This week it was brought to our attention by readers that a short story had a lot of similarities to Prime Minister (written by myself and Sadie Haller, and released in May of 2016). When we first heard about it, we assured our readers that titles are often the same, and books about public figures are fair game. However, once specific similarities in the text were brought to our attention, we decided to read the short story for ourselves. Having done that, we unfortunately agree with those readers that the similarities are significant, and below is our documentation of that.
We have submitted this to Amazon, the retailer that distributes her short story, but their copyright infringement form only allows for 4000 characters, so we are posting the complete documentation here for easy reference.
Documentation of the derivative nature of Yes, Prime Minister by Aria Cole (ASIN B071L5L28K), published this week, compared to Prime Minister by Ainsley Booth and Sadie Haller (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA), published May 31, 2016.
This documentation is in four sections.
The first section includes specific location markers where similarities are found. These similarities are the highlights that jumped out at us on an initial read, and we reserve the right to identify more elements that have been copied in the future if needed.
The second section is a chapter by chapter analysis of the derivative nature of Yes, Prime Minister. The first six chapters of this eight chapter short story can be specifically mapped to scenes that take place in Prime Minister.
The third section is a note about the cover and title.
The fourth section is a cast comparison.
We do not claim plagiarism in this case of copyright infringement. However, in the totality of this evidence, this is a clear case of an unauthorized derivative work. The author writing as the pen name Aria Cole re-wrote our story, Prime Minister, into a shorter, condensed version, with little deviation from the cast, setting, set-up, meet cute, and initial romance arc.
SECTION ONE: Specific location markers where similarities are found (loc 49, 59, 85, 101, 111, 138, 227, 237, 256, 265, 339, 354)
Description of the hero, awkward First Meeting and long shared gaze
Loc 49 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “just like every other red-blooded woman on the planet”
Loc 94 in Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“he’s single and hot and every other woman in the country also has a crush on him.”
Loc 101 in Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“Like every other straight woman, gay man, or anyone in the middle of the Kinsey scale, I’ve got a crush on the man.”
Loc 59 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “I raised my eyes, swallowing painfully as I locked eyes with the man of the hour…His gaze hung on mine for impossibly long beats…”
Loc 110 in Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“… “Sir,” I finally stammer out. …
He holds my gaze for a moment, probably a second or two, but it’s the kind of second that stretches. Long enough to be meaningful for me but nothing for him.”
Length of how long she’s been working in his office and desire from the first day-:
Loc 85 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “I hadn’t been able to keep my eyes off this girl every single day of the last six weeks since she’d started.”
Loc 339 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “I’d been dancing around my desire for Juliette since the first day she’d started at the office.”
Loc 3029 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“lust got the better of me on her first day on the job. And since I took six weeks to think about it, try and talk myself out of it, and do everything in my power to push her away, I also discovered in that time that I love her.”
First private meeting in his office
Loc 101 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) –
“Something to drink?”…
“I’m fine.” Her words come out soft, tentative.
Loc 986 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
He watches me tuck the speech away in my bag, then he undoes the remaining two buttons on his jacket and gestures to what I assume is a liquor cabinet against the wall. “Would you like a drink?”
Yes. But I feel obligated to decline, even if it comes out weak and unconvincing. “I should get back.”
Loc 111 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “Locke is the head of my security team”
Loc 420 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
I slip the burner phone into my briefcase and use my office phone to call Lachlan Ross, the RCMP officer in charge of my security.
Loc 138 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – he lifts her onto the desk in his office and warns her that he’s dangerous; she responds positively
“I’m trying like hell not to take advantage of you, Juliette, but you’re making it hard.”
A soft chuckle fell past her lips…”You shouldn’t worry so much about my virtue.” Her fingers dusting across the skin at my nape were enough to undo me, if her words hadn’t already done the job.
Loc 1065 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
Effortlessly, he lifts me at the hips and settles me on the mostly clear surface.
