Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Omegaverse Copyrights, DMCA Abuse, and Lawsuits

Why am I doing another blog about this? Several reasons.

Firstly, I knew I was going to need to do another blog - the first one was rushed. I don't regret that because in an age of immediacy where everyone wants answers right now, I wanted to get some kind of response up as quickly as possible when it became clear that there were a lot of questions about what was going on as well as misinformation flying around. But I also knew a more thorough one would be needed eventually. A reader / reviewer / blogger has also done a blog about the misinformation going around about this topic.

Also, Courtney Milan did a twitter breakdown of my previous blog, proving to me the need for a longer, more in depth one (and with better visuals, because I failed on demonstrating the point I was trying to make), so I very much appreciated that. She also did a twitter thread later breaking down some of what I'm going to talk about here, because of the misinformation she saw happening on twitter.

This is an important case, as it concerns both copyright laws and DMCAs. If someone has infringed on a copyright and then turned around and sued the original creator for sending a DMCA - that's a big deal. If someone has not infringed on a copyright and yet had their work taken down due to a DMCA and suffered monetary loss, that's a big deal. So it's worth talking about - these things could potentially affect all authors.

And lastly, there was a lot of information I didn't even get a chance to touch in that blog.

Fair warning - this is going to be a LONG post. There is a LOT to unpack. My goal is to keep things factual but make sure everyone has ALL the information that was made available to me, so that everyone can judge for themselves based on the merits of the evidence. I'm including my personal opinion on a few things, but you do not have to agree with me and might very well come to a different conclusion than I did.

Also - general disclaimer - I am NOT a lawyer.

First things first because we need to get the context of what we're talking about and why it's important to ALL authors, not just Addison Cain and Zoey Ellis.

A lot of people think that plagiarism is like the case of #copypastecris where material is literally copied, pasted, and republished with a few small changes. However, looking around on the internet, I found two explanations of a broader form of copyright infringement:

1. This one says that the ideas and facts of a source are not copyright protected, but "the selection and arrangement of ideas and is generally protected" and that "You could not use that same set of facts in that same order without infringing the sources natural copyright, just as if you had copied its exact wording." Because it's talking about facts I think the person may be referring to non-fiction, but it still seems applicable.

2. This one specifically deals with the question "How closely can my novel follow the plot of a copywrited novel, without infringement?"

Joshua Michael Masur, an Intellectual Property Law Attorney answers: "The answer is... it depends. But we can at least pin down the issue by name: This is a question often referred to as "substantial similarity," or "nonliteral copying." So looking at what you've written, those are such broad strokes that I would expect any US court to hold that it does not infringe JK Rowling's copyrights. Then again, if you were to keep to the outlines of what you describe, but were to divide and sequence the chapters precisely as JK Rowling did, I wouldn't be surprised if the court went the other way."

Pamela Koslyn, Intellectual Property Law Attorney answers: "Basically, courts will look at the total look and feel of two works, and compare how "substantially similar" they are. The entire work is considered, but its unprotectable elements get disregarded. Disregarded elements include themes, ideas, facts, and obligatory to the genre or cliche scenes , called "scenes a faire," such as doomed young lovers, with a scene of angry parents forbidding the love. The original creative elements, such as tone, setting, dialogue, characters, pace, etc. etc. are compared point by point, and if enough of them align, there's infringment, especially if you can also show access to the work. Where access is obvious because, in your example, "Harry Potter" is a famous published work, then the standards for similarity are lower, and where the access is questionable, more similarity is required to find infringement.

Plot points, or "beats" in tv-speak, are among the creative elements that can be infringed, so it's not true that plots aren't part of a what's protected in a work's copyright.

Could you systematically change every aspect of a work to copy it, without actually copying any of its elements? Yes, because at that point it would be original. But if you simply mimic the plot points by making superficial changes as in your example so it's still completely recognizable as the original, you'd fool no one and get sued for infringement by the rightsholder."
This aligns closely with Courtney Milan's tweets about this ad for someone to help 'remove plagiarism' from their book. Presumably that person posting the ad is either #copypastecris or someone like her, and they want the directly lifted lines of text in their work to be changed up so that it's no longer plagiarism that can easily be found by a computer.

Will this work or will she still be guilty of copyright infringement? Well the sources I found seem to indicate the latter unless she changes the works substantially. I think anyone who has read Courtney Milan's Duchess Wars will be able to figure out that they're reading it all over again, even if each scene has been rewritten. 

This is also the issue being brought up by the Omegaverse DCMAs and lawsuits. There's a lot of misinformation being flung around about the lawsuit happening, so I'm going use Courtney Milan's tweet about the timeline for now, and I'll get more into detailing the full timeline later in the post. 

If you're wondering why I keep referencing Courtney Milan's tweets, it's because I know Romancelandia (including myself) looks to her for help with the legal stuff and also because, as a friend of Addison, I don't want anyone to have to take my word for everything. I want everything I say to be backed up by either someone else or actual evidence that I can present. 


Let's start with the DCMA, since it is what kicked off everything on the legal side of things. While we don't have access to the original DMCAs, there is one included as Exhibit 4 in the lawsuit that Zoey Ellis brought against Addison Cain

If you don't know what a DMCA is here's a handy link, but a brief summary is that it you can ask an online provider to remove content that is yours but has been uploaded to their website / server without your permission. Copyright law DOES NOT require a copyright to be registered in order to process the take down (and I highly recommend that writers, artists, etc. check out the link I provided so that you know your rights). 

The DMCA provided in the exhibit is for the 3rd book in Zoey Ellis' series, but it looks as though the information in it was copied and pasted from the original two DMCAs as all of the examples are from the first book. Blushing Books Publications filed the DMCAs to protect their copyright of the books written by Addison Cain - the DMCA alleges that since the first two of Zoey Ellis' books follow Addison's, that they presume the third one will as well and are therefore filing before it is actually published. 

No where in the DMCA does Blushing Books make the claim that Addison Cain created any kind of Omegaverse or that they or she hold the rights to the Omegaverse or any of its tropes.

Since that's the biggest piece of misinformation flying around, I want to make that clear up front. We ARE going to get to that whole thing later in this blog, because it is part of the lawsuit, but it's NOT part of the DMCA take down notice that was filed. 

So what did the DMCA allege? That there are "similarities in plot and action that take place between the hero and the heroine. There are certain scenes in the book that are almost identical to Addison's book... she has taken Addison's sentences and paraphrased them and written a book of her 'own'" - if you look at the Exhibit, Blushing Books provides a selection of sentence / line comparisons as well as plot similarities. This, to me, looks exactly like the description of nonliteral copying / substantial similarities. 

I attempted to also show the plot similarities in my last blog, but after Courtney Milan's breakdown of my previous post, I realized I needed to do a better job. So I've spent this past week researching. Because the responses I kept seeing to my blog, both in the comments and on twitter, were 'these things are common in dark omegaverse.'

Now, my personal experience with omegaverse was all light and fluffy until I discovered Addison Cain's books. I read omegaverse exclusively on Amazon. So while my knee jerk reaction was to say "Really? They're that common and they always happen in this EXACT order?"

But who knows, maybe I was wrong. 

I will freely admit, I discovered I am not great at navigating the fanfic sites. If you're reading this and you think "She missed such and such story and it fits all those beats perfectly or really close to perfectly!" - please send me the link! Leave it in a comment! I will be happy to add it to my analysis. 

I had trouble, in general, finding dark omegaverse that included enough of what I was told were common tropes within them to compare Addison and Zoey's work to. 

***EDIT - there's going to be on update on the next two paragraphs soon, someone was kind enough to give me the right keywords to search to bring up more stories with these tropes, so I may have to change these two paragraphs depending on what I find! =) 

Omegas or even both Alphas and omegas using heat suppressants were common enough - having that suppressant break in a crowded area was less common. Having the omega pretending to be NOT an omega was also not as common as I was expecting. There was far more of omegas using suppressants just to control their heat and everyone being okay with it. Or it even being mandated that they do so. So I stand by my statement in my last blog that using the heat suppressant to hide their omega nature is just not that common. Yes, I'm sure people can find examples of it, I'm saying it's not common, not that it's impossible to find.

The omega being kept in one room, day in and day out, seeing no one but their alpha was something else that I was told was pretty common but, again, which I couldn't find a lot of. Finding it in conjunction with the heat suppressants... yowza. 

So let's get into what I could find since we're looking for similarities. Blushing Books maintains that Zoey Ellis' story is too similar to the book they published and that's what they cite as their reason for filing the DMCA after all. 

