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Into The Omegaverse: How a Fanfic Trope Landed in Federal Court

hey everyone get set to get wet because

so a few months ago there was

this article in the new york times with the title

a feud in wolf kink erotica raises a deep legal question

subheader what do copyright and authorship mean in the crowdsourced

realm known as the omegaverse and i gotta tell you

this article doesn't even come close to scratching the surface of how coconuts

this whole thing is so where to start okay so there was this

lawsuit surrounding some works of fiction that

incorporated the fanfic trope known as a/b/o

or omegaverse and one thing led to another and before you know it the new

york times gets to explain concepts like estrous cycles claiming bites forced

impregnation knotting which is um well it's like uh

apparently it's a feature of wolf anatomy

it's got everything sock puppetry falsified documents violent heat cycle

perjury spurts of well oh no it's like the tiger king of

wolf porn. And the deep legal question is in effect who owns ideas where do you

draw the line between what is and is not worthy of copyright

and why does it involve so much bodily fluid you're like the loudest

climaxer i've ever heard it was like the sound of like a 30 year

old sprinkler finally going off for the first time

so what is the omega-verse so i'm just going to call this a sub-genre

of erotica because if you ignore the fanfic specificity that's all it is

the concept of omegaverse originally started as a subgenre of erotic

speculative fanfiction in the Supernatural fandom

and found broader appeal in the sprawling megafandom

known as superwholock, an amalgam of Supernatural

sherlock and doctor who in the early 2010s

these stories are characterized by alternate human societies which are

divided into a dominance hierarchy like wolves but not like real wolves more

like that study that divided wolves into alphas and betas that was later debunked

by the guy who did the original study so it's based on like bad wolf science

these societies contain alphas the dominating alphas the big boys the dick

swingers the betas despite its current common use as a

pejorative for a submissive man betas in a/b/o were neutral they're like

the normies like sure they will do the do but they

don't go into like uncontrollable pheromone rages at the

smell of an omega's heat cycle speaking of which omegas the submissive

the soft boys the seducees who find themselves drawn to

the shitlording of alphas because they're

pheromones or whatever the subgenre also includes other esoterica and tropes of

wolf behavior like mating for life rutting heat cycles knotting

synth marking claiming bites and mpreg which

if the portmanteau doesn't tell you enough is the ability for male

characters usually omegas to get pregnant i don't

think wolves can do that but it is an important staple of the

genre any fictional property can be omega versed

lord of the rings supernatural one direction

game of thrones transformers hell there's even

hamilton omega verse fan fiction and fan art

like a lot so i stopped being actively involved in creating and consuming fan

works around the time that i started making

internet videos back in the 1960s so i kind of phased out before this

trend became popular so while i had heard of it my first real

exposure to the whole omega verse thing was the new york times article

wow

so this brave new world is all very strange and confusing to me i'm

like grandpa simpson over here

i used to be with it

but then they changed what it was now what i'm with isn't it

and what's it seems weird and scary to me

but at the end of the day it's just

fanfic where could a lawsuit possibly come into this

well since this trope is so popular it was only a matter of time before people

decided hey i could make money off of this

commercial publication of omegaverse fiction is said by some to have started

with 2007's with caution by j.l langley but like the

overwhelming majority of omegaverse fan fiction

it centered male/male relationships the commonality of male/male pairings is the

crux of the most batshit copyright claim ever enter

Addison Cain. Now this is not her real name but

i'm going to just refer to her by her pen name

because. So Addison Cain of course like so many of us

begins her career as a fanfic writer she finds her fanfic calling writing erotic

the dark knight rises fanfiction starting in 2012

and quickly becomes something of a darling in the fandom

and like el james before her she starts to think hey

maybe there's money to be made here so she

pulls her fanfic and begins the process of revising it

into something that she can sell and while we are here one of the many

negative side effects of the infamous popularity of books like 50 shades of

grey is this presumption that any

professional author who so much as admits to having been in fandom

is just repurposing their old fanfic and if they say they aren't

they are probably lying about it i've seen a lot of people make that

assumption about me just because i've joked about having

written fanfic in the past most fanfic authors who jump to

professional authorship do not just repurpose their old fanfic

naomi novik for instance got her start in the master and commander fandom in

the early 2000s so that influence was there when she

published the timarrara series which is basically the napoleonic wars

but with dragons and a lot of people who have read my

book can tell that i have spent some time

in the transformers fandom but these are not just works of fan fiction repackaged

for profit however there are some high profile

examples of authors doing just that a practice called filing the serial

numbers off some authors have found tremendous

success with taking their fanfic and turning it into original fiction

fifty shades of grey was originally a twilight fanfic

cassandra clare's mortal instrument series began life as a draco fanfic

after was a wattpad one direction fanfic about a

bad boy version of harry styles in college

and this is the business model that Addison Cain erotic Dark Knight Rises

fanfic writer hopes to hit paydirt with now most

publishers reject or ignore her queries but eventually small indie publisher

Blushing Books accepts her manuscript for what would

become the first book in a series Born to be Bound and the series soon

earns over $370,000.

