Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sometimes Rogers v. Grimaldi goes down a bit hard

This story, I Am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Other Copycats Litter Amazon, discusses a bunch of copycat titles that may be confusing consumers, such as the one in the title, along with Steve Jobs—a “'poorly produced pamphlet,' according to the title’s one reviewer—by an 'Isaac Worthington,'” and Twilight New Moon and Thirty-Five Shades of Grey (which, as far as I can tell, has a similar plot to Fifty Shades of Grey, but not much more similar than you can easily find in certain highly stylized genres).  Amazon has apparently removed a few--but Amazon has been responsible for more: "All of the copycat books that Fortune found were made through CreateSpace, a division of Amazon that allows authors to create and self-publish their books. Karen Peebles, author of I Am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, told the magazine that she’s published 10,000 books using Amazon’s self-publishing platform (and sells 'thousands and thousands' of them each month), often under a pseudonym."  Interesting that Amazon is pulling some of these, since under Rogers it's hard to imagine there's a cause of action--but sometimes public reaction is more important than legal right.



Paul Alan Levy said...

Are they being taken down because of fear of liability or because Amazon is being proactive to prevent its users from being defrauded pr, at least, bamboozled? Nothing wrong with that latter reaction.

Rebecca Tushnet said...

I agree that Amazon's actions seem largely appropriate (though 35 Shades struck me as borderline)--but if we think that, then isn't the Rogers rule overinclusive? Maybe we are willing to pay the price of deception to get expression, but Rogers at least pretends that titles won't often fool people.