Friday, September 02, 2005


Over at Romancing the Blog, a very interesting bit of info popped up while we were discussing Beth Ciotta's latest column, Fad or Future? and I'll quote directly here:

"The term 'Book Trailer' is a US Registered Trademark to COS Productions. The term cannot be used without consent. We’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to promote our products. I’ve seen many companies use the term and it’s like stealing or plaigirism. I sold my house to start my company so when I see other companies using the term 'Book Trailer' without my permission I feel it is unfair. We never go after authors, but we do go after companies that tell authors they can use that term. I’m always polite about it and hope that people understand. So, if you’ve got a video please ensure you’re not calling it a Book Trailer unless it is a COS Productions product. Thank you. Sheila Clover"

To avoid the getting-consent issue, what else should we call these things? Any thoughts? (I think vidlits is taken.)


  1. Anonymous2:39 PM

    I'm sorry, but I don't get that. It's simply a descriptive term, like movie trailer or commercial or infomercial, isn't it? I wish them luck in enforcing that.

    Biblio-ads? *g*

  2. Anonymous3:10 PM

    I don't see how they could get a descriptive term like that ™ed, but bully for them.

    How about 'Jacket Copy'?

  3. Anonymous5:05 PM

    That's lame. Can you really trademark something like that?

    Um. Book V-Teaser?

    ... V-Teaser? That so sounds like a vibrator, doesn't it ...?

  4. My first reaction was 'for Pete's sake.' As noted, it's a descriptive term. We're not talking KLEENEX vs tissues, or ROLLERBLADES vs in-line skating or COKE vs cola. sheesh. :-P

    How about Pro-vid (promotional video and would also do double duty by implying professionally produced video).

  5. I checked over at the COS website and on different pages, in several different places, the word Book Trailers is followed by the trademark symbol. Another production company, Writers-In-Motion, trademarked the term Book Shorts. So what's that leave us with as a universal term? I like Mamma Rose's 'Video Blurbs'. Although, people outside of the writing community might not get the 'blurb' thing. Well, let's see. There are infomercials. Uh, Bookmercials? Naw. Books in Film? Book Vids? Lit Vids?


  6. You can't TM verbal language (or rather, TM holders can't be present to enforce correct usage during every spoken conversation.) So, in print you can call it a promo, trailer or advert for your book. When you hand it over to a prospect, describe it however you like. Mind you, IANAL so this is IMHO.

    On a more serious note, best wishes for anyone caught up in the hurricane's aftermath.

  7. Well, since the movie industry came up with the term "trailer", isn't COS violating something themselves?

    Really, this is kind of silly in terms of their expectations. If they can TM a descriptive, I'd like to own the copyright on the words Trashy Novel, Chick Lit, and Pulp Fiction. When can I start collecting royalties?

  8. You can get 'em pretty good by calling it book-o-trailers *grin*

    Novel Trailers LOL! Nov-O-Trailers.

    This is kinda fun!

    I do like video blurbs.

  9. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Video trailer

    Sneak Peek

    Online trailer

    Book video

    Book Spot


    commercial (this works well, in my opinion)

    trailer for the book

    simply "trailer"



    Book Promo


    "Watch It"

    * * *
    Also, note that COS Productions did state they don't go after authors for this use -- just companies who use the term.

    As trademark holders, I'm not sure they have a choice but to offer a polite, "please don't use the trademarked term." If they do nothing, they potentially lose that trademark when another company calls themselves "book trailer (tm) producers."

    Listen, if Amazon could sue companies over the concept of "one-click ordering," this is small stuff by comparison.

    Full disclosure: I've hired COS Productions for a book trailer, so I know them somewhat (well, through email and phone.)

    I don't understand the ins and outs of trademark, nor do I think most trademarks are worth the filing fees. But if trademark law can protect this, then I guess it can.

    Having said this, when I put the trailer up at my site, I'll probably just call it a plain-old "trailer" or "commercial" for the book.

    And for coolness, it is a commercial -- it'll be seen on some cable stations and in-theater in Manhattan.

  10. Anonymous11:51 AM

    I worked in IP in a law firm for a year, and while I'm no expert or attorney, I'm fairly sure you have to protect your trademark across the board to keep it. You can't just go after some people and not other people. I do agree that it's more than a little silly that they managed to trademark such a nonspecific term...I mean, really!

  11. Anonymous1:19 PM

    This whole thing sounds ridiculous!
    I just can't believe that somebody in their right mind can sell their house and patent a phrase! But on the other hand, it is better to sell your house because of that than to lose it because you can't pay your mortgage. Not that it makes a difference, though. :)


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