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SJ Gordon
05-05-2010, 04:26 AM
I'm not entirely sure where this subject belongs as I think it is probably of interest to every writer. However, I bring it to my M/T/S pals, first.


So, fanfiction. Have you heard of it? Have you read it? Written it? Have you any strong feelings about it one way or another?

A friend of mine directed me to this entry in Diana Gabaldon's blog. I've never read the Outlander series (though I have heard of it) but it is obviously big enough to have it's own online fandom. Like some other authors (Anne Rice comes to mind), it seems Ms. Gabaldon objects to readers trying their hand at stories based on her characters. In fact, she objects really strongly!

http://voyagesoftheartemis.blogspot.com/2010/05/fan-fiction-and-moral-conundrums.html

What do you think? How would you feel if readers started writing stories online based on your books and characters?

For myself, I think I'd be hugely flattered, despite what this author and her supporters say. Dunno. I should be so lucky as to have this problem... ;)

Wayne K
05-05-2010, 04:38 AM
I'd want half the money...Then I'd be flattered

veinglory
05-05-2010, 04:48 AM
Fan fictions doesn't generally make any money. So long as that was the case--if it were fanfiction of my work--I would pretend to ignore it (a.k.a. read it and not coment to avoid messy legal sitautions). Or possibly do what Lackey does and allow authorised AU fanfiction zines. Other writers see it differently.

Perks
05-05-2010, 04:54 AM
I'm trying to imagine it. I don't know if I'd mind, if it was written just for fun and no one was looking to sell it, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't read fanfiction of my work.

I write fanfiction all the time, but only in my head. Fox Mulder fell in love with me once.

SJ Gordon
05-05-2010, 05:00 AM
Yeah, as far as I know, no one makes money from fanfiction. That would be copyright infringement, I'm sure. I have heard of people using fanfiction as a sort of writing exercise to learn plotting and so forth. I think it's mostly avid fans trying to amuse themselves while waiting for more books.

I think I agree that it would be hard to read fanfiction based on my own work, though. Sort of like watching someone dress up as me. Weird.

MissMacchiato
05-05-2010, 05:02 AM
I agree that since most (if not all?) fanfictions don't make money - they are simply a way to live out your perfect 'ending' or what have you, within the confines of that particular series. I Think it's just another way to enjoy that book.

I can understand really disliking it, since it's your baby, but I think I would be flattered as well, as long as they weren't making money off it

I remember one particular television series I enjoyed, two of my favourite characters had been in a relationship during university, and had reconnected later on. The series was quite ambiguous regarding their split (which was quite volatile from what I gather) as well as what their previous relationship had been like.

I really enjoyed reading fan-fiction that detailed what their relationship might have been like, how they split up etc.

I guess I, myself, wouldn't really write that kind of thing, but as a reader, I enjoyed it, and I imagine that the writer enjoyed fitting his/her view of how the relationship might have been, with the prompts from the series - it would have been an interesting writing exercise, if nothing else, you know?

Perks
05-05-2010, 05:14 AM
I have to agree with Ms. Gabaldon on this:


(Now, if you truly think you can’t write something without using someone else’s characters as a crutch…well, OK. But if that’s really your motive, then you should keep the results to yourself. Not post them on websites as “your” work.)

Now that I've read her position on it, I can't find any fault with her logic and outrage.

Wayne K
05-05-2010, 05:16 AM
Do you mind if I steal that?

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 05:17 AM
I was a fan of Gabaldon's work before - one of my treasured possessions is a signed copy of An Echo in the Bone - but now? Now I adore her.

veinglory
05-05-2010, 05:17 AM
I would note that there is plenty of legal 'fanfiction' that is authorised or of out of copyright characters--as mentioned by DG.

I am fine with people not liking it for their own characters, or because it is illegal. But not all pastiche is crap, and not all fanfic is crap or done only by lazy authors.

Wayne K
05-05-2010, 05:18 AM
Trodden under.

Damn, that was funny.

Perks
05-05-2010, 05:20 AM
I am fine with people not liking it for their own characters, or because it is illegal. But not all pastiche is crap, and not all fanfic is crap or done only by lazy authors.I also agree with this.

Apparently, I am very agreeable tonight.

kaitie
05-05-2010, 05:57 AM
I've written fanfiction before. Heck, it can make a really good practice when you're just playing around with a technique. I don't really have any problem with it. Now, most fanfiction is pure crap, but I've read a couple of people's in the past (I haven't read any in years) that were just amazing. I don't think writing fanfic means that you can't write your own work. Some people just like to play in that world, see what would happen. Some people might enjoy writing but not be interested in writing original works. Maybe for some people, it's the built-in audience that fanfic provides. If you don't want to write commercially (or you aren't good enough), you're going to have a hard time finding people who would actually want to read what you write. If you're writing a fanfic, however, there are thousands of people out there with the same interests who will go and look it over.

So it doesn't really bother me at all that people do it, as long as they're not trying to sell it or anything. If it was for my own work...I'd probably be flattered, honestly. I might even want to read a bit, but it would depend on if I could find anything well-written that didn't mess my characters up. If I had a situation like Harry Potter where all the sudden people are putting Harry and Draco in a romantic coupling, I'd probably be too "Okay, seriously, wtf!?" to be interested. :tongue

I'd totally write an official fanfic, btw haha. Depending on the topic, I think it could be a blast. :D

leahzero
05-05-2010, 06:10 AM
Just because most fanfiction is crap doesn't mean fanfiction itself is a worthless genre.

The elitist attitude toward it is so tired.

Perks
05-05-2010, 06:42 AM
At this point, though, it's not just an elitist attitude, it's an enforceable law. If any copyright holder wants you to take down your posted fanfic, you have to.

SJ Gordon
05-05-2010, 08:20 AM
Actually, that isn't precisely true. There are some fair use laws involved. I'm not up on all of them but one of the friends who directed me to this blog in the first place is (she is an attorney and works with copyright law) and she was incensed by the implication that fanfic writers are thieves. So long as the fan is not getting any remuneration for the story, they are allowed to write it, as I understand it. There are so many fan sites that post fiction (and they are large and not at all quiet about it) that they would be easy to shut down if it was an illegal activity.

Having said that, I did write some fanfiction back in the day as practice. I had absolutely no creative writing background and it was excellent practice. Of course, for my own peace of mind, I wouldn't write fanfiction based on the work of an author who didn't like it. In my case, I messed around with Harry Potter as the fans were numerous and more than willing to tell you exactly what they thought of what you'd done. Also, J. K. Rowling is more than just fine with fans writing fiction. She applauds it and has advertised some fan sites on her own website. If you heard about it, her only lawsuit on the subject was over a fan who decided to take his fan site and turn it into a book that he planned to sell for profit. Not cool and he lost the suit. I do think that if the author has expressed a desire that the fans not write, that should be honored so Ms. Gabaldon would be safe from me (though, in this case, I've never read her books).

As I said, it would be weird to see it done based on my own work, but I think I'd find it flattering that I had readers who were enthusiastic enough about my stories that they'd want to take it all further and that I'd inspired them to do so.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 02:45 PM
Just because most fanfiction is crap doesn't mean fanfiction itself is a worthless genre.

The elitist attitude toward it is so tired.If it's elitist to expect full and exclusive use of one's intellectual property, then damn, I guess Gabaldon is an elitist.

I shall continue to buy and enjoy her books and I shall continue to avoid fanfiction like the plague.

Perks
05-05-2010, 03:02 PM
Also, J. K. Rowling is more than just fine with fans writing fiction. She applauds it and has advertised some fan sites on her own website. If you heard about it, her only lawsuit on the subject was over a fan who decided to take his fan site and turn it into a book that he planned to sell for profit. Just for clarity, the book that she objected to wasn't a fanfic, it was an encyclopedia.

heyjude
05-05-2010, 03:06 PM
Am I the only person who's never read fanfic?

Personally, I don't get it. I have enough characters crowding my head without someone else's as well.

Kitty27
05-05-2010, 03:07 PM
I wouldn't mind at all. As long as no grip is made off my work and the usual disclaimer acknowledging my creative magnificence,have at it. I kinda love that someone would like my work so much that they'd write fanfic.


Also,there have been instances where the fanfic is damn near as good as or better than the work it's based on! Some of these fanfic writers are good.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 03:07 PM
No, you're not.

I looked at one particular site once, and didn't see anything that could even hope to aspire to your average slush pile crap. It was that bad.

I had to go read something by Kazuo Ishiguro to stop myself committing suicide. Washed it down with a Wally Lamb chaser.

Soccer Mom
05-05-2010, 05:09 PM
I'm going to move this to the Roundtable for general discussion. Just a gentle reminder that there is no biting, no fighting and respect your fellow writer--even if they write fanfic.

Perks
05-05-2010, 05:23 PM
I think for a writer of any level, composing fanfiction in some form is irresistible. I certainly do it all the time when a story has captured my imagination. So I don't find the urge evil, but I think it takes a lot of nerve to presume the creator of the characters you're using wouldn't mind having it posted in public.

Diana Gabaldon gives a perfect solution - write the fanfic, change the names, then post away.

By the law of averages, I wouldn't think that all fanfiction is poorly written. I also don't think it offers any definitive insight to the fanfic author's ability to create on his own. I do think that publicly posted fanfiction gives a glimpse into the fanfiction author's stance on respect and propriety.

If an author has publicly come out against fanfiction using his work, then it is beyond rude to do it. If an author has said, "Knock yourself out. Have a ball." then I guess it's okay. If there's no indication one way or the other, the respectful thing to do is to resist.

Tasmin21
05-05-2010, 05:27 PM
The situation Gabaldon sites about the fanfic fundraiser is where I think this becomes a nasty issue.

It doesn't matter if the money is going to charity. People are trying to charge money for things that do NOT belong to them. This is illegal. The copyright holder has the right (per a lawyer I asked) to not only claim every bit of money earned through this fundraiser, but to also sue for up to three times the amount collected.

When you start charging money for fanfic, even in the name of a good cause, you've crossed any gray area there might have been.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 05:32 PM
What do you think? How would you feel if readers started writing stories online based on your books and characters?



I wouldn't like it. Then again, I'm not a fan of fanfic period...

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 05:46 PM
Here we go again ...

Personally, I find it rather interesting that Diana Gabaldon is complaining about people fanficcing her characters, when Jamie Fraser is based on a companion of Two in Doctor Who (http://www.celticcafe.com/archive/Books/gabaldon/).


Perks:
Fox Mulder fell in love with me once.

I think that Fox Mulder fell in love with a lot of people ... The man whore. ;)


Diana Gabaldon:
(Now, if you truly think you can’t write something without using someone else’s characters as a crutch…well, OK. But if that’s really your motive, then you should keep the results to yourself. Not post them on websites as “your” work.)

Except that 99.9% of fanficcers don't pass it off as their work. They make a big point of saying that they're using characters etc created by the original author.


Perks:
Now that I've read her position on it, I can't find any fault with her logic and outrage.

I can.

Well, let me correct that. I don't have a problem with authors coming out and saying that they have a problem with fanfic - no one is making them like it and I guess that if you're completely new to it then seeing what some people want your characters to do can be a personal :O.

I do have a problem with authors getting hysterical about it, making assumptions that show only that they have not got the first clue what fanfic is or what fanficcers are trying to do/accomplish (if anything with it) and then making blanket statements that fanfic is "illegal" under "International Copyright Law" when there has never been a court case to back up that supposition.


veinglory:
I am fine with people not liking it for their own characters, or because it is illegal. But not all pastiche is crap, and not all fanfic is crap or done only by lazy authors.

This.


Perks:
If any copyright holder wants you to take down your posted fanfic, you have to.

No you don't.

There are authors who serve C&D notices on fanfic sites. In the vast majority of cases those sites will comply with the notice because they don't have the money to take it to court and don't want to risk it.

However receiving a C&D notice is not the same as being obliged to comply with it. Personally, if I ever received one then I would make the copyright holder prove that I was guilty of infringing their copyright because each piece of fanfic would have to be viewed on its own and not every fanfic will cross the line into infringement (not least because copyright infringement usually involves the appropriation of an author's expression in some way and you can't claim copyright in characters or names - only in how they are expressed). I think that some of the OOC/AU fanfics would simply drop outside the ambit, ironically because they're so badly written that no one would mistake them with the real thing.


SJ Gordon:
If you heard about it, her only lawsuit on the subject was over a fan who decided to take his fan site and turn it into a book that he planned to sell for profit. Not cool and he lost the suit.

He lost the suit because the book was basically reproductions of chunks of texts from the books with v. minimal comment on the same, i.e. it was a straightforward appropriation of expression without the fair comment to bring him within the available defences (and he should have known that from the start).

He ended up taking out a lot of the text and adding a huge amount of comment, which was eventually signed off as being acceptable by JKR's lawyers. Although I believe the sales weren't very good.


scarletpeaches:
If it's elitist to expect full and exclusive use of one's intellectual property, then damn, I guess Gabaldon is an elitist.

Define "full and exclusive use of one's intellectual property".

Where's the line?


Perks:
If there's no indication one way or the other, the respectful thing to do is to resist.

I disagree. If an author has come out and said "don't do it because I hate it", then I wouldn't. I also wouldn't be interested in buying their books.

If someone hasn't said anything one way or another, then I regard it as fair game.

MM

ether
05-05-2010, 05:51 PM
If the author doesn't mind, I don't see an issue with it. fanfic authors aren't making any money off of it -- and if they are, it legally has to be approved by the original creator anyway. And if they're posting to a site like fanfiction.net? Well, everyone goes there knowing it's what it is -- fanfic. No one is going to assume these characters/setting are the person's own.

FF.net is also respectful of the authors who don't want fanfic of their works spread around. They have a list up... somewhere although I can't find the link, but you won't find anything on their site involving fics of authors like Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Raymond Feist, Nora Roberts, etc etc. (More about it here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_with_fan_fiction).)

As for the legality of it... The courts still go back and forth on it and I think it's ruled on a case by case basis, because a good chunk of fanfic does fall under Fair Use.

Some authors regard fanfiction as free promotion. It's a huge thing in Japan, even -- doujinshi made after excisting series and those creators do actually get money for making them. If you look for them, you can find things like the Charmed or Star Trek novels that are, technically, fanfic, but were published with the creators' full approval because, again, free advertising for their work. Those that don't mind fic, I'd suggest not reading it for legal reasons. Or if you must, read it and... don't comment on it. At least not until that particular 'world'/series is completed by you. Those who don't like it have the right to request for it to be removed.

Obviously not all authors will feel this way and some just don't want it done. Their work, their babies. I'm not honestly sure which side of the fence I'm on, but I can see both sides of it. I don't think I'd mind having people use my characters for their own entertainment so long as they weren't making money from it.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 05:52 PM
Define "full and exclusive use of one's intellectual property".

Where's the line?I would have thought my post said it all.

