It’s Not Over Yet: More on Marr/Hamilton [updated]

[updated at the end of this post]

(This story starts here with “Laurell K Hamilton Knock-Off for Teens” at 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, but there is a short discussion of it at

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.

6 comments on “It’s Not Over Yet: More on Marr/Hamilton [updated]

  1. Because I was curious, I did a quick Amazon scroll through the UF genre and found these covers. All feature women shown from behind. Half feature tattoos on the women’s bare skin. It took me about ten minutes to compile this. Not a lot of time to invest in simple research, right?

    But according to Henderson, I guess all these authors and their publishers are guilty of having covers “derivative” of LKH. One would hope Henderson goes into a book store and browses the aisles to see that instead, this is a common theme among urban fantasy covers/paranormal romance covers.

  2. Ms Henderson seems to be engaging in some selective deleting in the comment threads. Interesting.

  3. In case my comment gets deleted over there, I’m gonna post it here and if it does get deleted over there, I’ll just keep attempting to post it until she gives up, lol.

    “But with a cover picture that is so evocative of the Hamilton books, will young teens mistakenly think that if they like Marr they might like Hamilton’s books?”

    No. Because both books are shelved in completely different sections of the bookstore. No person in their right mind is going to think “This cover is pretty. Let’s go find one just like it and I’ll read it too!” And it surprises me that anyone would think to make that assumption, as it’s just a stupid question.

    And I do not see any resemblance between the two covers. One (Marr’s) is very pretty and fits with the series itself. The other (Hamilton’s) is just erotic, plain and simple. I do not think anyone would get aroused by Marr’s covers as much as they might from Hamilton’s. I mean, I honestly do not see how anyone in your position (12 years as book editor) or even just anyone in general would even attempt to compare the two when it is obvious they are not all that similar.

    Also, pish tosh to 12 year olds reading about “inappropriate” stuff- they’ll learn about it eventually, so why does it matter when they learn about it? I mean, is the book actually saying “Go out and do this stuff now, reader. Put the book down and grab some pot, and let’s get the party started.” No, it is not, so why does it matter?

  4. In one of her posts, she reveals that 12 years as a book editor really means 12 years as a book reviewer. Two totally different professions. But apparently she thinks that qualifies her to make lamebrained assumptions.

  5. Pingback: The Fairy Monopoly «

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