Saturday, 27 June 2009
Fine. So I'm paranoid after all...
Reluctantly, I learnt a lot about copyright in the eighties because my jewellery designs were comprehensively ripped off. It's very easy to take a rubber mould and make as many copies as you like by the lost-wax process. The counterfeiters got them cast in Thailand mostly, where labour is cheap, and wholesaled them here, in silver, for less than I paid just for the casting.
Some unpublished authors worry they might have similar problems with their novels, and it's no good suggesting to them that if they can't sell the darned thing, there is no reason to suppose anyone else will be able to, and that they really have nothing to lose by making it available on the internet.
Titles, I think, are a different matter. Anyone who has struggled to find a catchy, evocative title will know just how hard it is. You come up with something good, check on Amazon Books and it's been used, often many times. One gets an insight into why some of one's favourite books have quite dull or strange titles.
Since Jade Goody used my title, Catch a Falling Star (a title that's been used before, but not for a notable book) I've been brainstorming for a new one. Yesterday, I think I found it. And no one has used it, ever.
So what is it? Well, here is where my paranoia comes in. Suppose a publisher has agreed to publish a novel, but doesn't like the title? It's up to the writer and agent to find a good new one. Fast. Go on a site like Authonomy, and you will find literally thousands of novel titles, all unpublished. Steal a title there, and it's the perfect crime; no one can prove you did it, that it wasn't just coincidence. And in any case, you can't copyright titles.
I think I'll just keep quiet about it for now.
Posted by Lexi at Saturday, June 27, 2009