Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lawsuit Over Carnival of Souls

This is nuts.  There's this guy named Jazan Wild who's a comic creator.  Among his creations is a comic by the title Carnival of Souls.  A title which he has trademarked.  There's also a fantasy novel title Carnival of Souls by a lady named Melissa Marr.  Mr. Wild is suing her publisher, Harper Collins for trademark infringement.  That's trademark, not copyright. 

The really nutty thing is that he's sending cease and desist letters to book bloggers who review the book.  Seems someone might be a bit too full of himself.  You can read the details here

Meanwhile, I may have to bump Carnival of Souls Ms. Marr's book to the head of the review queue.  Not that I'm trying to stir up trouble or anything.  I would never do that.  Honest.


  1. Trademarking a title of an artistic work? I don't think you can really do that. Weird loophole if true. And what about the movie "Carnival of Souls"? (which probably came first, unless he's an old guy)

    1. Apparently there's been quite a number of works with the same title. The reason I even brought this up is that the guy is going after book bloggers who mention or review the book. Defending a trademark against a publisher or other corporation I can understand, but going after reviewers because they reviewed the book is a bit much.

      Frankly, the book doesn't look like my cup of tea, so I doubt I'll take the time to read it. Too many other things that are more appealing. But as far as publicity goes, Ms. Marr probably couldn't buy publicity this good.

    2. Ok. So I am nuts because in 2004 I decided to do a comic book series titled CARNIVAL OF SOULS. In 2005 I was blessed enough to have it published and it did really well. So I went on to start my own company and even had CARNIVAL OF SOULS become the #1 ebook on Blackberry for over a year.

      From there I have had the series do really well on Amazon, reaching the #1 spot several times. So I decided in 2009 to register my series as a trademark. I have every right to do so. Yet in 2012 HarperCollins and Mellisa Marr, want to take my registered "CARNIVAL OF SOULS" trademark and put it on top of her new book. Which even a stand alone book is an infringement, however, it is well known that this is a "CARNIVAL OF SOULS" series. It is listed on Amazon as a series, under the hardback version of Marr's book. It has been said in several places officially that this is a new series.

      Ok, AGAIN... I am minding my own business and running my business, when a Billion dollar company, makes a decision to out and out take my series name and mark. And I am the focus of your anger? Not that kind of unethical practice?

      They have no right to do this. What if I did that to them?

      We contacted HarperCollins in June and asked them to stop using my series name and mark. They threatened to take my mark. They listed all kinds of other uses of the title from other classes of goods... like movies and cds and such. They said the name was common and basicily I should be ashamed for having chosen it. Even though they must now have the crappy name for their new million dollar book series. All of this treatment because I did what... protect my work with a trademark?

      Look I have a trademark in classes 16 and 41 for novels, comic books and graphic novels. You can only trademark series, not single items. So yes, there are other CARNIVAL OF SOULS out there. The ones before my mark can stand; the ones after my mark are infringing. They want my mark. They have published a series with the title "CARNIVAL OF SOULS"
      my series is called "CARNIVAL OF SOULS." What am I missing? Should I really have never applied for a trademark, because Melissa Marr and HarperCollins may one day in the future decide they want my title? This is insanity. Place your anger where it should be... on that.

      And finally as to sending out cease and desists to bloggers... here's the facts. I sat back from June to Sept and received endless "Google Alerts" with "CARNIVAL OF SOULS" being promoted all over web. Not my "CARNIVAL OF SOULS" series but rather a trademark violated version. On Sept 10th the night before my 24th anniversary, I had had enough. I went down the "Google Alert" list and sent the cease and desists to whomever had posted my mark. No bloggers were singled out. This was to let everyone posting this book know that the "CARNIVAL OF SOULS" mark is a registered trademark that HarperCollins is knowingly and willfully violating. The bloggers are not doing a damn thing wrong. They are doing their job and got caught in the crossfire, and for that I am sorry. It is HarperCollins and Melissa Marr who have done the wrong thing since day one. And I have to defend my series.

      Now let's let the courts decide the matter.

    3. Jazan,

      Thank you for your reply and for providing your side of the story. I have no problem, none whatsoever, with your defending a trademark against a corporation you believe is infringing upon it. As you say, let the courts decide the matter.

      It has been reported that you are going after bloggers who were reviewing the book, which I do have a problem with, as many of them might not have been aware of your series. (I wasn't until today.) I'm glad to hear that that isn't the case.

    4. Also you pick and choose who you let use it..... If you are going to go after reviewers then why not Zak bagans and travel Channel for using it at his museum. That's a double standard

  2. Replies
    1. As to Heroes... (I am proud I stood up to NBC) notice them in the LA Times link with my CARNIVAL OF SOULS series 6 months before parts of my story started showing up in the 4th season.

      See if you see any similarity:

      My case, which is on appeal, was number 50 to 0 in which a major network or studio "won" against a claim of copyright theft. The current number is 60 to 0. Not one win in 20 years.

      (Third parties now have the freedom to steal from screenplays with impunity, provided they cover their tracks by creating sufficient dissimilarities in what is, in reality, a “derivative work.”) Quote from Death of Copyright by Steven T. Lowe

  3. Interesting. I'll have to read up more about this. Given the title itself has been widely used before, I can't see how anyone could be upset over a fresh use of that. but if there is more about the entire package that is being ripped off, that is certainly an issue to look into. Sounds like this is more complicated than it at first appears.

    1. I completely agree, Charles. This situation does have more depth to it than was originally reported, at least in the venues where I found the story. My initial understanding was the use of a title, but it seems to be more than that.

      If Harper Collins is deliberately poaching on a trademark, then they deserve to be hung out to dry. This isn't the first time they've tried bullying tactics: and links therein.

      Nor is it the first time that particular publisher has been accused of ripping off independent publishers/indie authors:


      I'll be following this one closely. I'll also look up the other case Mr. Wild has with NBC.