#Cocky Author or Relevant Issue? Romance Readers, Here’s Something to Think About

Cocky Author or Relevant Issue

This past weekend has been a pretty big one for the Romance Book world, and being that we are a Romance Book Blog, we would be remiss not to address the elephant in the room. We’re not here to rehash the dirty details we’re sure you are all up to speed on. We’re pretty sure you’ll have no problem finding those details elsewhere. What we would like to address for Romance Readers is something a little deeper than what’s seen on the surface.

Clearly, this is a hot topic, a very sensitive issue, one that had thousands and thousands of people, authors and readers alike, taking to social media, consulting attorneys, signing petitions, and emailing the Romance Writers of America (RWA) for assistance.

This is a hot topic, a very sensitive issue. Click To Tweet

boxing womanWe all know there’s two sides of every story, and the truth usually lies somewhere in the messy middle. When emotions are high – as in this case (understatement) – people feel compelled to defend their position in whatever means necessary and available.

Full disclosure, we understand why Romance Authors everywhere are up in arms about a single, commonplace word in the Romance world – “COCKY” – being Trademarked, and how this sets a dangerous precedent. Things may have been taken too far, but we are not here to condone or tolerate bullying from any side of the fence.

The truth usually lies somewhere in the messy middle. Click To Tweet

What we really want to address is the deeper issue.


Theft of an author’s creative work. Other people making financial gains from an author’s intellectual property. This happens more often than anyone would like to admit. So much so, that authors have resorted to extremes. For example, sending unique, identifiable files out to their (sometimes extensive) list of ARC readers so that they’ll know who leaked their books when they show up in e-book stores they were never meant to be sold on.

Authors have resorted to extremes. Click To Tweet

one more time - laurelin paigeSo much so that book marketing giant, Bookbub, sent out a New Release email for Laurelin Paige’s new book this month linking to a pirated copy on iBooks.

So much so that authors are finding their copyrighted audio books being posted on YouTube for people to listen to for free, and finding their plots, character names, and essentially their entire story with someone else’s name on it, tacked onto the back of another author’s book in Kindle Unlimited.

Not cool, right?

All of the above is some of what our Cocky Author, and others, have experienced repeatedly. This author just happened to finally say ‘Enough!’ She finally said ‘I have to do something.’ She tried to take some of her control back, and in doing so, created an unforeseen backlash unlike any the writing world has ever experienced to date.

Did she take it too far? Yes, I think most will agree she did, hence the massive, public outrage.

Do we sympathize with the root of the problem that sparked this whole thing in the first place? Yes, we do.

Did she take it too far? Click To Tweet

What Can You Do To Fight Piracy of Books?

Anti Piracy KeyPiracy is something that, unfortunately, most authors will have to deal with at some point or another if they stick around in this industry for long. When that happens, each will deal with it the best way(s) they know how.

It might be an uphill battle, but there are some things we as readers can do to help fight the good fight and maybe even prevent things like this from happening in the future, as well as give authors their proper compensation for spending the hours, days, months, and sometimes years of hard work they spend giving us the books we love so much. (We sure do want them to keep those coming, after all!)

  • Only download books from trusted and reputable sites.
  • Do not accept copies of books you know to be acquired by non-reputable means.
  • Purchase your own copy of books you want to read.
  • Do not click on, watch, or listen to pirated books or content on YouTube.
  • Report suspicious links and content, either to the site administrator or to the author directly.

What are your thoughts on piracy, and how we as readers can help? What are some other things we can do or not do to help fight the good fight against book piracy? Let us know in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “#Cocky Author or Relevant Issue? Romance Readers, Here’s Something to Think About

  1. marcwhipple says:

    “Piracy,” in the intellectual property world, usually refers to unauthorized copying/distribution of a protected work.

    I haven’t seen the author in question complain about piracy, though no doubt she would if asked. As would any creator: piracy is theft, it’s wrong, and it’s against the law. You make several excellent points about it.

    That said, the author in question alleges she did this because other people were deliberately making their own, original books look like hers by imitating her title scheme, cover art, et cetera. In general, acts like these fall under the legal category of “unfair competition,” most notably infringement of trademark/trade dress. This is very different from piracy. Pirates try to convince you to buy what you think is a legit good, but is actually an unauthorized copy. Trademark infringers (absent counterfeiting, which is just the word for piracy when trademarks are involved) try to get you to buy something else, *thinking* it is the legit good you wanted.

    Or, to simplify: Pirates are trying to outright lie to you, while infringers are trying to confuse you. And that’s very important, because that’s the literal test for trademark infringement: has the use of the mark by someone other than the rightful holder created a likelihood of confusion in the marketplace? If so, it may be an infringement. If not, it can’t be an infringement.

  2. RomanceBooks.blog says:

    Thank you for this. It’s very helpful! (We’re definitely not experts on TM or copyright laws or their intricate details.)

    As for the other, what I’ve seen firsthand is that this issue did start with several incidents of piracy and to an extent, plagiarism. This put the cocky author on the defense, and then came the instances of other authors putting out “cocky” books – some not trying to copy her, some possibly questionable, but the author, already on the defensive, perceived this as more people trying to steal her work. (Perceived, of course, being the key word, and as the saying goes, your perception is your reality.) There were also readers in her private group who would point these out any chance they got, of course trying to be helpful.

    This led to the snowball rolling into the giant avalanche it is now, with of course a few steps omitted since my focus here was, let’s nip this in the bud where it all started and do our part as readers to prevent and not buy into pirated or plagiarized work.

    Hopefully that will help clarify. ❤

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