The Day I Received a Cease and Desist…

Hey Freelancer!

Since the cancer, I’ve been concentrating more on fiction writing. And boy… has that effort been fun. It’s also going well.

Over on my author list, we’ve been having a blast downloading books, talking shop, and… well… discussing death. Ha. Guess that’s what happens when you hang out with a cancer person. :/

If you enjoy romantic suspense, head over there and join in the fun. Here’s the link.

If you’re not a romance reader (that’s just fine) sit tight here. I’ve got a new release coming up that could be a game changer for anyone experiencing difficulties in their creative life.

Oh… and today’s feature article? Yeah. It’s a hum dinger. Enjoy!

Onward and upward,

Beth 🙂

P.S. My third novel, Reclaimed Hope is currently .99. The price will likely increase very soon.
http://goo.gl/EUIyvx

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The Day I Received a Cease and Desist. :O

I was listening to the Mad Cowboy, Howard Lyman, the other day. He made the comment that 80 percent of the people walking around are sound asleep in their own little world. They wake up in the morning, they watch the news to decide what they’ll believe, they head to work and seek consensus, they drive home listening to songs they oughta like, they go to bed listening to news and form opinions based on that one-sided view.

Lyman says that these 80 percent are basically “unreachable.” To wake them up would require so much work that we need to allow them to walk their own path until a crisis of some sort will shake them out of their slumber.

That’s the day they’ll become part of the 20 percent who are alive, kicking, and swimming up stream.

I’ve wavered between the two groups, I admit it. It’s far easier to “sleep” but once you wake up, the joy, the stimulation, the incredible power is nearly intoxicating.

But, you’ll feel pain. A lot of it.

Cutting those puppet strings is empowering. Realizing that you honest-to-god, really can have, do, or be anything… and I mean ANYTHING you want is life changing.

No longer do you have to accept what anyone says about you. You’re free to dream dreams, then turn around and live them.

You’re free to explore every belief you hold and accept the ones that make sense, and chuck the rest.

You become a thinker, a philosopher, a cage rattler.

And if you believe the people who think, philosophize, and rattle cages are readily accepted by the 80 percent… think again.

And if you attempt to wake up that slumbering 80 percent? You can expect a bit of excitement.

I vividly remember the day I received my first Cease and Desist (C&D).

I haven’t told anyone this story before because I was embarrassed that, for the first time

in my life, I had to hire an attorney.

But here I go…

So, I get the C&D. Turns out one of my titles had a name similar to a title one of the “Big Five” publishers had in their list.

I managed to awaken a sleeping giant. 🙁

The title was just starting to take off and make a dent in Amazon. I was pleased as punch. But then the C&D arrived.

Now, you cannot copyright a title. However, you can evidently claim you own a “common law trademark.” And this is what they were asserting.

Because my title was similar, they demanded I change it or face dire legal consequences.

Long story short, I changed the title. After all, since when can tiny Filbert Publishing go up against a world wide conglomerate filled with television networks, radio, newspapers, magazines, book publishers, and the like?

What I found interesting about this entire situation was that the other author, someone very respected in this field, initiated the action. She not only initiated the action, but she dragged out the process, incredibly fearful that we, would somehow deceive her and not do as she requested. She demanded a list of everyone we’d sold the book to, however we didn’t have such a list considering all the sales were via Amazon. But that didn’t stop her from asking for this magical list multiple times. 🙁

She wanted us to draft a letter to every single buyer of my book telling them that I wrote it. Again, an impossibility since all the sales were through Amazon.
So, basically, all we needed to do was change the title, which we did within 24 hours of receiving the C&D.

However, despite the new title showing up in every major online bookstore, despite the title getting changed in the Ingram catalog, despite the book showing up on my own website with the new title, she languished in complete angst, always worried that I’d switch it back.

I’ll be blunt. Title changing is inconvenient and rather expensive. Once I changed it, I had no intentions of going back to the original.

Yet, this author suffered.

I heard a very wise person once say that every decision we make, and we make gazillions of tiny ones every single day, every decision we make comes from one of two places: a place of fear, or a place of love.

I can’t help but feel that this respected author lives in a continual state of fear. How else could she conduct her business in such a way.

And I’ll admit that my initial reaction to the C&D was a fear based reaction, but as the experience progressed, I can truly say I feel tremendous sadness for this woman and hope that she can someday feel joy when it comes to her writing career.

Had she been even a bit awake… if she’d pushed aside fear for a moment… the situation would have evolved in a much different way. Yeah, I would have gladly changed the title if she’d simply asked. But she decided to take the fearful route based on assumptions made in her unawake state.
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This was an excerpt from The Creative Entrepreneur Volume II. You can get more awesome entrepreneur tips like this when you nab a copy. Check it out here:

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Enjoy!

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  • sam browne

    no such thing as common law trademark

    either you have a real one registered with patent and TRADEMARK office or you dont

    you got bluffed

    • BethAnnErickson

      Possibly. But wow… the attorneys at Harper Collins disagreed. As did my lawyer. He said, “You’d win the case, but they have deeper pockets.” We just changed the title. Then the other author persisted until our attorney had to start sending letters. The whole issue eventually fizzled. Either way it was a pretty crazy roller coaster ride. Here’s more reading on Common Law Trademarks: http://www.bitlaw.com/trademark/common.html