The freedom from having one's characters taken and forced into situations the author did not choose to put them in and/or make money from.
If an author has come out and said "don't do it because I hate it", then I wouldn't. I also wouldn't be interested in buying their books.Are you saying you'd only give an author your money if they let you use the characters you read about?

Hmm. That's the way it sounds.
If someone hasn't said anything one way or another, then I regard it as fair game. Might be better to spend all that energy on inventing your own characters instead of piggybacking on someone else's hard work.

The phrase 'fair game' really boils my piss. That's exactly why I hate fanfic.

MissMacchiato
05-05-2010, 06:01 PM
Might be better to spend all that energy on inventing your own characters instead of piggybacking on someone else's hard work.


This is exactly how I feel about books that are based on out of copyright material..

some 13 year old writing a story about their favourite book or television character and posting it on 'geocities' (remember them? lol)? not really a credible threat in my eyes - at least not to the same extent of someone using out of copyright characters to 'piggyback' their talent. That absolutely irritates me.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 06:04 PM
I've read maybe...one of those 'piggybacking' books that I can recall. Maybe two. Flipped through others to give them a fair go, but...never seen one that was anywhere near as good as the original.

Way I look at it is, aside from the moral issue (and I will always maintain that fanfic is immoral), when it comes to quality of writing, give them a fair go. And...I have never read fanfic that was much good. Ever.

I like to think the writers who are any good are off writing original material and making money off their work.

Shady Lane
05-05-2010, 06:04 PM
I think that post was unnecessarily harsh.

I love fanfic--don't write it, but read a ton, usually for a particular TV show that's not on the air. Most of it's crap. But there are a few who are PHENOMENAL writers, and I love that they give me the chance to hang with the characters again.

If someone wrote fanfic of my stuff, I'd be flattered, as long as they weren't trying to sell it.

Celia Cyanide
05-05-2010, 06:07 PM
I can understand her point. And I agree that just because people don't make money off of fanfic doesn't mean she has to be okay with it. They are her characters. It's different with something like Batman, which has been around for such a long time and had so many different incarnations. There is a wrong way to do it, but no one right way. With her characters, there is only one right way, and that is her own.

veinglory
05-05-2010, 06:11 PM
The one thing I found creepy was directly equating fic about a real child with fic about a character. There is a difference. Sherlock Holmes fanfic does not effect the canon or the character in any real way, and does not actually directly harm Sherlock--because he is imaginary.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 06:11 PM
To the OP, do a thread search and you will find oodles of threads on this. All of which usually end with a lockdown. On a up note, I have fifteen pages left to edit on my novella:hooray:

Perks
05-05-2010, 06:13 PM
Here we go again ...

Personally, I find it rather interesting that Diana Gabaldon is complaining about people fanficcing her characters, when Jamie Fraser is based on a companion of Two in Doctor Who (http://www.celticcafe.com/archive/Books/gabaldon/).Creating a character inspired by another character and giving him a different name isn't fanfiction. Fanfiction draws attention from readers only because of their devotion to the source material. Diana Gabaldon made a pretty good point of this with the challenge to change the names and own whatever accolades and following the piece gets without the flag of established successful characters and settings.








No you don't.

There are authors who serve C&D notices on fanfic sites. In the vast majority of cases those sites will comply with the notice because they don't have the money to take it to court and don't want to risk it.

However receiving a C&D notice is not the same as being obliged to comply with it. Well, I'm hearing opposite things from people claiming expertise, so I don't know what to think.



Personally, if I ever received one then I would make the copyright holder prove that I was guilty of infringing their copyright... And personally, I find this hugely disrespectful.




If someone hasn't said anything one way or another, then I regard it as fair game.

Obviously many people feel this way, but again, I find it presumptuous. Certainly you or any other writer can risk it, deal with a C&D request as you see fit, and so on. You're not bothered by the opposing arguments, and the opposing arguments aren't likely to be swayed by your not being bothered by it.

So, status quo and we'll all keep on keepin' on.

BenPanced
05-05-2010, 06:22 PM
So, yeah, when somebody posts their fanfic of your story crossed over into Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers...

Phaeal
05-05-2010, 06:24 PM
Fan fiction has been around for a long time, and it's not going anywhere. It used to be distributed hand to hand or via the post in badly mimeographed pamphlets or smeary carbon copies. Way under the radar.

The difference today: The Internet. Super easy production and archiving. Access to other fans around the world. Branching of fandoms into tinier and tinier twigs. You're a Harry Potter ficcer? That tells me nothing. Do you write gen HP or ship HP? Slash or het? Canon or alternative? And what ship? Harry/Ginny (totally canon or alt?) Harry/Draco? Luna/Lavender? Percy/Salazar Slytherin? Dumbledore/the giant squid? In any case, high visibility.

Just like "real" fic, fanfic spans the spectrum from teh suxxor to roxxor. And when enough time has passed, whoa, fanfic becomes legitimate! See the Jane Austen industry. The Sherlock Holmes industry is poised on the brink of a universal end of copyright.

The laws surrounding copyright are labyrinthine and increasingly challenged by technology. My credo is that no one should be able to make money on your intellectual property during your lifetime. My observation is that all aspects of legitimate fandom, including fanfic, are compliments to the author. You've created a world so compelling other people want to live in it, which is what an act of creation is. Wow you.

As for writing fanfic, then changing the names, then trying to sell it? Ouch. That's theft in my book, even if you can get away with it.

Perks
05-05-2010, 06:27 PM
So, yeah, when somebody posts their fanfic of your story crossed over into Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers...That'd be so cool considering the opportunities it affords to increase the body count while simultaneously attacking the dire problem of noise pollution.

Phaeal
05-05-2010, 06:27 PM
So, yeah, when somebody posts their fanfic of your story crossed over into Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers...

This would kill me, I'd be laughing so hard.

Actually, I'm really looking forward to the crossovers to Twilight...

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 06:34 PM
That'd be so cool considering the opportunities it affords to increase the body count while simultaneously attacking the dire problem of noise pollution.I love you.

Perks
05-05-2010, 06:35 PM
I love you.I know.

Shady Lane
05-05-2010, 06:36 PM
So, yeah, when somebody posts their fanfic of your story crossed over into Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers...

Was this directed towards me?

Say this happens. Is it supposed to offend me? I don't really get it. My book still exists exactly how it was. As long as people aren't making money from it, I don't care what people write using my characters. They're out into the world ,and they're not real people, and it doesn't hurt me. I don't have to read it (and I wouldn't) so I don't see any reason to stop it from existing.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 06:38 PM
I know.Are we writing Princess Leia/Han Solo slashfic?

Marian Perera
05-05-2010, 06:39 PM
Why are you writing about characters that other people made up? Why not make up your own characters? Why not make up your own world, your own stories?

I do both. My first novel was recently released by Samhain, plus I write Transformers fanfics (and post them to a couple of LiveJournal communities as well as ff.net). I enjoy both kinds of writing.

I've also come across a couple of really talented fanfic writers - one of whom has these turns of phrase which make me jealous. Her style reminds me of Tanith Lee's.

BenPanced
05-05-2010, 06:46 PM
Was this directed towards me?
Just to the general populace.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 06:48 PM
I can't be the only one who's thinking of AW slashfic now, right?

quickWit
05-05-2010, 06:48 PM
*streaks through thread with pants on head*

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

DeleyanLee
05-05-2010, 06:48 PM
So, fanfiction. Have you heard of it? Have you read it? Written it? Have you any strong feelings about it one way or another?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Not really.


What do you think? How would you feel if readers started writing stories online based on your books and characters?

I don't think I write the kind of books that would garner fanfic, but if I did, I'd do my best to ignore it. I have my vision of my characters, world, situation and I'm happy with that. If I wasn't, then I'd write a different story. If people have different interpretations and want to explore it, that's fine, but I don't want the distraction.

Though, I will admit that, when I was finished writing in that world, it would be fun to write fanfic in my own world about things I didn't pursue for publication and post it, just for fun. Or post on my website or something. It could be appealing, if I had the time and a different story to tell.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 06:51 PM
*streaks through thread with pants on head*

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Are those pants under copyright?

Perks
05-05-2010, 06:56 PM
I can't be the only one who's thinking of AW slashfic now, right?That would be totally in bounds, because there is no legitimate AW Fic, as it were. Only the lies we tell about ourselves here.

Have at it.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 06:58 PM
I'm pairing you with quickWit, just so you know.

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 07:04 PM
scarletpeaches:
The freedom from having one's characters taken and forced into situations the author did not choose to put them in and/or make money from.

Except that intellectual property law does not give you that protection. There are defences for parody and fair comment, which can and have been used to put characters in situations that the author would not have chosen to put them in.


scarletpeaches:
Are you saying you'd only give an author your money if they let you use the characters you read about?

Allow me to clarify then. :)

I'm saying that an author who is blatantly precious about their work and their characters and who is hysterical where fanfic is concerned is not someone that I would want to read.

Diana Gabaldon's blog posts put me off reading her books, not because I wanted to write Outlander fic, but because she's come across to me as being overly protective.

She's got the right to do that, just as I've got the right to not read her work because of it.


scarletpeaches:
Might be better to spend all that energy on inventing your own characters instead of piggybacking on someone else's hard work.

I do. And I do so because writing fanfic gave me the confidence to do so.

As regards "piggybacking on someone else's hard work" - plenty of authors do that and make money from it. Look at the entire mash up series of Jane Austen/Little Women and whoever the frick else -v- zombies, werewolves, vampires and jam donuts.

Fair play if "fair game" boils your piss. (Sorry - couldn't resist. I do love you when you come out with expressions like that - they're absolutely smashing).

What boils my piss is when a someone hacks a classic book that's out of copyright to produce shite like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which at times is virtually a word for word copy of the original with some zombie scenes and crap knob jokes added (oh, and dodgy English research). And he made a shitload of money from it. At least fanficcers aren't using base material for profit.


Perks:
Creating a character inspired by another character and giving him a different name isn't fanfiction. Fanfiction draws attention from readers only because of their devotion to the source material. Diana Gabaldon made a pretty good point of this with the challenge to change the names and own whatever accolades and following the piece gets without the flag of established successful characters and settings.

Well that's a debate in itself. :)

Interestingly there are a number of commercially published YA authors who started off as well known fanfic writers in HP fandom and who plugged elements of those fanfics into their original work.


Perks:
Well, I'm hearing opposite things from people claiming expertise, so I don't know what to think.

It's up to you. But I've written C&D letters and I can tell you that the whole purpose is to scare the other side into stopping what they're doing.


Perks:
And personally, I find this hugely disrespectful.

Again, that's up to you.

Back when I was in private practice, my firm was instructed to serve C&D letters on people who owned websites that contained trade marked words belonging to one of our clients. They were genuine fan sites that weren't causing the client any harm in the slightest, but the GC at the client had a hard on about anyone using those words because it was still relatively early days in terms of internet marketing and everyone was paranoid about cyber-squatting. (Now, I think that media GCs are more relaxed because they see the marketing potential for the source material).

Anyway the result of all those C&D letters was that I had 12 year olds phoning me up in tears because they didn't have the pocket money to pay the costs we were asking for. I also had grown-ups phoning me desperate that we didn't sue them because they'd only meant it as a bit of fun and weren't making any money from it.

Personally, I found the attitude of the client disrespectful (not least because he was going after people who were the audience for his product) and it's why I didn't pursue IP law as a career. It's also why I would push back on someone serving a C&D on me, because 9 times out of 10, they're counting on your not doing so and being cowed by their letterhead paper.


Perks:
Certainly you or any other writer can risk it, deal with a C&D request as you see fit, and so on. You're not bothered by the opposing arguments, and the opposing arguments aren't likely to be swayed by your not being bothered by it.

Firstly, I don't write fanfic anymore and when I did write fanfic, then it was in HP, which JKR didn't have a problem with.

Secondly, I don't see writing fanfic as any more presumptuous than an author who says that they only want you to interpret their characters in the way they write them and that if you have another interpretation then you can't show that to anyone.

If I was still writing fanfic, and I had a good idea for a fic that didn't already have an established fandom, then I wouldn't go out of my way to see if the author was okay with it. If it turned out that they didn't, then I'd see what happens.

MM

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:05 PM
I used to write fanfic, way back when I was in middle and high school. I don't think there's inherently anything wrong with it, as long as you're not making a profit on it (with the exception of authorized things like the Star Wars and Star Trek novels). However, I do think an individual author has a right to say whether or not they're okay with it. It wouldn't offend me unless the author made some sort of rude blanket statement insulting the fanfic writers, while ignoring the fact that the majority are writing fanfics because they are his/her fanbase. I can't cite specific examples here; I'm just saying this as a generality.

As long as a writer uses common sense, I have no problem with fanfiction. DON'T try to make a profit off it. DON'T think that it's going to get you any sort of "in" with the original author. DO respect an author's wishes not to publicly post fanfics of their work. And all that good stuff.

I don't consider an author who writes fanfiction to be unoriginal or unwilling to come up with their own ideas. I think that fanfiction comes from watching/reading/whatevering the source material and coming up with an idea that gets your creative juices flowing, and some authors choose to put those ideas on paper (or computer), and some of those choose to post it where others can read it. I know this was how I started writing fanfiction. I just haven't followed through with steps 2 and 3 for the past 5+ years or so, since my original ideas have to take priority, given that I'm trying to get them legitimately published. Is the majority of fanfiction available on ff.net horrible? Well, yes, but that doesn't make them bad people for writing it. Like with anything else, the rule is to respect your fellow writer. As long as the ff writer is respecting the creator of the original source material (and there are certainly individual cases where this is not the case), then I don't see any reason to disrespect them.

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 07:06 PM
scarletpeaches:
I can't be the only one who's thinking of AW slashfic now, right?

Nope. And I'm getting bunnies for a fic with you, Soccer Mum and Perks ... :D

MM

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:18 PM
So in other words, screw the author who wants to protect their work. I read the blog post. So what if she is being snarky. She doesn't want others using her characters. I don't get what's so hard to understand about that.

Oh, I understand that completely. The problem I have with it is her statement equating writing fanfiction without a profit to "breaking into someone's house and not stealing anything." Also, this International Copyright Law thing? I really don't know about it. That's why doujinshi is legal in Japan. Their copyright laws are extremely loose, and therefore different than ours. Can someone please tell me what this International Copyright Law is? I'm serious. Knowing what it is would help me read Gabaldon's post better.

I also have a problem with people in general saying that fanfiction writers lack originality, as I've stated above. They don't lack originality. They simply had a story idea that involved other characters. Whether writing it down and posting it is good or bad is certainly debatable, but I don't like it when people say this about people who write fanfiction. It assumes things that haven't been proven, like whether or not the writer in question writers his/her own stuff, and fanfiction is just a fun side project.

I DO agree with her pretty much saying that many fanfic writers do so because they want positive feedback based on the fact that readers enjoy the characters from the source material. This is one of the many reasons I stopped posting my fanfics publicly. I want my writing to stand on its own, and on places like ff.net, it's generally hard for that to happen.

