Getting Too Cocky: Some Brief Thoughts on Cockygate

As I’m sure many of you have heard, an indie romance author named Faleena Hopkins has trademarked the word “cocky” in romance novel titles for her Cocker (!!!!) Brothers series. This means anyone else with the word “cocky” in the title (literally just a word for arrogant, which tends to be present in alpha romance heroes) needs to change their title on all versions of their book to avoid legal action. More on this here.

And in case you thought Hopkins wouldn’t seriously threaten legal action, here’s her terrible curt (and terribly edited) cease and desist letter to another romance author, Jamila Jasper.

Perhaps the most infuriating part to me, besides the sheer ridiculousness of it all, is how much unnecessary trouble other indie authors threatened with legal action will have to endure to avoid being sued, especially, as Hopkins pointed out in the letter, since every edition of the novel needs to be altered. An audiobook would perhaps be the biggest pain. I don’t know much about editing an audiobook, but it’s entirely possible that, to have an audiobook with no “infringement,” the author may need to pay for a re-recording just for a change in title, especially if former narrator is no longer available and the author has to rush to avoid legal trouble. Audiobooks are expensive and time-consuming, so that’s a lot of expenses and time lost to change a minor aspect. That, or they’d just take down the audiobook altogether, which limits the accessibility of their books and hurts both them and their readers.

Also, besides the interior (which, if someone else formatted it and they can’t edit the original file…), the author will need to make changes for both their print and ebook covers. If they hired someone to do it, they’ll need to hire someone to redo it, which can range from $25 to $500 to even more, depending on the artist (and whether it’s a stock photo vs. original art).

This is all a terrible burden to give¬†anyone, and for what? How did it go for the Fine Bros when they tried to copyright “react”? Were they really threatened by other people doing react videos?

It’s just a mess.

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