During the initial #cockygate furor I happened across a blog post that mentioned a book called All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. It was intriguing enough to me to warrant a one-click. Hey what is one more book amidst all the other cocky books I was piling onto my Kindle, right?
Well, this week I read All Rights Reserved, book 1 in the Word$ series during my commute to and from work. It tells a story of a world where almost every word, every gesture, every phrase has a value. Some words and phrases remain in the public domain, but not many, and certainly not the good ones. And it isn’t just words. If your haircut is a particular style you have to pay to use it. If you’re drinking a brand of drink and it isn’t a trade that you’re associated it, you cannot show the label. Anything that can be monetized is.
And as you can imagine, in a world like that, suing people is common place with instant lawsuits being thrown about by anyone and everyone for anything they want.
Katsoulis portrays a scary world in his book, and this month we came several steps closer to living in it.
There are a lot of people who, upon hearing about #cockygate are saying it doesn’t have anything to do with them. They don’t imagine ever using the word cocky. They aren’t authors. They don’t have a dog in this fight.
This fight is everyone’s fight. If you don’t believe me, go buy All Rights Reserved and take a look at the world we’re heading towards. Book 2 incidentally is coming out later this year and I can’t wait to read that one too.
In All Rights Reserved the somewhat reluctant heroine was trying to figure out what happened to change the world so that speech became a privilege that only the rich could afford. I can tell you that we’re watching it happen right now.
Every time someone takes out a ridiculous trademark like cocky, we take a step closer to Katsoulis’ world.
Every time that trademark goes unchallenged, we take another.
Every time someone sits back and says that #cockygate is nothing to do with them, we take another.
And now, the author at the center of this storm has taken us another step closer by actually taking legal action against those who are speaking up and trying to fight her. I won’t name her on my blog again – you all know who she is, or you can google #cockygate and find out – I will name those who being targeted though.
Kevin Kneupper – the retired IP lawyer who has come out of retirement to file, at his own expense, the cancellation petition against the cocky trademark.
Tara Crescent – one of the many authors targeted by her.
Jennifer Watson – a publicist.
Don’t forget to check out the longer list of authors impacted by the selfish and egotistical actions of this despicable human being.
Many authors of dystopian fiction get asked about whether they can really envisage the terrible worlds that they write about coming into being. In the case of All Rights Reserved, anyone can see it happening, because it is happening right
You may not be a romance novelist. You may not be a writer at all. You may not think that #cockygate has anything to do with you.
Just because this does not affect you, doesn’t mean it has nothing to do with you.
If this trademark is allowed to go unchallenged it will set a precedent for others to do the same thing – in fact others already are – and the next time it could be a word you use that is suddenly being claimed by someone else.