Damn.

So Cain becomes something of a star

in the budding commercial omegaverse published

arena especially, according to Cain, in the m/f field what in the fanfic world

is called het because fan fiction is one of the

rare arenas where heterosexual couplings are actually in the minority but of

course since this genre turns out to be lucrative

she's not the only one doing it enter author, Zoe Ellis. No relation,

because it's not her real name either. Zoey Ellis is the nom de plume of

writing for Quill Inks Books which is a small publisher based in London

her novel Crave to Conquer the first book in the

Myth of Omega series, is published in 2018.

like Born to be Bound it is also omegaverse also het

and also extremely violent and unpleasant to read

and i don't recommend it

i don't know what i expected

so not long after someone approaches

Cain and says, hey this book seems to lift a lot of plot points from your book

i think it might be plagiarism and of course Cain does not take this

well well Cain's publisher does not take this

well she does not see this as a rising tide lifts all ship scenario which

generally in genres like this it totally is

oh no she sees a rival horning in on her territory scenting it you might say

anyway zoe ellis must be destroyed

in April of 2018 Cain's publisher Blushing Books

sends dmca take down notices to amazon barnes and noble

google play kobo and itunes blushing claims that crave to conquer

did a copyright infringement by lifting multiple plot points from born to be

bound and that while Cain did not invent

omegaverse she did invent het omegaverse which...hmm

it's a bold strategy cotton let's see if it pays off for them

anyway dmca take down notices we hear a lot about them but few know how they

actually work or what they are supposed to do

maybe we could get a lawyer to explain it

real phone call happening

hello hey lindsay what's up hey devin of legal eagle have you heard about this

omega-verse uh lawsuits that are happening yeah i know a fair

amount about copyright law but i don't know anything about wolf

pornography uh yeah that's fine okay so uh the digital millennium

copyright act or dmca was a law that was written in the very

early days of the internet to decide who would be liable for hosting

copyright infringing material it would be easy to imagine a world

where a website was responsible for the content that its users uploaded

you can imagine that if a user uploaded some copyright

infringing material that the rights holders could go after

the platform for damages and in that world it would be way easier to

get damages from the website or platform instead of the random user who uploaded

it the problem is that if that were the

case then no one would host a website that allowed users to

upload material because they would always be at the mercy of all of these

copyright suits so congress decided in their infinite

wisdom in the mid 90s that it made sense to

give a way for platforms to have immunity from these

copyright infringement lawsuits section 512 of the dmca actually gives

platforms a safe harbor so that they're not

responsible for the content that their users upload if it's infringing of

copyright but in able to receive that safe harbor

they actually have to do certain requirements

the main requirement is that if a website or platform receives a notice a

dmca notice that some content that they're hosting

infringes of someone's copyright then they have to take that down that's

called a dmca notice on the other hand a user who believes

that this dmca takedown notice was given in error can issue what's called dmca

counter notice and get the content put back up so

generally speaking when a platform like youtube let's say receives a proper dmca

takedown notice notifying them that some material infringes on someone's

copyright and they take that material down

then the dmca gives them a safe harbor and prevents youtube specifically from

being sued for copyright infringement now in exchange copyright holders no

longer have to go to court to get things taken down they just

need to send a form so in a way it can avoid a whole bunch of litigation costs

when some user uploads some content that's not theirs

to upload in the first place so a dmca

takedown notice is a party claiming that a platform is

hosting some content that's illegally infringing on copyright and you can see

how powerful this tool could be in the wrong hands that

you can take down almost any website or video that's on the internet so long as

you make a dmca claim which is why the dmca requires you to

have a good faith basis that there's copyright infringement

going on that you have to swear under the penalty of perjury that you actually

own the underlying content that was infringed

and that there was actually copyright infringement going on

because if you're going to be making a claiming bite

you had better be ready to pair bond for life

i have no idea what that means but lindsay says it makes sense in context

so there you go i guess but when we're

talking about the dmca if you're a platform you can get in

trouble for refusing to take down different material if you refuse a dmca

takedown notice then and only then can the underlying

rights holder sue the platform so if youtube gets a dmca claim and they

say no we're going to leave this video up

then they can be sued for copyright infringement but

if they take the video down then they're not liable to anyone which is why you

see a lot of platforms whether it's twitter or amazon or youtube they just

get the dmca takedown notices and take those videos down because it's

no skin off their nose and they don't have to do an independent

analysis to determine whether the video or other ip actually does the

infringing that's up to the person that made the claim and

if the person made a claim that isn't valid

then they can be liable in court for that

invalid dmca takedown so that's why you get a lot of platforms

that are removing content without doing an independent analysis because

there's no reason for them to do any kind of independent analysis so this is

a really complicated area of the law but that is dmca liability in a nutshell

i cannot believe i just talked about wolf

so blushingbooks issues dmca claims across all platforms

and all of zoe ellis's books get taken down

even people who bought the book on e-readers like Kindle

the book magically disappears from their devices

so here is a big problem with the whole drm thing but we aren't getting into

that today. On April 19th 2018, Cain wrote this

facebook post for her fans

So let's compare the two books. Was Crave

to conquer plagiarizing born to be bound born to be bound the world has been

decimated by some plague or something and now everybody lives in cities under

domes the alpha love interest is head of a terrorist organization that

has taken over the city with biochemical weapons

and is a massive chonky big boy

He's a bit of a political zealot and also he and all of his minions

escaped from a prison pit

and also he lives in the prison pit and he was he was born in the darkness

molded by it. Okay, it's Bane it's Bane. It's it's obviously Bane we get it it's

Bane and for crimes crime is irrelevant

i was never condemned to your undercroft i was born there

Enter Claire, an omega

posing as a beta with the help of hormone pills who comes

to Bane I mean shepherd to beg him for help for her omega posse

will Bane discover her secret? yes immediately

Crave to Conquer, Myth of

Omega book one a large and powerful army has conquered

a kingdom their hormone-laden leader Khal Drogo

Dracco has promised his followers omega mates

even though omegas have mysteriously disappeared from society

Enter Cailyn, an omega spy posing as a beta with the help of

magic who pretends to be a researcher in order to get into Dracco's library

Will Dracco discover her secret? yes immediately

plot similarities include

but are not limited to a dearth of omegas alphas take them

hostage omegas are in hiding and trying to

suppress hormones through pills or magic but they fail

the omega is captured by the alpha when her magic or pills fail in public and

she goes into heat knotting, dubious consent/

non-consent both of the first books end with the

heroin escaping their alpha the list goes on from there but does

Cain actually have a basis to make the claim that Crave to Conquer

was infringing on Born to be Bound's copyright? Well, here's a Facebook

exchange from August of 2018.

