World Book Day is celebrated every year on April 23 and internationally marked as books and copyright day. The event was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote a reading culture and create more awareness towards books. As the day is also marked as the copyright day, here we have put together a list of few best-selling authors who have faced copyright infringement issues in their careers. Take a look at it here:
Famous for the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling has seen her fair share of copyright and trademark infringement. The first time the British author faced copyright issues was in 1999 when American author Nancy Kathleen Stouffer accused Rowling of using words which she allegedly invented in her book The Legend of the Rah and the Muggles and Larry Potter and his Best Friend Lily. Nancy Kathleen lost the case as the court found her submission to be fraudulent and the testimony that she gave untruthfully.
Other than this, another author Adrian Jacobs accused JK Rowling of plagiarising substantial parts of his book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard in her book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Adrian failed to provide a security deposit to the court and the case was dismissed in the US where the judge said that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity.
Dan Brown has written several popular novels like The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. The book The Da Vinci Code was released in May 2003 after which Lewis Perdue the author of The Da Vinci and Daughter of God accused Dan of plagiarism. The court ruled and stated that “Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalised or otherwise unprotectable ideas," which lead to the victory of Dan Brown.
Another case against Dan Brown was filed by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, the authors of The Holy Blood, Holy Grail. But they lost the case as the judge said that historical research, no matter how it is interpreted in fiction, is fair game.
In the year 2009, the author of the bestselling vampire series the Twilight Saga was accused of plagiarism by author Jordan Scott. The lawsuit was on copyright infringement mentioned similarities between Meyer’s fourth book in the Twilight series Breaking Dawn and Scott’s vampire novel The Nocturne. Scott drew similarities between certain scenes in the books like the wedding scene, sex on the beach, a pregnant woman with a child with evil powers, and the main character turning into a vampire, including others. Meyer’s publisher claimed the characters were vastly different and the court also ruled in Meyer’s favour.
The South Korean author, Shin Kyung-sook was accused of plagiarising from prize-winning Japanese author Yukio Mishima. He alleged this after author Lee Eung-jun actually pointed out the similarities between Shin Kyung-sook’s Legend and Mishima’s Patriotism.
At first, Shin denied allegations that she had plagiarised but in 1996 she agreed one line from the book "[She] became the body that knows pleasure” was there in both the books and raised this litigation. After the news broke out, Shin Kyung-sook apologised for his mistake and accepted that she was at fault.
In 2019. the best-selling author Nora Roberts filed a copyright infringement and multi-plagiarism lawsuit against a Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya. She alleged that Serruya had copied texts not just from her books but works of other writers as well. The court identified that Cristiane Serruya has carried several parts of her books, and all her books were taken off the sale.