“Is this thing an antique?” I ask, my voice shaking as he shrugs out of his jacket.
“I really don’t give a fuck,” he growls, caging me in as he leans over me. “No biting.”
“Or what?” I snap my teeth at the air in front of him and his entire face darkens in the most delicious way.
“Jesus, Ellie, you’re playing with fire.”
“So maybe I want to get burned.”
Loc 227 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “My grand-mere always said ‘Tu te prends la tet’.”
… “She sounds wise.”
Loc 3242 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“It helped that my mother knows French. She was one of the pioneers on the west coast who pushed for French Immersion to be available through the public school system.”
“Your parents are quite the force.”
Loc 237 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “… nodding once at Locke in thanks. That man had been nothing but good to me, had put up with so much, and now had to overlook intimate moments…”
Loc 3194 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“I don’t think I’ve never [sic] been so grateful for Lachlan as I am now. He’s pulled all kinds of strings and arranged a number of distractions for the press so Ellie and I can have our first date in peace.“
Loc 237 in Yes, Prime Minster (ASIN B071L5L28K) — “A hand went to Juliette’s chest, her mouth dropping when her eyes trailed up to the clock tower perched on Parliament Hill.”
Loc 3330 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
We’re a block away now, and understanding dawns on her face. “The Sound and Light Show? We’re going to end our first date on the lawn in front of the Parliament buildings?”
Loc 256 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “I found this place my first year in office.”
Loc 3234 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
“I discovered it when I was a new MP, suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Cross the river and nobody cares.”
Loc 265 in Yes, Prime Minister (ASIN B071L5L28K) – “Getting the little two-top round table up here had been difficult enough, given the way Locke grumbled about it. That’s right, I’d gotten my right-hand security guy in on this one.”
Loc 3228 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA):
When we arrive at the restaurant, Tim is there waiting with a parking spot cleared out front. He and Lachlan escort us in and we are met by the owner, who leads us through to a quiet corner.
Tim leans in and whispers in my ear. “This guy is awesome. He rearranged the seating to allow you and Ellie extra space and privacy from the other patrons and still seat us at a table near enough to maintain security.”
Other story elements copied
(groping in the back of the car while being driven by the chief of security; similarity includes the detail of the Prime Minister smoothing down the employee’s skirt when they arrive at his residence.)
Loc 354 in Yes, Prime Minster (ASIN B071L5L28K) –
“It was only a few minutes later, and Locke was pulling up outside my home…By the time Locke was opening the back door, I’d pulled Juliette’s dress down, making her perfectly presentable…”
Loc 2536 From Prime Minister (ASIN: B01EGB9PTA) :
My eyes snap open and I see we’re pulling through the gates at 24 Sussex.
Gavin tugs my underwear down my hips. My gaze flies to the rearview mirror, but Lachlan’s busy driving.
Am I disappointed? I don’t have any time to process that before Gavin smooths my skirt back in place.
In chapters 7, 8, and the epilogues, Yes, Prime Minister deviates from the set up stolen from Prime Minister. However, any originality after this point is voided by the derivative nature of the first sixty percent of the text.
SECTION TWO: Chapter by chapter analysis
Chapter One of Yes, Prime Minister – Juliette is introduced as a French Canadian recent graduate working in the Prime Minister of Canada’s office. Her crush on the Prime Minister is established, and then they meet on the page. It is awkward and there’s unexpected chemistry, a long held gaze, before he invites her into his office to discuss the file she was bringing him.
Similarities to Prime Minister – Ellie is a French Canadian graduate student working in the PMO. Her crush on the PM is established in the first chapter, and then they meet on the page. It is awkward and there’s unexpected chemistry, a long-held gaze.
Gavin’s invitation for Ellie to join him in his office takes place later in Prime Minister, but some condensing is to be expected when YPM is so short.
