Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Clearly I Was Mistaken

I apologize if you tried to visit earlier today and the site was down.  I'll try to explain...but I've had a long day and am truly disheartened right now.  Please forgive me if I don't make the best sense.

I took the site down purposely...but decided to put it back up when I received an email from a reader asking where it was.

Here's the deal.

I received a "Cease and Desist" letter this AM from a law firm representing E.L. James.  The letter (which I am not allowed to publish or they will take action against me) insisted I remove my tshirt shop in which I had 3 Fifty Shades-themed shirts for sale.  I didn't think the shirts I designed would be a problem since I didn't choose quotes I thought would be a copyright infringement.

Clearly I was mistaken.

I am way too tired to get into the semantics of the situation...but to say it has completely saddened me is an understatement.

This blog serves no other purpose than to make the few people who read it laugh...and to discuss the Fifty Shades of Grey series.

And let me be clear: in the letter I received, Ms. James' law firm said she was fine with me keeping this blog running; just not the tshirt shop.

But let me mention something.

I have defended E.L. James and the Fifty Shades series more times than I can count.  You think the email exhanges suck?  Eff off; I think they're great.  You think Christian is a doosh?  Eff off; he had a rough childhood.  You don't think the writing is up to par?  Again - Eff. Off.  "Good" doesn't have to equal "Shakespeare".  I found myself throwing all of this at people...as well as tweeting "Dr. Drew" and telling him how ignorant his theories on the first book were...especially since, at the time, he hadn't even read it.

I thought all of that counted for something.

Clearly I was mistaken.

As for the shirts, I didn't sell so much as one.  And Spreadshirt.com gets paid for the shirts; not me.  Any slight commission (and I mean slight - as in, a couple of bucks.  They'd be too expensive, otherwise) I would have made would have gone toward my costs to upkeep this blog.  Sure, Blogger.com is free.  However, the chat software, domain and multiple tshirt shops on Spreadshirt.com cost money.

Let's be clear about something else.  I'm not some company that just wants to make money off Ms. James' success.  I don't mass produce these shirts and sell them on the street corner in New York City.  I'm not like the people selling the Royal Family coffee mugs at Princess Di's funeral.

And let's face it - when you're a TRUE fan, it's FUN to wear a shirt that mentions a line or character from our favorite book.  We do it out of respect for the author/writer; not to take money out of his or her pocket.

I thought the fact that I promote the Fifty Shades series - coupled with the fact that I am a one-woman operation who doesn't even advertise here, in order to keep the site fun - would have kept me from dealing with this type of thing.

Clearly I was mistaken.

I thought - naively enough - that it was about the story...and the wonderful world of Christian Grey...and not about money.

Clearly...

I was mistaken.


32 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting the site back up - all your blogs are so much fun to read! May I suggest a new Purgatory....Bared to You by Sylvia Day. If you liked 50, just wait till you read this one....(and the sequel is coming out in October - Squeeee!)

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    1. Ooooh....squee, Julia! Thanks!

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    2. I'm with Hildy on this one. Wasn't impressed with Bared to You. Thought it was a Fifty-wanna-be. There's only one Fifty, LOL!

      Laura ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Sys. :) That is very sweet of you to say. Good luck with your blog! What's the URL?

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  3. Carol, clearly they are the ones that are mistaken! I say send those bottom feeders your own bill for all the FREE promoting you have been doing of this series!

    And shame on EL James for supporting this move! You would hope she would remember exactly where her fan based originated from and not be able to see the true intent of your blog! (I can't help but think how you would never in a million years see anything like this from another famous author you support and we love so much)
    First thing I did after reading was search to see if you had a blog on this series and when I found out you did I was ecstatic! You made it that much better for me do PLEASE don't stop doing what you do! You have a gift that makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face whenever I read your posts!

