Dear Book Lovers:
In October 2019 I filed a
Copyright Infringement Lawsuit against EMMA CHASE,
S & S, and EverAfter for repurposing my PG-13 royal rom-com Part-time Princess as erotic royal rom-com Royally Screwed.
I’m a USA Today Bestselling Indie author of over twenty-five romance and mystery novels. I wrote Part-time Princess (PTP) when my mother got sick and published it July 28, 2014 after she died. Royally Screwed (RS) published October 16, 2016– over 2 years after my book published. I tried repeatedly to settle this out of court but my efforts were rebuffed.
The stories feature same/similar names, characters, brands, scenes, plot points, jokes, and sentences.
Initially I graphed the overlap between Part-time Princess (PTP) and Royally Screwed (RS) the traditional way — chapters and page numbers. Then I realized that evaluating from paperbacks was ridiculous – the fonts were different, book dimensions, layout– all different.
I ran the books through Plagiarism software.
I followed the hits, found more similarities, and graphed them using Kindle Percentages and Kindle Locations found in Kindle e-books. For the sake of simplicity I used the K% here.
Ms. Chase’s and Big Publishing’s attorneys claim that all overlap between the books is allowed. They argue that the similarities can be chalked up to “stock characters” and “trope.” A few examples:
Ms. Chase’s and Big Publishing’s attorneys also claim that overlap between the books is random. But much of the re-purposed text is arranged in CLUSTERS and PATTERNS. This suggests entire scenes were re-written.
Look at how the Kindle Percentages line up next to the text. Does this look random? Or does this look like my book — Part-time Princess — was wide open while it was being re-purposed as Royally Screwed?
Part-time Princess tells the story of Lucy a/k/a Lizzy, a down on her luck waitress at a Chicago Bar. She takes a job – only meant to last a few weeks in the summer — impersonating a royal lady and meets handsome, cocky Prince Nicholas on the plane to fictitious European country of Fredonia. She falls in love with Nick and ultimately gets engaged to him back in Chicago.
Royally Screwed tells the ‘stories’ of handsome cocky Prince Nicholas and of Olivia a/k/a Livvy, a down on her luck waitress at Amelia’s Coffee Shop in NYC. She meets Prince Nicholas in NYC and travels with him for the summer to the fictional European country of Wessco. He proclaims his love for her back in NYC at Amelia’s and she ultimately marries him.
Stop Re-purposing my Book!
Royally Screwed hit the NYT Bestseller list and won Best Audible of the Year in Romance 2016. It spawned multiple derivative titles. Foreign rights sold to Germany, Italy, France, and more. It was optioned by PASSIONFLIX for Film/TV in 2017 and — according to their recent Passionpod Interview with Ms. Chase — is still on their docket of books to be filmed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnQ54Q4pxZk
Defense attorneys claim that even though both books are royal romances – they do not have “substantial similarity” because Royally Screwed—is more of a “bodice ripper” than Part-time Princess.
Before her book “Tangled” sold to Omnific and S&S — to the best of my knowledge — Emma Chase had a background writing Fan Fiction. It’s also worth noting in RS Acknowledgments Ms. Chase states,
“[i]t’s not always easy coming up with a new story idea. . . But sometimes, inspiration takes a holiday, leaving a writer to flounder with the question: What am I going to do next?. . . .”Emma Chase– Royally Screwed Acknowledgments
But Part-time Princess isn’t public domain, nor is it free for the taking. I’ve never authorized ANYONE to write ‘Fan Fiction’ of my books. I’ve never licensed Part-time Princess to Ms. Chase, S&S, or EverAfter. They do NOT have my permission to copy and re-write my book, twist paragraphs, flip-flop sentences, and/or publish derivative titles.
Yet, they not only re-purposed Part-time Princess— they continue to sell the repurposed version(s) – EVERYWHERE. (FWIW – the graphs I included in this blog post are the tip of the iceberg.)
How you can help
How would you feel if Big Pub and opportunistic authors re-purposed your books? I bet you’d feel like I do — DEVASTATED.
Please help me send a message to Big Pub and opportunistic authors that repurposing others’ books is NOT OKAY. Indie authors and their books are NOT the local ‘Mom & Pop’ convenience store for them to browse when “inspiration takes a holiday…”
Writer pals encouraged me to do a Go Fund Me to defray some of my legal bills which are substantial. Donate if you can, share the Go Fund Me page, share the graphs. https://www.gofundme.com/f/big-pub-amp-authors-stop-repurposing-our-books
Links to press about the case are on the GFM.
Please don’t trash Ms. Chase or me on social media. Bullying doesn’t solve problems — it just creates more. Besides — I can’t help but wonder if someone gave Ms. Chase bad advice…
The case was put on hold due to Covid-19. I plan to be blogging and releasing more graphs and similarities in the next few weeks. I’ll keep you updated should I hear of anything.
I love being an author. I love our book community. Let’s work together to make our book community a safer place for both writers and readers.
Thank you so very much for your kindness.