Chapter Two of Yes, Prime Minister – Bryce’s attraction to Juliette from day one is established. He invites her into his office and offers her something to drink while they discuss the file she’s brought him. They have their first kiss, after which Bryce expresses concern that Juliette doesn’t know what she’s getting into. Also in this chapter: He mentions Locke, the head of his security team. He asks her out on a date.
Similarities to Prime Minister – in PM, the meeting in his office, the offer of a drink, their first kiss, and the PM’s expression of concern that the heroine doesn’t know what she’s getting into takes place in Chapters 12 and 13. Our head of security is named Lachlan (pronounced LOCK-LAN).
Chapter Three of Yes, Prime Minister – Juliette asks her best friend for fashion advice, then gets ready for her date. It ends with Locke, the chief of security, knocking on her door unexpectedly. When she reaches the car downstairs, the PM is waiting for her.
Similarities to Prime Minister – In PM, Ellie also relies on her best friend for fashion advice in multiple chapters (11, 14, 16). Lachlan arrives at her apartment unexpectedly when she breaks up with the PM (and at the end of that scene, in ch 28, is when Gavin asks Ellie out for an official first date). When Lachlan picks Ellie up at the yoga studio in ch 24, Gavin is waiting in the back seat.
Chapter Four of Yes, Prime Minister – With the help of his security team, Bryce arranges for a private first date with Juliette on Parliament Hill.
Similarities to Prime Minister – In PM, Gavin takes Ellie out for dinner on their first date, then to Parliament Hill to watch the Sound and Light show. His security team helps his make this happen. Note that there is a later private dinner for two, for Ellie’s birthday, that echoes the champagne and table for two of the first date in the abbreviated Yes, Prime Minister.
Chapter Five of Yes, Prime Minister – this is a sex scene. Given that both books are listed as a romance, we won’t nitpick the similarities here.
Chapter Six of Yes, Prime Minister – Bryce and Juliette head back to the Prime Minister’s residence. While in his vehicle, he gropes her. When they get out, he adjusts her skirt for modesty. The sex scene that follows introduces kink to their relationship.
Similarities to Prime Minister – the ride in the back of the prime minister’s car is lifted from ch 24 of PM. See location markers for that. The kink introduced in the subsequent love scene echoes the kink throughout Prime Minister.
Chapters Seven and Eight, plus the Epilogues of Yes, Prime Minister veer away from the set-up of Prime Minister and tell an abbreviated version of a happy-ever-after ending. This is Aria Cole’s own work as far as we can tell, however the differences here don’t excuse the similarities in the first 66% of the text.
SECTION THREE: Cover similarity
While we understand titles are not protected by copyright, in this case, the title is a part of the entire work (Yes, Prime Minister) which we see as an unauthorized derivative version of our longer, original piece (Prime Minister).
To reinforce the similarity on the cover, we’d note that the cover for Yes, Prime Minister also uses a very similar shade of blue as we use in our title (HTML notation: 66c7e7, compared to our own colours, one of which is HTML notation: 6bd6f6). Again, taken in totality with the rest of the similarities, this makes Yes, Prime Minister look like a derivative work of Prime Minister, which is not authorized.
Finally, the cover models chosen have very similar expressions. In totality, the comparison is enough to cause alert.
If the contents inside were different, we would not have a copyright complaint about the cover. However, given the similarities listed above on the text itself, the combination of the cover echoes and the shocking number of plot elements taken from Prime Minister, make Yes, Prime Minister read like an unauthorized derivative work.
SECTION FOUR: Cast comparison
In Prime Minister, we introduced a young, single national leader, Gavin, who falls in love with a French Canadian graduate student, Ellie, who has recently joined his office. His chief of security, Lachlan, is instrumental in assisting this romance unfold. Ellie’s best friend, Sasha, plays an active role in supporting her and being a sounding board.
In Yes, Prime Minister, the author renamed these characters Bryce, Juliette, Locke and Jordan. Their characterization is simplified due to the short nature of the story, but otherwise identical.