Claudia Gray
05-05-2010, 07:19 PM
I write fanfic, and I have fanfic written about my books, and in both cases, I think it's delightful.

In my opinion, any author who objects to fanfic basically is objecting to readers having opinions of their own. It's as disrespectful to the audience as anything else I can imagine. If you can't handle the fact that readers are going to have opinions/imaginings/fantasies about your characters that may not totally match your own thoughts? Then don't publish. And if you don't want people who have those opinions/imaginings/fantasies talking to each other, and in so doing enhancing their relationship to your work? The kindest word I can come up with for that is "short-sighted."

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 07:22 PM
Oh, I understand that completely. The problem I have with it is her statement equating writing fanfiction without a profit to "breaking into someone's house and not stealing anything." Also, this International Copyright Law thing? I really don't know about it. That's why doujinshi is legal in Japan. Their copyright laws are extremely loose, and therefore different than ours. Can someone please tell me what this International Copyright Law is? I'm serious. Knowing what it is would help me read Gabaldon's post better.

I also have a problem with people in general saying that fanfiction writers lack originality, as I've stated above. They don't lack originality. They simply had a story idea that involved other characters. Whether writing it down and posting it is good or bad is certainly debatable, but I don't like it when people say this about people who write fanfiction. It assumes things that haven't been proven, like whether or not the writer in question writers his/her own stuff, and fanfiction is just a fun side project.

I DO agree with her pretty much saying that many fanfic writers do so because they want positive feedback based on the fact that readers enjoy the characters from the source material. This is one of the many reasons I stopped posting my fanfics publicly. I want my writing to stand on its own, and on places like ff.net, it's generally hard for that to happen.

I'd like to know that too about the copyright law.
Perhaps she does feel violated and that's why she compared it to someone breaking into her house.
I just think that if an author states they don't want their material used in fanfic people should respect that. If an author doesn't care, then way to go...

Perks
05-05-2010, 07:22 PM
Secondly, I don't see writing fanfic as any more presumptuous than an author who says that they only want you to interpret their characters in the way they write them and that if you have another interpretation then you can't show that to anyone.

This is amazing to me. But, at the outset, that's why we have a different opinion of fanfiction. This part of your post has actually intensified my negative opinion of the practice. Not that I expect you to do anything with that of course. It's my problem, not yours, and I realize that.

dgrintalis
05-05-2010, 07:23 PM
I've never read nor written fanfic, but as a writer, I have to say I'd be peeved too, if someone took the characters I created and used them in their own stories. IMO, if someone is creative enough to write a story, they should be creative enough to make up their own characters.

But, I'm not published yet (in novel length), and if my feelings change when that happens, so be it. For now, that's how I feel.

Shady Lane
05-05-2010, 07:26 PM
I write fanfic, and I have fanfic written about my books, and in both cases, I think it's delightful.

In my opinion, any author who objects to fanfic basically is objecting to readers having opinions of their own. It's as disrespectful to the audience as anything else I can imagine. If you can't handle the fact that readers are going to have opinions/imaginings/fantasies about your characters that may not totally match your own thoughts? Then don't publish. And if you don't want people who have those opinions/imaginings/fantasies talking to each other, and in so doing enhancing their relationship to your work? The kindest word I can come up with for that is "short-sighted."

Exactly, Claudia. Well said.

scarletpeaches
05-05-2010, 07:26 PM
...any author who objects to fanfic basically is objecting to readers having opinions of their own.Objecting to fanfic is nothing like objecting to readers having their own opinions.

Readers can have all the opinions on my characters they want.

What they can't have is any control over them. That's my job.

If you want to 'improve your relationship with my work', whatever the hell that means, buy the next book and read it, instead of rewriting anything I've published previously.

Marian Perera
05-05-2010, 07:27 PM
I also have a problem with people in general saying that fanfiction writers lack originality, as I've stated above.

I'm just amused by such an opinion - that fanfic writers lack originality, or aren't able to make up their own worlds. Mostly because I know a lot of people whose body of work is evidence enough against it.

I like creating my own worlds and people to populate them, but I also like working with Transformers characters. There are stories I can tell with them that I can't tell with my own worlds, and vice versa.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:27 PM
I write fanfic, and I have fanfic written about my books, and in both cases, I think it's delightful.

In my opinion, any author who objects to fanfic basically is objecting to readers having opinions of their own. It's as disrespectful to the audience as anything else I can imagine. If you can't handle the fact that readers are going to have opinions/imaginings/fantasies about your characters that may not totally match your own thoughts? Then don't publish. And if you don't want people who have those opinions/imaginings/fantasies talking to each other, and in so doing enhancing their relationship to your work? The kindest word I can come up with for that is "short-sighted."

I'm reminded of the phrase, "art does not exist in a vacuum," and also of something Margaret Atwood said (though I'm pretty sure she was referencing someone else), that when you release your works to the world, people will think what they want to think about it. In essence, they become the author. I would never, as a writer (and, since I got my BA from a hippie school, an artist), expect people to think about my work exactly what I think. I would hope they'd pick up on certain elements, but people will see what they want to see. Hence, the Draco/Harry shippers. This takes the discussion a BIT away from whether or not fanfiction is right or wrong, but I would hope that no author expects their readers to all think about the work what the author thinks about the work.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:29 PM
I'd like to know that too about the copyright law.
Perhaps she does feel violated and that's why she compared it to someone breaking into her house.
I just think that if an author states they don't want their material used in fanfic people should respect that. If an author doesn't care, then way to go...

I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. For me, it's not an issue of whether or not it's legal. Legality doesn't enter into it. Again, it's all abut respecting your fellow writer.

BenPanced
05-05-2010, 07:32 PM
In my opinion, any author who objects to fanfic basically is objecting to readers having opinions of their own. It's as disrespectful to the audience as anything else I can imagine. If you can't handle the fact that readers are going to have opinions/imaginings/fantasies about your characters that may not totally match your own thoughts? Then don't publish. And if you don't want people who have those opinions/imaginings/fantasies talking to each other, and in so doing enhancing their relationship to your work? The kindest word I can come up with for that is "short-sighted."
I can understand having discussions on online forums or conversation over coffee as improving an author/reader relationship, but there's some implication here that if an author has objections to fanfic it's the author's problem and they should just get over it I find disturbing. Maybe I'm misinterpreting it.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 07:32 PM
Claudia: So if an author is against fanfic, they shouldn't publish?

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:36 PM
Claudia: So if an author is against fanfic, they shouldn't publish?

Perhaps Claudia means that a writer should be aware that fanfiction could happen, just as a discussion on the work's themes and symbols could happen? That's what I believe, anyway, but I would also say that an author who is aware that fanfiction might happen still has the right to say they don't want it posted publicly.

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 07:38 PM
I think we're all aware. Fanfic is widely known. I don't write anything that I think will ever end up in fanfic, so I don't have the worry of it. But geez it does come down to respect...

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 07:40 PM
Wait! I did read fanfic once. It was about the Friend's characters having sex...

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 07:44 PM
I think we're all aware. Fanfic is widely known. I don't write anything that I think will ever end up in fanfic, so I don't have the worry of it. But geez it does come down to respect...

Right. If an author rudely asked for fanfiction to be taken down, it's not like I would keep it up out of spite. That's just silly, and it's not like fanfiction, in general, is really worth fighting for. To me, it's a hobby. Anything that you find fun that you can't make money off of is defined as a hobby, I think (who knows; I'm not a lawyer). And it doesn't mean you can't write it, if an author asks you to stop. It just means you can't post it where anyone can read it. I WOULD be suspicious of a fanfic writer who kept a fic up after the author asked him to take it down, because at that point, or any point, you can't gain something from it. You don't gain credibility as a writer, or an audience that you couldn't legitimately gain from your own work if it's good enough.

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 07:46 PM
Perks:
This is amazing to me. But, at the outset, that's why we have a different opinion of fanfiction. This part of your post has actually intensified my negative opinion of the practice. Not that I expect you to do anything with that of course. It's my problem, not yours, and I realize that.

Nah, it's cool. I don't see you as having a problem at all. In fact the debate is cool. No one seems to be going off on anyone.

MM

brainstorm77
05-05-2010, 07:47 PM
Right. If an author rudely asked for fanfiction to be taken down, it's not like I would keep it up out of spite. That's just silly, and it's not like fanfiction, in general, is really worth fighting for. To me, it's a hobby. Anything that you find fun that you can't make money off of is defined as a hobby, I think (who knows; I'm not a lawyer). And it doesn't mean you can't write it, if an author asks you to stop. It just means you can't post it where anyone can read it. I WOULD be suspicious of a fanfic writer who kept a fic up after the author asked him to take it down, because at that point, or any point, you can't gain something from it. You don't gain credibility as a writer, or an audience that you couldn't legitimately gain from your own work if it's good enough.

Agreed.

CaroGirl
05-05-2010, 08:16 PM
I had never heard of fanfic before I joined this site. I had no compulsion to write such a thing and I have trouble understanding the compulsion to do so. If I like a particular book or character, I talk about it with other readers, either in a formal setting like a book club, or informal like on the bus or over cocktails. Personally, I would never waste my creative energy in such a dead-end pursuit, not even as a writing exercise. There are plenty of other writing exercises I can do that produce material I might actually be able to use.

If people happened to like my book that much, I'd rather they read it over and over, discuss it with friends and recommend it to strangers.

Cyia
05-05-2010, 08:17 PM
Why are you writing about characters that other people made up? Why not make up your own characters? Why not make up your own world, your own stories?

Someone who uses someone else's hard work to do this = fanboy

Someone who uses their own hard work to do this = writer


Fanfiction IS the fic writer's own stories and the fic writer's own hard work.

Sure, most of it's self-insert teen girl fantasy of how she's totally better than the female lead, and when the hero sees her he'll realize it and fall madly in love and tell the female lead she's a stupid, ugly, cow, but it's okay because the self-insert is so perfect and magical that everyone loves her, especially the stupid, ugly, cow...

Where was I? Oh, right, fanfic that's good.

Just like with any sampling of writing, there's going to be 1% that's good or even great. Well plotted stories and well drawn characters that fit the voice of the original material. And those stories and any original characters are the property of the fic writer, not the original writer - who, legally, shouldn't be reading it anyway.

I've written fanfic before (not books, TV-series, and yes, there's a difference), and it's fun. It's a terrific way to practice writing, and to test out plot lines for original fiction. It's one of the best ways to work on "voice" because the people who read it know how each character is supposed to sound. It's even an occasional English assignment (Take a scene and insert a new character without changing a single line of the original story. Meaning the dialogue stays the same, but you craft your lines around it so your new character is included in the scene.)

For the timid, it's a good way to bolster self-esteem because even the novice writers usually get encouragement. It's a first taste of critique because not everyone does the auto-applause response. For people who have no one to support them at home, it's a community - FFn has tens of thousands of stories on it, and thousands of writers who post there. (FFn also gave me a fanfic stalker, but that's thankfully ancient history.)

A lot of people who start with fanfiction get the skills and confidence to make a real attempt at original fiction.

Virtual seasons can be interesting after a show's been canceled (or, on occasion re-write that horrible ending fans hated), and fanfic fills the space while a show's on hiatus. It's addictive, because unlike publishing, it's instant gratification.

It gets annoying when other people take your stories and post them as their own, though.

Perks
05-05-2010, 08:19 PM
It gets annoying when other people take your stories and post them as their own, though.I do dare say.

Cyia
05-05-2010, 08:24 PM
I think the biggest problem most writers have with fanfiction is the "pod-person" effect. An unskilled writer, or one with a different voice, takes an established character and makes him/her act in ways that the author never intended. I had a bunch of people take one of my fanfiction characters (not one from the series, one I made up) and use him in their own stories, which were, in some cases, porn. It's weird to watch something you created hop around like a possessed thing you can no longer control.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 08:26 PM
I had never heard of fanfic before I joined this site. I had no compulsion to write such a thing and I have trouble understanding the compulsion to do so. If I like a particular book or character, I talk about it with other readers, either in a formal setting like a book club, or informal like on the bus or over cocktails. Personally, I would never waste my creative energy in such a dead-end pursuit, not even as a writing exercise. There are plenty of other writing exercises I can do that produce material I might actually be able to use.

If people happened to like my book that much, I'd rather they read it over and over, discuss it with friends and recommend it to strangers.

Just remember, different people enjoy different things. You may have absolutely no compulsion to write fanfiction, but other people do and enjoy doing so, and they don't consider it a waste of creative energy. Some of my favorite novel ideas came from stories that were originally fanfiction, but evolved to the point where they no longer resembled the source material. I wouldn't have come up with those ideas if I hadn't began them as fanfics. Granted, I never posted those fics anywhere, but I don't agree at all that writing fanfiction is "a dead-end pursuit."



And those stories and any original characters are the property of the fic writer, not the original writer - who, legally, shouldn't be reading it anyway.

Legally how? I really don't follow you.

aruna
05-05-2010, 08:33 PM
I've never read fanfic, never will, and I agree with Miss Gabaldon 100%.
Just sayin'.

CaroGirl
05-05-2010, 08:33 PM
I wouldn't have come up with those ideas if I hadn't began them as fanfics. Granted, I never posted those fics anywhere, but I don't agree at all that writing fanfiction is "a dead-end pursuit."
Why could you not have come up with those ideas by reading and assimilating the work of others? No writer works in a vacuum, nor should. All ideas are spawned, in some fashion, by the ideas of others and the discussion of those ideas. The work that came before can never be discounted.

ether
05-05-2010, 08:36 PM
"And those stories and any original characters are the property of the fic writer, not the original writer - who, legally, shouldn't be reading it anyway."



Legally how? I really don't follow you.

The stories themselves are copyrighted by the ff-author, because... well, they came up with it. The same goes for any original character they insert into the story.

Example - if someone created a new Hogwarts student named Hypotasflhlksf, for a Harry Potter fic. The plot of that story is their creation, their copyright, and so is Hypotasflhlksf.

If someone else were to take Hypotasflhlksf or the events that happen to him, and use it in such a way that Fair Use no longer covers it (such as if JKR took Hypotasflhlksf and used him in her next book), they could sue.

It's part of why some authors dislike fanfic - solely for the legal reasons. They don't want some fanfic writer pointing fingers at them when Book 3 gets released, saying "They used the idea I used in a fanfic!" Not to say whether or not they'd win that legal dispuit, but it can and, I'm fairly certain has happened.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 08:38 PM
Why could you not have come up with those ideas by reading and assimilating the work of others? No writer works in a vacuum, nor should. All ideas are spawned, in some fashion, by the ideas of others and the discussion of those ideas. The work that came before can never be discounted.

But, I did. And to be fair, it wasn't a book. It was a video game :3 But anyway, yes, the idea was inspired by the ideas of others. That's what I'm saying. I started fiddling around with fanfic ideas, and over time I was like, "No, no, it's changed too much. It'd work much better if I just made it an original idea." That's just how this particular creative process worked for me. I don't think there's anything wrong with it.