I started with the 'inciting incident' in each book (which is also the very beginning of Addison's book) - the Alpha noticing the Omega, whether because heat suppressants broke or for some other reason (after realizing heat suppressants breaking was not as common as I thought it would be, I didn't want to disqualify any books that might follow a similar plot story just because it didn't have that one trope). For Crave to Conquer, the inciting incident occurs at about 32% on my Kindle, so there was a decent amount of book prior to that which did not include any of Addison's beats.

I've broken down the plots for each of this online stories / books. I started with Addison's and color coded all of her beats so it would be obvious where her content shows up in other stories / books. So that we can compare Addison AND Zoey's work to the other stories / books simultaneously, I've put Zoey's book to the right of Addison's on each of these breakdowns so we can see how Crave to Conquer measures up to Born to Be Bound in comparison with the other omegaverse stories. 

To be clear - the beats listed here are not the total sum of plot beat / sequence similarities between the two books. They are just what I can fit into a screen shot and so I didn't bother to continue because I feel as though one graphic, following the 'inciting incident' and showing the scene progression from that point, speaks for itself (this happens and then this happens and then this happens) to see if this exact scene sequence is really that common.

I searched and AoS for dark omegaverse stories and picked the ones that seemed closest to having the same tropes / content as Addison's: 

*edit - I was given new tags to look for and I have read soooooo much omegaverse online, but honestly I haven't found anything that matches up to these beats any better than the ones below. If you know of a story that matches well - and was written before this blog post - please send me the link, but otherwise I am done with what seems like a fruitless exercise in trying to find more on my own. Perhaps I'm just terrible at searching the site - I admit that's entirely possible - but I have not been able to find the stories that are 'just like' BTBB and CTC even though I've been told they exist. Send me a link and I will be happy to read it and update this graphic.*

All Reason Aside - chosen because it's MF, reluctant, heat suppressants, and starts with a crowded room

A Little Pride, a Little Sorrow, & A Little Wolf - chosen because its setting, reluctance, and heat suppressants
Citrus and Cloves - chosen because of its setting and heat suppressants

Then I looked for dark MM on Amazon (thank you to the readers and authors who sent me suggestions when I requested it). Again, I looked for the ones that seemed closest to having the same tropes / content, but if you feel I've missed one PLEASE let me know and I will be happy to add it. 

Also, please note - I stopped analysis early on some of these because they so clearly did not match up, but don't take that as a judgment on the book itself, they're good books and I will likely go back and finish all of them now that I'm not using them for research. 

Bind Me In Steel by BEAST - chosen because of its setting and dark description

His Toy by Evan Leon - chosen because of dark description
The Mating Habits of Werewolves by NJ Lysk - chosen because of dark description
His Command by Piper Scott - chosen because of dark description

Then I went for the MF books on Amazon. This is where I figured the real test would lie, since a lot of these authors were influenced by Addison's writings (as expressed in their Amazon blurbs or by their own words - we'll get to that second part later in the blog). In particular, when looking through Omegaverse reader comments, quite a few of them pointed me toward Omega's Capture by Lillian Sable because they felt that she may have infringed on Addison's world as well. If you don't feel like zooming in on the graphic, I put hers right next to Ellis'.

Omega's Deception / Omega's Capture by Lillian Sable - chosen because other readers have compared it to Addison's series 

The Omega Prize by Leann Ryans - chosen because of its description
Alpha Claimed by MS Volney - Chosen for description of hiding omegas
Alpha: Taken by Nora Ash - Chosen because of a comment on my previous post which indicated this was an early MF Omegaverse work and because of its dark description

I also checked on Blushing Books' other Omegaverse series, by the utterly fabulous Carolyn Faulker (*fan girl*fan girl*fan girl*) because it was specifically mentioned in the lawsuit as also being very similar to Addison's and using a lot of the same tropes. And there are a lot of similar tropes - probably the most similar tropes-wise that I was able to find. Here's the scene structure breakdown: 

Now, are the scenes in Crave to Conquer written differently than the scenes in Bound to be Broken? Absolutely, yes. Zoey Ellis did her own take on each of the scenes. But the plot similarities and the almost identical plot structure from that inciting incident is just not common. 

From this conversation Zoey had with Addison (which is part what is being turned over next week due to a subpoena) we can see that Zoey has definitely read BTBB. 

With her love for the book, and the fact that most of us don't know much about substantial similarities and nonliteral copying, she maybe not have realized that she was infringing at the time the book was written. Most of us think of plagiarism as direct copying, whereas she did create her own fantasy world and within her scenes there is much less violence and more use of traditional romance elements. But I find it hard to look at the how the breakdown of scenes, especially when compared to other works containing the same elements, and think that CTC was not heavily influenced by BTBB.

Which brings us to - 

The Lawsuit (click for the PDF to the amended lawsuit - as far as I know, there are no copies of the original lawsuit floating around and I don't know why it was amended)

The lawsuit is filed by Zoey Ellis against Blushing Books Publishing and Addison Cain. 

Factual Allegations 

There's a few things that I want to unpack in this section before we get to the actual Counts against Blushing Books and Addison 

- Point #58 states that Blushing Books and Addison attempted to manipulate reviews and use the same technique to solicit negative reviews of Crave to Conquer. 

Exhibit 8 is presented as evidence of review manipulation: 

What is up-voting? Well if it's against terms of service or illegal, a lot of authors I know are in trouble. It's something that is very common within indie circles. If a horribly negative review is showing as the very first review on a book's page on Amazon, the only way to move it away from being in that top slot is to have it either marked as 'unhelpful' or another review marked as 'helpful' enough times that its position on the page moves. Authors want their book to put its best foot forward on its page. 

As far as I know, this is not in violation of industry guidelines, as asserted by the lawsuit, although I will say I could be wrong... but letting readers know that an unfavorable review is at the top of your book's page and asking them to help with votes is totally normal from what I've observed among indie authors. Although Amazon's TOS are provided in Exhibit 10, I can't find anything that would indicate up-voting violates them. If it is something that isn't allowed, can someone let me know so I can update this section?  

Because upvoting and downvoting in no way affects the reviews - they remain on the book forever - just their positioning on the page, I can't agree with the lawsuit's assertion that Addison is "attempting to drown out other people's opinions".

When it comes to review manipulation, I went and checked out the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for both BTBB and CTC on March 14, 2019.

Amazon - 224 reviews total, 11 (5%) are one star reviews and 7 (3%) are two star reviews. Of those 11 one-star reviews, 7 were made after April 2018 (when all the legal stuff started) and only one mentions Addison's books. None of the two star reviews mention Addison Cain. The ratings on Goodreads broke down to 4% rating it a 1 star (including one reviewer who seems confused about the starring system because the actual review states that they loved the book) and 7% two star ratings. 

Compare this to Addison's 6% of one star reviews and 3% of two star reviews on Amazon for BTBB, and 5% of one star reviews and 6% of two star reviews on Goodreads - basically, they have about the same percentages of low reviews.  I figured percentages were better to look at than numbers, since BTBB has been out for much longer and therefore has waaaaaaay more reviews than CTC.   

- Exhibit 9 is presented as evidence of Addison's Online Posts Targeting Plaintiff's Publications and there's only one piece of evidence where Addison references other authors (in general, no names anywhere) in a negative manner at all. 

I'm not entirely sure how this is construed as targeting Zoey Ellis' publications, so I don't really have anything to say on this one. 

- Point 63 is something that is not very important to the legal case, since it is NOT part of Blushing Books' DMCA takedown notices, but it is very important to rumors, etc. that have been making the rounds on the internet. 

This is the very first time that there is any mention of Addison 'owning' or 'creating' MF Omegaverse. It asserts that Addison "claims on social media that anyone who writes in the male/female omegaverse is copying her and asserts ownership of the genre stating 'she was the one who created the male/female genre'." 

I want to be clear - this assertion has nothing to do with the notices Blushing Books filed against Crave to Conquer or the reasons it gave for those notices, it is something that was introduced as part of Zoey Ellis' lawsuit against Blushing Books and Addison Cain. 

This also seems to be the biggest item of concern / misinformation spreading throughout the fanfic community (understandably), so let's dig into it for a minute. 

First of all, the vast majority of Addison's readers who interact with her on social media will be happy to tell you that Addison consistently says she does not own the omegaverse and that she says she thinks she was the first to write a book with an MF pairing as the main characters. In fact, she's constantly explaining / correcting readers who do think she created the Omegaverse.

