Robot 6

Claiming trademark infringement, Jazan Wild sends C&D letters to reviewers

Jazan Wild, the comics creator who gained attention in 2010 when he sued NBC and the producers of Heroes for $60 million, has begun sending cease-and-desist notices to reviewers who publish excerpts from Melissa Marr’s new young-adult fantasy novel Carnival of Souls, claiming the title violates his trademark.

Children’s literature website Bookalicious today posted an email from Wild, aka Jason Barnes, insisting that a recent excerpt of Marr’s book amounts to a “willful and malicious infringement” of his “Carnival of Souls” trademark and demanding its removal.

Wild’s objection follows a trademark-infringement lawsuit he filed in July against HarperCollins, accusing the publisher of intentionally using the title Carnival of Souls and the phrase “Enter the Carnival” in an effort to create confusion between Marr’s novel and his own 2005-2006 comic series and related works. He’s asking a federal court to prevent HarperCollins from using the title, and seeking the destruction of all of the allegedly infringing books and promotional materials, as well as unspecified damages. In court documents, Wild’s lawyer recounts his client’s repeated attempts to head off the release of Marr’s book as Carnival of Souls, which were ultimately dismissed with HarperCollins’ trademark counsel allegedly saying, “You’re not an attorney, are you?”

It’s worth noting that Wild’s legal dispute is with HarperCollins, so it’s unclear why his cease-and-desist notice is directed at book reviewers. More baffling, however, is how in Wild’s estimation an excerpt from Marr’s novel (whose copyright is held by Marr) infringes on his “Carnival of Souls” trademark; his objection is with the title, not the text.

Bookalicious and Epic Reads have posted a statement from HarperCollins, which reads: “The lawsuit filed by Jazan Wild against HarperCollins Publishers over the use of the title Carnival of Souls, is completely without merit. Carnival of Souls has been used as the title of numerous books, films, songs, records and comic books since at least 1962, and Mr. Wild has no exclusive right to its use as the title of a creative work. HarperCollins will defend the suit fully. Furthermore, any claim that the use of a book title, in a review of that same work, infringes on a trademark is nonsensical.”

When the dispute was brought to the attention of Neil Gaiman, the author pointed to a BookFinder search for “Carnival of Souls” and wrote that he is, “Amused and amazed at how many novels called CARNIVAL OF SOULS are out there already.”

Undeterred, Wild appeared in the comments thread at Bookalicious to further argue his case. “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,” he wrote. “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. What’s next another Twilight series? As I said before, I am now stuck with having to issue ‘cease and desists.’ I got a lot of better things to do with my time. Harper has caused this entire mess. Read the complaint and you will see what I am saying is true.”

Wild sued NBC and producer Tim Kring in 2010, claiming they ripped off the “carnival of lost souls and outcasts” that menaced the final season of the television drama Heroes. He more recently sued a songwriter over a graphic novel biography deal that went bad.

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41 Comments

This. Guy. Is. Fucking. Nuts.

He should sue Herk Harvey, and failing that, find something else in life that doesn’t stress his fucktarded brain any further.

I’m getting the feeling that this guy really is mentally ill to think that he came up with the idea of a carnival of “lost souls and outcasts” first. It’s a long-standing trope.

Yeah, Lea Hernndez keeps doing the same thing. She freaks out every time someone uses the name “Clockwork Angels”, like she’s got some kind of exclusive to it. Forgotten book, not even that good. Kevin J Anderson used it. Rush used the title on an album. She wrote a bunch of stupid crap on her blog and on their fansite. She got pwned and backed off. People need to get over themselves.

Love and Rockets the comic survived that band using the same name.

Wow, it’s like he doesn’t get he’s giving the world more reasons not to read a damn thing he creates. And what’s with spelling his name all weird?

SO ORIGINAL.

Wow this is the first time I ever heard of Wilds Carnival of Souls.

Yes because “Carnival of Souls” is such an original title. It has never been used before except the 1962 movie, KISS album, Wishing Tree Album, Buffy Novel, etc.