The stories themselves are copyrighted by the ff-author, because... well, they came up with it. The same goes for any original character they insert into the story.

Example - if someone created a new Hogwarts student named Hypotasflhlksf, for a Harry Potter fic. The plot of that story is their creation, their copyright, and so is Hypotasflhlksf.

If someone else were to take Hypotasflhlksf or the events that happen to him, and use it in such a way that Fair Use no longer covers it (such as if JKR took Hypotasflhlksf and used him in her next book), they could sue.

It's part of why some authors dislike fanfic - solely for the legal reasons. They don't want some fanfic writer pointing fingers at them when Book 3 gets released, saying "They used the idea I used in a fanfic!" Not to say whether or not they'd win that legal dispuit, but it can and, I'm fairly certain has happened.

No, no, I agree that original characters are the property of the original author, no matter what. I'm saying I don't understand how legally, the author of an original story shouldn't read fanfiction of his/her works, as Cyia claimed.

ether
05-05-2010, 08:49 PM
No, no, I agree that original characters are the property of the original author, no matter what. I'm saying I don't understand how legally, the author of an original story shouldn't read fanfiction of his/her works, as Cyia claimed.

Sorry, I must not have read it very well. ;)

They can, and maybe some of them do, but it wouldn't be wise for the legal reasons I mentioned above.

Say Fan-Fic-Author-Susie had a unique character and/or plot in one of her fanfics, and the Author of the original series read her story. Perhaps Author even liked it enough to comment on it.

(Either way, chances are there is proof that Author has visited that site and seen the work, if you wanted to delve into tracking IP addresses and all that.)

Then the next book comes out and has a similar idea/character in it and Susie has good, solid ground to sue Author.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 08:52 PM
Well, the problem there is that's likely to happen no matter, and an author can't really prove he/she didn't read a fanfic, and the claims can come without fanfic. Remember when JKR got sued cause some children's book writer claimed she ripped off her idea? But the book she supposedly "ripped off" was of poor, almost questionable quality, and JKR won the suit?

So I can see how reading too much fanfiction CAN create problems, however, I would hope the author would be intelligent enough to tread carefully, and I don't think it's going to stop the lawsuits. IMO, if an author is famous enough to have fanfiction, he/she is famous enough for lawsuits.

ether
05-05-2010, 08:56 PM
Well, the problem there is that's likely to happen no matter, and an author can't really prove he/she didn't read a fanfic, and the claims can come without fanfic. Remember when JKR got sued cause some children's book writer claimed she ripped off her idea? But the book she supposedly "ripped off" was of poor, almost questionable quality, and JKR won the suit?

So I can see how reading too much fanfiction CAN create problems, however, I would hope the author would be intelligent enough to tread carefully, and I don't think it's going to stop the lawsuits. IMO, if an author is famous enough to have fanfiction, he/she is famous enough for lawsuits.

Very true. I doubt any fanfic writer would win a legal suit against an author unless the rip-off was so blatant it was almost word-for-word. JKR and SMeyer both encourage fanfic, and while it's possibly happened to them, I haven't heard of any huge legal thing going on involving them and fanfic writers.

DeleyanLee
05-05-2010, 08:58 PM
No, no, I agree that original characters are the property of the original author, no matter what. I'm saying I don't understand how legally, the author of an original story shouldn't read fanfiction of his/her works, as Cyia claimed.

This doesn't involve fanfic, but gets the point across.

Back a decade or so ago, I won a charity auction to have the first chapter of my book critted by a noted author. I gleefully sent the twenty pages off. Several days later, I got an email back from said author who said she had to pass on giving me a critique of my work and would pass it along to another pro writer friend to do.

Why?

My time travel Romance book opened with a joust at a Ren Fest.

The time travel Romance book she had coming out in 3 months opened with a joust at a Ren Fest.

She was afraid I'd sue her for stealing my idea. Now, we both knew I'd lose because her book was turned into the publisher over a year prior and there was no way she could've stolen my "idea", however it would've been costly in time, money and PR to defend herself against it.

Another example, having to do with fan fic:

Back in the day (I don't know if it's still done), Anne McCaffrey licensed fan clubs and allowed them to write fanfic in her Pern world. The clubs were responsible for upholding the rules of the world AND had to send a copy of everything they produced to McCaffrey's lawyers, who would review it to be certain nothing done by fans tread too close to what she was working on and planning.

And, yes, occasionally clubs got a "don't do that" letter from McCaffrey's lawyers.

In this suit-happy world, it's a concern for many.

Cyia
05-05-2010, 09:05 PM
No, no, I agree that original characters are the property of the original author, no matter what. I'm saying I don't understand how legally, the author of an original story shouldn't read fanfiction of his/her works, as Cyia claimed.


Because once they read it, they lose their ability to deny being influenced by it. They can no more legally use something from another writer's fanfic than the fic writer could publish their fanfiction.

A while back, there was a big blow up over an author who not only welcomed fanfiction, but encouraged writers to send in story ideas for future books (for shared credit if the storyline was used). The author wrote her next book, and unfortunately for her, it was very close to a submitted story she hadn't read yet. The submitter went nuts and the publisher ended up pulping the book rather than deal with the situation.

Authors should NEVER read fanfiction of their own stories. In fact, some are contractually obligated to prosecute anyone who writes it, if it's pointed out to them. They have to or else their publisher can sue them. (This was Tanya Huff's situation.)

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 09:06 PM
These are legit points. The only thing I want to say is that it's impossible to avoid any material similar to your own. I've heard the guy who writes the Hannibal books doesn't watch the movies because he's afraid it'll influence his writing, which is easy enough to avoid, but like many writers, I find it hard to believe he didn't familiarize himself with his genre before writing. Who's to say he wasn't inspired by something in them?

Not arguing at all, just saying it's going to be next to impossible to avoid anything that holds similarities to your own work, and who knows. Even if you're committed to not reading fanfiction of your stuff, curiosity might get the better of you someday... ;-)

icerose
05-05-2010, 09:12 PM
I hate fanfic. I don't get it. I completely agree with the author.

Fanfic is taking entitlements a person simply has no right to. It pisses me off that they think they have the right to do anything they want in someone elses' back yard and then later claim damages or try to make money off it. The whole thing has a layer of slime for me.

That being said I would probably handle it the same way. Avoid fanfic at all costs (not difficult I don't go around reading fanfic), posting on my website that under no circumstances is anyone to send me fanfic, and any fanfic brought to my attention be immediately shut down. If anyone tried to make money off their fanfic, I'd do everything in my power to stop them. I'm not willing to risk control over my characters and world because some blossoming writer out there felt entitled to do whatever the heck they wanted in my world.

Get your own world.

ether
05-05-2010, 09:13 PM
Not arguing at all, just saying it's going to be next to impossible to avoid anything that holds similarities to your own work, and who knows. Even if you're committed to not reading fanfiction of your stuff, curiosity might get the better of you someday... ;-)

It definitely would get the better of me. ;) My take on the whole thing... is that I'll stay away from it until that particular world or setting of mine is completely done and on shelves before I'll go back and take a look at fics.

ether
05-05-2010, 09:17 PM
Some opinions on fanfiction, though a few have been mentioned briefly already --

Stephenie Meyer - encourages fanfic and even occasionally links to it from her website.

JKR - encourages fanfic. "Her lawyers confirmed the author would be happy for spin-offs to be published online, provided it was made clear she was not involved and the publications were not sold. She also requested that the follow-ups do not contain any racism or pornography."

On the flip side --

Anne Rice - says no, no, no. "I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes." There's some more info here (http://www.angelfire.com/rant/croatoan/). Although I think that webpage is rather rude in some of its views.

George R. R. Martin - "Martin is strongly opposed to fan fiction, believing it to be copyright infringement and bad exercise for aspiring writers. He does not give permission for any of his intellectual property to be used in fan fiction."


Also, George Lucas okay'd Star Wars fanzines back in the day, so long as they didn't include pornography. I believe he/his company sent a list of guidelines (such as the no porn) but did encourage the fanzines to continue otherwise.

Cyia
05-05-2010, 09:20 PM
There's no content difference in fanfiction and something like Pride and Prejudice... and Zombies or Jane Slayer or Wicked. The only difference is that there's no copyright protection for P&P or Jane Eyre or Wizard of Oz. The mechanics are the same.

And only the nutjobs like Taterhead with her Russet Noon try to make money off a current authors work. Most fanfic writers know they're not writing anything they can sell (at least in the US, there are countries where derivative works are perfectly legal). They're not doing it for profit or notoriety. They do it for fun.

ETA: (Don't forget Thursday Next and A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, either.)

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 09:21 PM
I hate fanfic. I don't get it. I completely agree with the author.

Fanfic is taking entitlements a person simply has no right to. It pisses me off that they think they have the right to do anything they want in someone elses' back yard and then later claim damages or try to make money off it. The whole thing has a layer of slime for me.


No decent fanfic writer would do try to make money off it. It's just for fun. Any fanfic writer who tried to get their stuff legit published would not be respected by the rest of the community (or anyone else). I agree that it's much better, career-wise, for writers to come up with their own world, but sometimes you just get an idea based on something someone else wrote, and sometimes that idea involves the characters.

I understand that you don't like it. I really do. But I think you're giving the fanfic community wayyyy too much credit to take away your power as an author, unless I'm reading your post wrong.

And going on what Cyia just said, I'd like to know in general how people feel about spinoffs of public domain things like the Wizard of Oz series? Wicked has gotten a lot of praise for being highly original, yet, honestly, it's just Wizard of Oz fanfiction. Does its credibility change because the work is public domain, even though it still uses someone else's world and characters?

Perks
05-05-2010, 09:23 PM
Authors should NEVER read fanfiction of their own stories. In fact, some are contractually obligated to prosecute anyone who writes it, if it's pointed out to them. They have to or else their publisher can sue them. (This was Tanya Huff's situation.)Wow. So the only mandate of conduct goes against the freedom of the person who created the characters, settings, and tone of the players relationships in the first place? Outstanding.

We have to protect and defend people who take established characters and turn them into porn or stretch the existing story over their own fantasies, regardless of merit or congruence. That's sacred flattery.

Oi.

Not that I haven't seen hacks hopping up and down over similarities in successful authors' works. It happens, I know. And the wise avoid entanglements. But I really hate the thought of finger-wagging at an author who couldn't look away from a manufactured trainwreck of an idea that worked for them.

I'm not biting you, Cyia, just the idea that the author is somehow in the wrong, here.

Perks
05-05-2010, 09:25 PM
Stephenie Meyer - encourages fanfic and even occasionally links to it from her website.

This is a special case. It's not like anyone could mess up 'Twilight'.


Just kidding. Sort of. Couldn't resist.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 09:26 PM
Wow. So the only mandate of conduct goes against the freedom of the person who created the characters, settings, and tone of relationships in the first place? Outstanding.

We have to protect and defend people who take established characters and turn them into porn or stretch the existing story over their own fantasies, regardless of merit or congruence. That's sacred flattery.

Oi.

Not that I haven't seen hacks hopping up and down over similarities in successful authors' works. It happens, I know. And the wise avoid entanglements. But I really hate the thought of finger-wagging at an author who couldn't look away from a manufactured trainwreck of an idea that worked for them.

I'm not biting you, Cyia, just the idea that the author is somehow in the wrong, here.

The author isn't in the wrong, and you're right, it is strange to say what the fanfic writer CAN do, and what the author CAN'T (look at me, being all flip-floppy).

But I think it's just where the conversation was going, expressing concern for the author not getting sued.

Momento Mori
05-05-2010, 09:33 PM
ether:
Anne Rice - says no, no, no. "I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes." There's some more info here. Although I think that webpage is rather rude in some of its views.

George R. R. Martin - "Martin is strongly opposed to fan fiction, believing it to be copyright infringement and bad exercise for aspiring writers. He does not give permission for any of his intellectual property to be used in fan fiction."

Okay, just to say that personally - I disagree with both authors (obviously) but I can completely respect where GRRM is coming from because it's set out politely and gives a reason for the same.

Ann Rice. Batshit control issues. That whole "It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes" thing makes my anus twitch. And I'm sorry for the TMI there.

MM

Cyia
05-05-2010, 09:33 PM
Publishers have to worry about their bottom line, and law suits can have an impact on that. It can not only delay or stop a book, but can have an effect on the author/publisher's reputation.

I use Tanya Huff as an example because that's where I heard about this thing called fanfic. Her opinion was that fanfic is great, so long as no one tells her about it. She had a couple of girls bring her some things they'd written (at a signing, I think) and she had to tell them not to show them off around her because she'd have been legally bound to sue them (on her own dime).

With TV fanfic, it's totally different. The community I used to write in was frequented by the show's writers and several fan story components were worked into the finale, which was a treat for those of us included. The boards lit up that night with "Did you see XXXX? That was XXXX's story! They used it!" No one got angry and no one wanted to sue; it was taken as a compliment.

Fanfic is the secret everyone knows about. Many fan gatherings for TV, and popular books like Twilight, have panels with the better known fanfic writers just like they do for cast and author. The author just stays out of that room.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 09:35 PM
Publishers have to worry about their bottom line, and law suits can have an impact on that. It can not only delay or stop a book, but can have an effect on the author/publisher's reputation.

I use Tanya Huff as an example because that's where I heard about this thing called fanfic. Her opinion was that fanfic is great, so long as no one tells her about it. She had a couple of girls bring her some things they'd written (at a signing, I think) and she had to tell them not to show them off around her because she'd have been legally bound to sue them (on her own dime).

With TV fanfic, it's totally different. The community I used to write in was frequented by the show's writers and several fan story components were worked into the finale, which was a treat for those of us included. The boards lit up that night with "Did you see XXXX? That was XXXX's story! They used it!" No one got angry and no one wanted to sue; it was taken as a compliment.



Really? I'd still be a bit PO'ed. It's still someone else's idea.

Claudia Gray
05-05-2010, 09:38 PM
I can understand having discussions on online forums or conversation over coffee as improving an author/reader relationship, but there's some implication here that if an author has objections to fanfic it's the author's problem and they should just get over it I find disturbing. Maybe I'm misinterpreting it.

No, not really.

Do I care if an author personally objects to fanfiction or doesn't like it? No. Different people are going to like different things. Objecting to any particular story is only going to be a matter of taste, as well.

Do I think anybody who freaks out so badly at the thought that somebody else might have a different take on their characters that they compare them to violent criminals has a problem they should get over? Yes.

I don't see why fiction is an invalid way of saying something (as opposed to online discussion or conversation), and I don't see how fiction authors can possibly argue that.

If the day ever comes when I see fanfic about my work (which does exist), and my only response to that reader's engagement and love and affection for my work is to sneer at their spelling and proclaim that my vision trumps their experience, my love for writing and reading will essentially be dead.