stunning

how did you get into writing omega verse books especially

m/f omega verse? I'm not going to lie yours were the first ones that i found

that were not m/m

i was the first for male/female

i loved reading omega verse fan fiction but got so frustrated that it never

included women so i made my own meta (rules of the

universe) for male/female omega verse and wrote my own

so Cain claims that she innovated invading queer spaces and making them

all normie and het and also she innovated non-con

sure jan this is also uh not true the first mainstream heterosexual omega

verse novel that was published by a major publisher

was called alpha and omega by patricia briggs beginning in 2008

and the idea that Cain innovated bringing non-con

into this fuckery is just okay

sure jan

this is not the first time

that Cain has gone after the competition either

in march of 2016 she wrote a facebook post charging that another author

who wrote under the pen name the dragon's maiden had copied at least

again 15 plot points from born to be bound

just so you don't believe her hype i have tried to be lighthearted about

this but it has been a nightmare i finally posted a response to the

plagiarism of btbb by the dragon's maiden in her story to

mate an omega this was my post which was taken down

within 30 minutes after the post will be her response do i

believe she plagiarized my story yes do i expect everyone to agree with

me no the dmca will be the final judge of the

matter i just had to say my piece and i know you can respect that

her response was to shut down all comments

and write this this isn't meant to sound snide so please don't take it that way

but i am not going to stop writing because i know 100%

that i am not copying you but to the main reason i am messaging you

if i keep getting rude and threatening messages from your readers i will start

reporting them i woke up to several this morning i

sincerely hope you aren't encouraging that kind of behavior but if i find out

you are i will feel it necessary to report you as well

if you would like to discuss this farther please feel free to email me at

[email remove to protect her privacy] dragon's maiden denied she had stolen

anything and alleged that her fans came after me

even though our stories other than being omegaverse were nothing alike

there are some similarities but i honestly believe that they don't go

beyond common Lycan traits or actual wolf

behavior you know let's just ignore the part

about wolf behavior dragon's maiden quickly caved

deciding it just wasn't worth fighting against Cain and her fans

and pulled her stories sorry due to the number of comments that are either

borderline threatening you're going to regret/be sorry etc or

outright threatening a threat to trace my ip and make me stop writing

it was recommended to me that i remove my work as it stands right now i have

filed a police report due to the harassment

people like this believe their own lies her story is being taken down for

plagiarism plain and simple i have one last point i

want to make i have not ever stirred up my fans

against another writer

so Cain had gone after other authors

before crying copyright infringement but not with so much dmca zealotry as

she did with zoe ellis while dmca allows for users to upload

stuff without opening up platforms for liability

it is a touch to put it mildly flawed and is a system according to legal

experts that is easily abused for instance authors might weaponize the

dmca to take down their rivals and megalopolis like amazon aren't going

to take the time to make sure the dmca claims are legit

after all by nature of the law the legal liability is on the person making the

claim not the platform hosting the content if

dmca claims aren't legit it can take months to undo them

months of lost income and there's no real incentive for platforms like amazon

to be quick about checking those things out

in a lot of cases the only thing you can do is

sue

so Zoey Ellis sues Addison Cain and Oklahoma federal court

where ellis's american digital distributor is based in october of 2018.

the same month ellis wrote the following on her website in a post titled

no one owns a genre least of all omega verse

as well as continued existing attacks against my character and books in

so Ellis sues Cain as an individual as well as the digital distributor