What sort of idiot sends cease and desist letters to people reviewing their product? How else are people supposed to know his book exists? Setting aside the fact that this is the definition of fair use, I’m sure the reviewers will be quite happy to take their reviews down and never mention his name again. What a nut.

“carnival of souls” went into the public-domain, as of 1990, for a book title, film title, series title, or episode title.
the law states that without a new work every twenty eight years by the original publishers, the copyright lapses. this is true of everything, and why the original Ray, and the original blue-beetle is public domain…trademark is different. unless one allows several trademarks to go used without suing, which in this case has already happened. –this = both the trademark, and copyright to carnival of souls is lapsed.

“the law states that without a new work every twenty eight years by the original publishers, the copyright lapses. this is true of everything, “

That’s NOT what the law states, but in any case, Wild’s lawsuit deals with trademark not copyright.

I would like to announce that I am writing a new book called “A Carnival of Souls.”

Seems like Greg G didn’t even read the article.
We live in a fast paced world, all we have time for is to read the headline, post a reply, and it’s off to the next blog!

But, yeah, Jason Barnes (I refuse to call him by that dumb pen-name) is an idiot.

So let me understand… I have a trademark and HarperCollins knows I have a registered trademark and series called Carnival Of Souls and I am crazy because I won’t let them steal it? You’re posts show how hate filled people can be. You should defend a independent creator protecting his work and instead you side with a billion dollar company. I guess I should have foreseen HarperCollins wanting my mark in 2012, when I applied for it in 2009. My trademark is in classes 16 and41 novels comics and graphic novels. Get it?

Uh, “Jazan”, the first thing that comes up in a Google search under “Carnival of Souls” is the 1962 horror movie. Nothing about your version. So, not sure how you can claim a trademark (much like Spike Lee lost the case over Spike TV). And just to nitpick, it’s “your posts” not “you’re posts”.

Can you provide evidence that Carnival of Souls is the name of a series of books by Melissa Marr and not just the title of the first book in a series? The sequel, already announced, is to be called Theatre of Deceit and I have found no evidence whatsoever that either Marr or Harper Collins are infringing your Trademark in the slightest, since to do so they would have to have announced a series called Carnival of Souls.

Anything proving your case, or rather anything other than inane, combative ramblings about your rights, would be helpful. Go ahead, prove me wrong. But please bear in mind that bleating on about your Trademark without providing even a whiff of evidence that it’s been infringed is pointless and stupid, especially when you throw out daft remarks like ‘I guess I should have foreseen HarperCollins wanting my mark in 2012, when I applied for it in 2009′.

ok. Enough of the nasty talk. Learn to ask a question without smartass comments. As to Marr having a series, it has been called a series in several places that are contained in our exhibits. As to the film in public domain, it is not a trademark. No single movie or book gets approval for a trademark. It must be a series. Like mine is. Also my registered mark is in class 16 and 41… which is for novels comics and graphic novels. There it is. I have every right to trademark my series. Why not ask why HarperCollins would release a series knowing I have a series with the same name and trademark?

Because its a boring generic term used a thousand times already and your meaningless little book was beneath their notice?

Really. Such a boring generic term… that Marr and HarperCollins must have this crap term as Marr’s title and series name? Also my little book, and series, whether you like it or not, has a registered mark, that HarperCollins must have. Still isn’t it someone’s job at HarperCollins to do a 30 second search to make sure that there is no trademark that would conflict with whatever title Marr wanted to use? So it’s my fault cause I had the audacity to think that as a US citizen, that I could actually register a trademark. I clearly should have never registered any trademark. Because HarperCollins may someday want whatever trademark I register. If this BS is allowed, it would set the precedence, that every trademark for any series would become open game for Billion Dollar companies to just take. Whether you like it or not I earned my mark by hard work. No one is going take it. Period.

Jazan, a bit of advice – calm down and stop being so defensive. You’re doing yourself a real disservice with these posts.

