[updated at the end of this post]
(This story starts here with “Laurell K Hamilton Knock-Off for Teens” at StLouisToday.com and then comes here with “Writer calls Melissa Marr a ‘Laurell K Hamilton Knock-Off’“, continues in the comments, and on to another post here “St Louis Writer Writes Back” and continues in the comments, then gets picked up at Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels with “Knock-Offs and Knocking It Off Already” and “On Ideas, Repetitiveness and Copyright Infringement“. And then claws come out, the fangs appear and the fur really starts to fly *g*, back at the original post. Then yesterday, Henderson posts “More on young adult fantasy, Hamilton” and “More on fantasy book, part 2” and mucks things up again.)
I’ve come across a few links, and thought I’d share. There are so many topics coming out of Ms Henderson’s mess that it’s no surprise there are such wide and varied responses.
Also, Melissa Marr is addressing a few of these issues at her LiveJournal, including the issue of Henderson cutting up quotes and taking them out of context from Ink Exchange in her posts yesterday.
Oh, and this is not the first time Ms Henderson has written about “comparisons” and her hometown sweetheart, Laurell K Hamilton. In June of 2006, she did an interview with Hamilton in which they discussed Hamilton being compared to Anne Rice, and the Anita Blake series coming under “parody on the Internet and some criticism over how the series has changed”. The original article is no longer at StLouisToday.com, but there is a short discussion of it at www.mystery-books.com.
Justine Larbalestier addressed “The Non-Infringeability of Plot and/or Ideas” very nicely.
(And from the comments of Ms Larbalestier’s post, and in response to Ms Henderson’s comments there, YA/fantasy author Holly Black makes several very good points, including this “Although you might not feel as though teen books should address sex, I’m not sure why you’re targeting Ink Exchange in particular… In addition, I would point you to some other books for teenagers with faeries and sexual situations: Francesca Lia Block’s I Was a Teenage Fairy (2000) and my Tithe (2002).”)
(Also from the comments, YA author Maureen Johnson sums things up very well, and has many good points with this & more:
“Jane, I think you *did* attempt to talk about this in your own blog, but poorly. You wrote the sentence cited above, “‘‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ but where does flattery end and copyright infringement begin? ” And you called the post: “Laurell K. Hamilton knock-off for teens?”
This is why dozens of people just said, “J’accuse!” Justine pointed out your blog because your comments were exactly the kind that perpetuate confusion about this topic.
From there, then you mostly talked about cover art, and then somewhere in the end threw in a swing about the difference between YA for 12 year olds and YA for 17 year olds.
That’s not starting a discussion. That’s throwing out three completely different, and somewhat half-baked “topics.” If I came out and said, “A bat, a banana, and a stapler. DISCUSS!” . . . you would probably, and rightly, ask . . . why have you just listed a bunch of unconnected things? What are we supposed to talk about?”)
From a trio of YA librarians “Ink Exchange, Laurell K Hamilton, Book Covers & More!”
And since I now have an advanced copy of Ink Exchange, you can bet I will have more to say.
Today Ms Henderson posted an explanation from a lawyer about what copyright infringement might be where it pertains to book cover images. Er, sort of. Michael Kahn says “the courts generally ask whether the ordinary observer would find
the images substantially similar”, but refrains from commenting further on what would define “an ordinary observer” and “substantially similar”, and the post is without specific examples. Instead, he talks about how ideas are not covered by copyright, just their specific representation, which is exactly what I said several posts ago.
In fact, I reached the end of the post and scratched my head. Yeah? So? And? I’m not exactly sure what the point is here. This post seems to be reiterating what everyone else has said so far, without supporting an argument. Of any kind. Still no side-by-side comparisons from Ms Henderson.
In the comments to this post, however, Jeaniene Frost has posted links to several book covers that are similarly themed. (I’ll see what I can do to pull them up into a separate post.)
I have to say that if this was an English class and I had to grade Ms Henderson on her ability to create an argument and provide supporting evidence, I’d have to give her an F.