Back then, novelist Nora Roberts, already a juggernaut with 35 million books in print, sued Janet Dailey, one of the most successful romance writers of the late 20th century, for copying passages and ideas from her published works. The two authors settled out of court, but followers of the genre still talk about the case; Roberts described the experience of being plagiarized as “mind rape.”
So it’s unsurprising that when No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Sherrilyn Kenyon sued No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Cassandra Clare, filing a complaint of copyright and trademark infringement on Feb. 5, the news spread fast.
At issue, to the puzzlement of many observers, isn’t word-for-word plagiarism, but what looks like Kenyon’s attempt to claim ownership of some of the most archetypal themes in popular culture (“an elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat,” for example). And egging Kenyon on is a legion of implacable Cassandra Clare detractors who have had it in for the YA phenom since her apprenticeship years in the notoriously toxic subculture of Harry Potter fandom.