Not a lawyer myself, so I can’t give any legal advice; the below is just layman speculation.

Wouldn’t the enormous array of books (not to mention albums, etc.) entitled “Carnival of Souls” (or some small variation), whose respective publications predate the Wild comic, render Mr. Wild’s trademark on the term invalid? Remember, the USPTO doesn’t research unregistered uses of a proposed trademark before approving an application; they only check for conflicts with existing registered marks. But according to Chilling Efects, the US is one of the few countries that does not require registration in all cases for trademark rights to attach. That is, non-conflict within the USPTO’s mark database does not strictly imply that a mark is unique, or novel. Successful registration, ergo, should not be held to imply rights over a mark–only a basis to assert rights in the future, if the registering entity can demonstrate the uniqueness of the mark at the time they first used it commercially.

Once again, I am not a lawyer, and am presenting my non-expert, casual understanding so that those with greater expertise might correct me as necessary. If anyone reading this is a lawyer, or otherwise an authority on this sort of thing, your input would be appreciated.

Mandelbrot Snuff:
That was also my assumption, but I’m not a lawyer either, so I kept my mouth shut.
Also, I wouldn’t have been able to explain it as well as you would have.

You cannot trademark or copyright a book title, only a brand, as in a series of books. What Jazan Wild does not offer is any proof that Marr’s new book is also the first in a series called ‘Carnival of Souls’ – and I can find no evidence online that this is the case. The essence of his argument at the moment appears to ‘look at me, I have a trademark, a rich company have put out a book called Carnival of Souls, and I want money’. When will Wild offer some solid evidence in one of these forums? A link to something that proves his point would help.

Just saying it’s so doesn’t mean it is, Mr Wild – your bull-headed responses remind me of little more than a spoiled five-year old stamping their foot and yelling ‘but it’s MINE!’.

Apparently some readers referred to the book as the CoS series when news came of a follow up. Wild somehow thinks this constitutes trademark infringement. Okee then, I will from now on refer to all Wilds work as the Wild “starwars” Series. See if Lucas likes that!

Litigious bastards are a plague.

Hmm, ok, I understand that Mr Wild has a registered trademark for the series title in question for graphic novels and novel comics. And here is what I don’t understand, Mr Wild. Since Melissa Marr’s book isn’t either a graphic novel nor a comic, it seems to me that your trademark isn’t relevant in this case even if the series would be titled after the first book in the series. I’m not a lawyer either, so please could somebody explain? :) Thanks.

@Mandelbrot Snuff… This is the very reason Trademarks have classes. I only have a registered Trademark in the classes in which HarperCollins is now releasing a series. Even if this book was a stand alone book, it would still infringe on my series. That said, there are endless exhibits in the complaint that show Marr and Harper call this a new series. In fact on Amazon, the hardback listing states that it is a CARNIVAL OF SOULS series.

I’m not sure why not one post states any disapproval of a Billion Dollar company seeing a series with a registered trademark (and even a series without one) and saying let’s take the guy’s series name and mark. We tried since June to have Marr and Harper change the series and title’s name. They refuse. So in their opinion it’s a horrible, crappy title… I should have never used it or trademarked it… because it’s so crappy and common… that they now must have it. Really maybe switch the focus to what happens when a Billion Dollar company acts like a bully.

So as to money… I will take no amount of money to settle this matter. I have a trademark and a series that I own and worked hard for. Harper can’t have it. Period. You would think CBR and readers would respect that. This is about fairness. I did nothing to Harper or Marr, I was going about my business and doing really well, when they decided that they must have my series name. What’s next? Who’s next? That’s the question every writer with a series should ask.

