On Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”)
May Fourth is Star Wars Day, just because of the above pun. :)
I took a look at it last year in February
and specifically, in a search for
Star Wars in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
got 1,559 results.
Today, I’m getting 2,128!
That’s up by about a third, about 500 titles.
Of course, with a new movie coming out later this year, that could be having an impact.
Generally, these are from big publishers…but there are some that concern me.
I try to be careful not to falsely accuse anyone of anything.
There are, though, some Star Wars titles which are available through
Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
which would strike me as odd if they are actually authorized titles.
Now, Lucasfilm has generally been tolerant of fanfic (fan fiction), although it needs to be that…not sold for profit, in competition with authorized Star Wars books.
Disney, though, is emphatically not known for not asserting its rights.
I knew of a college which was doing Peter Pan. They tried to be careful not to infringe on the Disney version in the promotional posters.
However, they got a notice from Disney…they had used “Disney Dust” on the poster (I think to show where Tinkerbell had flown by, even though it didn’t depict her).
They were told to they had to get all of the posters back from around town, with an allowance of something like 10 percent for ones that had fallen down.
That’s how I remember the story.
At our (now adult) kid’s elementary school, the children would bring in movies that the class would watch when it was raining and they couldn’t go aside.
The school got a cease and desist from Disney lawyers…and only from Disney, not from other studios. It’s a public performance in that case, and this was a private school…so arguably, the students were paying to see the movies.
People always ask me how Disney knew…presumably, one of the parents (or other legal guardian) alerted them, or it was an employee of the school.
I think you can even get bounty on doing things like that, sometimes.
Honestly? I’m guessing there might be a purge of allegedly infringing titles as we get closer to The Force Awakens in December.
The fifth-ranked book in the listing (sorted by New & Popular) is one of these titles…and listed at $2.99. It says it is fourteen pages long, and some of the reviewers mention how short it is.
Six of the twelve reviews at time of writing (exactly half) are 1-star reviews. Interestingly, five of them are five stars…
It appears that one author has twelve KU-eligible Star Wars titles…three of which have an average rating of 1-star.
They range in price from $4 to $6.99.
I do hope that someone from Disney notices them, if they are unauthorized and infringing. Not that I want anything bad to happen to someone, but just that the books are withdrawn from sale. When my own work has been infringed, that’s all I really wanted.
Could they be unauthorized and not infringing?
If they are parodies, yes, but they don’t appear to be that. A parody has to be a form of criticism of the original work to be considered Fair Use, and these don’t look like that.
It’s possible that they are authorized…but given what the reviews are saying about the quality of the books, I wouldn’t expect that to be the case.
In this case, it’s also very likely that trademarks are involved…I can’t imagine that hasn’t been done.
Update: one of today’s
Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)
is up to 80% off (each) for any of 25 Star Wars books.
There are some interesting titles in this promotion…none of the ones which I suggested above might bear review by the rightsholders, of course. :)
A few stand-outs:
- Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown (4.7 stars out of 5 | 781 customer reviews)…and Vader’s Little Princess, also by Brown
- Star Wars Omnibus Knights of the Old Republic Vol. 1 by
John Jackson Miller (Author), Dave Marshall (Editor), Brian Ching (Illustrator), Travel Foreman (Illustrator), Dustin Weaver (Illustrator), Harvey Tolibao (Illustrator) (collecting issues 0-18 of the Marvel comic (4.7 stars | 19 reviews)
- Star Wars: Rebel Force: Target [Kindle Edition]
Alex Wheeler (3.6 stars | 5 reviews): this is the first in this series (others in the series are also part of this deal…note that this one is also in Kindle Unlimited). I’m a little disappointed that the Han Solo book is “Renegade”, the Luke Skywalker book is “Target”, and the Princess Leia book is “Hostage”. Renegade is something you do. Target is someone else attempting to do something to you. Hostage makes you the (generally inactive) item in a conflict between two other entities…that doesn’t define this atypically portrayed princess for me very well
You might wonder why this was an update: the blog runs on Greenwich time (since I have readers all over the world), and Amazon runs on Pacific time. So, I did first publish this on May the Fourth…it just wasn’t May the Fourth yet in Seattle. :)
What do you think? What do you want to have happen to someone who infringes? Is a withdrawal of sale enough, or do you want to see penalties? Financial costs, jail, or both? If a work is set in the world of Star Wars, but does not use existing plots, do you think that is infringing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.