One is a modern tale about doomed teenage love between a human and a vampire, with a third-wheel werewolf, set in Forks, Washington. It’s the last installment of an international sensation that has sold more than 40 million copies and spawned a major motion picture series. The other is a magical tale of doomed love between a young sorcerer and a teenage girl in 15th-century France, penned by a then 15-year-old author/actress/singer as the first installment of a planned trilogy.
While Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series has transformed the married Mormon mother of three into a literary superstar, the lesser-known Jordan Scott has toiled mostly in obscurity … until this week, when her lawyers filed a cease-and-desist letter against Meyer’s publisher, claiming that the fourth “Twilight” book, “Breaking Dawn,” bears a striking resemblance to Scott’s “The Nocturne.” The fundamental plots and main characters of both stories are very different, but the letter provides side-by-side comparisons of similar scenes featuring weddings, honeymoon nights and life-threatening pregnancies.
“It’s very close and highly unlikely that it’s a coincidence,” said Craig Williams, a copyright attorney who filed the C&D order on Scott’s behalf. “Jordan has asked that we draft a complaint and a motion for a preliminary injunction [against Meyer’s publisher].”
Williams said Scott is not seeking any compensation from Meyer or her publisher, Little, Brown & Co. (part of the Hachette Book Group), but rather acknowledgement of the similarity and a cessation of the circulation of the book. “We also want to stop them from making it into a movie and profiting from her [Scott’s] work,” he said.
In a statement provided to MTV News, a Hachette rep said, “The claim that ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephenie Meyer somehow infringes on an alleged book by someone named Jordan Scott is completely without merit. Neither Stephenie Meyer nor her representatives had any knowledge of this writer or her supposed book prior to this claim. Ms. Scott’s attorney has yet to furnish us with a copy of the book to support this claim as requested. The world of the ‘Twilight Saga’ and the stories within it are entirely the creation of Ms. Meyer. Her books have been a phenomenal sensation, and perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that other people may seek to ride the coattails of such success. This claim is frivolous and any lawsuit will be defended vigorously.”
Earlier this year, a rumor surfaced that filming on the “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon,” had been halted due to a plagiarism lawsuit from one of Meyer’s former Brigham Young University roommates who claimed the book’s story was based on something she wrote while the two lived together. The story was quickly deemed an Internet hoax and dismissed as a fabrication.
While Meyer’s books have topped best-seller list across the globe, Scott’s 2006 novel does not appear to have been widely stocked in book stores and has been available mostly through her official Web site and other online distributors.
“Jordan Scott began creating ‘The Nocturne’ in 2003,” Williams said in a statement. “As she developed the book, originally published in 2006, she regularly posted passages and chapters on her Web site, JordanScott.com. In reviewing Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Breaking Dawn,’ released in 2008, we found a number of instances where the text, characters and story line contain substantial similarities to Jordan Scott’s original work. We seek an admission from Ms. Meyer that our client’s copyright was infringed and that ‘Breaking Dawn’ and all derivative works be discontinued.”
Williams said Scott has plans to turn her trilogy into a film series and that so far he’s received no response from Meyer’s lawyers. He said they requested a copy of Scott’s book for comparison, which he said he provided, and that the next time he heard from Meyer’s camp it was a communication from her publisher contesting whether “Nocturne” was available for sale. “That’s almost always the case when they say they haven’t heard of the author when it’s a relative unknown,” said Williams.
Asked how Scott became aware of the alleged plagiarism, Williams said several of her friends who read both her novel and Meyer’s tale told her it was “virtually the same book.”