The lawsuit offers Exhibit 13, a professor's statement about Omegaverse, as proof that there are "thousands of stories in Omegaverse fan fictions that depict male/female pairings" - while that is true, from what I've seen of the fanfic (and please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong), the majority of the online stories focus on MM characters even though there are MF side character pairings. That was the impression I always received and certainly what it looked like when I was searching for Omegaverse books to compare CtC and BTBB. 

The screenshot of Addison's statement that she "was the first to write them" is taken out of context as she was responding to a question that was asked specifically about works published on Amazon. 

This question was asked in 2018, which means that BTBB had been published 4 years prior. After four years of saying she thinks she was the first to publish an MF Omegaverse book and not having anyone tell her differently, I would hope that it's understandable to most people that she would start leaving off the disclaimer, especially when speaking to a reader she's comfortable with (Between the Pages has stated she's the one who asked the question in her blog about this). 

The lawsuit alleges that there is an MF Omegaverse book published prior to BTBB. The only link available is through goodreads as the book was taken down at some point and republished by the author. Alpha: Taken by Nora Ash is also one of the books I looked at in the MF comparisons above.

While the original book shows up on one goodreads shelf labeled "Omegaverse" the actual blurb for the original book does not indicate it is Omegaverse. It is by an author who now writes a lot of Omegaverse so we can assume it had at least some of the characteristics of Omegaverse. From the original blurb, however, I don't think anyone would assume that it was Omegaverse. Since Nora and Addison were acquaintances by the time Addison released BTBB and Nora contacted her at that time (see screenshot below), I can only assume that at that time Taken in its original format was already no longer available for sale or she would have mentioned it to Addison. Since the author of that work did not do so, it's easy for me to imagine why Addison would not have known about it. 

**Nora Ash contacted me and asked me to include more of the conversation - she did mention her book to Addison, however, since it's mentioned in a separate paragraph from where they were talking about published works and she calls it a 'short story' and doesn't mention where it was published or pulled from, I disagree that it's clear that she published it in book format rather than on the website they were both on, but others may disagree with me, so here it is**

In the lawsuit, Exhibit 16, a screen shot of Addison's Facebook post about being plagiarized previously is provided. In that post, Addison also makes clear that she does not own Omegaverse nor does she lay claim to owning Omegaverse. Why the lawsuit alleges that she makes that claim and that it's integral to the DMCAs that were sent (even thought it wasn't) but then also provides evidence that she does NOT make that claim is unclear.

Addison made a joke about corrupting people that didn't include a disclaimer that, after four years and no one mentioning the one other book that the lawsuit was able to find, probably felt unnecessary to keep tagging on constantly. It can easily happen when in a relaxed setting and just having fun and answering reader's questions. I hope that this clears up what she actually said, its context, and its irrelevance to the DCMAs filed.

Now, because this is actually a side issue that has nothing to do with the lawsuit, since none of the documents filed by Blushing Books makes that claim, let's get back to the legal stuff. 

1. Copyright Misuse and Damages Due to Copyright Misuse (DMCA Abuse)

The breakdown of the plot points is above. Additionally, a reminder, Blushing Books' assertion on the similarities can be found in Exhibit 4 of the lawsuit. Zoey Ellis' assertion of how she feels the books are different can be found starting on Page 9 of the lawsuit.  

If you don't feel like reading through all the legal documents and are okay just going with my summary - Blushing lists out the plot and trope similarities it sees between the books as well as instances where they feel Addison's lines have been reworded. Zoey Ellis says that Blushing's assertions of similarities were all taken out of context, points out how her book is different with less violence and more traditional romance (true), and that she set hers in a fantasy world and not post apocalyptic (also true). 

She asserts that "the similarities found between the two stories lie exclusively within their use of the A/B/O's recognized tropes" and "the only similarities between the Myth of Omega and Cain's Alpha's Claim were the persistent and dominant tropes found in all omegaverse fanfiction"

2. Misrepresentation

Asserts that Blushing misrepresented the similarities between the books. I feel this has been pretty thoroughly covered by the blog at this point, so I'm going to keep moving. 

3. Negligence

This looks the same as section #2 to me - might need an actual lawyer to unpack the difference. There are no exhibits / evidence offered on this topic. 

4. Tortious Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage

Ellis asserts that Blushing and Addison interfered with her business relations and expectancies, causing her to suffer economic losses and damages. There are no exhibits / evidence offered on this topic. 

5. Malicious Interference with Contract or Business Relations

Looks the same as section #4 to me. There are no exhibits / evidence offered  on this topic. 

6. Defamation

Points 97 - 100 of the lawsuit allege that Blushing, Cain, and unidentified others defamed Zoey Ellis and spread malicious statements about her throughout the internet on multiple private and public forums. There are no exhibits / evidence offered on this topic beyond those that came up in the Factual Allegations section, which we've already covered. 

However, as a member of Addison's private Facebook group, I did a search on Zoey's name within the group, because I was curious to see if there was something I just hadn't seen before. What came up were readers recommending her book. The recommendations were made on January 24, 2018, March 29, 2018, April 23, 2018, and July 7, 2018. Blushing's DCMAs were filed in May of 2018. No derogatory comments were left on any of the posts that I saw and Addison didn't appear to have commented on them at all.

Since several of the posts in the lawsuits exhibits are from Addison's group (see the Factual Allegations section above), I can only assume that there was access to this group by Ellis in one form or another, so the lack of evidence on this assertion is particularly puzzling to me.

7. False Light 

Points 101-103 allege that Blushing, Cain, and unidentified persons characterized Ellis' books in a false light. There are no exhibits / evidence offered on this topic. 

8. Civil Conspiracy

Point 104-107 allege that Blushing, Cain, and unidentified persons formed a conspiracy to misuse the copyright, stifle competition, and harm Ellis financially, as well as post defamatory statements and cast Ellis in a false light. There are no exhibits / evidence offered on this topic. 

9. Declaratory Judgement

Ellis asks for judgment on the case (standard as far as I know)

Prayer for Relief

Ellis requests judgement, as well as -

- Injunctive relief (keeps Blushing or anyone else from ever bringing a lawsuit or threat about copyright infringement relating to Myth of the Omega series ever again)

- Damages for the alleged infractions (I'm assuming this means financial)

- Punitive damages as allowable by law (self explanatory)

- Attorney's fees 

- Her recoverable costs (not sure what this means other than more money but I'm pretty sure it relates to something specific)


I don't know if it's common to have all exhibits / evidence in the factual allegations section and not in the counts, but as a lay person, I found it weird to have so many counts making allegations without actually pointing to anything to substantiate them.

This lawsuit was recently dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It was filed in Oklahoma where Draft2Digital is located (D2D is an online service we self-publishing authors use to disseminate our books to multiple platforms) and I believe the reasoning was that because D2D published the books and received a takedown notice, that would give the state it's located in jurisdiction. The court disagreed, and dismissed it due to lack of jurisdiction because none of those named in the lawsuit nor their main legal representation for the lawsuit actually live, work, or are otherwise connected to Oklahoma.

I believe at this point Addison, who has obtained private counsel separate from Blushing Books, was also dismissed from the filing and is no longer being personally sued, although she has been subpoenaed for her private messages pertaining to Zoey Ellis / Zoey Ellis' books, etc. I'm assuming this is to look for evidence of the allegations made in the lawsuit. I believe Blushing Books is still named in the current lawsuit.

So, I said I would get back to the timeline and we're just about there, but because I'd like to be able to just go through the timeline without pausing for screen shots and evidence, there's a couple more things to go over first.

As part of the subpoena I just mentioned, Addison is turning over private messages. I already showed the one with Zoey Ellis which makes clear that Zoey had read BTBB and that Addison encouraged her to promote the book in Addison's Omegaverse Facebook group. These next messages, shown here, are with Nora Ash, a mutual friend of the authors at the time, and show that Addison reached out when she first heard the plagiarism accusations from her readers, that she was reassured by Nora and encouraged to read the books - all of which will play into the timeline below.

These are both part of the timeline I'd like to go over so I want to get them out of the way.

The last thing I want to share before we go into the timeline (because it will also be part of the timeline) is a Facebook post Zoey Ellis made about the lawsuit

I just want to point out a couple of things about this post:

- Her public claim that Addison and Blushing asserted that Addison was the creator and owner of common tropes found in the Omegaverse, which we've already gone over earlier was not part of the DMCA takedown notices.

- There is no evidence of delayed communication, threats of blackmail, or attempted intimidation included in the lawsuit, nor are any of those things mentioned in the lawsuit.

