Sherrilyn Kenyon sues Cassandra Clare over copyright

Brian G Turner

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Paranormal romance author Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing paranormal romance author Cassandra Clare over claims of copyright infringement:

Sherrilyn Kenyon sues Cassandra Clare for 'wilfully copying' her novels

Both Dark-Hunter and Shadowhunter books, it says, “are about an elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat that seeks to destroy humans as they go about their daily lives”.

“They are both given a manual on how to conduct their mission and on how to conduct themselves when dealing with other entities and species in their fictional world,” says the lawsuit.

In an exhibit, it continues: “Both series employ a line of warriors who protect the normal world from demons … In both series, a young person becomes part of the Dark-Hunters’ (or Shadowhunters’) world after being saved by a gorgeous blonde Dark-Hunter (or Shadowhunter) … They each must kill their demonic father ... Both Dark-Hunters and Shadowhunters have enchanted swords that are divinely forged, imbued with otherworldly spirits, have unique names, and glow like heavenly fire.”

The actual copyright claims are made here in Exhibit 3:
https://t.co/4VnjxfIRDw
 

Teresa Edgerton

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There are certainly a lot of similarities (although a few of those on the list for the Clare books are not strictly accurate, obviously twisted to make them sound more like the Kenyon books -- which seems odd and unnecessary since there are so many others). As Courtney Milan points out, Kenyon didn't invent a lot of those ideas and they are common tropes, and as I understand it, copyright infringement can be hard to prove unless there are substantial similarities in the text itself. Does Kenyon really believe she can win this in a court of law? Or does she really mean to try this in the court of public opinion instead? The evidence is certainly compelling enough for that. But it's interesting that she is just getting around to filing so soon after the new television series based on Clare's books premiered. It's going to boost sales for both series, because so many readers are going to want to read both and make comparisons for themselves.
 

Ray McCarthy

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... elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat that seeks to destroy humans ... Both series employ a line of warriors who protect the normal world from demons … In both series, a young person becomes part of the Dark-Hunters’ (or Shadowhunters’) world after being saved by a gorgeous blonde Dark-Hunter (or Shadowhunter) … They each must kill their demonic father ... Both Dark-Hunters and Shadowhunters have enchanted swords that are divinely forged, imbued with otherworldly spirits, have unique names, and glow like heavenly fire

You'd need more similarities than that. Common tropes.

What next? people sued for space opera that has a brother & sister, evil emperor/empress, Rebels etc (I've read it from 3 different authors).

I'm underwhelmed. I've only read the three "Black" novels though.
 

JoanDrake

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My understanding is that this is the latest sign that your work is successful, people coming out of the woodwork and claiming you took it from their roughly similar story.

Be VERY careful, however, if you take even a good sentence from any source other than yourself. Alex Haley had to settle a lawsuit from Harold Courlander over "Roots", which was actually taken from Haley's family history, because he had a page in it from Courlander's "The African", a similar story, which someone had given him at a lecture.
 

Mad Alice

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It's a little more involved then trope matching.
Cassandra Clare started by writing fan fics. And one of them was for... You guessed it, Sherilyn's works.
So then when published, Sherilyn sent her a cease and desist for exactly copying Sherilyns world.
Cassandra responds by adopting some bandaid saves. Then Cassandra puts everything and more BACK into her books albeit slowly.

But personally I would be pissed if it happened to me without a courtesy call.
She made her money from it. Its time to pay for it.
 

Brian G Turner

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Cassandra Clare started by writing fan fics. And one of them was for... You guessed it, Sherilyn's works.

This seems to be the thrust of the argument - that Kenyon had already asked Clare to stop using words copied or derived from her own works, which at first was adhered to - but that as Clare became more successful she allowed them back in to the point that the film and TV adaptations are blatantly applying them.

It doesn't help that Clare was previously banned from FanFiction.net for outright plagiarism: The Cassandra Claire Plagiarism Debacle - Fanlore
 

Caledfwlch

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Just discovered and have been reading up on all this, as have been watching Shadowhunters!
Wow, the story is even madder than fiction when you take in more recent events!