Here is some trademark information for all of you people who want to comment, but don’t know anything about it.In order to receive a trademark, you have to have a series of things, not just one book, movie, album, etc. Each of those items just listed are three different classes to get a trademark in. The 1962 Carnival of Souls was a single movie with no sequel, so no trademark. There have been several stand alone books and albums with that name. Again, single so no trademark. Wild has had his series of books out since 2005 and has continually used his mark since then. He applied for the trademark in 2009 and received it in 2011. That means that no one else is allowed to use that name in books, whether it’s a stand alone or a series. Anything that was done before the trademark can stay. As far as the comments that it’s a common phrase that can’t be trademarked, I guess you’re saying the Trademark Office doesn’t know it’s job. And if it’s so common and unusable, then why does HarperCollins want it so bad? They were told before the book came out and decided to go forward anyway. If “common phrases” shouldn’t be trademarked, then should The Walking Dead be allowed to be trademarked? Or Twilight? I believe those are common phrases too. But they have the right to be trademarked just as Carnival of Souls does.

@Azrasha … I have a trademark “CARNIVAL OF SOULS” in 16 and 41 for novels, comic books and graphic novels. I have published all three catagories. Comics, Graphic Novels, and a Novel all using the mark. And I intend to publish more, that’s why I have a trademark’s protection. We recieved countless emails from Amazon titled “CARNIVAL OF SOULS” saying if you like Carnival Of Souls then you will like “CARNIVAL OF SOULS”. And you got it… it’s Marr’s book. This is a very simple case. Harper wanted my series title and mark. They were aware I had it, but as Billion dollar companies do… they did as they wanted. Now I waited from June to Sept, giving them plenty of time to do the right thing and leave me and my mark alone. Instead they attack me, saying I stole the mark from KISS. Even though Marr states she got the title from a rock band’s song. They say if I don’t let them take the mark, they will try to take it away from me. Which is just what they hope to do. And I did what? Have the nerve to protect my years of work and investment? Love me or Hate me, I really don’t care, it is not right what they are doing.

Reviewers mentioning a work doesn’t infringe on trademark. Sending cease-and-desist letters to third parties who are talking about it does not accomplish anything as far as policing your trademark goes. All it does is waste your time, waste their time, make you look petty, and create a chilling effect on discussion.

Jazan: It’s incredible how unwilling you are to read the details in every post. You’d be a good politician because you consistently ignore points brought up by readers and only speak on message, which is a bit confused as is.

“I’m not sure why not one post states any disapproval of a Billion Dollar company…” What a leading and obnoxious statement. No one’s come to your defense and attacked the “Billion Dollar” company because you have yet to demonstrate that your claim is justified. People have asked for specific details in this post, yet you ignore them, instead hoping to paint Harper Collins as a heartless billion dollar company. In fact, based on your history of litigious activity without merit (whatever happened to your HEROES law suit? I’m guessing you didn’t win that, or you’d be crowing about it.), it’s hard to take your claims seriously. Add to that the tone and quality of your posts above and it becomes near impossible to take your claims seriously.

Most important, sending C&D letters to reviewers was a really silly tact. As a former editor of a magazine and someone who understands the requirements of Fair Use, but more importantly ethical journalism, these bloggers have done nothing wrong, have violated no law and your making them part of it only makes you look bad. It makes you look like a bully. And if your lawyer was in support of doing this, you should find another attorney. You don’t go after the press, especially press that could potentially be an ally for you, unless they’ve done something egregious.

Jazan, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you do have a complaint, but there’s nothing here that you’ve said that truly supports that complaint.

Having done extensive searches on Google, and looked at all of Wild’s CoS comics on Amazon, I have yet to see them being sold as “Carnival of Souls”. They are always clearly marked “Jazan Wild’s Carnival of Souls”. Presumably to differentiate them from all the other books, comics, and movies titled “Carnival of Souls”.
Not being a lawyer, I don’t know if the added “Jazan Wild’s” is significant when it comes to the trademark. But from a common sense standpoint there’s a world of difference between “Jazan Wild’s Carnival of Souls” and “Carnival of Souls”.

The only exception to this is the novel by mr. Wild. But that is published 4 July 2012. After the date Wild himself has stated he was aware of Marr’s book. (And that looks like a novelisation of the comics, it even says on the copyright page that “Some Dialogue and Scripting is from the Carnival of Souls Comic Book and Graphic Novel Series.”)