- No other Omegaverse writers have spoken up about the alleged threats or takedown attempts she references in this post, nor is this part of the lawsuit and no evidence has been provided anywhere.

- Zoey Ellis is a self-published author, so when she says "My Publisher", she means herself - an advanced search on for Quill Ink Books on Amazon will show that Quill Ink Books publishes her books and only her books. Many of us self-published authors register a company for ourselves for legal and financial reasons, it's perfectly normal to do so. That being said, I'm not sure I've ever seen another self-published author state that her company is 'her publisher'.

- The blacked out section is a link to a website about the lawsuit. The website does not do much more than provide the court documents for the case, but the documents provided do not retract Addison Cain's real name. Zoey Ellis may very well not have checked the documents which were uploaded and may not have known that Addison's name was not retracted, but she (possibly unintentionally) doxed Addison Cain by using this Facebook post to promote the website.

And let's talk about the website for just a second. There's a photo of a man on the main page, which turns out to be a photo of Zoey Ellis' Oklahoma legal representation, Gideon A. Lincecum. On the left is a screenshot of his photo on the website's main page, on the right is screenshot of his page on Holladay Chilton's lawyer website.

From this, I can only draw the conclusion that Mr. Lincecum is connected to, or perhaps even the creator of, the website which doxed Addison. This afternoon when I checked the website, I no longer needed to actually download any of the court documents provided in order to see Addison Cain's real name - it was right on the main page of the website, right above Mr. Lincecum's head.

Also, by checking the Pacer website, I discovered that the day after the lawsuit, which uses Addison Cain's real name, was filed, Zoey Ellis' lawyer filed a motion to refer to her by her psuedonym in all documents, protecting her real name.


February 18, 2018 - Addison contacts Nora Ash as a mutual acquaintance of Zoey Ellis to see if she needs to be worried about reader claims that Ellis' work is too close to hers.

February 20, 2018 - Nora contacts Addison to inform her that she's halfway through Ellis' book, it is not plagiarized, it does not seem particularly inspired by Addison's book, and the only similarities are the tropes.

February 26, 2018 - Addison contacts Zoey Ellis, asking for a page that she can pin in her Omegaverse Facebook group so that readers can find Ellis' Omegaverse books more easily.

April 14, 2018 - Nora contacts Addison to ask if she's read CTC yet and if she has, if she can make a statement about it not being plagiarism. Addison responds that she has not yet read it.

April 16, 2018 - Addison messages Nora that after Blushing Books also pushed her to read CTC, she has read it and feels follows her own book's plot very, very closely.

April 19, 2018 - Barnes & Noble sends Zoey Ellis notice that a DMCA on her series as a whole has been filed (Exhibit 5). I can't tell when any others were sent by the Exhibit but I think we can assume it happened around this time.

May 16, 2018 - Ellis sends DMCA Counter notice to Kobo (Exhibit 5)

May 16, 2018 - Draft2Digital informs Ellis they are reinstating her book and will forward her counter DMCA to Barnes and Noble (Exhibit 7)

May 17, 2018 - Ellis' legal representation sends Blushing Books a Counter Notice to the DMCAs (Exhibit 6)

May 29, 2018 - Blushing Books contacts the person they believe to either be or represent Zoey Ellis; says they are consulting with an attorney but are willing to let this issue drop without pursuing legal action if the books are taken down, in order to avoid a costly legal battle. (Exhibit 14)

May 29, 2018 - Zoey Ellis' legal representation contacts Blushing Books' legal representation with a copy of their May 17th letter and advises they will pursue legal action against Blushing Books if they do not.

<<<There are no documents or communications provided in the lawsuit for the months between June and August, so there's no indication if there were further threats or if communications / legal actions ceased during these months. I was also unable to find any social media posts from either Zoey Ellis or Addison Cain referring to each other / each other's books during this time>>>

September 18, 2018 - The original lawsuit is filed

September 19, 2018 - The notice to protect Zoey Ellis' real name is filed

October 11, 2018 - The amended lawsuit is filed

October 19, 2018 - The website to follow the lawsuit is created (I do have a screenshot of the date of creation from if anyone cares, although I'm not willing to reveal the name of the website because of the doxing)

October 19, 2018 - Zoey Ellis posts on Facebook and shares the website, doxing Addison Cain through that post (see above)

November 26, 2018 - Blushing Books submitted a filing to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue as well as dismissing the contents of the case.

February 2, 2018 - the court declines to dismiss due to a late filing of a reply by Blushing (due December 26)

February 13, 2019 - The lawsuit is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

February 18, 2019 - Courtney Milan 'names and shames' #copypastecris (relevant just due to the plagiarism aspect and Addison's blog post claim that this incident was part of her motivation for speaking up - blog post further down in the timeline)

March 11, 2019 - Zoey Ellis' legal representation files a motion to dismiss Blushing's Counter Claim

March 11, 2019 - A Notice of Subpoena to take Addison Cain's deposition and obtain documents from communications between her and Blushing, as well as social media communications, private messages, posts, etc. that in anyway reference Zoey Ellis / Myth of the Omega is filed for the lawsuit that continues against Blushing Books.

March 11, 2019 - Addison Cain writes a blog post about what is going on.

March 28, 2019 - Addison Cain is deposed in court for the lawsuit that continues against Blushing Books.

October 29, 2019 - The suit against Addison Cain is dismissed with prejudice on all but one count, which she chose to fight. A countersuit has been filed. 


April 10, 2020 - Hearing before the Judge - Zoey Ellis and attorneys publicly file pictures of Addison's daughter and directions on how to find her home address.

April 22, 2020 - Motion to seal the pictures of Addison's daughter and directions on how to find her house are granted and public access to those documents are removed from PACER

May 1, 2020 - At a hearing, the judge confirms the motion to seal the documents. 

THE COURT“If people, though, are trying to use the discovery process or litigation in order to disseminate information over the Internet for the purpose of harassing or abusing or, you know, doing things that apparently are frequently done in other contexts, I can tell you that, at least, you know, this Judge will make a very, very big deal of that and that sanctions are within the power of the Court, and the Court will not hesitate to impose them if it concludes that the courts have been manipulated in inappropriate ways.” Case No. 1:19-cv-476-LO-MSN, TRANSCRIPT OF MOTION HEARING PROCEEDINGS, 05/01/20

THE COURT: “There’s nothing about the documents submitted that make me think that [Addison Cain] has engaged in any inappropriate behavior or that those exhibits reflect any misuse of the litigation process on her part.” Case No. 1:19-cv-476-LO-MSN, TRANSCRIPT OF MOTION HEARING PROCEEDINGS, 05/01/20

May 13, 2020 - Zoey Ellis' legal counsel files their withdrawal from representing Ellis. 

May 18, 2020 - Legal counsel's withdrawal from representing Ellis is granted.

May 23, 2020 - A NY Times article is published after an interview with Zoey Ellis.

June 1, 2020 - Zoey Ellis fails to appear at a hearing before the Judge.

June 3, 2020 - Addison's attorneys file a motion to dimiss the case.

June 4, 2020 - Ellis is ordered to produce an attorney to continue the case.

June 18, 2020 - Quill Ink sends the court a Notice of Insolvency (as far as I can tell, this is the only communication with the court after the order to dismiss and the court's order to Ellis)

July 1, 2020 - Motion to dismiss the sole remaining count against Addison is granted

August 13, 2020 - Addison voluntarily moves to dismiss her counterclaim against Zoey Ellis, without prejudice

August 17, 2020 - Addison's motion to dismiss the counterclaim is granted.


I know that's a lot. Thank you for sticking with me through it all. I actually tried to keep this blog post as short as I could and there are a million different tangents I could have gone on but hopefully this covers all the basic questions people have and clears up any misinformation floating around out there. While it will be up to the court to decide if there have been substantial similarities and nonliteral copying or if this was a case of DMCA abuse, everyone has their right to an opinion and I hope that this post will serve as a place where people can come, look at all the information, and form their opinion based on the merits of all the information provided (which I've done my best to substantiate).

If you think you know of better stories / books to be put up for analysis against BtBB, please comment and let me know! It's actually more beneficial to do the analysis with stories / books that are more closely aligned.

I encourage everyone to check out all the stories and books referenced in this post - I'm looking forward to going back and diving back in to read for pleasure!