and the publisher blushing books and the anonymous posters that went after ellis

uh who she seems to assume are sock puppets

operated by Addison Cain and or her publisher in addition to suing her for

the wrongful dmca takedowns she sues for a whole bunch of other

stuff like malicious interference of contract

copyright misuse misrepresenting claims under the dmca

and a bunch of other torts negligence defamation

the list goes on and on the lawsuit effectively begins with outlining what

omegaverse is in a context of genre

a lawyer actually wrote this and uh

multiple federal judges had to read it

the lawsuit also puts front and center the fact that authors abusing copyright

law in the romance genre is also nothing new

So let's take a moment to discuss

Cockygate. After the novel Cocky Bastard by

penelope ward and by keeland published by ever after romance

became a big hit in 2015 the genre became flooded with titles involving the

word cocky one author felina hopkins took

this a step further to make sure that her novels

cocker brothers the cocky series would stay above the dick pun-laden swill

by submitting two trademark claims to the u.s patent and trademark office

one trademarking the usage of the word cocky in certain fonts

and two officially having full stop control of the word

in all romance novel titles naturally people disputed this it became a huge

controversy and a legal battle is still ongoing but hopkins did end up releasing

her claims which means you can expect the sequel to Axiom's End,

the cocky bug man from planet cock gobble, to hit shelves in fall of 2021

i don't know if you can tell but i did not write that line

So Cain hits back

in a blog post on her personal website

Cain also started a GoFundMe for her legal fees which starts with the bolded header

authors should not be sued or harassed for

their publisher rightfully filing dmcas

rightfully interesting

this lawsuit is a 512f case which is actually very rare

notice and takedown is the section 512 of the dmca

512 f is what allows people to sue other people for bogus takedowns

but it's very rare because well it's expensive to sue and victims of dmca

abuse usually get mired in the internal bullshit of the platforms they're using

before it gets to the lawsuit point part of the dmca

is you are supposed to consider fair use before you issue a dmca takedown

moreover someone who is a victim of a false dmca takedown

probably isn't going to be under the umbrella of a major corporation with a

lot of assets they are probably going to be a smaller

creator or in this case a small press without a lot of resources

one of the last high profile 512f cases was

youtube suing someone for sending false dmca takedowns

because youtube has the resources to actually go to court and could afford it

and even in that case they ended up settling out of court so

as they were building their case ellis lawyers thought they had a strong

position but according to that new york times

article they struggled to find a prior case that addressed whether fan fiction

tropes could be protected by copyright said gideon ling kekkum a lawyer who

represents quill inc and zoe ellis

but then we get to the deposition which like so many

elements of this case seems weirdly fixated on the originated

in fanfic element

okay mr lawyer man let me help you out the confusion here seems to be

semantic and is probably based in the use of the

verse part of the word i would agree that something set

in the omegaverse is not fan fiction because

omegaverse is the name of a sub genre the word omegaverse isn't used in the

same way we use phrases like the marvel cinematic universe which if

you set a story in that would be considered fan fiction so i can

see where it could be confusing however that

question is completely immaterial to this case and the dmca

whether or not born to be bound was or is fanfic

has fuck all to do with whether or not there was plagiarism

the fact that omegaverse originates in fanfic is completely immaterial to the

legality of this case and i don't understand why these lawyers

or the new york times for that matter even mentioned that they couldn't find a

fanfic related precedent i'm sure one day the legality of fanfic

is going to get litigated and it's going to suck but what does it have to do with