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    1. Jaymie, seriously...THANK YOU. That truly means a lot...more than you know. Last week was really rough because of that letter. I still love the series...and I don't necessarily blame EL James; she might not even know this is happening. Or she might not really have much say in the matter, now that the film is in the works. I guess I just wish she'd be a little more involved in process with us "little guy" blogs and sites. Hell - if I'd gotten a letter from her assistant's assistant's coffee fetcher, explaining the situation and asking me to take down the shop, I'd have felt a TON better about it. But her lawyers? That was a bit much.

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  4. Carol, I'm so sorry that this happened. I know why you do these blogs and it's too bad that her lawyers automatically jumped all over you instead of scaling it back a bit. I'm glad you put it back up though. This blog is for you and for all of us, and not for the people who upset you. I wish they realize how many books that you've had a hand in selling because you recommended the books or people saw your blog. I wish she'd take a moment to thank you instead.

    I wasn't a fan of Bared to You.

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  5. Thanks Hildy. Without knowing it, you talked me off the ledge the other day. : ) Yeah - I put the blog back up and will probably put the ads for it back up on mypurgatory, myoutlanderpurgatory, etc. I was just so upset that day and didn't want to spend one more second - or dime - promoting these books. But at the end of the day, it's blogs like this that have led me to meet all of you WONDERFUL fellow fans...so I will continue to blog and have fun. Maybe EL should think about doing the same. (Again - I get it - it's what they do when something gets this huge. But it would be nice if she let me know she doesn't hate me for blogging. LOL Makes me realize even more that Diana Gabaldon and Paullina Simons are SO RIDICULOUSLY cool. : )

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  6. Carol! Definitely don't let it get you down. That reaction was WAY over the top. All of us who know and love your blogs know that your intention is to bring awareness to great books in a really fun way, not to profit. We love you and your blogs. You put so much of your heart and personality into these and we really really appreciate it. So.....screw em! Sounds like these uptight lawyers might need a session in the Red Room of Pain....maybe then they'd lighten up a little. Geez....

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  7. ROFLMAO TRUFF!!!!!!! Again - you make my day. Looks like SOMEONE needs a time out with Christian, no?!? ;) Thank you again for your kind words. You are one of MOST fun gals (and guys, even though Clay doesn't read this blog) I get to "hang" with on the blogs. I'll keep writing if you'll keep reading! :)

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  8. I am so bummed to hear this happened to you, Carol. I mean, you put so much of your personal time and money into these blogs, which by the way are usually the highlight of my day. I have met so many wonderful people because of you and Tracey and I enjoy reading so much more because I know I have this great community to discuss these books with. We are definitely spoiled by your blogging awesomeness and I would just be devastated if you took any of your sites down. Hope E.L. reads this and recognizes that without you and others like you, her books would not have circulated to the extent they have. Keep your chin up and I will continue to YELL AS LOUDLY AS I LIKE ABOUT ANY BOOK I LOVE AND CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOU AND YOUR BLOGS TILL THE DEATH!!! Xoxo.

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  9. Correct me if I'm wrong..............but is Fifty NOT Twilight Fanfic? WTF? Does that not mean that EL "borrowed" from Steph? Hello? Does anyone else find this stupid?
    Talk about the "pot calling the kettle black".

    Clearly, your shop was just a "fun" part of your blog. Obviously EL et al do not understand how famous you are in Bookland.........to people who BUY BOOKS because you spend countless hours blogging about them.

    I think EL owes you a big fat apology. EL, where are you? Tell Carol this was all a silly misunderstanding.

    Laura ;-)

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  10. Carol, I'm glad I could help. You make me laugh on a daily basis. It's the least I could do! :)

    TRuff, that was an AWESOME post. Red Room of Pain, indeed!

    Laura, I think the whole Twilight Fanfic thing is what is craziest about this whole thing. Has she not made an obscene amount of money from 'borrowing' ideas from Twilight? You haven't sold one freakin' T-shirt and she's made millions and YOU are getting a letter? Grrrrrr...

    You're right, Carol. Diana Gabaldon and Paullina Simons are way cool.