  1. Excellent breakdown! I love the side by side comparisons. It really shows the copying going on.

  2. Brilliant post! Thank you so much for taking all this time and work to break it down a bit for us mere mortals hehe. :)

    One thing though is that you have images from Facebook where you haven't blacked out member's names etc - that might be a good idea to do? :)

  3. Man, copyright issues aside (huge issue, absolutely).. the fact that Zoey got to have her real name hidden and blasted Addison's all over everywhere? That's wrong on so many levels. I'd personally consider going after Zoey and her lawyer for damages there too, especially if her friends/family/church/whoever have an issue with her writing. That can RUIN someone, especially with noncon stuff.

    I make and sell floggers and other "physical abuse" (technically not legal to consent to being physically hit, but whatever) items.. but I don't ever tell anyone what I do (or have face pictures up where I sell them) because I have a close relative who looks like me and has to maintain a security clearance - I'm always conscious of how my actions can cause problems. I take steps to minimize potential problems. Zoey and her lawyer were OBVIOUSLY aware of possible issues with releasing HER real name, but went out of the way to promote Addison's real name? They seem to be actively trying to cause problems for Addison. That's dirty. That's way worse than anything they're accusing Addison of doing.

  4. You should check out Lillian Sable's Omega's of Pandora series, it's practically a word for word rip off.

    -Omega taking heat suppressants is given fake ones, so she enters estrous in public.
    -The setting is a dystopian future where Alpha is "bad" guy who controls a valuable resource (this is more in line with Addison Cains Broken Captive series)
    -Alpha forces pair bond after saving omega from potential mass rape gives her a "choice".
    -Alpha forces omega into estrous to impregnate her
    Then there are a couple of instances where both Sable and Cain use certain words to describe the same situation.
    Description of Adrian, Legion's second in command Beta:
    "He was more compact than Legion, likely a Beta, but well-muscled with a whipcord strength that immediately made her tense." Omega's Capture chapter 3.
    Description of Jules, Shepherd's second in command Beta:
    "He was much smaller than Shepherd, hardly taller than her, but seemed to have a whipcord quality to him that made Clair suspect he was very dangerous." Born to be Bound pg 54
    Sables description of pair bond:
    "Ianthe suppressed a shudder. The manipulative connection created by the claiming bond twanged out of tune." Omega's Capture chapter 2
    Cain's description of pair bond:
    "At that moment, it hummed in an off-putting, out of tune twang. Like a bad note on a violin." Born to be Bound pg 26

    1. Hi! Actually, I did look at her Pandora series to see if she followed the same beats because so many people mentioned her as also being super similar to Addison's books. Although there are some similarities, unlike Crave to Conquor, her beats are actually very different. If you look at the third comparison table I did, you can see her book next to the other two. Carolyn Faulkner's actually come much closer.

      I actually think she's a pretty good good example of using the exact same tropes but coming up with a different plot outline / different beats, because the tropes she uses ARE so close, and yet the scene sequence is not.

  5. Jesus. Seriously? Look at Marvel and DC. They copy beats all the fucking time. The stories are vastly different from what i can tell, but they are similar because of the genre they are in. Example: bad boy genre books all have similar beats. Honestly, this is beyond lame on both authors part, but whoever started this fiasco is to blame. No one holds rights on ideas. Artists' jobs are to take and remold. Every great artist in history has done this from Bowie to Burroughs, to Lynch, to Kanye west.
    Remember when people got mad at rappers for sampling music? Remember how future listeners all desire that, and now it's common practice? Remember when re-contextualizing an idea is a good thing? I do. But now we live in such a hyper late capitalist society that people LOVE to sue people for nothing. Ruin authors lives for nothing. I just think this is super lame, and I hope both suits are dropped. We should all be able to write freely, so long as we are not copying word for word - beats are allowed to be taken. There is no law against this. No one invented a certain beat. There are so many examples of this that it blows my mind anyone is cool with any of these authors at this point

    1. If you think Marvel and DC haven't sued each other over stuff like this, you have not been paying attention.

      And, if you read the beginning of my post, beats ARE covered under copyright law. It's harder to prove, but THAT part is for the court to decide. What's made clear by this blog post is that

      1. Actually these beats AREN'T super common among this genre and that's why there's an issue - taking a few is no big deal, repeating an entire story beat for beat is
      2. Remolding is different from straight up copying (see all the other examples of MF Omegaverse books which state they used Addison Cain's books as an influence)
      3. There is only one suit. I don't know what you mean by "both" suits. There is only one suit. Zoey Ellis decided to sue Addison Cain and Blushing over being sent the DMCA notices, even after her books were back up and had been for months.
      4. Addison Cain didn't make the decision to send the DMCAs, her publisher did because SHE doesn't hold the copyright so SHE couldn't
      5. Zoey Ellis, on the other hand, doesn't have a publisher other than herself and made the independent decision to sue, despite her facebook post where she claimed a publisher was responsible for what was happening

      So there's a reason I'm cool with one of the authors, because only one of them has been behaving badly.

  6. I don't read in this genre anymore because of the drama surrounding it, but you are not telling the full truth. Heat suppressants have been used by plenty of authors far before Addison Cain or Zooey. Look at Philip K Dick, for example. Look at MM omegaverse Xander Collins, for example: " omega hormones were kicking in at the absolute worst possible moment. Luckily, I was on a heat suppressant, but my body was still having a hard time fighting off the flood of chemicals that my brain was dumping into my bloodstream...I had literally ben the first omega to be hired onto the force." It's actually a fairly common trope and I can literally pull out more use of it throughout MM especially. Also, please provide examples as to when an author or musician or artist in general has won a lawsuit going after "beats." It's just not going to happen. I won't reveal too much, but I do work for a firm who handles high profile clients in the music industry, and the only thing you're ensuring by taking authors' works down is that a big backlash will come and cause a cut in the genre. It literally just hurts your sales overall. What a dumb career move., but it looks like it was these publishing house's fault. I feel bad for both of these authors. They should just shake hands and calm the hell down

    1. Hi, so I'm not sure you fully understand the point I was trying to make - heat suppressants are ABSOLUTELY a common trope. The problem is not the tropes. If you look at the side by side comparisons - and please do, I spent a lot of time reading, writing out beats, and then setting up the graphics - MANY of the stories and books I read use the same common tropes and yet ONLY Crave to Conquer follows the exact beats.

      Again - whether or not it's enough to substantial similarity or nonliteral copying is not for ME to say, but the reason we're looking at it is because Zoey Ellis alleged DMCA abuse, saying that her book is NOT that similar to Addion's and that there are plenty of other stories / books which follow the exact same beats. I think i've done a pretty good job of proving that allegation of her lawsuit is just not true. Whether or not a court would deem it a copyright violation is not something I feel educated enough to decide.

      IF you can find a story that follows the exact same beat / plot structure, PLEASE send it to me. If you notice from my edit, I went on another reading binge after my original analysis when someone was kind enough to give me some tips on the tags that might get me stories that didn't just have similar tropes but also similar beats / plot structure. I was unsuccessful in finding better examples to compare it to and I need to concentrate on other things (like my own writing) so until someone can point me at another story that comes a lot closer to the same beats / plot structure, I'm going to stand behind my conclusion.

      Especially because authors like Lillian Sable and Carolyn used almost ALL of the exact same tropes and yet managed to come up with completely different beats / plot sequence.

      As for the examples you asked for... look, seriously, this blog post took me forever. Not just in the research, but in reading through the lawsuit, and hunting down all the extraneous information online. If you want examples, of cases succeeding or failing, please feel free to go look for them. Because that was not the point of this post or what I was showing.

      What I was showing was that the plot sequences are super similar (unlike other stories), that the claim Addison said she created the omegaverse and that's why the DMCA's were sent was false (her publishing house never made the claim when they sent the DMCAs), and to show the timeline of events to that people can draw their own conclusions about whether or not there was abuse and who is behaving badly.

      You seem to have missed several points my blog post - and there is a LOT to unpack here, so I do understand - but I would like to re-emphasize that the problem is NOT the tropes, it is the combination of those tropes and the nearly identical sequencing of events, and also that only one of these authors (Addison Cain) has a publishing house. Zoey Ellis' decision to sue and drag this out was made independently and on her own, as she does not have a publishing house.

      And I absolutely agree with you that they should just shake hands, but, again, if you look at the timeline that was constructed, only one of them seems to need to calm down.

