04 July 2007

Public domain or not?

I chanced upon an advertisement for a new anthology earlier today. Saying that the ad disturbed me isn't far from the truth. That might surprise some people, and rest assured, I wasn't troubled by the erotic content. Not at all. What troubled me was the fact that the author was using the Disney name, because the book (erotic, I might note) had a fairy tale base.

If you're using characters or situations not in
the public domain in your book, you have a problem. Remember that, even though Through The Looking Glass and Alice In Wonderland are public domain...that's the BOOKS. The films are not. If you're using something Disney created in the films, you are still in danger. For that reason, when Gregory MacGuire wrote Wicked, he could not use ruby slippers. The ruby slippers were a machination of the film version. The original book has SILVER slippers.

If you're using a company name, it should be an association that the COMPANY would consider a favorable association. IOW, attaching Disney to anything erotic is inviting disaster, and they have deep pockets. A writer, especially one that isn't a NYT Bestseller, probably doesn't. They would not be amused and might well consider it harmful to the Disney name. Never mind that I believe they OWN Miramax. The Disney name is not on movies made by companies they've bought, unless they fit the Disney image.

Brothers Grimm is fine (which he also used in his promo). I do that in my own advertising for Once Upon A Time, Yesterday, and since both collections in question are based on fairy tales, that makes sense. Plus, the ORIGINAL Brothers Grimm, before they were sanitized, were incredibly bloody and dark. There's little Disney about the concept of either anthology, and using it is not only putting the author/publisher at risk for a lawsuit but also
defeating the purpose of showing how dark the collection is.

A better comparison might be: The Brothers Grimm meet Hottest Blood. Look at the connotations there. Brothers Grimm...fairy tales, dark, brooding, bloody... Hottest Blood...erotic, horror, dark...

That works much better, I think.

On another note, Once Upon A Time, Yesterday is on schedule, at this time, for an October/November release.

Happy reading!

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