Update on unauthorized use of my work as the substance of a marketing book

A few years ago I noticed that Sean Mooney (who was once Managing Director of TBWA/Japan, after TBWA bought Nippo, Nissan’s house agency) quotes and paraphrases me liberally in his book, 5,110 Days in Tokyo and Everything’s Hunky-Dory: The Marketer’s Guide to Advertising in Japan, with absolutely zero attribution. Since copying is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess I should be happy, except that in this case it is a violation of my IP rights — and plagiarism, to say nothing of copyright infringement.  My original text is at  http://www.destwest.com/belfry.html and has been since 1996, a good four years earlier than Mooney’s book was published. An earlier article of mine on the same theme is in the authoritative reference book, Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia; Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993.

I had my intellectual property rights attorney in LA look into this and negotiate with Mooney’s publisher. The publisher, to their credit, immediately recognized the validity of my complaint  — that Mooney had in fact stolen fundamental arguments and large portions of the book’s text verbatim from my published work. Despite Sean Mooney’s unethical actions, the publisher’s figures showed that our potential damages would not be enough to make litigation worthwhile. They did agree, however, to cease printing and distributing the book. Whether they have done so is hard to tell, since it is still available on Amazon.


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