  7. Okay, actually you made this a lot clearer for me. I don't think the DCMA thing was handled very well - From what I know, it can be life destroying to have your books removed from a store, but Amazon saw it fit to reinstate those titles, so at that point, I think Zoey should have contacted Addison and scheduled a talk and apology, or whatever Addison needed. The lawsuit should be dropped, and both parties should just agree to leave each other alone. Addison is clearly the better writer, anyway

    1. Hi! I'm so glad that it helped =) And yeah - DMCAs can be truly awful, but it appears her books were back up about a month later. I don't want to brush that off lightly, a month can be a LOT in sales, but on the other hand, lawsuits are SO much more expensive than a month - or even a couple months - worth of sales. I don't know Zoey so I don't know where she's getting her advice from, but I find it pretty shocking that she decided to sue - although, even more shocking to do all the doxxing and everything else afterwards. It really stinks all around because all of this could already be over, but instead Zoey just looks vindictive and - with the doxxing - kind of horrible imho, and both of them must be being drained of money at this point. Unless Zoey's lawyers aren't being paid until the case is officially over with, which I think is something that sometimes happens? Since she's asking for the defendants to pay her fees, that might be the case. Huh. I wonder if that's why it's still going on, because she doesn't have the money to pay her lawyer unless she wins... anyway, that's just complete conjecture on my part, but I suppose it's possible.

      Seriously though, the only people getting anything right now out of this are the lawyers. I don't really know why Zoey won't drop it, none of it makes any sense to me at this point.

  8. Any advice for people looking to get into writing new omegaverse books without getting into the drama, while still being able to make new friends? I love the genre, and I want to start writing, but I don't know if this is the best time to enter this field (even though, all the tropes are so badass to me).

    1. I'm going to be honest - Addison is probably the best person to go make friends with (and she's SUPER easy to make friends with, seriously, one of the nicest, most supportive people I've ever had the pleasure to meet). Even after people told her that Zoey had plagiarized her, once Nora reassured her that it was just tropes, she still featured Zoey in the Omegaverse group that she runs for months until Nora again asked her to go read Zoey's books.

      Addison has also been influential in helping a lot of MF Omegaverse authors promote their works. She's got a big and avid following. I actually got some statements from some of the other omegaverse authors, because I wanted to point out that the stuff in the lawsuit about her trying to 'smother the competition' was complete bs (she's never done anything but encourage people to write omegaverse and is constantly promoting other people's works in omegaverse), but ultimately decided not to include it in the blog because I didn't want to drag anyone else into this mess in case there was any blowback over the blog.

      There's two good Omegaverse groups on Facebook that I know of, one is called "Omegaverse Writing Prompts and Story Shares" and the other is called "Omegaverse Readers Unite" and both of them are good resources. the first one is more focused on people who want to write Omegaverse, the second one is obv for the readers, but there's a lot of good info (and people you'll wnat to connect with!) in both.

      If you want to practice writing somewhere before putting together a book, has a TON of omegaverse, both to read for pleasure / research and to put out a few stories of your own to get immediate feedback and if you're interested in that. also has a fair amount.

      Despite all the drama around this case, it has (so far) been contained to Addison, Zoey, and Blushing Books, and, other than Zoey's Facebook post and the website that either she or her lawyer created, until Addison was dismissed from the case and then finally wrote her blog post after she was being called back for deposition on the suit that's (still? new? I'm not sure which) against Blushing, there actually hasn't been much drama around the Omegaverse. Most people didn't even know what was going on, unless they were following Zoey's facebook post and then the website about it, because Addison kept it so quiet.

      Sadly, book drama is just going to happen, but NONE of the other omegaverse authors have been affected by any of this as far as I know. If you want to write Omegaverse, do it! As long as you're writing your own stuff, there's really no worry to be had.

  9. Also, to tack on to my previous comment, I find this completely crazy because Cain developed her entire series out of fan fiction taken from the Dark Knight Batman stories. So she worked to get rid of those elements and created her own stories, but she did it out of someone else’s work. I truly feel that Zoey Ellis did the same thing. If Ellis broke copyright, so did Cain.

    1. I'm not sure which was your previous comment, because you must have made one of the anonymous ones (this one is not, in case you want to delete and repost) but I have to disagree.

      Again, the DMCA was NOT about the tropes and elements. Please refer to the graphics comparing the stories that I worked very hard on. The story beats were the problem, and Ellis' story beats are SO CLOSE to Addison Cain's that they are nearly the exact same plot line, beat for beat for beat.

      While "boy meets girl, boy uses heat to fuck girl, girl resists," etc. is pretty common in these stories, if you look at my plot beat structures, you can see how other authors who used the EXACT same tropes and elements still had very different plot beats.

      The tropes and elements are NOT what's copy written.

      Please, please, please, people, look at the hard work I did on showing the comparison between beats. it makes me so sad that there are multiple comments that obviously ignored those, which are the main point of the post.

      And I'm not even saying "yes, this would hold up in court and Addison Cain would win a copyright case" (I don't have the legal expertise to know that) - my point is that there are a LOT of similarities, enough that Addison's publisher felt they had a case for substantial similarity and so sent the DMCA notices.

      The lawsuit is NOT about defending the copyright, it's about Ellis alleging DMCA abuse and claiming that the tropes / elements were the ONLY similarities. That is something I feel my plot beat comparison disproves, because every other story / book compared used the same tropes / element but had entirely different beats, EVEN when they had similar plots overall.

    2. I guess my other one I posted as myself earlier today did not go. I asked if you did an analysis on Addison Cain’s own books. It seems like Brianna’s story has the same elements in the same order one right after the other to me. It is possible to infringe your own copyright. I felt like I was reading BTBB all over again when I read Absolute Power and Stolen literally was Absolute Power in the entirety with one more chapter. I honestly don’t know how she is able to keep both of those books up at the same time.

      The world building in Zoey Ellis’ books are completely different, but even the world building in Brianna’s story seemed the same. So I wanted to know if you ever did an analysis like that, side by side of your stronghold series or if Addison Cain’s own books like this to BTBB. I was tempted to do Absolute Power and Wren’s song the same way you did this because I think you would find they match up.

      Two books in your stronghold series seemed to me to be very similar plot lines as well, but I don’t remember which ones they are because I haven’t read them as recently.

      My best friend used to ask me why I read the books I do. She called them paper-doll books. They all have the same story, you just put on different clothes. I told her that it’s because I like watching the fashion show. For me, it’s all about the clothes even if the story lines are the same. I have also read several hundred harlequin romances. It seems to me that many of the ones about a girl getting pregnant have the same plot lines side by side beat for beat. First the heroine is a virgin and super good. Then, she meets the hero who is a rake. The virgin hero sees her and wants her right now. The girl sees him and is attracted but knows he’s Bad News. The girl says no to sleeping with him for nothing. The hero blackmails her or finds a way to make her sleep with him. She falls pregnant and now she’s stuck marrying him. She marries him. He starts learning to treat her better. And the end is happily ever after. It is all the same pretty much chapter for chapter except for how the things go down. It seems to me that Cain’s own books do that more than Ellis’ do for her own stories.

      That was my previous comment that didn’t go through yesterday.

    3. Thank you for reposting it!

      Can you give me links or the full author name for Absolute Power and Stolen? I looked up "Absolute Power by Brianna" on Amazon but it didn't come up with anything.

      and yes, the plots can be very similar (see the analysis between Carolyn Faulkner's two omegaverse books and Addison Cain's and Zoey Ellis', it was the last one I did) but the BEATS are still different. Faulkner had the most similarities because her plot was the most similar, and yet she still didn't follow it beat for beat for beat, scene after scene after scene.

      What you've described about Harlequin romances is actually a good example - that's the basic outline, the same way 'alpha meets omega, omega's heat suppressants fail, alpha claims omega, omega fights back, alpha continues to claim omega, omega escapes' could be used to describe SO many of the books above. What isn't replicated are the exact scenes. I color coded Addison's scenes so that it would be easy to see which scenes showed up where in other people's books. Zoey Ellis was the ONLY one to follow it nearly beat for beat, even though every other author used the same storyline / tropes / elements. Which is why I don't think the claim of DMCA abuse is something that would hold up in court, because it's provable that other books didn't do this. That's just my opinion, but I can understand why Blushing chose to send the DMCAs and why they felt like they had a case for copyright infringmenet. Again, whether or not they could have WON a court case if they'd decided to sue Ellis, I have no idea. But that kind of scene progression similarity isn't something that happens by accident. the fact that Zoey claims she wasn't at all influenced by / inspired by Addison's book makes the whole situation even more absurd.

    4. Oh, and for my Stronghold books, I am absolutely confident that my scene beats are my own lol. I read a LOT of BDSM romance and I'm absolutely influenced by what I read, but I would have to sit down and write out someone's plot beats to be able to follow them so closely. Not only that, but my books are super character driven and my characters rarely follow the outline I give them, so even if I tried to copy someone else's beats, there's no guarantee the characters would cooperate.