The impulse to write fanfic is a very deep-seated response to fiction. It's the way I responded to stories when I was a small child, and it still is. This is why I don't patronize authors/etc. who diss fanfic; they're telling me, in essence, that the way I relate to fiction isn't acceptable to them. If these people disrespect me as a reader, why should I respect them as a writer? That's not how I treat my readers. They can write fanfic. They can root for the bad guys. They can make the straight people gay and the gay people straight. They can set up romances I never dreamed of. They can send the characters to Mars. I own my characters, but I do NOT own the readers' responses to them. That's their right, their experience.

Respect for the reader is as important as respect for the writer. It's NOT a one-way street. And I see rudeness about fanfiction as being disrespect for readers.

Cyia
05-05-2010, 09:39 PM
Really? I'd still be a bit PO'ed. It's still someone else's idea.

Ideas are worthless.

DeleyanLee
05-05-2010, 09:43 PM
It's still someone else's idea.

Not that I'm arguing with you, but I'd like to point out that going after fans who write fan fic is generally a bad idea simply because they are the ones who are buying your product, whether it's buying the books or watching the show/movie. That's generally your hard-core fan base, the ones that talk you up to strangers on the bus and the kind of fan who writes in to save your show when the studio cancels it.

Whether or not they're breaking the law will be debated until the end of time, I think, however the adage of "cutting of your nose to spite your face" comes to mind. Especially in this day of easy access fans have to each other now. That's not the kind of PR that most authors can afford, especially not about something that the vast majority of the world doesn't know exists and cares less about.

Probably one of the big reasons why no fanficcer has ever been taken to court and formally charged, come to think of it.

ether
05-05-2010, 09:43 PM
With TV fanfic, it's totally different. The community I used to write in was frequented by the show's writers and several fan story components were worked into the finale, which was a treat for those of us included. The boards lit up that night with "Did you see XXXX? That was XXXX's story! They used it!" No one got angry and no one wanted to sue; it was taken as a compliment.

Fanfic is the secret everyone knows about. Many fan gatherings for TV, and popular books like Twilight, have panels with the better known fanfic writers just like they do for cast and author. The author just stays out of that room.

I have to say, I love the episodes the Supernatural where Dean and Sam acknowledge fanfic and slashfic. ;)

DeleyanLee
05-05-2010, 09:45 PM
I have to say, I love the episodes the Supernatural where Dean and Sam acknowledge fanfic and slashfic. ;)

That was so fantastic. Totally fantastic. Yet another reason to adore the show.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 10:00 PM
Not that I'm arguing with you, but I'd like to point out that going after fans who write fan fic is generally a bad idea simply because they are the ones who are buying your product, whether it's buying the books or watching the show/movie. That's generally your hard-core fan base, the ones that talk you up to strangers on the bus and the kind of fan who writes in to save your show when the studio cancels it.

Whether or not they're breaking the law will be debated until the end of time, I think, however the adage of "cutting of your nose to spite your face" comes to mind. Especially in this day of easy access fans have to each other now. That's not the kind of PR that most authors can afford, especially not about something that the vast majority of the world doesn't know exists and cares less about.

Probably one of the big reasons why no fanficcer has ever been taken to court and formally charged, come to think of it.

I never said one should...

ether
05-05-2010, 10:02 PM
I view fanfic just as I view fanart. I'm an artist, too. Not a top-notch one, not a professional one, but all the same... I've had strangers draw fanart of my original characters without my permission and post them online. Most times they send me the links, but once or twice I've come across someone who drew something of mine without me ever knowing.

Maybe the art was terrible. Maybe it looked like it a two-year-old did it in crayon. Maybe it paired two characters together that would never, in a million years, have stood within two feet of each other. It didn't matter to me. The fact someone took time out of their day to create something based off of my ideas was extremely flattering. If they wanted to have their own take on it, that's cool. Sometimes I think it's interesting to see what other people think about my charas, their world, and how they interact.

Now, if they'd drawn those characters, claimed them as their own, or started publishing it for money... Yeah. I'd have major issues with that. If they were doing it for fun, hadn't credited me at all, but weren't necessarily saying the charas were theirs, I might drop a polite reminder to please credit me in their descrip, and probably a 'thanks for the fanart' note.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 10:06 PM
Ideas are worthless.

I'm going to maintain my stance that I would be like, "Murrr." Even though, yes, ideas are worthless and hold no legal standing. It's a personal thing. If someone else would be joyed by it, well, that's just ducky.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 10:17 PM
I view fanfic just as I view fanart. I'm an artist, too. Not a top-notch one, not a professional one, but all the same... I've had strangers draw fanart of my original characters without my permission and post them online. Most times they send me the links, but once or twice I've come across someone who drew something of mine without me ever knowing.

Maybe the art was terrible. Maybe it looked like it a two-year-old did it in crayon. Maybe it paired two characters together that would never, in a million years, have stood within two feet of each other. It didn't matter to me. The fact someone took time out of their day to create something based off of my ideas was extremely flattering. If they wanted to have their own take on it, that's cool. Sometimes I think it's interesting to see what other people think about my charas, their world, and how they interact.

Now, if they'd drawn those characters, claimed them as their own, or started publishing it for money... Yeah. I'd have major issues with that. If they were doing it for fun, hadn't credited me at all, but weren't necessarily saying the charas were theirs, I might drop a polite reminder to please credit me in their descrip, and probably a 'thanks for the fanart' note.

Let's not forget the cosplay community. Many people dress up as characters from books, without reprieve from the same authors who hate fanfiction (such as Anne Rice). Yes, the medium's different, and yes, that may be important, but I don't see how it's any different from fanfiction in that it's another form of imitation and interpretation.

ether
05-05-2010, 10:20 PM
Let's not forget the cosplay community. Many people dress up as characters from books, without reprieve from the same authors who hate fanfiction (such as Anne Rice). Yes, the medium's different, and yes, that may be important, but I don't see how it's any different from fanfiction in that it's another form of imitation and interpretation.

Very true! I do think their are differences, but, yes, it is another form of fans wanting to explore their creative sides for a book/movie/game they love.

And just like bad fanart and bad fanfic, there are always, always plenty of bad cosplay... And then some cosplay that's so fantastic you wonder why a person isn't making costumes professionally.

bri_ness
05-05-2010, 10:24 PM
If you know where to look, there is some great fanfiction out there. Some fanfiction is crap, of course, but so are many original stories. It has nothing to do with the fact that it's fanfiction.

I'd be flattered if someone wrote fanfiction about my work. I think it's great practice for writers.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 10:29 PM
If you know where to look, there is some great fanfiction out there. Some fanfiction is crap, of course, but so are many original stories. It has nothing to do with the fact that it's fanfiction.

I'd be flattered if someone wrote fanfiction about my work. I think it's great practice for writers.

Exactly. I've said it before and I'll say it again: art does not exist in a vacuum. Every story was inspired by something else, be it another story, a TV show, mythology, whatever. The only difference between fanfiction and regular fiction is that it's a bit more honest about where the author got ideas from.

Well, okay, that's not the ONLY difference, but you get the idea...

icerose
05-05-2010, 11:06 PM
No, not really.

Do I care if an author personally objects to fanfiction or doesn't like it? No. Different people are going to like different things. Objecting to any particular story is only going to be a matter of taste, as well.

Do I think anybody who freaks out so badly at the thought that somebody else might have a different take on their characters that they compare them to violent criminals has a problem they should get over? Yes.

I don't see why fiction is an invalid way of saying something (as opposed to online discussion or conversation), and I don't see how fiction authors can possibly argue that.

If the day ever comes when I see fanfic about my work (which does exist), and my only response to that reader's engagement and love and affection for my work is to sneer at their spelling and proclaim that my vision trumps their experience, my love for writing and reading will essentially be dead.

The impulse to write fanfic is a very deep-seated response to fiction. It's the way I responded to stories when I was a small child, and it still is. This is why I don't patronize authors/etc. who diss fanfic; they're telling me, in essence, that the way I relate to fiction isn't acceptable to them. If these people disrespect me as a reader, why should I respect them as a writer? That's not how I treat my readers. They can write fanfic. They can root for the bad guys. They can make the straight people gay and the gay people straight. They can set up romances I never dreamed of. They can send the characters to Mars. I own my characters, but I do NOT own the readers' responses to them. That's their right, their experience.

Respect for the reader is as important as respect for the writer. It's NOT a one-way street. And I see rudeness about fanfiction as being disrespect for readers.

To me fanfic is like going up to somebody else's wall and spraypainting it. And then when that person gets mad, the person defends themself with "I just so appreciated your wall, I wanted to have my own interpretation of it. Isn't it pretty?"

They're still taking liberties that I don't feel they have a right to. That's what bothers me. Expired copyrights. Go for it. Getting permission first? Go for it. Taking liberties with other people's stuff, then demanding recognition, and then later damages or even pay for that. So not okay.

I'm sure a few of the bad fanfic writers are what make me so upset over the whole thing. The abuse of a few who took things too far.

I do see where you are coming from, but I don't think it's fair to the author for you to be mad at them for not wanting others to be playing in the world they created with the characters they created. That, imo, is their full right. If they don't want people to play around, hands off, and do so respectfully because it was never yours to begin with.

That being said I wouldn't exactly go around asking every fan site to tear down any work with my characters, but if it was brought to my attention I would have no choice because I have no desire to go to court and defend my right to my own characters.

I wouldn't be militant about it, but I wouldn't be kosher about it either. I do believe in politeness and respect and all that, but I don't think the author "owes" it to people who were stealing borrowing without permission to begin with.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 11:13 PM
To me fanfic is like going up to somebody else's wall and spraypainting it. And then when that person gets mad, the person defends themself with "I just so appreciated your wall, I wanted to have my own interpretation of it. Isn't it pretty?"


I agree with pretty much everything you said except for this. In your example, the spraypainter is actively destroying something that's yours, and changing it a way that makes it difficult or impossible to put it back the way it was. Fanfic writers are not doing this. They're writing stories, and (hopefully) posting them in places that are far removed from your work. If they're posting it all over the comments section on your website, yeah, that's rude and annoying. But that's not the majority. The majority who do choose to post online post on places like fanfiction.net, and posting there does not change your work in any way, shape, or form.

icerose
05-05-2010, 11:18 PM
I agree with pretty much everything you said except for this. In your example, the spraypainter is actively destroying something that's yours, and changing it a way that makes it difficult or impossible to put it back the way it was. Fanfic writers are not doing this. They're writing stories, and (hopefully) posting them in places that are far removed from your work. If they're posting it all over the comments section on your website, yeah, that's rude and annoying. But that's not the majority. The majority who do choose to post online post on places like fanfiction.net, and posting there does not change your work in any way, shape, or form.

True, it was a bad example.

I guess the point of it all is that as long as they don't shove it in my face, keep it far removed from me, and don't try to take it past the grey area, it's not like I'm going to be gunning for them. But if they cross that line, I will not be a happy writer and shame on them for putting me or any other writer in that position. They should have the barest manners to at least keep it away from the author and not force their hands like that.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 11:29 PM
Fair enough, but I wouldn't lie awake at night worrying about it :) I don't know of any fanfic writers who were dumb enough to e-mail their stuff to the original author and say, "Look what I did!"

Perks
05-05-2010, 11:31 PM
For the timid, it's a good way to bolster self-esteem because even the novice writers usually get encouragement...

A lot of people who start with fanfiction get the skills and confidence to make a real attempt at original fiction.

In my opinion, this doesn't work at all.

You can't cut your teeth on pre-chewed food.

Becoming a published writer involves a lot of ego-risk and it's a punt to gain confidence by tapping an audience predisposed to at least understand what you're doing, and arguably predisposed to enjoy it.




The only difference between fanfiction and regular fiction is that it's a bit more honest about where the author got ideas from.

Well, okay, that's not the ONLY difference, but you get the idea...

That's the best qualifier I've read in some time on AW, because without it, it's one of the worst conclusions I've read on AW.

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 11:38 PM
In my opinion, this doesn't work at all.

You can't cut your teeth on pre-chewed food.

Becoming a published writer involves a lot of ego-risk and it's a punt to gain confidence by tapping an audience predisposed to at least understand what you're doing, and arguably predisposed to enjoy it.

I don't agree that fanfiction is a good way to bolster self esteem, because as many have pointed out, most of the compliments you'll get on fanfiction are merely, "You like those two characters together! I do too! Squee! You're awesome!" However, I don't think that writing fanfiction hinders someone from ultimately coming up with their own original ideas. It can be a jumping off point for some writers who are young and unsure if their own original ideas can stand up on their own. When I was 15, it was for me, and now I'm 22 and a published writer. Starting with fanfiction helped me get my creative juices flowing, and eventually, ideas came that weren't outright based on any copyrighted source material.





That's the best qualifier I've read in some time on AW, because without it, it's one of the worst conclusions I've read on AW.

Okay? Thank you?

Perks
05-05-2010, 11:40 PM
Okay? Thank you?Lol! All's well. You wrote both the conclusion and the qualifier. :)

Mystic Blossom
05-05-2010, 11:42 PM
Lol! All's well. You wrote both the conclusion and the qualifier. :)

Momma always said, can't have a conclusion without a qualifier.

Or something to that effect XD

(Look at me, being so productive at work)

KathleenD
05-06-2010, 12:07 AM
In my day job, we send out C&Ds when it comes to people using our IP. The reason is pretty simple - we do not want ANYONE'S first contact with our IP to be something we didn't control, polish, run through quality assurance, and support.

For example, if the first ever contact with Star Trek you ever had was a story where Kirk was an ocelot (http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif), and Star Trek was a niche product where you were equally likely to find the furry porn as you were to find the real deal... the people who control Star Trek might be miffed, yes?

So I totally understand and respect authors who just don't want their work used in a way that doesn't meet their own professional standards.

At the same time, there was just a call for submissions for, essentially, erotic steampunk Sherlock Holmes stories. I love Sherlock Homes, I love the Victorian period, I'm learning more about steampunk every day and I like what I see... so yeah, I wrote a story. Now, I was using two very, very minor characters that appeared in one story as my jumping off point. I can scrub all Holmes references out of this thing in ten minutes without hurting what the story ultimately became.

But it still started as fanfic, for all that a Real Publisher put out the call and the source material is old. I expect Doyle would have been less than pleased if he were around to see this anthology - and if he had been around to say so, I would scrub the story out without thinking twice, because his feelings control for me - not the law.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 12:08 AM
I don't agree that fanfiction is a good way to bolster self esteem, because as many have pointed out, most of the compliments you'll get on fanfiction are merely, "You like those two characters together! I do too! Squee! You're awesome!" However, I don't think that writing fanfiction hinders someone from ultimately coming up with their own original ideas. It can be a jumping off point for some writers who are young and unsure if their own original ideas can stand up on their own. When I was 15, it was for me, and now I'm 22 and a published writer. Starting with fanfiction helped me get my creative juices flowing, and eventually, ideas came that weren't outright based on any copyrighted source material.

You get a lot of those kinds of comments on FFn, but not so much on the dedicated fan boards. There, the writers use betas, peer reviews, etc., just like for a regular novel (and some of these things are novel length).

