What: Copyright Clash Over Demon-Fighting Stories by Kevin Lessmiller
From: Courthouse News Service
Popular paranormal romance author Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing author Cassandra Clare for copyright infrigement. Kenyon claims that Clare’s Shadowhunter series copies elements, from her “Dark-Hunter” series, published several years prior to Clare’s “Shadowhunter” books:
The creator of the “Dark-Hunter” sci-fi and fantasy series claims in court that the author of “Shadowhunter” books copied elements of her story.
Sherrilyn Kenyon says she started the “Dark-Hunter” series in 1998. The story “follows an immortal cadre of warriors who fight to protect mankind from creatures and demons who prey on humans,” according to court records.
On Friday, Kenyon sued Cassandra Clare aka Judith Rumelt aka Judith Lewis, claiming her “Shadowhunter” series initially used Kenyon’s trademark “darkhunter.”
After Kenyon demanded that Clare remove the word “darkhunter” from her work, Clare used the term “shadowhunter” for her protagonists instead, according to the lawsuit. The word “hunter” was also removed from the book title.
Clare’s book, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” was published in 2007. Since then, Clare has expanded her use of the term “shadowhunter” despite assurances that she would not, according to Kenyon.
This will prove to be an interesting case. It is difficult to claim copyright on creative ideas, particularly since so many stories written are loosely based on folklore and mythology. Yes, the two series do have a lot of similarities, but it will be up to the Kenyon’s lawyers to make a case showing that Clare willfully and deliberately replicated pieces of Kenyon’s work in her books. Either way people within the publishing world will be watching this case very closely.
You can read the full article here.
What: Rape Disguised as Romance: A Romance Reader’s Opinion by TaLynn Kel
From: Black Girl Nerds
Writer TaLynn Kel, wrote a guest post on the popular website Black Girl Nerds this week and the response was…somewhat explosive. Within the post Kel discuss rape culture, how media of all forms depict (or don’t) consent, and unfortunately with very broad strokes, paints the romance genre as promoting rape culture:
It sounds ridiculous, especially once you learn that the romance fiction industry is a billion-dollar business and 84% of its audience is women. One would think that women wouldn’t support books about raping women, right? But when discussions on rape happen in a society that’s centered on protecting men, we get rape culture packaged as romance novels—and sold to women
I’ve read books where women are abducted, held captive, drugged and then raped by the “hero” with whom she later falls in love and marries, legitimizing everything he’d done to her.
I’ve read books where the woman was captured, tied up and sexually assaulted as a form of torture until she is overcome by her arousal and needs to be with the “hero,” who she later marries and lives happily ever after.
There are books where the woman is sold to a slave, raped and then marries her “master” because that’s the dream, apparently.
Then there are books where the male protagonist threatens physical, emotional and sexual violence against the female protagonist. They of course, get married and have kids, because logic.
Needless to say her post caused an immediate reaction within the romance community. Although many of Kel’s points were valid, they were also limited to only the romance books she had read when she was younger (1990’s), a time frame in romance when there were many books with dubious consent. However, I can’t give her too much of a pass in even that because, during that same time-frame there were many romance books that didn’t feature rape or dubious consent.
Kel’s post also takes a major stumble when she admitted that she hadn’t read a romance in several year. If you are going to talk about romance books, do your due diligence and actually read something current and make sure the books you read are across multiple genres and are recommendations from real romance readers, not the click-bate books seen listed in some Amazon best seller lists. There is no denying that there are books labeled as romance that contain no/dubiuos consent. However, that is not all romance books. If anything, there are other genres, specifically science-fiction, that have more of that in their novels than romance (percentage wise). Declaring an entire genre unreadable and somehow responsible for rape culture was both foolish and irresponsible.
Unfortunately, Kel’s lack of research and tack, prevented an article intended to talk about a real and serious issue in our culture (rape), was overshadowed by anger from within the romance reader and author community. I hope that in the coming weeks Kel has an opportunity to write another post where the focus in on rape culture here in the states and abroad.
You can read the original full article here.
What: Response to Rape Disguised as Romance by Kaia Danielle
From: Black Girl Nerds
In response to the article listed above, author Kaia Danielle wrote a response to some of the Kel’s points:
Check it, I’m totally there with you, TaLynn. Yes, the romance industry had a sexual violence problem back in the 1970s and 1980s. (The first time I ever saw the word “rape” was in the Danielle Steele book Full Circle that I, uh, “borrowed”, from my mother.) Yes, you might even see an uptick of questionable consensual sex in “romance” novels recently. But with today’s technology, anybody can tag their self-published book as “Romance” on Amazon, unchecked, just because they know that tag will help them sell more books. Look at the submission guidelines for the big traditional romance publishers. They specifically say “No rape. No incest.” Romance reader stans do not tolerate that. Hell, I was shocked at the level of scrutiny that my novella received for safe sex practices in its GoodReads reviews.
Danielle’s response is of course as much of her opinion as Kel’s was hers. Props to Black Girl Nerds for recognizing that a response was necessary. Danielle states plainly her feelings on the original article, but also adds another layer to the conversation regarding diverse books and diverse authors:
Every day, every hashtag it seems, numerous Black Romance writers speak up in support of whatever Blerd Twitter is in an uproar about. We too know what it’s like to be “othered”. On any given day, you’ll see Farrah Rochon, Kwana Jackson, Shelly Ellis, Piper Huguley and others chiming in. But today we log on to this?
WTF, TaLynn? Black Girl Nerds, you’re not gonna insist that she name names before publishing that? (For the record: I stan for BGN founder Jamie. Daily. I still stan for Jamie. But, that’s not going to stop me from calling her out to do better.)
Then come to find out that the author of the critique seems to have missed the scores of African-American romance novels depicting healthy, sex-positive relationships that have been published since at least 1994. Yes, TaLynn, in your comments and update, you erased us
The post has some interesting points and is worth a read. You cane read the full response from Kaia Danille here.
The above articles regarding rape culture reminded me of an Amy Shumer sketch that captures the current conversation on rape culture perfectly, in my opinion.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”