      If you want to look for an example of something close to this in my work though, Birching His Bride's first scene is HEAVILY influenced by the first scene in The Guardian's Secret by Anne Randolph. It was written when I was just starting out and didn't understand all the nuances of plagiarism and copyright that I do today. Today, I would NEVER write a scene so heavily influenced by another author's work. However, two things were done differently here.

      1. It is literally only one similar scene. The rest of the book does not come anywhere near The Guardian's Secret.

      2. I was never contacted by Anne Randolph or Blushing Books, even though a reader accused me of plagiarism and told me they were contacting the author.

      I was horrified by the accusation and definitely didn't feel like I'd plagiarized, but I agonized over whether or not to change the scene anyway. eventually I decided to defend that scene in my author's notes, but if the author or publisher had contacted me I would have IMMEDIATELY changed it. Even at this late date, even though it's been out and available for years, I would do that. Because I know damn well that I was influenced by that scene and that I loved it so much that I re-imagined it because I wanted it to go in a different direction.

      So I totally understand where Ellis is coming from in loving a work and wanting to reimagine it. I even understand that she probably didn't intend to infringe on anyone's copyright and that she thought rewriting the story in her own words would be enough. I even understand fighting the DMCAs and getting her books back up.

      What I don't understand is this hot mess of a lawsuit which does a lot to smear Addison Cain even though it was her publisher to filed the DMCAs and NEVER said that Addison invented the Omegaverse. I don't understand claiming that she was not influenced by / inspired by Addison's work. I don't understand doxxing Addison. I don't understand filing the lawsuit, PERIOD, when it looks like this could have all been over a YEAR ago, and when Addison had said NOTHING publicly about her or what was going on.

      At this point, Ellis is working against herself in so many ways and I can't help but feel a little sorry for her. She must be drowning in legal fees. Or maybe she's independently wealthy or something. But stirring up this drama, posting about it on Facebook, filing the lawsuit in an area with no jurisdiction, filing the lawsuit period, and then being linked to a website that doxxes Addison... all of it makes her look terrible, and she's doing it to herself.

  10. Addison Cain wrote Absolute Power and Stolen. Brianna is the main character

    1. Yikes, I'm going to blame new mommy brain on my terrible memory LOL. In my defense, it's been over a year since I read both of those books.

      Yes, the elements are similar, no I don't believe the plot beats are but that would definitely be an interesting exercise to pursue and a good point to make. I'll def re-read and if they're close enough to be worth plotting out the beats, add a new graphic to the blog. Thanks!

  11. Hey Love! Thank you for the effort you’ve put into this post. Given your relationship with Addison, I can appreciate why this is so important to you. Unfortunately, for the same reason, I don’t feel this is a fair representation of the ‘Omegagate’ controversy.

    Though you acknowledge your close personal friendship with Addison, I feel you should provide a disclaimer at the top of the post. There are instances where you overlook evidence – presented in discovery – that paint Addison in a questionable light.

    In some ways, this post reads like an exercise in confirmation bias. You started pursuing this topic to vindicate your friend and – after much research – you vindicated your friend. Though you acknowledge that you’re not familiar with the fandom or it’s lore, you make a number of claims regarding what structures are commonplace. Meanwhile, people familiar with the fandom stress the lack of originality in both Addison’s and Zoey’s works.

    You also fail to provide any context for the discussion. A number of people and publications have weighed in on this debate. The majority of them have reached the conclusion that Addison is at fault. She urged her publisher to file DMCA takedown notices, which could not be substantiated upon further review. (As per the NYT, "[Addison] was asked to cite specific examples, she said she couldn't recall any, adding she hadn't done a close comparison because it was too upsetting.") And then she publicly accused the same author of plagiarism, without any care for how it would affect her standing in the industry. This, along with financial damages, is why Ellis sued Addison.

    As a fan of both authors, I’ve read the entirety of their published works. Though there were passing similarities in structure, the stories were completely different. [Points of difference: World-building, lore, backstories, approach, tone, relationship development, etc.]. Claiming a common structure in the fandom is like trying to utilize DMCA takedowns for “boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.”

    Thus far, the litigation has not exonerated Addison. Her former publisher settled because they could not prove infringement or plagiarism. A fact that everyone has acknowledged. And Ellis’s case against Addison was dismissed due to lack of prosecution. Essentially, while trying to defend herself in court, Ellis went bankrupt and was no longer able to pay her lawyer. This isn’t a resounding victory for Addison; it’s a cautionary tale against litigation.

    As an author, I’m surprised you show so little concern for her situation. Then again, all of Addison’s friends have been beating the same drum.

    1. Hi! Thanks for your concerns (this response is going to be in parts because of blogger) - and I do appreciate hearing your point of view. A few things to address: the reason I did the blog is NOT because I'm friends with Addison but because I was (and remain) very concerned about the precedent set for suing someone over DMCAs takedowns. DMCAs are an EXTREMELY important tool for authors and while the allegation of DMCA abuse is very pertinent, the fact that Ellis sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars when (according to the court documents) her loss of income was a couple hundred dollars at most AND she was unable to substantiate the amount, is EXTREMELY concerning.

      Authors need to be able to use DMCAs in good faith without having to worry about being sued as a retaliatory measure.

      While I did make claims about the omegaverse lore, I think I also substantiated all of those claims based on the materials I researched before writing this blog post and the fact that I HAD read Omegaverse before Addison, it was just MM-mpreg Omegaverse.

  12. If you re-read the section on my analysis of the books, you will see that what I focused on is NOT the similarity in tropes, it is the plot beats. Please, please don't discount that, and not just because of the amount of work I put into reading so many different stories and writing out the plot beats.

    I maintain that it is NOT that easy, as was claimed by Ellis' lawyers, to accidentally have almost the exact same plot structure, EVEN WHEN the tropes are similar. And the tropes were NOT the reason for the DMCAs, the non-literal copying was the reason for it. Whether or not the court would agree it was non literal copying, I cannot say, but to me, I find it hard to believe that Ellis' book did not use Cain's plot structure as a basis at all (Which is what Ellis claimed).

    That's WHY I color coded all the scenes in Cain's books and then put the corresponding color codings in everyone else's stories, so we could see how they lined up. It paints a very strong visual representation which makes it clear that even when similar scenes are used, having SO many similiar scenes in that EXACT sequence is just NOT commonplace. Which is why I find it to be far more than the "common structure in the fandom" that you say it is. I don't insist that everyone agree on me with this, although I find it hard to believe that people can look at the plot structures with the color codings of the scenes, especially when placed against similar works by other authors and NOT see how unlikely it is they would be so alike, but like I said, everyone's entitled to their opinion.

  13. The NYT article you referenced was not only highly biased, it included a lot of misinformation AND Ellis was verbally slapped down fr it in the court documents because it was something she was NOT supposed to do. I'm not sure what other publications you're talking about, because that's the only one I know of.

    Her former publisher settled AFTER Addison severed her contract with them and they no longer represented her. They are currently embroiled in other legal troubles. That's... all I'm gonna say about that. I'm sure most people can read between the lines and I don't want to say anything that can be used against ME.

    Ellis case against Addison was dismissed due to lack of prosecution but only after
    1. The court slapped her down for sharing Addison's personal information
    2. Her own lawyer asked the court to DEMAND (not request, becuase she had not complied with the requests) information that the court had previously requested, which she had refused to provide
    3. The court had already dismissed ALL counts against Addison except one, which was the DCMA, which Addison was fighting and which (according to the court documents) Ellis had not been able to prove was an abuse of the DCMA process.

  14. Here's the thing - I do absolutely have some sympathy for Ellis. I think it would suck to pour my heart into something and have an author I loved and admired feel that it was so close to her own work that she sent a DCMA to take it down.

    I think it would suck to have a month's worth of lost income.

    I would have ranted and raved and bitched to my friends and might have even said something publicly if I really felt I had been wronged.

    BUT, if I lost a months worth of income that was less than ten thousand dollars, I would not then turn around and engaged ina lawsuit that was guaranted to cost hundreds of thousands.

    I would not create a website that doxxed the other author and the post on facebook, encouraging all my readers to go check out that website.

    And, if for some reason, someone had convinced me that I should definitely sue, I would have cooperated with every request the court made and handed over every document they said they needed.

    I would have cooperated with my lawyer, so that he never had to say, on the record, how embarrassed he was about this case.

