bad reviews of their cars on that basis either. Inaccurate reviews they could challenge on other grounds, but you aren't violating trademark if you use the product name to describe how crappy you think a product is, in your opinion.

I'd be surprised if this person could even find a lawyer willing to bring this case to court. Okay, maybe someone on par with Lionel Hutz.

Re:Morbo voice: "Trademarks do not work that way!" (3, Insightful)

sabs (255763) | about 2 years ago | (#41310883)

Reading comprehension. It's a skill you should learn.
He's not stopping reviews of HIS work. He's stopping reviews of someone else's work, because the Book's name infringes on his TradeMark.

I Want Sue Over Trademark Infringement (1)

isylumn (1556375) | about 2 years ago | (#41310705)

Please, review my books - paste my weird artwork everywhere and quote me til Armageddon, just please, review my books.... http://sites.google.com/site/wistertown/ [google.com]

Misleading headline (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#41310709)

The headline implies that an author is suing the reviewers of his own book.

Prior art! (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41310757)

Carnival of Souls [wizards.com] is surely prior art!

Re:Prior art! (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 2 years ago | (#41310923)

Prior art is for patents, not Trademarks.

Doesn't matter how many people might have drawn a Glowing Arch to look like an M, only MacDonalds can use it as a Trademark once registered, at least in the Fast Food Industry.

Re:Prior art! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311421)

Are you really really sure?

Needless to say? (1)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about 2 years ago | (#41310777)

Needless to say they did not take down the review.

Unfortunately these days it is not needless to say this...

Streisand effect (2)

oheso (898435) | about 2 years ago | (#41310797)

Surely I can't be the first to notice this? HarperCollins couldn't have paid for publicity like this ...

Cease and Desist (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41310927)

The use of the word "Carnival" is a registered trademark of the Puddingebola Corporation. The website Slashdot, hereafter referred to as "Slashdot" or "/." has infringed on this trademark by posting the word "Carnival" in reference to a book which has been reviewed on another website. We request that Slashdot remove the word and replace it with another word, such as "Onion" or "Tomato" or "Insane."

I read Carnival of Souls (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 2 years ago | (#41310955)

I read Carnival of Souls. It was alright, I guess.

Sue me.

Perfectly justified (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41311105)

I read the Harper Collins filing. This author owns the trademark and is perfectly justified (in fact, bound to), and it's very clear that Harper Collins has knowingly and willfully infringed. More power to him.

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