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  11. WTF? I just saw this today, it's totally ridiculous.

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  12. I just saw this today. Ridiculous indeed! Makes my palm twitchy! Hang in there Carol!! This makes me want to go to cafepress and design my own RROP t-shirts. hmmm...

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    1. LOL Moni!! Yes, you, too, can get a Cease and Desist! ;)

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    2. Maybe we should all do it to keep her lawyers busy and billing...

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  13. Carol, we love you on the OBC (outlanderbookclub). You know we do! This is just plain silliness. It is lawyers being lawyers and it is a shame. Without the fans and fan blogs like this, the book would never have even been heard of. Sometimes people just need to get a grip, be flattered we like it and move on.

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  14. Carol
    I have only just seen this :-(
    Sending you huge hugs.
    :-)

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  15. It's a real shame when such a well-meaning fan gets a letter like this, but you have to appreciate that a LOT of people, not all of them fans, are trying to make a buck out of the Fifty phenomenon. These lawyers can't just send c&d letters to the knockoff merchants and spare the genuine fans - they have to treat everyone the same. There's not much to stop a Fifty lover creating Fifty t-shirts that they give away to family and friends to celebrate all things Christian Grey - you just can't advertise the stuff for sale. Harsh but true. EL James is a victim of her own success - she loves the stuff her fans do, but she's playing with the big kids now, so it's kind of out of her hands...

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    1. I agree with you, Anonymous. It's not even really that harsh. I don't mind the message...I think it was more of the delivery that upset me so much. And it's not just me; you are right. Hell, EL can't even talk about the movie and it's her story!

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  16. Oh Carol this sucks so bad. I know it made you just sick.

    I have missed you so much. I grabbed my daughter's laptop yesterday and decided to check out your blog for the first time in months. I literally squealed, clappy hands, jumped up and down, danced when I saw you were blogging about Fifty.

    Sigh. Please please don't stop blogging and sharing your hilarious and profound (and sometimes profoundly hilarious) thoughts.

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    1. Awwww Ajenn - that was sweet. THANK YOU. That's why I do it. (Well, that, and because I can't shut up about books when I love them. LOL)

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  17. I've come across this same exact thing with fanfiction. One of my favorite series is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. On her site she wrote, "Though I am flattered that fans of Outlander are inspired enough to write fanfiction, I am uncomfortable for the series to be changed in any way shape or form. Please refrain from doing so. Thank you." I was livid! As a fan, when you read something that not only inspires you but sparks your imagination in a way that urges you to create art or write, you want to share it with the community fanbase. It's a way to bond, as is with your fun t-shirts. I just don't understand why some authors feel the need to kick their fans in the teeth that way? WE'RE the one's buying all the books and merchandise! WE'RE the one's making it popular by spreading the word to our friends and blogs! JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyers made a shit-ton of money with their series, but did they send out the lawyers and forbid people to write? Hell no! They were smart enough to let their fans run wild with their imaginations... and look what it got them; undying devotion and bazillions of dollars.

    Bottom line: Let your fanbase, who basically makes you or breaks you, have a part in the fun. Let us make silly t-shirts, draw Deviant Fan Art, or write steamy fanfiction, because WE are the reason your books are number one around the world, NOT your lawyers!

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    1. Kerri - you have been to http://www.myoutlanderpurgatory - right?!? :) :)

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  18. I just found this blog today and it is awesome...Carol please don't stop blogging about these books. It's been hard for me to find like minded women who can talk about how these books made them feel without waxing fucking poetic and pretending they're literary critics. Down here in the bible belt it's hard for women to just open up and admit they LIKED it and they LIKED how it made them feel. We don't give a shit about their attorneys and their letters. We give a shit about what YOU blog, you are hilarious. I laughed all the way through your posts til I got to MAY 2012. Get back up on your horse and ride...to hell with them. We want you! Now hurry up with the funny shit I need to laugh some more, I'm on vacation.
    ~Carla

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    1. Carla - two words: YOU ROCK!! :)

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