    I would NOT have submitted pictures of my opponent's daughter and directions on how to find her address to be part of the public court documents, resulting in the judge warning me against using the litigation to harass or abuse my opponent.

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  16. Also - fyi – Ellis’ use of her company (I believe) means that her personal financials are safe. I am not worried that she is now homeless and completely without the means to support herself. Especially since my husband had to declare bankruptcy 10 years while we were together because he was unable to pay some of HIS debts and so I have seen up close how that works - it is a way of saving yourself money since they can no longer demand you pay the hefty legal fees I am sure she incurred.

    But you are right - I have trouble showing concern for someone who made the decision to sue months after her books had already been restored and the entire situation was completely private, and who then not only made it public, but DOXXED another author after filing to ensure her own name would be kept private, who made a number of unsubstantiated claims in her suit that she NEVER proved, and who tried to use publications and interviews to smear her opponent even though they weren't supposed to be talking to ANYONE outside of the courtroom, and included pictures of her opponent's TODDLER in the court documents for NO reason...

    If I take Addison's claim on good faith that she filed the DCMAs in good faith and Zoey's claim on good faith that she felt she did NOT plagarize Addison's books and that she sued in good faith, and I ONLY examine their bheavior after the lawsuit began then there is still only one author who behaved in a manner that I disapprove of.

  17. Thank you for your lengthy response. I appreciate that you're willing to address my concerns. But I'm still concerned about the way you're presenting your argument.

    Though Zoey may have been discouraged from speaking to the NYT, nothing she said appears to have been untrue. If you would like to point out the elements that were "misinformation," I would be happy to reread the article.

    In regards to the matter of “doxxing,” Addison's real name was revealed in unredacted court documents. I wouldn’t necessarily describe that as “doxing.” It’s common for defendants’ names to be made public in court documents. Is it unfortunate? Sure. Malicious? Not really. And it’s a bit disingenuous to act as though photos of Addison’s daughter aren’t posted to her public pages and GFM. All of the images from these sites could have been submitted in discovery.

    One last thing: Why do you refuse to acknowledge that Addison committed perjury (as per Rule 36, Requests for Admission)? She misrepresented her involvement in the DMCA fillings to prevent prosecution. Is there a reason you ignored this aspect to the case?

    At this point, most people familiar with this case have watched the ALAB episode ('There Will Be Knots') and "Into the Omegaverse." Do you have any feelings on these videos? They paint a very different picture than you're paining here.

    1. Hi! Thanks!

      So, the NYT article takes liberties with Addison's reactions to things for the start. There is no indication that as she "learned about" Crave to Conquer that she became enraged - that is not only pure speculation on the part of the journalist, it's also something we can actually LOOK at and see that

      1. Addison never spoke about Zoey's or her books on facebook or in her private group prior to the lawsuit
      2. Addison allowed multiple posts recommending Crave to Conquer in her group
      3. Addison didn't just "become aware" of another omegaverse book, she was contacted by MULTIPLE readers who said they felt Ellis' book had overstepped the line
      4. Her own publishing house contacted her about the reports THEY were getting from readers and said that they felt Ellis' book overstepped the line.

      All of this is provable and documents IN the court documents. Yet the journalist makes it sound as though Addison heard about a "rival" omegaverse author and became enraged.

      The journalist then describes the many tropes, of which MANY omegaverse books have and acts as though THEY are the trigger for the DMCAs even though (as I've explicity shown in my blog) there are plot progression similarties between Cain and Ellis' books that are just NOT there in toher books using those same tropes.

  18. The entire article pushes the agenda that the ONLY thing the books have in common are the tropes - which is something I absolutely disagree with and I talk about why I disagree with that in the blog. Whether or not that's enough to win a court case, I am not sure, but the case against Addison was dismissed WITH prejudice, which means that Ellis can't bring it back. I know you think the fact that she filed for insolvency is significant, but I find the fact that hte judge decided she should NOT be allowed to sue again in the future to be just as, if not more significant.

    As for the doxxing - while Addison's real name WAS revealed in court documents, people would have had to KNOW there was a court case going on to be able to go look it up until Ellis' lawyer created that website about the case. Up until that point, no one outside of Zoey, Addison, Blushing, and their lawyers even knew everything was going on.

  19. So Ellis' lawyer is tied to the website which shared the UNREDACTED court documents. Those documents could, and should, have been redacted prior to being put online. Not only that, but the day after the website was created, Zoey made a Facebook post telling everyone about the case AND linking the website, encouraging people to check it out.

    Later, as I said, that website was changed to put Addison's real name ON the main page of the website (as I show in a screenshot) and not just in the court documents.

    So yes, I feel that Zoey absolutely doxxed Addison.

  20. As for the photos of Addison's daughter... my god, I wish we could agree that children should be OFF LIMITS.

    I would hope that everyone could agree that while a parent might share pictures of their child, or give someone else permission to share pictures of their child, in specific contexts / arenas, that is it freaking WRONG for others to do so.

    I cannot imagine ANY context in which pictures of Addison's daughter could or should be part of an IP lawsuit. Neither did the judge - "If people, though, are trying to use the discovery process or litigation in order to disseminate information over the Internet for the purpose of harassing or abusing or, you know, doing things that apparently are frequently done in other contexts, I can tell you that, at least, you know, this Judge will make a very, very big deal of that and that sanctions are within the power of the Court, and the Court will not hesitate to impose them if it concludes that the courts have been manipulated in inappropriate ways.” Case No. 1:19-cv-476-LO-MSN, TRANSCRIPT OF MOTION HEARING PROCEEDINGS, 05/01/20"

  21. Especially considering that many unredacted court documents had already made their way onto the website run by Zoey's lawyer and shared by Zoey on Facebook... all I can say is thank goodness the judge sealed those documents. While I would like to think she would not have shared them on a website which included Addison's real name, it is hard for me not to worry that WOULDN'T have been the case.

    How Addison chooses to share pictures of her family - how ANY author chooses to do so - where it is completely unconnected to her real name is VERY different from someone else doing so when they had NO reason to, did NOT have her permission, and had already violated her safety by sharing her real name.

    Kids should be off limits and I can't even believe I have to SAY that.

    1. As for the perjury claimed by that video (which I noticed contains a lot of the wrongs she felt Addison did but nothing about what Zoey did to Addison - my honest opinion of those pieces, they're far more highly biased than my blog and, unlike my blog, they do not admit to their bias), it honestly baffles me.

      Somehow Addison perjured herself, looooooooooong before her own lawsuit was concluded, and neither opposing counsel nor her own attorney noticed? Considering everything else opposing counsel jumped on during the proceedings, something as egregious as perjury - which would drastically help Ellis' case - somehow never came up?

      I am not an attorney but here's my take on it -

      The statement Addison signed is that she did not take the actions against Ellis herself (aka direct action), including the drafting or sending of the DMCAs - that's pulled directly from the video ALAB did so I know they shared that part and that's where she's saying Addison perjured herself, yes? That's my understanding, if there's something else you're referring to, let me know.

      Here's the thing, it distinctly says she did not take DIRECT action. However, she DID take indirect action by telling Blushing to file them for her. Which is exactly how it SHOULD be. I know ALAB is making a big deal about Addison and Blushing agreeing that Blushing should cover for her, but that's EXACTLY what publishing houses are for. They are supposed to protect their authors. They are supposed to allow the authors to NOT get their hands dirty in cases like this. That's the whole POINT of having a publishing house. It's one of those cases where it kinda sucks to be an indie author because we're ENTIRELY on our own -

      Something which Zoey knew or she wouldn't have made HER facebook post sound like her publisher made decisions for her even though she was self-published at the time.

      So, to my best knowledge, that's why Addison didn't commit perjury, but again, I'm not a lawyer. I could be wrong. In which case... why hasn't Addison had perjury charges filed against her?

      Just because it shows up in someone's opinion in a youtube video doesn't make it true any more than the opinion based stuff I write here makes it true.

    2. I want to say, I do really appreciate you talking to me about this. I think it's important to have these kinds of comments and back and forths after the original post, because I AM biased and I know it, no matter how hard I tried to keep that out of the initial post. It helps paint a clearer picture for anyone reading through this to have what I've written be challenged and me have to answer it.

      I feel like there's a lot of people shouting into the air at this point instead of talking about it and so it's nice to be able to actually have an interaction where we have different viewpoints on the situation but can have an actual discussion about it. So yeah. Just wanted to say thanks. It redeems some of my faith in humanity.