My take on the basics, is this:

The Mortal Instruments book one gets published, followed by it's sequels.
Then, it's 10 years later, several books have been published - not a peak, or even the slightest sulphurous and demonic whiff of a Lawyer to suggest that Madame Kenyon is unhappy.
The books have been popular and are not exactly a hidden secret.

BAM!

Netflix makes a big fuss and announces that they are making a TV Adaption of the Mortal novels, presumably Madame Clare has returned home to Monsieur Clare very much Happy, holding a heavy bag of Gold, the just rewards of her hard work

And out of the blue Madame K suddenly has a million and forty problems with the Mortal Instruments and big, big claims of massive copyright and trademark infringements, and behold, the stench of Lawyers, wafting behind a lawsuit.

Both Author's creatively speaking are working in the same neighbourhood, and sub genre, the one doing the sueing however, has not had as far as can be known at this point,, received offers to Option her work, let alone concluded a succcessful deal to produce a fanfare'd mini series adaption. If I were possessed of a Beard, it would at this point be itching dramatically, lacking any facial topiary beyond eyebrows, however, I instead would be scratching my Chin, in a thoughtful and knowing manner!

Many of the alleged claims are so laughable, the Lawyers and their typists must have been snickering all the way to the post box.

The newest articles I can find regarding the suing of Madame Clare seem to suggest that most of the case is over - Madame K having at the last minute withdrawn all the claims, though the case is still technically live due to various procedural and legal mechanics in place at the court. The withdrawal seems like it may have occurred after finally being told to put up or shut up,

However, whilst Madame Clare's suffering at the hand and legal team of Madame Kenyon are over, other's are not quite so fortunate!!

Mr Kenyon for example, made the mistake of filing for Divorce.
His filing was swiftly followed by the initiation at Court of a Suit against himself and 2 of Mrs Kenyon's Employees, which is where I will drop the humorous tone of my post so far as Madame K's claims in the action and her behaviour at various Hearings (the case, or at least the part regarding Mr K appears to have been merged with the Divorce Suit) are so serious, unpleasant and disturbing that either Mrs K is the victim of a vile if complex plot to murder her, or the poor lady has fallen victim to serious mental health issues.

She Claims that her husband and the 2 employees have other a period of years been systematically attempting to poison her through her food, have attempted to destroy her professional and personal relationships and career, and have inflicted her to horrific bullying in her own home. The end goal being so that her husband can inherit her wealth and copyrights etc, due to severe jealousy, and the employees have been helping as the husband will "see them all right" once he inherits,,
She is suing all three for around 15 Million US Dollars each.

At a recent hearing, the shocked Judge had no choice but to sentence her to a short custodial sentence in the local Prison for Serious Contempt of Court.
She launched foul mouthed tirades at members of her husbands legal team, then began ranting at a relative of his, screaming that the person in question was a paedophile.
When asked to apologise, Mrs Kenyon refused and launched another screaming tirade, accusing the person and others of her husbands family of abusing her Children for years,

It is all very bizarre at the very least!

There does seem to be a hint of a pattern emerging - someone in some way triggers Mrs K's ire, and the immediate reaction is to file legal action with lots of added odd, spurious or unusual claims, amidst what may be genuine issues.

I am slightly surprised that the Judge simply got out a blunt instrument and issued a jail term for contempt, her behaviour on that day surely triggers loud alarm bells, and at the very least an order for an urgent Psyche Evaluation prior to wearing Orange at least would have been a more reasonable course of action - in the UK had the Judge not done so, I suspect the Court's Civilian Custody Detention Officers would have done so, or contacted the intended Prison to alert and have an evaluation done on arrival, or easiest of all for them, contact the local Constabulary and get the Police to come and detain her under the Mental Health Act for evaluation at the nearest Station or hospital with the facilities,

Equally, if her claims regarding the poisening are true, then whatever she has been given has temporarily or permanently damaged her emotional or mental health, she claims physical syptoms etc,
 

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