Justine: Your Intellectual Property Questions Answered

copyrightWhat a week it’s been in the romance writing world! In case you missed it, there is a huge uproar over #cockygate, or the trademark of the word “cocky” in a romance series.

Background: Faleena Hopkins, the author of several books that have the word “Cocky” in the title, recently received an official trademark of the word “cocky” in a romance series in both regular and stylized (meaning in a specific font) form from the US Trademark and Patent Office. You can view her filings here and here.

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Ms. Hopkins’ stylized trademark of the word “cocky.”

Ms. Hopkins has threatened other writers whose book titles also contain the word “cocky” with a lawsuit if they don’t change their titles. She’s also reported some authors to Amazon, telling the Zon that the authors were in violation of her copyright. Amazon took down the offending books at once. Romance Writers of America has hired an IP attorney and has asked Amazon to reinstate the take downs pending a legal challenge (Amazon agreed), and former IP attorney-turned-writer Kevin Kneupper has come out of retirement to Continue reading

Justine: Protecting Your Work Before You Copyright It

79097750 - autorship word cloud concept. vector illustrationThis past Friday, I attended a free webinar by the folks who do Masterclass (I had previously taken James Patterson’s class on writing and Aaron Sorkin’s class on screenwriting). The topic of the webinar was protecting your intellectual property before you copyright it, and it was presented in large part by folks who work for the Writer’s Guild of America West (WGAW…there is a sister organization, Writer’s Guild of America East. They do the same thing, but the organizations do not share information with each other).

I had always thought the Writer’s Guild was for screenwriters only, but it turns out any artist – as long as they can put their idea/story/script/play/lyrics on paper – can have their intellectual property protected. This topic is relevant to me right now because Continue reading

Michaeline: Open Forum on Heartbleed Bug and Other Internet Issues

Protecting your heart against the knaves of the internet

Protecting your heart against the knaves of the internet

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Heartbleed and Yahoo! Mail DMARC problems all week, but I don’t like to act too quickly on internet panics. The 2YK virus passed me by without even a ripple in real life (although that was my first, biggest and best internet panic), and I’ve survived a few other things that turned out to be not such a big deal. I figured I’d wait until the weekend and change the passwords then, after the dust had settled.

Then, this morning, my e-mail stopped working.

So, instead of writing a proper blog post, I thought I’d share a few classic tips for internet security, and ask y’all what you are doing to protect your writing and your professional personas on the internet.

Continue reading