this a case of dmca take towns being abused

by an author trying to snuff out the competition

Cain claims that Ellis's book hit a lot of the same plot points as hers did

which is true but in copyright law there is a doctrine called

scenes a faire, that is you cannot copyright tropes

that consumers expect of a genre take YA paranormal romance for example, you

can't copyright the concept of like a cute but haunted high school boy who

is also secretly a monster of some sort who

becomes obsessed with the clumsy and remarkable female

protagonist

pick any two YA paranormal romance novels from the early 2010s

and each one is easily going to share 15 plot points with any other

which if you line them up next to each other with no context

could look pretty damning when in reality that's just part and parcel of

the genre in other words crave to conquer is about

as similar to born to be bound as any of the shit million twilight

knockoffs were to twilight born to be bound and crave to conquer

aside from using omegaverse tropes aren't even in the same genre one is

future dystopia the other is fantasy so while there's no

case law directly about genres that have emerged from the

internet that doesn't really matter copyright fair use and scenes a faire

included are elastic on purpose to fit changing circumstances

and it must needs be remarked that it is extremely ironic that we have a

fan fiction author who published her erotic fiction which was just

batman fanfic with the serial numbers filed off

filing dmca claims against an author who just appears to be using omegaverse

tropes rather than just repurposing her old fan fiction

i'm sorry her publisher filed dmca claims against an author who appears to

just be using omegaverse tropes in original fiction

Addison Cain had nothing to do with those dmca claims

see that's uh that's foreshadowing so the issue here is that a lot of the

tropes that Cain is claiming Ellis infringed upon

aren't just common to the by now well-worn omega-verse

they're also kind of common to books omega-verse and indeed fan fiction as a

concept did not innovate most of these tropes

the i don't like you/enemies to lover

trope is a feature of most romance novels you know beast

beauty something something tale as old as time

like even the og pride and prejudice does the i don't like you to lovers

thing alpha male dub conning a woman who

eventually falls in love with him is also a romance novel staple from the

sheik in 1919 to bodice rippers in the 1970s and 80s to

what we see now sexual violence turning into true love

is nothing new the whole alpha omega thing is just a

roided up version of what you get in bodice rippers

just with you know more fluids and well for fuck's sake well before omegaverse

was even a thing the common parlance term for a

domineering male hero in the mainstream romance novel genre

was and continues to be an alpha and while the dub con and

non-con elements have fallen out of favor in most mainstream romance

novel presses it's still a big thing in self-published

works and small presses like these so to be clear, Addison Cain, I'm sorry

Addison Cain's publisher is completely in the wrong

here those dmca claims were illegal and illegitimate Cain's

publisher is wrong even if ellis totally stole

those ideas from born to be bound the ideas she stole were too much part

and parcel of the subgenre of omegaverse to possibly constitute

copyright infringement

so the only way Oklahoma could have jurisdiction is if Addison Cain

personally did stuff to people in the state of Oklahoma

in this case Zoey Ellis's digital distributor which is

based in Oklahoma so Cain moves to dismiss herself from

the oklahoma case she is after all a virginia resident and

Cain is like no i didn't do it the publisher did it

i had nothing to do with those dmca claims

i've never even been to oklahoma

no it wasn't me it was the one armed man

So Cain submits an affidavit in an official court document claiming that she had

no contacts with oklahoma and she had nothing to do with those takedown

notices that was all blushing books she didn't know about

it she didn't have anything to do about it

So the motion against Cain in Oklahoma is dismissed but the case

against the publisher blushing books continues in oklahoma oh and also there

is a second lawsuit in Virginia where Cain lives we'll get to that but

in the meantime the charges against Cain are dropped

and it's time for discovery in the Oklahoma case

discovery is a pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party can obtain

evidence from the other party by means of discovery devices such as

interrogatories requests for documents requests for

admissions and so on so quill inks lawyers demand to see all

the correspondence between Cain and her publisher during this time

and

dmca's have been sent to amazon ibooks barnes nobles

kobo and google play when the books come down and the inevitable backlash begins

this is what i intend to post on facebook about it

if you have any feedback on this please let me know smiley face

my publishing house has chosen to take legal action against another author for

plagiarism and your facebook post is extremely strong

and i 100% support you making it i think your decision to hide behind

blushing and paint us as the instigator is absolutely how it should be let us

take the heat all you have to say is my publisher

chose to take action it was and continues to be out of my

hands let people get mad at us hi anne okay here are my thoughts it's

important to take a stand after all blushing books wouldn't just

be doing this for me you're doing it for blushing's best interests too

zoe ellis is stealing from both of us i would not write the author a warning

letter she is aware of what she did and has

already stirred up shit and lied by omission

file the dmca's immediately to amazon itunes and barnes and noble

should only take five minutes each if you want to write her afterward with

demands to see her financials by all means go for it if amazon itunes and

barnes noble comply with the dmca which they should considering the

evidence and a stink arises, i am prepared for the backlash i went through it with

