American sci-fi and fantasy author Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing Cassandra Clare for allegedly copying elements of her Dark Hunter series.
Kenyon is seeking a court order in the US stopping Clare from infringing on Dark Hunter copyrights and trademarks, saying Clare’s Shadowhunter series is too similar to her own work. Kenyon's Dark Hunter series was first published in the US in 1998 by St Martin's Press and Piatkus, Little, Brown, in the UK.
“Both the Dark Hunter series and the Shadowhunter series are about an elite band of warriors that must protect the human world from the unseen paranormal threat that seeks to destroy humans as they go about their daily lives,” said the lawsuit, which was filed in a court in the US on 5th February. “These hunters, whether ‘dark’ or ‘shadow’, preserve the balance between good and evil, protecting humans from being consumed or enslaved.”
Kenyon also claims Clare has expanded her use of the word 'shadowhunter', despite assurances that she would not. “Clare has persisted over time in expanding her use of the term 'shadowhunters' from a mere description of her protagonists, first to a tag line on the cover of her works and eventually to a complete rebranding of her works so as to be confusingly similar to the Dark Hunter series.”
The term is also used in the title of a TV adaptation of Clare’s works. "Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments” launched on Netflix last month.
Kenyon is seeking compensatory damages for lost profits.
In the UK, Cassandra Clare is published by both Simon & Schuster Children’s Books and Walker Books. Her next title, Lady Midnight, the first book in The Dark Artifices, a new trilogy that is part of the Shadowhunters series, will be published by Simon & Shuster on 8th March.
The Dark Artifices is a companion series to The Mortal Instruments series, which is published by Walker. The Mortal Instruments has sold more than a million copies in the UK and Clare has reached sales of £6.65m in UK bookshops, according to Nielsen BookScan.
Kenyon has sold 271,457 copies of her books in the UK, giving her value sales of £1.86m. Her biggest selling title is Sins of Night which has sold 12,243 copies for £75,865.