The really cool thing with FFn is the trackers they use. you can see how many people read your stories in which countries. At peak, I had over hundred and thirty thousand unique reads on one story in the US, all over Europe, even Israel. (They give you total reads vs. unique reads.) People could compare where they were popular against others. It was a thrill.

Fanfic can definitely be a jump-off point. It's an anonymous way to get your toe in the water. And I know a lot of people who started writing fan fic in the community I wrote for went on to try their hand at commercial publishing. (Actually, some of them had already had commercial success.)

DeleyanLee
05-06-2010, 12:13 AM
But it still started as fanfic, for all that a Real Publisher put out the call and the source material is old. I expect Doyle would have been less than pleased if he were around to see this anthology - and if he had been around to say so, I would scrub the story out without thinking twice, because his feelings control for me - not the law.

FWIW, I read somewhere recently (in connection to the recent Holmes movie) about how Doyle was consulted about use of the character in an upcoming theatrical production. His reply went something like, "Marry him, murder him, I don't care."

But, then, Holmes was the character he tried to kill off and was forced to bring back by publishers and readers, so I don't think he really did care. ;)

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 12:13 AM
In my day job, we send out C&Ds when it comes to people using our IP. The reason is pretty simple - we do not want ANYONE'S first contact with our IP to be something we didn't control, polish, run through quality assurance, and support.

For example, if the first ever contact with Star Trek you ever had was a story where Kirk was an ocelot (http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif), and Star Trek was a niche product where you were equally likely to find the furry porn as you were to find the real deal... the people who control Star Trek might be miffed, yes?



Well, yes, and rightly so, but I just want to point out, people generally don't read fanfiction unless they're familiar with the source material. They seek it out, and usually, fanfiction is labeled as such, so people don't think that Kirk is actually an ocelot in the TV series. I'm certainly not saying a disclaimer clears anyone of legal responsibility, just saying that as far as I know, people don't confuse fanfiction for the real thing, because they don't read fanfiction unless they already read/watch/play the real thing. ETA: I actually don't read fanfiction unless I'm familiar with the source material, because most fanfiction I've read requires you to have knowledge of the series before reading, so otherwise I'd be quite confused.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 12:14 AM
FWIW, I read somewhere recently (in connection to the recent Holmes movie) about how Doyle was consulted about use of the character in an upcoming theatrical production. His reply went something like, "Marry him, murder him, I don't care."

But, then, Holmes was the character he tried to kill off and was forced to bring back by publishers and readers, so I don't think he really did care. ;)

Maybe his last statement was a hint, then.

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 12:22 AM
Oh goodie, another fanfic thread. :e2hammer:

I used to write fanfiction. I now write original fiction and am a published author. Would I object if someone wrote fanfiction based on my books? No, because that would make me a hypocrite of the worst kind. No writing is wasted writing, IMHO. And I would be flattered that anything I wrote affected someone in such a way as to inspire them to write a story.

I understand the objections to it, I really do. But I don't object to the practice, and as long as the fanficcers are not claiming the characters as their own, they aren't trying to profit from the work, and they respect any copyright holders who request they don't write fanfic, then I don't think I ever will.



I am fine with people not liking it for their own characters, or because it is illegal. But not all pastiche is crap, and not all fanfic is crap or done only by lazy authors.

Exactly.

Were the earliest fanfics I wrote and posted ten years ago great works of fiction? No, but they also weren't badly written pieces of crap. They don't make me cringe to read them now. I've read the spectrum in fandom, from truly awful to phenomenal. I've read the same spectrum in pro fiction.



Way I look at it is, aside from the moral issue (and I will always maintain that fanfic is immoral), when it comes to quality of writing, give them a fair go. And...I have never read fanfic that was much good. Ever.

I gotta ask then (and I'm not being flippant here, I'm truly curious): if you think fanfic is immoral, why on earth did you read these stories you say weren't "much good"?


I like to think the writers who are any good are off writing original material and making money off their work.

Why?

It isn't about making money for a lot of fanfic writers. Someone else in the thread brought of fan art and cosplay--two other fan-related, creative endeavors that, yes, can be careers and money-makers, but these artists and costumers aren't in it for the money. They paint their pictures and make Star Wars uniforms because they love the original source material, whether it's a book, a television show, or a movie. They do it out of love and comraderie with fellow fans.

Just because someone has a talent for their chosen hobby doesn't mean they must attempt to make said hobby a career.



In my opinion, this doesn't work at all.

You can't cut your teeth on pre-chewed food.

Becoming a published writer involves a lot of ego-risk and it's a punt to gain confidence by tapping an audience predisposed to at least understand what you're doing, and arguably predisposed to enjoy it.

Huh. Not at all?

Worked for me. ;)

The experience I gained from writing fanfic is what got me into writing original fiction. Without it, I wouldn't be an agented author with two book contracts under her belt and a new proposal out with editors. I just wouldn't.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 12:29 AM
It isn't about making money for a lot of fanfic writers. Someone else in the thread brought of fan art and cosplay--two other fan-related, creative endeavors that, yes, can be careers and money-makers, but these artists and costumers aren't in it for the money. They paint their pictures and make Star Wars uniforms because they love the original source material, whether it's a book, a television show, or a movie. They do it out of love and comraderie with fellow fans.

Just because someone has a talent for their chosen hobby doesn't mean they must attempt to make said hobby a career.



*Points to self* Yo.

I cosplay. Am I good at it? I think I'm decent. Have I ever attempted to make money off it? Not earnestly. I've offered my services for modest accessories commissions, but I'm not confident enough in my skills to commission full costumes. I also don't make many original costumes, because, well, it's just not as fun for me as dressing up as a pre-designed character and going to a convention and being recognized. Does this mean I should never show my face at a convention, or that I shouldn't dress up as other people's characters? Hardly.

KathleenD
05-06-2010, 12:34 AM
Laugh! Okay, so Doyle isn't the best example, but my basic point still stands - his feelings as the original artist are more important to me than being legally right, and I would hope others would feel that kind of respect for me.

BTW, my first encounter with Twilight was fanfic. I have the Pieces of Flair app on my personal Facebook page, and I noticed a crazy number of buttons that said stuff like "Edward Likes Me Best" and what not. I followed a link. Now, I immediately realized I was reading fanfic. But that doesn't change the fact that my very first reading was not the author's words.

Again, not the best example, since the fanfic in question was IMO somewhat superior to the first ten pages of the actual book. But it's possible for fanfic to be someone's first encounter with an IP, even though you're right to say it's not likely.

Slightly OT: Chaos, to be fair, this is the first fanfic thread I've seen and posted in :) I have to participate in order to be properly jaded for the next time it comes up.

And slightly more OT and again to Chaos: I saw the review in your sig in RT, and it made me buy the book for my TBR pile :) Congratulations on the great review!

Perks
05-06-2010, 12:34 AM
Huh. Not at all?

Worked for me. ;)

The experience I gained from writing fanfic is what got me into writing original fiction. Without it, I wouldn't be an agented author with two book contracts under her belt and a new proposal out with editors. I just wouldn't.Well, there you go. The scoreboard does not lie.

Please ignore my posts and opinions on this matter.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 12:40 AM
Well, then, Kathleen, do you think public opinion of Twilight would be better if more people only read Twilight fanfiction? :)

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 12:45 AM
Slightly OT: Chaos, to be fair, this is the first fanfic thread I've seen and posted in :) I have to participate in order to be properly jaded for the next time it comes up.

True, and no worries. I think the longest one is hiding somewhere up in Basic Writing Questions. It's just one of those incendiary topics that, more often than not, leads to a padlock on the thread.

But I'm enjoying this discussion, because it is something people have strong and differing opinions on, and I'm glad it's gone five pages without any blood on the floor. :tongue


And slightly more OT and again to Chaos: I saw the review in your sig in RT, and it made me buy the book for my TBR pile :) Congratulations on the great review!

:o Thank you!

Phaeal
05-06-2010, 12:48 AM
For example, if the first ever contact with Star Trek you ever had was a story where Kirk was an ocelot (http://www.brunching.com/images/geekchartbig.gif),


Someone please help me up off the floor. I'm still flattened by the image of such a chunky kittie.

:D

Jenifer
05-06-2010, 01:10 AM
I wrote Final Fantasy fanfiction a few times when I was younger. I'd actually forgotten all about it... so this thread gave me a little trip down memory lane. :)

I like to think I'd be flattered. When I wrote fanfic, it was because I so loved the characters and world of the game that I craved more. Writing (and reading) FF fanfic extended my enjoyment of it, allowed me to stay lost in it a little longer. I would love to entrance a reader in that way. And I hope I'll never get a stick up my butt over inspiring someone creatively, though of course actually claiming characters and settings as your own is another thing entirely.

Stormhawk
05-06-2010, 01:38 AM
I wrote fanfic, spent a few years doing it, had a nice little Matrix-AU 'verse going, had a small-but-loyal (and insane) fanbase, and it's something I don't regret doing. It was the first time since being about seven that I'd tried writing prose - up until then, I was only writing scripts. Did I suck? Oh, hell yes. But...I got a little better.

(Also, as a side point, during this time, I had people do fic of my fic on...four or five occasions, not to mention three co-authors at various points who liked my interpretation so much that I brought them into "canon").

I...just kind of grew out of it. I had a large contingent of original characters, and the work I'd done gave me the confidence to try to make the move to original fic.

So I set about "filing off the serial numbers", changing out canon elements for new ones, creating a new 'verse without any reliance on the source material. The first few attempts were bad. The next couple were starting to get the idea.

Seventeen drafts of the first book, two genre changes, and a lot of hard work later, I've got the series I intend to spend the rest of my life writing. You'd never knew it started out as fanfic, let alone be able to name the source material.

So, now that I'm a real author doing original fic, how do I feel about fanfic? I still love it. I think it's a perfectly valid form of expression - yes, even if 95% of it is crap - because some of that crap is the very best that the author in question can do, and they'll learn, get better, get more confident, and go on to write not-crap.

Would I allow fic of my original work? Yes, I will, and I do. If someone wants to spend their time creating something based on my work, who am I to stop them, it's all in good fun. :) The first was that was written was a short, cracky porny/torture fic featuring pretty much the least likely couple in the 'verse, and I love it to pieces. It's horrible, it's implausible, it makes my brain squeak, but at the same time, it makes me laugh, and it's a little constant reminder that my fans love my work.

Celia Cyanide
05-06-2010, 01:49 AM
I have to wonder why fans want to write fanfic if they know the author doesn't like it. If you respect the author, and you know it upsets him/her, why would you ever argue about your right to do it?

mscelina
05-06-2010, 02:12 AM
Writing fanfic is fine, as long as you keep it in your desk. I have old Star Wars fanfic I wrote back in the day--it stays in my old writing trunk, where it will remain until I die and then become an embarassment to my kids. Writing fanfic is a great way to learn how to manipulate an established universe and I'd venture to guess a lot of young writers start off on the fanfic route.

But, once fanfic leaves that trunk and makes it out onto the web, or into a publication scenario, or (Gods help us) on Ebay as a 'book' being sold by the 'author' who is touting it as 'original fiction' it is no longer a writing tool--it is intellectual property theft pure and simple.

*shrug*

Shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Private=okay; public=lawsuit waiting to happen.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 02:18 AM
Writing fanfic is fine, as long as you keep it in your desk. I have old Star Wars fanfic I wrote back in the day--it stays in my old writing trunk, where it will remain until I die and then become an embarassment to my kids. Writing fanfic is a great way to learn how to manipulate an established universe and I'd venture to guess a lot of young writers start off on the fanfic route.

But, once fanfic leaves that trunk and makes it out onto the web, or into a publication scenario, or (Gods help us) on Ebay as a 'book' being sold by the 'author' who is touting it as 'original fiction' it is no longer a writing tool--it is intellectual property theft pure and simple.

*shrug*

Shouldn't be that hard to figure out. Private=okay; public=lawsuit waiting to happen.

Serious question: If no fanfic writer was expecting to make a dime off of fanfiction, and wrote it purely for fun on a website like fanfiction.net, and didn't bring it to the attention of the original authors, would you feel differently? I only ask (you and everyone here), because a prevailing theme seems to be people being concerned that fanfic writers sometimes try to make a profit, which does happen, but the majority just do it for fun
and feel that people who try to profit are the few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

Also: Do you guys equate all fanfiction the same? We've pretty much only been talking about book fanfiction, but what about movies, TV shows, video games, even music? Is it not as bad because the mediums are different, or is it still of questionable morality/okay (depending on the individual's opinion)?

mscelina
05-06-2010, 02:26 AM
Profit doesn't enter into it for me. Chances are that any fanfic writer isn't really going to make squat and I've never been greedy about dimes and nickels. Let's be realistic here: published authors don't make that much money. Fanfic by a sixteen year old isn't going to set them up for life.

The assumption that my intellectual property is somehow in the public domain is the issue. It isn't--nor will it be for 75 years after my death. Write fanfic. Have fun with it. Learn from it.

But keep it at home. That's all I'm saying.

icerose
05-06-2010, 02:31 AM
Profit doesn't enter into it for me. Chances are that any fanfic writer isn't really going to make squat and I've never been greedy about dimes and nickels. Let's be realistic here: published authors don't make that much money. Fanfic by a sixteen year old isn't going to set them up for life.

The assumption that my intellectual property is somehow in the public domain is the issue. It isn't--nor will it be for 75 years after my death. Write fanfic. Have fun with it. Learn from it.

But keep it at home. That's all I'm saying.

Yep, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole thing.

CaroGirl
05-06-2010, 02:33 AM
Profit doesn't enter into it for me. Chances are that any fanfic writer isn't really going to make squat and I've never been greedy about dimes and nickels. Let's be realistic here: published authors don't make that much money. Fanfic by a sixteen year old isn't going to set them up for life.

The assumption that my intellectual property is somehow in the public domain is the issue. It isn't--nor will it be for 75 years after my death. Write fanfic. Have fun with it. Learn from it.

But keep it at home. That's all I'm saying.


Yep, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole thing.
I'll second that sentiment. Well said.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 02:42 AM
Profit doesn't enter into it for me. Chances are that any fanfic writer isn't really going to make squat and I've never been greedy about dimes and nickels. Let's be realistic here: published authors don't make that much money. Fanfic by a sixteen year old isn't going to set them up for life.

The assumption that my intellectual property is somehow in the public domain is the issue. It isn't--nor will it be for 75 years after my death. Write fanfic. Have fun with it. Learn from it.

But keep it at home. That's all I'm saying.

Fair enough.



I'm not saying authors don't have the right to not be okay with fanfiction of their work. Certainly not. And it'll always be of questionable legality at best.

The only thing I have an issue with is the assumption that fanfic writers are lazy, unoriginal, out to insult the authors of the source materials, or otherwise just inherently nasty people.