reborn and i'm not afraid to settle it down i will deflect to

blushing and remain distant and naive readers sent in complaints the publisher

filed a dmca based on evidence they uncovered of copyright infringement

any issues should be raised with them this is out of my hands and i will

remain silent publicly unless it gets to a

point that a single professional post on the topic

once again deflecting to the publisher needs to be posted

some people will be reactive right out of the gate but that's why i have a

publisher to hide behind it will pass quickly so long as they

stay above the fray we're all good i'm very good at not engaging with crazy

um so uh if it's not obvious this is um perjury she was the one who demanded the

dmca takedowns and her publisher colluded with her to make it seem like

she was this innocent dumbass who had no idea how the system works my publisher

did everything i didn't have anything to do with it

i agree with the others you've spoken to i don't think you will suffer any

negative consequences by moving forward amazon might not take the other author's

book down but i don't see you or blushing being

penalized in any way there's no way she could file anything

against your book since yours came out two years earlier

woof i mean howl but here is a particularly prescient observation

sent by blushing books to Cain right before they start

raining dmca fire down

however before we move ahead

i'd like you to really think about whether you want to do this

i agree it's sickening she clearly plagiarized your entire plot

but that having been said is this really hurting you

if anything fans of her books reading the reviews of her books

might buy yours controversy frequently helps books

i don't think there's a point at which anyone would ever be on amazon

and be trying to decide between her book and yours and choose hers

they might read both but one or the other probably not

if we move ahead with this you'll have a profound enemy for life

someone who will likely attack you at every opportunity and get all of her

friends to do so she'll come up with another pen name and

be your worst nightmare i'm not trying to tell you to not do it

but i do want you to go in with the clear-eyed

understanding that as hard as it might be to swallow

doing nothing is an option that should be on the table

however if you want to go ahead with it blushing supports you 100%

now that i've thought it over both books should be taken down she shouldn't

profit off screwing me over

what can i say but yikes and it did not

end here they went back and forth for months

trying to keep Ellis's books from making any money

even after ellis had successfully fought the claims that originally took her

books down

her books are back up on ibooks they are

also on kobo and google play and i'm super mad not at

you at this fucked up situation can we please send out dmca takedown notices to

these people also what are we going to do about

amazon help

she's lost her apple account though her

other titles are still on barnes nobles and kobo

i don't know what mechanism we can use to shut her down completely as an author

unless you want to try to trademark omegaverse

which we might be able to get i think our best strategy right now is to push

amazon hard if she loses her account completely it will in effect shut her

down if you have a different better plan or

strategy please share it

book three needs to come down too i

don't want her to make any more money off this series

so um this is what the kids call a bad look so the plaintiffs file a

motion that Cain perjured herself she should be adjudged guilty of civil

contempt and three days later the defendants

offer a complete settlement admit that ellis did not infringe on

anyone's copyright they revoked the dmca takedowns and the

case is closed in oklahoma anyway justice

served well hold on there pard this is just the oklahoma case remember there is

still a case going on in virginia so the virginia case keeps going and

here is where it gets even weirder so the virginia case is specifically

against Cain not the publisher because Cain is

based in virginia and while ellis's claim did involve all

the original stuff about like you know wrongful dmca takedowns it also has all

of this other stuff that is just like way harder to prove in a court of law

and they probably overshot their load with

too many claims so most of it gets thrown out but you

know whatever they've got her where they want her if the judge or a jury finds Ms.

Cain in the wrong, the case would send a message to

overzealous genre writers that the digital millennium copyright act is not

to be abused but then just kind of fizzles out

usually in cases like this it's the defendant that becomes insolvent but

here Quill Inc. dissolved and had to drop the case because apparently

they just ran out of money and when quill inc lost their council

they couldn't hire a new council because there's this like

obscure uk law that says you can't do that so in order to continue the case

they basically have to create a new legal entity in the us and

start over and on top of all that the only part of

that case that's still ongoing is Cain's countersuit in

virginia and because this is endless petty fandom

bullshit the counter claim is for like defamation

of character and emotional damages and more of that

shit accusing also Zoey Ellis of using sock

puppets to like you know leave bad reviews and

what's going on right now is ellis just seems to have disappeared and is just

kind of ignoring Cain's counter claim which is shitty and kind of suspicious

in and of itself but like at this point we're way out of the weeds

of like dmca abuse and into just petty fandom drama so i guess we've come

full circle

so one of the benefits of it taking us roughly like four years on average to

edit one of these episodes is that while we were editing it uh the

case finally got resolved and you'll never

guess how it ended was there some consequence

to Addison Cain and her oops all perjury?

