Author Carey Scott and HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP)/Zondervan have reached a settlement in Scott’s copyright infringement lawsuit against the publisher and Christine Caine, a Christian author and founder of anti-human trafficking organization The A21 Campaign.
Scott has declined to share details of the settlement, and HCCP did not respond to requests for comment.
Scott, the author of Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life (Revell, 2015), filed the suit in early May 2018 in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Zondervan is based, citing copyright infringement issues between her book and Caine’s book, Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny (Zondervan, May 2016), which has sold over 150,000 copies to date, according to the publisher.
Court documents show that Scott became aware of the alleged copyright infringement issues in April 2016, and in 2017, Zondervan published Caine’s devotional, Unshakeable: 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word, which had the same copyright infringement issues from content re-purposed from Unashamed.
The lawsuit addresses “direct copying of Untangled that exists within Unashamed and Unshakeable as well as the substantial similarity between Ms. Scott’s work and Ms. Caine’s two works,” according to court documents.
“About two weeks before Caine’s book Unashamed was set to launch, I received a promotional email that contained a two-minute book trailer video. Some of the wording at the beginning of the video sounded very familiar, and after some digging I discovered that the first 30 seconds of her personal narration on the promo video came directly from a paragraph on page 55 of my book,” Scott told PW. “There are several examples of direct copying and substantial similarities.”
Though Scott did not specify how much of her work was used by Caine, “there were enough examples of direct copying and substantial similarity that I eventually sought to remedy this situation,” she said.
Ahead of filing the lawsuit, Carey extensively communicated with Zondervan over the infringement issues, according to the lawsuit. The publisher had initially searched both of Caine’s books for infringing passages, and directly copied sections were either reworded for future print editions or cited Scott. The e-book of Unashamed was to be corrected before it was made available, as would be the audio book. The changes in print books were to be made after the initial 30,000 books were distributed. However, it was unclear how many changes were made, and Scott sought “injunctive relief and monetary damages" through the lawsuit.
“Untangled was a very hard book to write. In its pages, I detailed the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. I shared emotional stories and revealed very personal struggles—ones I never thought I’d talk about publicly. Even more, I deeply admired Caine,” said Scott. “When I saw my words in her work, it felt like a huge betrayal by someone I trusted.”