It would be interesting to know what a trademark lawyer thinks about those bits of information…

Sharon does a much better job of making Jazan Wild’s argument than Jazan Wild does.

Sharon is, I believe, Jazan’s wife, Sharon Barnes.

I figured there was some connection. He would probably be better off letter her take point on these interactions.

Sharon: All that being true, how is sending C&Ds to Web sites reviewing the material appropriate? Sending them a notice that you’re suing Harper Collins would have been far more useful to building your case than bullying Web sites unjustifiably.

Statement from Wild’s Attorney now posted on Bookalicious :

I am the attorney representing Mr. Wild in the trademark infringement lawsuit that is the subject of many postings on this blog. Many of the questions raised by some of the postings will be addressed by the Court in that lawsuit in due course. I would, however, like to clear up possible misconceptions.

First of all, to clarify Mr. Wild’s recent emails to “Pam” of “bookalicous.com” and a few other reviewers, Mr. Wild was not threatening to sue any of these persons. He only intended to make them aware of his trademark rights in CARNIVAL OF SOULS, to minimize the confusion he has already suffered with respect to HarperCollins’ conscious choice to use his registered trademark for its new book (soon to be a series of books) by Melissa Marr. Mr. Wild has no intention of suing bloggers and reviewers and we apologize for any misunderstanding in that regard. (We especially thank “Pam” for her 9/11/12 comment on “bookalicious.com” that Mr. Wild has been “very forthcoming and nice.” That is, of course, the tone Mr. Wild wishes to strike.)

Mr. Wild did not want to sue HarperCollins and he did everything possible to avoid it. Mr. Wild made HarperCollins aware of his United States Trademark Registration No. 3,921,658 for CARNIVAL OF SOULS in June of this year, well before HarperCollins was set to publish the book, and politely asked HarperCollins to simply change the name. He sent many follow up emails to HarperCollins and/or its attorneys trying, in good faith, to resolve this matter with HarperCollins without the need for litigation, at a time when it would have been relatively easy for HarperCollins to change the name to another perfectly good title. Unfortunately, Mr. Wild’s suggestions fell on deaf ears. This left Mr. Wild the choice to either protect his legal rights or just give up. After spending over eight years building a business using Mr. Wild’s CARNiVAL OF SOULs registered trademark, Mr. Wild chose to protect his legal rights.

The commenters who pointed out that one cannot trademark the title of a book are correct. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office makes a distinction between the title of a single work (which may not be trademarked) and the name of a series of works (which can be trademarked). Mr. Wild’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS trademark is for a series of comic books, graphic novels and novels, not the title of a single book. There is simply no legal question that trademarks may properly be granted for series of books. There are currently over 6000 registered trademarks for series of books or novels. HarperCollins itself has 100 or such trademark registrations for “series” of books or novels.

HarperCollins’ bluster that Mr. Wild’s suit is “completely without merit” etc. needs no response, since the appropriate forum for such arguments is the Court. I do note, however, that HarperCollins’ contention that Mr. Wild has “no exclusive right to [use of CARNIVAL OF SOULS] as the title of a creative work” is a misstatement. As discussed above, Mr. Wild’s registered trademark covers a series of comic books, graphic novels and novels. It is not just the “title of a creative work.”

Some postings expressed the opinion that Mr. Wild should not be entitled to his CARNIVAL OF SOULS trademark because the phrase “carnival of souls” existed prior to Mr. Wild’s adoption of it as a trademark for his series of novels and graphic novels. Under trademark law, however, it is not necessary for a trademark to be a uniquely coined term, like KODAK. To the contrary, many well-known trademarks are for otherwise common words or phrases used in connection with various goods. For example, APPLE is the name of a fruit but is also a well-known registered trademark covering computers. Wendy’s International, Inc. has a trademark registration for “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” Reg. No. 1,410,896, for “restaurant and carry out restaurant services,” even though this is a common phrase, not invented by Wendy’s. One of HarperCollins’ own trademark registrations for a series of books is “I CAN READ!” (Reg. No 4,163,123), which I believe most people will agree is a common phrase.