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 03:22 AM
Serious question: If no fanfic writer was expecting to make a dime off of fanfiction, and wrote it purely for fun on a website like fanfiction.net, and didn't bring it to the attention of the original authors, would you feel differently? I only ask (you and everyone here), because a prevailing theme seems to be people being concerned that fanfic writers sometimes try to make a profit, which does happen, but the majority just do it for fun
and feel that people who try to profit are the few bad apples spoiling the bunch.
By putting it up on fanfic sites, you've increased your chances of it being brought it to the attention of the author.

Also: Do you guys equate all fanfiction the same? We've pretty much only been talking about book fanfiction, but what about movies, TV shows, video games, even music? Is it not as bad because the mediums are different, or is it still of questionable morality/okay (depending on the individual's opinion)?
For me, fanfic is fanfic is fanfic is fanfic. Doesn't matter what the original source material is: it ain't your playground.

Perks
05-06-2010, 03:31 AM
Serious question: If no fanfic writer was expecting to make a dime off of fanfiction, and wrote it purely for fun on a website like fanfiction.net, and didn't bring it to the attention of the original authors, would you feel differently?No. What I perhaps should have said earlier is that I don't think you should cut your writerly teeth on a pre-chewed audience, not that you can't.

I wouldn't wish anything other than good things on ChaosTitan, who is a success story and a lovely person, but I don't have a very high opinion of the practice of fanfiction. I completely understand why Diana Gabaldon resents it.

That said, I can see where some authors might not mind. Their opinions are a result of rationale, same as my own. In those cases, there's not much flailing to do at the fanfic authors. But I do think this whole issue is symptomatic of the entitlement monster that the internet has, if not created, certainly overfed.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 03:41 AM
I wrote fanfic, spent a few years doing it, had a nice little Matrix-AU 'verse going, had a small-but-loyal (and insane) fanbase, and it's something I don't regret doing. It was the first time since being about seven that I'd tried writing prose - up until then, I was only writing scripts. Did I suck? Oh, hell yes. But...I got a little better.

(Also, as a side point, during this time, I had people do fic of my fic on...four or five occasions, not to mention three co-authors at various points who liked my interpretation so much that I brought them into "canon").

I...just kind of grew out of it. I had a large contingent of original characters, and the work I'd done gave me the confidence to try to make the move to original fic.

So I set about "filing off the serial numbers", changing out canon elements for new ones, creating a new 'verse without any reliance on the source material.

This is pretty much me (just sub vampires for the Matrix :tongue )

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 03:44 AM
That said, I can see where some authors might not mind. Their opinions are a result of rationale, same as my own. In those cases, there's not much flailing to do at the fanfic authors. But I do think this whole issue is symptomatic of the entitlement monster that the internet has, if not created, certainly overfed.

This I greatly agree with. Something about the Internet (probably the anonymity) makes people feel much more entitled to things. Articles get repurposed all the time without credit to or permission from the original source, because many people feel that the Internet is public domain. I NEVER wrote and posted fanfiction with the intent of copyright infringement, but I was also very young when I was making my fanfiction public (and it was all based on anime, which seems to be a less taboo thing). I will say, with every confidence, that I would not be the writer I am today without fanfiction. Perhaps that's why I'm posting on this thread so vehemently. :)

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 03:44 AM
This is pretty much me (just sub vampires for the Matrix :tongue )

It's always gotta be vampires.

The Lonely One
05-06-2010, 03:53 AM
If her books are written like __this__ I'm not going to read the fanfic __or__ the real thing. F*cking annoying, even for a blog post.

Though I agree with the content. Lol. :)

Jamesaritchie
05-06-2010, 04:21 AM
I'm not entirely sure where this subject belongs as I think it is probably of interest to every writer. However, I bring it to my M/T/S pals, first.


So, fanfiction. Have you heard of it? Have you read it? Written it? Have you any strong feelings about it one way or another?

A friend of mine directed me to this entry in Diana Gabaldon's blog. I've never read the Outlander series (though I have heard of it) but it is obviously big enough to have it's own online fandom. Like some other authors (Anne Rice comes to mind), it seems Ms. Gabaldon objects to readers trying their hand at stories based on her characters. In fact, she objects really strongly!

http://voyagesoftheartemis.blogspot.com/2010/05/fan-fiction-and-moral-conundrums.html

What do you think? How would you feel if readers started writing stories online based on your books and characters?

For myself, I think I'd be hugely flattered, despite what this author and her supporters say. Dunno. I should be so lucky as to have this problem... ;)


I think it's up to the individual writer to decide whether fanfiction is allowed.

I don't read it, though I tried a good, long while ago. It's like reading a bad slush pile.

I do think anyone who wants to be a writer should write in their own universe, and fill that universe with their own characters.

I do not have a high opinion of fanfiction, and little patience for those who defend it.

So I tend to simply stay away.

veinglory
05-06-2010, 04:24 AM
And that's the thing. I don't like it , I don't read it and even just plain "don't" makes perfect sense. But 'it makes me want to barf' will bring out the defenders of the fan-faith and turn the whole thing into a storm in a cyber-cup.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:28 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171079&highlight=fanfic link to the last fanfic thread.

Perks
05-06-2010, 04:30 AM
If her books are written like __this__ I'm not going to read the fanfic __or__ the real thing. F*cking annoying, even for a blog post.

Ha! Now I thought the same thing. It was weird.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:32 AM
Ha! Now I thought the same thing. It was weird.

What was the point of it? I also noticed it.

Perks
05-06-2010, 04:36 AM
She doesn't know how to use italics?

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 04:48 AM
It's not as bad as the people who use quotes in place of italics. Oy vey.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 04:51 AM
But 'it makes me want to barf' will bring out the defenders of the fan-faith and turn the whole thing into a storm in a cyber-cup.

Well, I wrote a blog post with my thoughts on the issue, and one of the commenters responded in that vein. Apparently I'm either a crappy or a lazy writer for indulging in fanfic. Maybe both?

Perks
05-06-2010, 04:59 AM
I NEVER wrote and posted fanfiction with the intent of copyright infringement, but I was also very young when I was making my fanfiction public...

I should add that I know this is usually the case. It seems that much fan fiction falls well outside the fair use and satire exemptions from copyright law, but I also believe that it is rarely malicious.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 05:07 AM
I should add that I know this is usually the case. It seems that much fan fiction falls well outside the fair use and satire exemptions from copyright law, but I also believe that it is rarely malicious.

Indeed on both counts. People rarely sit down with twelve year olds (I'm pretty sure I was that old when I started writing fanfiction), and discuss fair use laws with them. I think age does enter into it. If I was an author who had a serious problem with fanfiction, I would be much more cross with older adults writing it than younger pre-teens (provided, of course, the age of the writer was available to me). Older people should know better, but younger people probably don't know the laws and what's okay, and would be much more shaken by an author they love demanding that their work be taken down (that doesn't mean the author still shouldn't demand it, but words must be considered differently for different age groups).

icerose
05-06-2010, 05:09 AM
Well, I wrote a blog post with my thoughts on the issue, and one of the commenters responded in that vein. Apparently I'm either a crappy or a lazy writer for indulging in fanfic. Maybe both?

I can absolutely see the arguments for cutting their teeth or venturing into story telling by already having the world and character building done as a confidence start, what I don't get is the publishing on the internet and to the author.

You want to write fanfic, fine go ahead. You feel you need it for whatever reason, that's fine too. But if the writer is not fine with it, it should stay on your own computer. And a fanfic writer should find out because they are playing in someone elses sandbox before just publishing it for the world to see.

I don't think less of people who write fanfic, I do get really irritated when they take liberties that are shaky legally at best and worse, then hound the original author with their borrowed stories. It just seems like really poor manners with little to no respect as to how the author might actually feel, especially when those fanfics are nothing more than 12 year old fantasies stuck in a bad porno.

A.R. Starr
05-06-2010, 05:10 AM
I'm a longtime fanfiction writer (Pokemon and Digimon with a sprinkling of Harry Potter) turned novelist. So maybe I'm biased on this topic (and I haven't read everyone's posts yet), but my attitude is that fanfiction is harmless to the author and a good writing tool for the fanfiction writer.

A little story. I taught myself to read when I was just a little under four, basically by memorising the words of a book being read to me. Since my family read and wrote a lot, I built up a huge vocabulary of words I could recognise on a page and say. But the method I'd learnt to read by meant that I had, without knowing it, skipped that stage of reading where children learn the sound of the letters.

When tested in grade three, my reading score was off the scale, but my spelling score was so low that it nearly hit the 'learning difficulty' alarm. Because I could read so well, no one caught on to my fundamental lack and it was decided I was just being lazy.

So I continued to fail spelling tests, my teachers continued to snarl, "SOUND THE WORD OUT" at me while I continued to have no idea what they meant, and my dream of being a writer was repeatedly stomped on. I was even banned from reading at school - a horrible punishment for a semi-disabled child who can't run and play like her friends - and any story I dared write at school ran the risk of being found and mocked. I struggled to spell anything with over four letters.

After the principal of the school - who was also my teacher - found a story, read it out to the entire school (while making sure to stumble and laugh over every spelling mistake) before publicly proclaiming me to be the worst student he'd ever seen, I gave up and swore I wouldn't write again. I was clearly too stupid to be a writer. It was a crushing blow to my eleven year old self.

A year later, I discovered Power Rangers fanfiction, and from there, Pokemon fanfiction. Slowly, but surely, over that year, I began to write again. Word caught most of my spelling errors and those that weren't were gently pointed out in reviews. Most importantly for my crushed and bruised spirits, I was getting reviews from people who told me that they liked my writing, even with the spelling errors.

To a child who hadn't heard a kind word directed at her writing for seven years, that was like having been starving and then suddenly given a feast. I wasn't too stupid to write after all.

My best friends are all people I met through fanfiction, though most of us have moved on to original fiction now. Their support and help has allowed me to struggle past my issues with spelling and keep my spirits up when I'm getting frustrated.

I still don't know all my letter sounds, but fanfiction taught me there was no shame in having a difficulty and it was possible to both write around the problem and to improve.

So if someone wanted to write fanfiction of my novel? I'd give them my blessing as long as they weren't selling it or trying to publish it. Because somewhere out there is another little girl or boy just like the child I was. And they too deserve the gift I was given.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 05:13 AM
Sites like FFn have a dedicated "do not use" list of characters (most of which seem to be vampires, not sure why that is), and they don't allow any stories with those characters to be posted. 99.9% of the people I know who write/post fanfic wouldn't dream of putting something up if they thought the originator would be offended. Their goal is compliment that person, not spit in their face.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 05:18 AM
But if the writer is not fine with it, it should stay on your own computer. And a fanfic writer should find out because they are playing in someone elses sandbox before just publishing it for the world to see.

Might be a bit tough when it's not an individual writer who owns the characters, but is instead a large corporation. Or more than one, as in the case of Transformers.

If I try to find out from Hasbro, are they not responding because the answer is "no" or are they not responding because they don't normally respond to such questions, and it's a "don't ask, don't tell" sort of thing?


I don't think less of people who write fanfic, I do get really irritated when they take liberties that are shaky legally at best and worse, then hound the original author with their borrowed stories. It just seems like really poor manners with little to no respect as to how the author might actually feel, especially when those fanfics are nothing more than 12 year old fantasies stuck in a bad porno.

I absolutely agree that it's inappropriate to send such stories to the author, though I think this is done by relatively few fanfic writers.

And much of what I've read has been better than bad pornography. Perhaps I've been fortunate that way - I've read fanfics that were both imaginative and interesting. I could tell the people who wrote them were older than 12. :)

Cyia
05-06-2010, 05:21 AM
So if someone wanted to write fanfiction of my novel? I'd give them my blessing as long as they weren't selling it or trying to publish it. Because somewhere out there is another little girl or boy just like the child I was. And they too deserve the gift I was given.


Here's where it gets sticky. You legally CAN'T do this. You can't even acknowledge that you know they're writing and/or posting it, much less encourage it. To do so is implying that they have permission to use your characters and world for their own, which means you've just endangered your copyright. Allow one to do it and you've opened the door for anyone to use - and profit - from those characters.

This was the sticking point with Taterhead. She wrote these weird emails to S. Meyer that basically said "If I don't hear back from you in XXX amount of time, I'll assume I have your blessing to sell my unauthorized sequel." She was trying to force a loophole in the copyright that would allow her to publish and sell her fanfiction professionally.

Not only would it have been open season on Twilight if Ms. Meyer acknowledged such letters, but it would have endangered her future writing.

The #1 thing to remember with fanfic is that it's NOT vetted by anyone. There's no lowbar to reach to qualify for publication. You can't sit a fanfic on a shelf next to a published novel and think they're on even ground. They're not. No editing is the least of the problems with most fanfic. But if word gets around that S. Meyer said Taterhead could publish her fanfics (which she did NOT say), then suddenly, that barrier is gone. Russet Noon gets to play in the big leagues, and like most amateurs, it's not big league ready.

Fans who read fanfic don't put up with that kind of thing.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 05:25 AM
So if legally, as has been mentioned before, an author can't acknowledge fanfiction, why does JK Rowling allow non-profit fanfiction to be written without her publisher coming down on her?

Is it cause she's too awesome? Actually, probably. :D

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 05:27 AM
Teresa Nielsen Hayden's thoughts on fanfics. (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007464.html)

This is a bit old (from 2006), but I thought it was apropos.

Anaquana
05-06-2010, 05:31 AM
Actually, apparently you CAN acknowledge and endorse it -- Jim Butcher (http://www.jim-butcher.com/news/000354.php) has.

icerose
05-06-2010, 05:36 AM
I think you can acknowledge it and even give it your blessing IF you set parameters and still retain your copyright, but once you give it, I don't think you can come back a year later and change your mind. Anything you concede is conceded. I could be wrong.

Such as "You're free to write fanfic, I'm glad you're loving my stuff, but you cannot write pornographic scenes nor can you sell it or get it published or make any money off it charity or otherwise."

A.R. Starr
05-06-2010, 05:36 AM
I have to wonder why fans want to write fanfic if they know the author doesn't like it. If you respect the author, and you know it upsets him/her, why would you ever argue about your right to do it?

We don't. Simple as that.

If the author says no, the fic writing stops.


Here's where it gets sticky. You legally CAN'T do this. You can't even acknowledge that you know they're writing and/or posting it, much less encourage it. To do so is implying that they have permission to use your characters and world for their own, which means you've just endangered your copyright. Allow one to do it and you've opened the door for anyone to use - and profit - from those characters.

Wrong. *points to Tamora Pierce, J.K.Rowling, Jim Butcher, James Patterson and Mercedes Lackey* It can be and has been done.

icerose
05-06-2010, 05:44 AM
We don't. Simple as that.

If the author says no, the fic writing stops.



Wrong. *points to Tamora Pierce, J.K.Rowling, Jim Butcher, James Patterson and Mercedes Lackey* It can be and has been done.

I think she was referring to an earlier poster who out and out said they would ignore a cease and desist and force the writer to prove their own copyright.

Anaquana
05-06-2010, 05:44 AM
I agree, A.R. Every fanfic writer I know stays away from those fandoms where the author has specifically said no to fanfic.

