By Jack Engelhard
Just for the heck of it I decided to check out how my most famous novel is doing among top booksellers and found that there are a slew of books by this title “Indecent Proposal” that were written by everyone but me – and years after me! In fact, someone just came out with his very own “Indecent Proposal” sometime this year.
Let’s get this straight!
I wrote the original novel back in the mid-1980s; it was published by Donald I. Fine Publishers in 1989. I repeat, 1989. Paramount Pictures bought the rights to it two years later and, based on my novel, delivered the famous movie starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. The movie was released April, 1993. (See the credits at the beginning of the film– Based Upon The Novel By Jack Engelhard).
At the same time, this novel, MY novel (for crying out loud) was translated into more than 22 languages.
Following that, Pocket Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, reprinted the novel into a movie-tie-in paperback.
After Pocket Books lost the rights to it, I retrieved the contract and had it republished by Comteq Publishing – the version that ought to be on sale right now.
Instead, I find that a host of other writers and publishers have decided to feast off the fanfare and fame that was generated by my original novel, and movie. Obviously they’ve tacked in different storylines while using my title. This is legal, right? I mean anybody can beg, borrow or steal another man’s book title.
Okay, it’s legal, but I still say nuts! (Is it really legal? Someone out there please tell me. I guess titles go unprotected as intellectual property. I guess.)
There is only one “Indecent Proposal” that can be cited as THE ORIGINAL and that is the one written by Jack Engelhard and most recently published by Comteq.
As for the others – how dare they!
I mean, to think of all the sweat that goes into writing a novel – and then this? I suppose I should feel flattered. After all, the novel and the movie ignited all that talk about “what would you do for a million dollars?” (would you sell off your wife for one night?) and this talk was especially heavy back when my novel, and then the movie, first came out – in fact, this theme inspired a host of television shows and has become part of our culture. The title itself is part of our culture.
The moral dilemma posed by my novel (and movie) remains a hot topic to this day.
No wonder that so many other writers and publishers found it convenient and MARKETABLE to live off my blood.
(I am pretty sure that although they felt quite kosher to “borrow” my title, they filled their books with different plots.)
I’ve written a host of other books since “Indecent Proposal.” How soon before these (the titles, not the content) are “imitated” as well?
Nope – imitation is NOT the highest form of flattery. Not when you feel so ripped off.
How safe from the vultures is my latest paperback novel THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE – or even my Kindle novel THE GIRLS OF CINCINNATI? THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE is equally high concept and controversial, so I’d better watch my back. (Today INDECENT PROPOSAL, tomorrow Da Vinci Code?)
(Must emphasize that we are talking only about Title abduction, not Content – or is it time to start worrying about that, too?)
Anyway – be my guest, please, buy the book, but please make sure that it says “Jack Engelhard’s Indecent Proposal, The Original Novel.” Comteq Publishing. So far as title, not content, the rest are copycats. Let me be doubly clear. I am not asking anyone to buy the book. We are well past the stage where I will get rich off “Indecent Proposal.” But – buyer beware – if you do intend to purchase be sure you have the genuine article.
I don’t usually go in for self-promotion, but this is different. Thank you for letting me get this out of my system.
The Bathsheba Deadline: An Original Novel Jack Engelhard’s latest novel, THE BATHSHEBA DEADLINE, now in paperback, places journalism at the center of our war on terror. Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel INDECENT PROPOSAL that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture of the same name starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Engelhard can be reached, and his Works can be viewed, at www.jackengelhard.com.