the U.S. federal court

in the eastern district of virginia has dismissed all of the claims against me

with prejudice this is an important victory

not just for myself and my family but for all authors who have ever

or may ever find themselves in a situation where they must defend their

copyright of course not the entire case was

dismissed with prejudice and Cain really wants you to know that in a

post she titled a win for the author community so

the lesson learned here seems to be doubling down

i didn't do anything wrong the dmca takedowns were

valid and i'm the real victim here

for those new to legal jargon it is a serious matter for a judge to dismiss

counts of a lawsuit with prejudice and it is only done in

the most egregious of circumstances

so i spent like my entire saturday

digging through every single court document

in this stupid case and i couldn't find any that were actually submitted by the

court that used with prejudice in their verbiage

anywhere except for the defendant's motion to dismiss the case

where they request that the court dismiss it with prejudice and the motion

was granted but the word prejudice with or without doesn't come up at all

and and that's because with prejudice is kind of implied

when a case is dismissed for failure to prosecute as was the case here

they fizzled out and missed a bunch of deadlines and they pissed the judge off

and the judge was like okay screw it you clearly aren't taking

this seriously that is why the case was dismissed not

because the dmca takedowns were valid and she's

definitely wrong about with prejudice only being done in the most

egregious of circumstances because with prejudice is pretty much the default

if your claims get dismissed it's usually with prejudice

and in this case the judge probably doesn't bother even stating with

prejudice in the court documents because it's not the all caps big deal

she seems to think it is

dismiss with prejudice if anything it's more

unusual for cases to be dismissed without prejudice

i mean it's not uncommon but with prejudice is

more common basically the case was dismissed because it was clear that the

plaintiff could not move forward not because the case itself was without

merit and don't get me wrong some of it was but the stuff surrounding copyright

and dmca especially since Cain perjured herself in the Oklahoma case

they had a pretty good case there and Cain is right about some things namely

how suspicious and weird it is that zoe ellis created the case in virginia

and then just kind of fizzled it out and liquidated her own company

meaning Cain can't pursue her counterclaim like yeah that is a little

sus but again that has nothing to do with

the validity of the dmca takedowns or any damages

ellis might have incurred because of them she goes on to state that the

settlement between blushing and Quill Inc. that happened in the oklahoma case

after she was dismissed from it is legally meaningless instead blushing

made a single statement to avoid further litigation

claiming no plagiarism had occurred and that their dmcas were invalid

that statement legally means nothing

wait

wait no uh yes actually it it means a lot it means they broke

the law and are admitting that they broke the

law the funny thing here is that she undermines her own point

like plagiarism is not a legal term therefore plagiarism is not technically

illegal in the way that like stabbing is not a

legal term therefore stabbing is not technically illegal but assault

with a deadly weapon is ipso facto if there was no plagiarism

then there was no copyright infringement the thing that is illegal

by definition a settlement means an agreement to resolve the legal dispute

by both parties prior to trial no judge ruled on the

case and by definition like she keeps saying

this to by definition like you sound like ben

shapiro bring a bucket and a mob for this wet

ass P word well by definition copyright is the

right to make copies okay now that is a fact it is

right there in the word copyright is the right to make copies it

is easier to prove than plagiarism but if there was no

plagiarism it's right there in the word then there was no copyright infringement

because copies were not made. So is Ben Shapiro gonna sue me now? but she is

wrong in that the settlement in the oklahoma case is legally

meaningless most settlements are confidential

so we never know what the terms are so blushing admitting in a court document

that the dmcas were invalid actually does give it some presidential

effect over any future cases that might argue over

these same details so if only in a minor way maybe blushing

admitting that they were in the wrong to the court

is actually kind of a good thing not a big win but one

minor precedent to defend against dmca abuse

go team but the most batshit unhinged from reality claim that she makes in

this whole thing is in response to the question of why

did you send dmca takedowns for the third myth of omega book which

at that time had not even come out yet and therefore

you could not have read because both my alpha's claim trilogy

and zoe ellis's trilogy were meant to be read as a whole

books one and two ending in a cliffhanger therefore

i believed that the unpublished book was a derivative work

i own trilogies now she then goes on to cast

every other person involved but herself as the villain

she's super mad about that new york times article

and they were way nicer to her than i was

and certainly nicer than the a ALAB podcast

which i definitely listened to and found very helpful

in establishing the timeline for this wacky crazy shenanigans i'm not going to

repeat some of the things they said but the new york times was way nicer

than they were and certainly nicer than i was

interestingly the same month the article ran the nyt

parted ways with at least one editor who admitted an article