Some postings expressed the opinion that Mr. Wild should not be entitled to his CARNIVAL OF SOULS trademark because there was a 1962 movie by the same name, a remake of that movie and/or a KISS album by that name. That is also not how trademark law works.

Trademark registrations are classified into 42 different “International Classes,” each covering different types of goods or services. It is very common and perfectly acceptable for the same word or phrase to simultaneously exist as a trademark in more than one International Class, for different goods or services. For example, the word LIFECYCLE (itself a common word) is a registered trademark in International Class 21 for bottles (Reg. No. 3, 981,589); in International Class 19 for plastic and wood composite building materials (Reg. No. 3,120,123); in International Class 9 for computer software (Reg. No. 2,954,623) and in many other classes, for different goods and services, all owned by different companies.

Mr. Wild’s trademark registration for CARNIVAL OF SOULS is in International Class 16 (comic books, graphic novels and novels) and in International Class 41 (for multi-media). By contrast, movies (such as the 1962 movie) and recorded music (such as the KISS album) are generally classified in International Class 9. In the lawsuit, Mr. Wild is only seeking to enforce his trademark against HarperCollins’ infringing use in connection with its novel (which is to become a series of novels), the same goods covered by Mr. Wild’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS trademark registration in International Class 16. This is an appropriate exercise of Mr. Wild’s legal rights, notwithstanding prior uses of CARNIVAL OF SOULS for the titles of movies or record albums, which are for different goods in different classes.

As to the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” use of “Carnival of Souls” in the title of one book in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series, though that use does not predate Mr. Wild’s use, it did not present the threat that HarperCollins’ massive promotion of its CARNIVAL OF SOULS novels (soon to be a series) has. (Incidentally, the name BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER is itself the subject of many trademark registrations owned by Twentieth Century Fox, including Reg. No. 2,480,081, for a dramatic television series.)

For those who are interested in getting the facts, the legal papers in this case are available on “pacer.gov.” (You need to set up an account, though the fees are usually only a few dollars). Click “Find a Case” and “search the pacer case locator.” Once you log in, click “civil” and then enter “8:12-cv-01191” as the “case number.” (The case name is “Jazan Wild v. HarperCollins Publishers LLC).” The facts might even change the opinion of some of the posters. Of course, ultimately, the facts are what matter in Court.

That still does not explain why you would send takedown notices to reviewers who are, after all, giving your works publicity. (Whether good or bad, reviews help get your name around.)

However, your actions have convinced me. I will never purchase or read anything in this series or any other works created by you.

“That still does not explain why you would send takedown notices to reviewers who are, after all, giving your works publicity. (Whether good or bad, reviews help get your name around.)”

That is simple. It’s because Wild and wife are “shoot first” reactionary idiots with delusions of grandeur.
The ‘idiot’ part is easily substantiated with the overly long comment by Sharon, showing that these reality challenged pulp artists actually believe that they have the law on their side only because their personal lawyer tells them something.

The average copyright lawyer probably even has less scruples then litigious writers for mediocre comic story telling, but these lawyers probably are smarter.
Who wins? The lawyer, because he’ll get paid.

Jazan, I hope you’re enjoying all your ill gotten free advertisement. your 15 minutes will be up shortly and everybody will go back to ignoring your boring piece of tripe sooner rather than later.

Wow… that is a lot of venom directed toward a pretty simple case.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and be the voice of common sense and reason (I know, I know, how dare I interrupt a perfectly good Net Bashing??). Wild has every right to do what he is doing.

Here are the facts:

1. Wild has the trademark to use the title in a variety of media. If the term was considered “too common” to be used, then don’t you think the Trademark request would have been refused? As an example, consider that DC owns the trademark on Superman – now consider how common that phrase/title has become. It doesn’t stop DC from continuing to renew that trademark thoiugh, does it?

