An Ohio Couple Would Like To Forget 'A Gronking To Remember' A lawsuit alleges that the popular erotica e-book — which centers on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski — used an engagement photo on its cover without permission.
NPR logo

An Ohio Couple Would Like To Forget 'A Gronking To Remember'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/403596419/403831475" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
An Ohio Couple Would Like To Forget 'A Gronking To Remember'

An Ohio Couple Would Like To Forget 'A Gronking To Remember'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/403596419/403831475" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

"A Gronking To Remember" - haven't heard of it? It's a work of erotic fiction that shot up the e-book sales charts in January. Written by a Patriots' fan, it tells the story of a woman in a troubled marriage who is entranced by seeing Rob Gronkowski play football. Now, "A Gronking To Remember" is the subject of a lawsuit. NPR's Becky Sullivan reports.

BECKY SULLIVAN, BYLINE: When Lacey Noonan - that's her pseudonym - self-published "A Gronking To Remember," she didn't expect much. The 38-page e-book went up for sale on Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble last December. And to her, it was mostly a joke. But the Boston media, obsessed with all things Patriot, covered the book with glee. Sales took off. A few weeks later, as the real Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots were preparing to go to the Super Bowl, "A Gronking To Remember" was everywhere. Gronkowski was asked about it at a Super Bowl media day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROB GRONKOWSKI: Oh, I've heard all about it. I think it's pretty funny.

SULLIVAN: And just after the Patriots' Super Bowl victory, Gronkowski and the book made an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

JIMMY KIMMEL: I don't know that it gets any better than this - a woman wrote a work of erotic fan fiction called "A Gronking To Remember." Now, this...

(LAUGHTER)

SULLIVAN: And the always agreeable Gronkowski performed a dramatic reading.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")

GRONKOWSKI: (Reading) At the end of the row of lockers, I turn a corner and there he is. It's a giant of a man, a warrior. His muscles ripple in soft light and splash of water coming from the shower head.

Oh.

(LAUGHTER)

GRONKOWSKI: Dang, that's sexy.

SULLIVAN: But despite all this great publicity, the book had some problems. Amazon pulled it from its store, reportedly over a dispute about the cover art - an attractive young couple in a romantic embrace, and behind them, two faded photos of Rob Gronkowski in his Patriots' gear. The Boston Globe speculated that it was the NFL that had objected. The league is very strict with licensing of various logos and uniforms.

The NFL wouldn't comment, but the book came back online. This time, the photo of Rob Gronkowski was now a drawing of him with no logos. Then Eriq Gardner, who covers business and the law for The Hollywood Reporter, broke the news that the cover art had yet another issue.

ERIQ GARDNER: Now, it turns out a lawsuit has been filed against Amazon and Apple from a couple who say that their faces were put on the book cover without their permission.

SULLIVAN: A couple from Ohio claims their engagement photo was, quote, "expropriated." What's interesting about this case, Gardner says, is that it brings into question exactly who the publisher is for so-called self-published e-book.

GARDNER: Is Apple and Amazon, which are providing the tools for authors to self-publish - are they in some ways considered publishers, or should they be granted some sort of immunity from what authors put forward and distribute?

SULLIVAN: Amazon in particular has tools for authors who self-publish to do things like create cover art. It provides stock photography, but also allows authors to upload their own cover art. In its legal response, Amazon claims it was unaware of the alleged unauthorized use of the photo on the cover. Author Lacey Noonan declined to comment. In the meantime, "A Gronking To Remember" is back up online for sale, this time with a new young couple, embracing with permission on the cover. Becky Sullivan, NPR News.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.