was rushed into publication that the editing process was flawed

and shockingly then admitted to not even reading the op-ed

before it ran online so she connects the integrity of

the editor of alexandra alter who wrote the original new york times article

to the op-ed editor who resigned after asking tom cotton to write a

pro-police brutality op-ed like these two are even in the same department

implying that these two editors who happen to work for the same paper

at the same time are the same person like this is the level of intellectual

honesty we are dealing with here in fact zoe ellis sat down with a

journalist for the nyt who rushed the story failed to cite

sources failed to remain unbiased and misquoted

both myself and the facts my god the article is the citation

like this isn't a blog this isn't like a peer-reviewed journal entry

addison newspaper articles don't have footnotes blushing books who totally

threw themselves in front of the bus for addison a year earlier is also the bad

guy now during this experience i learned that my

former publisher blushing books had never filed

copyrights for any of my books despite what i believe was a contractual

responsibility to do so what what do you mean you believe like

read your freaking contract you could check

if they violated their contractual obligation

you can sue them and if they didn't ever say they were going to file

your copyright for you then you didn't read your

contract but that doesn't mean that blushing is

necessarily innocent here either the blog post reveals that Cain and Blushing

had a big falling out during the oklahoma case in which she

got the rights to distribute her book back and she very pettily shows an email

between blushing and another author showing that blushing

basically had no clue what they were doing and

understood nothing about copyright law and

what actually constitutes copyright infringement how many assholes we got on

this ship anyhow

Cain then goes after the romance writers

of america and is very upset about the rwa

protecting blushing like what are you talking about blushing has

been on notice as a like bad publisher by the rwa since 2019

and here she is trying and failing to start shit with another much more famous

romance novelist who had earlier opined on the case

and incidentally is a lawyer herself everyone is enemy mine and i

am the wronged one like maybe you're the problem taylor swift

internet was a mistake

so she's trying really hard to frame this as and i was right

all along and this is a win for authors and i'm helping you actually when in

reality after the details of her involvement and

malice and subsequent perjury were revealed to the court in the oklahoma

case her publisher settled because their

author perjured herself and Cain got to walk away with

effectively no consequences from that while the other lawsuit against her in

another state fizzled and died for completely

unrelated reasons

and that is how it ends

that was pointless

i don't know if you could see what i was doing there it was like a visual joke

got alpha

beta omega you think a depressed person could make

this no so if you were reading this as an

invitation to go harass this woman first of all what the hell is

wrong with you and also why are you even watching my channel

second don't but this is less a cautionary tale of one vindictive author

the new york times article claims that it raises a deep legal question but it

isn't really a deep legal question about who owns ideas

if there is a deep legal question it is how can people without the resources of

giants like youtube protect themselves from bad faith dmca

claims dmca counterclaims do exist as a barrier

and Zoey Ellis did use them but clearly that wasn't enough because Cain and

blushing steamrolled right through them and kept

issuing takedowns for months so a lot of the focus on this case was

on the weird fanfic subculture and not the fact that cases

like this can and often do set important legal

precedents to me this is less about a too horny on

main train wreck as much as it is a good example of how

laws designed to protect giant corporations are written in

presumed good faith and assume that everyone is going to

play by the rules

i tried to protect authors

well as a fellow usa today best-selling author who

writes extremely niche trash involving questionable use of non-human anatomies

um i cannot say i feel protected by this

if she had won this thing which she didn't

that would have meant despite her claims to the contrary that you can

actually own genre tropes which would make creating that much more difficult

and give bad faith actors that much more arsenal to attack their fellow artists

and in cases like these we do kind of need to say something when

bad faith actors try to use this sort of thing to their advantage

and it might inadvertently strengthen already

draconian copyright law pushed by the likes of the walt disney company

and all for your petty vindictive bullshit so

this this attitude is bad don't do it you can't own tropes i've learned you

can do anything you want as long as you put your mind to it

but i've also learned that reading is bad

so we did have a lot of help writing

this um i learned a lot about reading court

documents and uh me and angelina had to read a lot

of torture porn i mean that in the most literal sense

porn with torture literal torture porn it's like snuff for

her thanks especially to stacy lantane of

the university of mississippi school of law

and Katherine Trendacosta with the Electronic Frontier Foundation

the EFF is the leading non-profit defending digital privacy and free

speech and a portion of the profits of this

video are going to be donated to the EFF take care you beautiful people and

remember to wear a mask in public and if this video mysteriously

disappears for i don't know some reason i guess we'll see you in court.