2. HarperCollins knows full well that Wild owns this trademark and that, quite frankly, they are bigger than he is. They have access to more lawyers, more money for legal fees, etc. They could try to extend this acse out until they get their product out there and make whatever money they are hoping to make on it. Do a simple Google Search and you will sadly find many cases similar to this one. Corporate bullying isn’t new.

3. Is HarperCollins marketing their book as a series (thus violating Wild’s trademark?) Wild seems to think so, and has stated in his comments above that he has “exhibits” for the courts to see. So whether or not HC is violating the trademark purposefully is something for the courts to determine.

4. Why did Wild send letters to websites, etc. that were publishing excerpts from the HC book? Seriously, this isn’t that hard to figure out. PUBLICITY. Is it because he is a drama-queen who wants the spotlight? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t… I cannot judge the man personally, because I’ve never met him.. but I will tell you this- if he had not started kicking over apple carts, nobody would even know of this case.

HC is a LOT bigger than he is and would normally squash him the legal proceedings. This was an attempt to draw the public attention to the matter and sway public opinion to the “little guy takes on Big Corporation” fight. HC has stockholders, etc. and public opinion really does matter to theses corporations.

SO…. it doesn’t matter if you love or hate Wild. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate his books. There is right and wrong (legally speaking) here that needs to be addressed. And if HC is guilty of what Wild has accused them of? He has every right to go after them legally.

After doing some research, I found that Mr. Barnes is potentially infringing on the plot devices of Tarzan of the Jungle (E. R. Burroughs, 1912), Tam Son of the Tiger (Otis Adelbert Kline, 1931), and several other books/series that have become ingrained cultural tropes regarding feral children as well as the now-common ‘haunted carnival’ trope as seen in the films The Circus of Dr. Lao and Carnival of Souls.

It has also been brought to my attention that several panels of ‘JW’s CoS’ were pretty much lifted whole from previously published work that Kevin Conrad did for Spawn Comics under Todd McFarlane. Neither Conrad nor Petrucha give the project more than a passing mention on their home websites and appear to have phoned in their contributions. A full review in which I actually pay attention and draw real live connections will be forthcoming as soon as I have the intestinal fortitude to get past the first half-dozen pages of cliches and mid-20th Century feral-child trope rip-offs (honest to god – my first thought was of Kline).

There are dozens of books called Twilight. Some even have vampires in them. There are dozens of projects sharing titles. In my personal opinion, if JB spent more time with we fans instead of turning us off by screaming about his entitlement to some of the most common tropes in the genre he might better understand this. I myself am fully aware that titles I come up with may not be unique. To paraphrase Goethe, All good ideas have been thought of, but it is up to the individual to fulfill it in their own way. I am prepared to not get angry and Hulk right out, like some people.

See, publicity works – just not the way you want it to sometimes. I wonder if Mr. Barnes really wants to draw the attention of the Fen to his work, seeing how easily just one could start picking apart the formative influences and track them back to works one could have reasonably experienced in one’s lifetime, and I’m not even the most knowledgeable fan. BTW, being the number-one FREE downloadable e-comic does not mean one is a best-selling author, it means people like free stuff with Kevin Conrad and Stefan Petrucha’s names on it. Conversely, it may be one-time downloaders (like me) who are trying to see what the fuss is about, and they will never touch it again, except maybe for a Turkey Reading (are graphics eligible for those?). I wonder how well it would sell if it cost money and Conrad and Petrucha weren’t established creators?

His argument that Melissa Marr and Haper Colin’s using Carnival of Souls is like someone else using the titles Harry Potter or Twilight is ridiculous at best. Regardless of what you may or may not think of these series they are well known in almost every house, sadly Melissa Marr’s work is not (it should be as she is wonderful in person and as an author). This is a sad display of a little man who was out to get money. I for one have said book and will keep it proud and happy and he can go suck it ^___^

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