Libbie
05-06-2010, 06:12 AM
I'll read the rest of this thread later, but I read Gabaldon's very well-stated and respectable views on fanfiction. Needless to say, I agree with her feelings about it 100%.

It is my personal opinion that fanfiction is silly at best, criminal at worst. I will go on record as stating that I don't respect it and I do not sympathize with its writers when they get busted by the people who hold the copyrights to the characters they steal.

I know a few good and serious writers who got their start writing fanfiction. It's my opinion that they would have become good and serious writers without fanfiction's crutch, and possibly wasted some their time fiddling around with creations that weren't their own. I understand that this opinion may piss off some of them, and I don't mean to offend -- but I do feel strongly about fanfiction and its relative worth.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 06:12 AM
I think she was referring to an earlier poster who out and out said they would ignore a cease and desist and force the writer to prove their own copyright.

Yeah, this is a bit ridiculous to me. I know that a lot of people are pissed at Anne Rice and other similar writers for basically shitting on their fanbase while saying they don't allow fanfiction of their work, so I guess some people might continue to write it out of spite, but honestly, you're not serving anyone justice by doing that.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 06:18 AM
I'll read the rest of this thread later, but I read Gabaldon's very well-stated and respectable views on fanfiction. Needless to say, I agree with her feelings about it 100%.

It is my personal opinion that fanfiction is silly at best, criminal at worst. I will go on record as stating that I don't respect it and I do not sympathize with its writers when they get busted by the people who hold the copyrights to the characters they steal.

I know a few good and serious writers who got their start writing fanfiction. It's my opinion that they would have become good and serious writers without fanfiction's crutch, and possibly wasted some their time fiddling around with creations that weren't their own. I understand that this opinion may piss off some of them, and I don't mean to offend -- but I do feel strongly about fanfiction and its relative worth.

But for a young, pre-teen writer, fanfiction is not necessarily a crutch. It may be, as it was for me, just a way to tell a story without realizing you might be breaking any laws. And as I've stated before, some of my favorite ideas for original stories began as fanfiction ideas. They aren't fanfiction anymore, but they wouldn't have come into being without that initial spark from the source material.

I don't want to argue the worth of fanfiction. That's completely up to the individual. I'm just saying it's not always a "crutch."

leahzero
05-06-2010, 06:26 AM
My thoughts on this resulted in a blog post: http://words.leahraeder.com/opinion/fanfiction-is-not-a-crime/

Summary: Gabaldon, and those who agree with her nonsense, treat their fans like dumb consumers without minds or ideas of their own. Writers with that mindset are not true artists; they are tyrants. They are also not financially savvy artists, because fandom is free, self-sustaining and self-growing advertising.

Ultimately, it's pretty stupid to oppose any sort of harmless fanfiction that doesn't interfere with the creator's ability to profit from her original work.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 06:31 AM
I'm just saying it's not always a "crutch."

Exactly. And calling it that is insulting.

Again, I'll point out "legal" fanfic like Wicked or the Star Trek novels. Those authors worked and crafted their stories like any other. They created an original story that's their own result, and they did no more or less than the better fanfic writers out there. And no one would think for a minute that they used a crutch because they worked within the confines of a set of rules already established.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 06:44 AM
Again, I'll point out "legal" fanfic like Wicked or the Star Trek novels.

I made a list of published novels which used other people's characters (http://marianperera.blogspot.com/2010/05/using-other-peoples-characters.html). The writers told their own stories, many of them beautifully crafted, and I don't think that they were operating with a crutch because they began with characters created by other writers.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 06:46 AM
Exactly. And calling it that is insulting.

Again, I'll point out "legal" fanfic like Wicked or the Star Trek novels. Those authors worked and crafted their stories like any other. They created an original story that's their own result, and they did no more or less than the better fanfic writers out there. And no one would think for a minute that they used a crutch because they worked within the confines of a set of rules already established.

Or of writers who use characters from mythology and the like. Yes, these characters are public domain and not credited to an individual, but they're still not the original creation of modern day authors who use them. And yet these authors are rarely told that they should be thinking up their own characters, not using ones already established.

Honestly, before people accuse others of being unoriginal and playing in other people's sandboxes, they should consider what's in bookstores already.

bri_ness
05-06-2010, 07:10 AM
But for a young, pre-teen writer, fanfiction is not necessarily a crutch. It may be, as it was for me, just a way to tell a story without realizing you might be breaking any laws. And as I've stated before, some of my favorite ideas for original stories began as fanfiction ideas. They aren't fanfiction anymore, but they wouldn't have come into being without that initial spark from the source material.

I don't want to argue the worth of fanfiction. That's completely up to the individual. I'm just saying it's not always a "crutch."

Absolutely. My WIP now was inspired by one of my fanfics, and I fully believe it wouldn't exist otherwise.

I don't regret a second that I spent writing fanfiction, because it was time I spent writing. And, I made some great friends from it, great friends who were passionate writers, just like me.

Fanfiction was absolutely worth it for me. I wouldn't have spent as much time writing without it; thus, I'd be a worse writer. Sure, I could have written originals during that time, but I wouldn't have written nearly as often. The support from the fanfiction community kept me writing all the time. If that means I used as a crutch, then I used it as a crutch, but hey, it got me here. Nothing wrong with a little help.

icerose
05-06-2010, 07:14 AM
It's not so much that you're playing in someone else's sandbox even. It's that the writer is still alive and probably still playing in it too!

And not all fanfic is harmless. Writers have been sued and harrassed over fanfic of their own freakin work. Writers have been forced to shut down fanfic they might have otherwise been fine with because the fanfic writer decided to push it too far and try to get it published or auction it or what not. A writer should NEVER recieve unsolicited fanfic from a fan. It might be rare but it DOES happen. They should especially NEVER recieve fanfic that's pornographic in nature. The Brokeback Mountain author endured that many times over. So yes, it does happen and probably a lot more than anyone wants to acknowledge.

An author should NEVER be put in that position because someone else decided to play in their universe. It's not always harmless and innocent. A writer has the right to create their characters and world in peace without having to defend them and themselves from personal assaults (and yes, I consider recieving porno stories based on an author's world and characters an assault.)

Like I said, it's probably the few nasties that have made me absolutely against fanfic, but they are out there and the fact that there is harmless fanfic does not negate the crazies.

A writer should never be in the position where she has to be the bad guy and send a cease and desist because someone took the liberty to sell their world and characters up for auction for a charity cause. That author should NEVER be in that position. It's wrong, flat out, no way around it, wrong. This is the case in the original OP and probably what prompted the rant in the first place. I have to say, if anyone put me in that position, I'd be ranting too. How dare they have the gall to do that. If they really loved that author and their work they would never force them into a corner like that.

bri_ness
05-06-2010, 07:19 AM
^ For the most part, I don't disagree with you. What I disgaree with is the fact that you think the few crazies mean fanfic must be bad. Don't let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch; every group has bad apples, including published authors.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 07:26 AM
A writer should NEVER recieve unsolicited fanfic from a fan. It might be rare but it DOES happen. They should especially NEVER recieve fanfic that's pornographic in nature. The Brokeback Mountain author endured that many times over. So yes, it does happen and probably a lot more than anyone wants to acknowledge.

An author should NEVER be put in that position because someone else decided to play in their universe. It's not always harmless and innocent. A writer has the right to create their characters and world in peace without having to defend them and themselves from personal assaults (and yes, I consider recieving porno stories based on an author's world and characters an assault.)


Absolutely. And most fanficcers would never dream of doing something like that.

Having said that, I know a woman who hand crafted anatomically correct representations of certain characters with removable clothes and took them with her to show off at a fan event. That's not something anyone could show around, much less to a total stranger, and come away with out weird looks (at the least). Just because you're familiar with a writer's work doesn't mean they're familiar with you or that you should act like you're old friends where there's a lot of leeway given.

inkspatters
05-06-2010, 07:32 AM
I enjoy reading fanfic and have made a few stabs at writing it in the past (but it never worked out, as a writer I just prefer my own characters and worlds *shrug*).

I actually really, really love the idea of people connecting to my work on such a level that they're inspired to write something based upon it. My take on the characters and world and story will always be preserved in my own words, but I don't really see the harm in letting others play in that sandbox, too. It doesn't cheapen anything I've done, so long as there are no attempts to pass it off as the original text, and I think readers are allowed their own interpretation of a text. Basically I'd be perfectly okay with people putting my characters into other situations etc.

What bri_ness said about not letting a few bad fan-fic writers make all of them look bad is very true, too.

Lyra Jean
05-06-2010, 08:01 AM
I think the "Little House on the Prairie" tv series is a fanfic of the original books.

Otherwise, if someone wants to write fanfic of my future novels go ahead. I'm not going to go look for it. If anyone mails me any then I'll tell them to stop writing it or get my publisher to do so or something.

I've wanted to write a few fanfics. One based off of "House of Mirth" weirdly enough. But I barely work on my own stuff. I don't have time to work in someone else's sandbox.

In the polls I see on here every once in while in what do you want as a writer: one of the options is a cult following and I always choose that. So I don't think I could have a cult following without fanfic.

If I was a brave enough artist there is some fan art of some of my favorite novels I would draw. I like fan art. Is that any different from fan fiction?

Richard White
05-06-2010, 08:09 AM
At the risk of sounding pedantic, those of us who are Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate, X-Files and etc. authors, who have been published through Simon and Schuster, Berekley, Big Finish, Fandemonium, etc. are not fan fiction writers.

We have been commissioned by the license holders to create stories for their franchise in the same way that a screen writer or an animator or a game designer has been. The only difference is the medium.

We have to submit proposals. We have to submit chapter outlines. We have editors as well as licensing people who scrub our stuff in the same manner that a screen writer goes through. The only difference between my Next Gen story and the screen writer's is his was on TV and mine came out in a book.

Seriously, can't we give the Media Tie-in writers their credit?

Elisabeth Bruce
05-06-2010, 10:09 AM
I may sound a bit harsh, but my characters are mine. They are part of my personal fiction family. Just because they're out on paper doesn't mean to say they're not still with me in my heart.
When you buy a book, you get to read it as many times as you like. You can even lend it to your Great Aunt Maud etc. You're not even allowed to sell it secondhand without its original cover.

I'm on several writing sites where there are a lot of young writers making a mess of fan fiction. I've even seen a HP-BDSM version. Most know they're crossing a line, but don't care. It's all the fashion at the moment. On one site we have 'Twilight' fan fiction and 'Anti-Twilight' fan fiction vying with each other.
If you buy some KFC, you get to eat it; you don't get the list of the 'secret herbs and spices' to use at will. Same with CocaCola.
Our plots and characters are ours, we've taken months, years to bring them to life. Copyists don't know how and why they were created, they only operate from what they read and see. They don't 'sweat' the small details which make each character unique.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 11:35 AM
I think the "Little House on the Prairie" tv series is a fanfic of the original books.

Otherwise, if someone wants to write fanfic of my future novels go ahead. I'm not going to go look for it. If anyone mails me any then I'll tell them to stop writing it or get my publisher to do so or something.

I've wanted to write a few fanfics. One based off of "House of Mirth" weirdly enough. But I barely work on my own stuff. I don't have time to work in someone else's sandbox.

In the polls I see on here every once in while in what do you want as a writer: one of the options is a cult following and I always choose that. So I don't think I could have a cult following without fanfic.

If I was a brave enough artist there is some fan art of some of my favorite novels I would draw. I like fan art. Is that any different from fan fiction?

Landon's production company had the proper rights to bring the Little House Books to TV.

shaldna
05-06-2010, 12:03 PM
So, fanfiction. Have you heard of it? Have you read it? Written it? Have you any strong feelings about it one way or another?

I love fanfic with an insane passion.


it seems Ms. Gabaldon objects to readers trying their hand at stories based on her characters. In fact, she objects really strongly!

Some writers do. Some writers don't. It's a personal preference.



What do you think? How would you feel if readers started writing stories online based on your books and characters?

Delighted. After all, it's not like they are stealing my work or my money. They just like what I created enough to be inspired by it and to create something of their own.

Plus I'm a perv, and I would love to know what people's minds would do to my characters.

Also, it's interesting to see how other people viewmy characters.


But I warn you, fanfiction is one of our hot button topics here. It attracts strong feelings on each side of the debate.

Lyra Jean
05-06-2010, 04:32 PM
Landon's production company had the proper rights to bring the Little House Books to TV.

The series still sucked.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 04:40 PM
The series still sucked.

I don't get it. What's that got to do with fanfic? Are you saying that if someone buys the right to a book and makes it into a TV series or movie that it's fanfic?

KathleenD
05-06-2010, 05:19 PM
At the risk of sounding pedantic, those of us who are Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate, X-Files and etc. authors, who have been published through Simon and Schuster, Berekley, Big Finish, Fandemonium, etc. are not fan fiction writers.

We have been commissioned by the license holders to create stories for their franchise in the same way that a screen writer or an animator or a game designer has been. The only difference is the medium.

We have to submit proposals. We have to submit chapter outlines. We have editors as well as licensing people who scrub our stuff in the same manner that a screen writer goes through. The only difference between my Next Gen story and the screen writer's is his was on TV and mine came out in a book.

Seriously, can't we give the Media Tie-in writers their credit?

This. Thank you. I was getting increasingly uncomfortable seeing the tie-in writers lumped in with fanfic people. I know that being a tie-in writer would be like a dream come true for many fanfic people, but they aren't the same thing at all.

I like to design scrapbook pages, and I'm pretty good at color, layout, patterns, etc. People look at my scrapbooks and ask me if I'd consider making one for them. But I'm not a professional graphic designer.

Momento Mori
05-06-2010, 05:34 PM
icerose:
I think she was referring to an earlier poster who out and out said they would ignore a cease and desist and force the writer to prove their own copyright.

I think this might be a reference to me. :)

I didn't actually say that I would ignore a cease and desist letter and force the writer to prove their own copyright although I do understand completely how you'd get that from what I did say:


It's also why I would push back on someone serving a C&D on me, because 9 times out of 10, they're counting on your not doing so and being cowed by their letterhead paper.

To clarify - if I was still writing fanfic and I received a C&D letter, then I would push back to the lawyers and ask them where and how they thought that I was breaching their client's copyright. That is not the same as asking them to prove copyright in their work (because we all know that copyright exists when the work is created) - it's asking them to explain where they think I am breaching it with my fanfic.

This is because in practice and if they were actually intending to pursue a court case they'd have to set out in their claim how I've breached the copyright in the underlying work anyway so I'm not asking them to do any additional analysis that wouldn't or shouldn't already have been done prior to the C&D letter being sent. I merely want to see their reasoning.

The point in pushing back is because often the C&D letters are bullying tactics aimed at shutting down anything the rights owner doesn't like. The fact that the rights owner doesn't like something however, does not mean that their rights have been breached. I would then use their response (assuming that there is one) to argue down whatever costs demand they may have included in their letter.

(Note - I am not saying that this is what all fanfic writers should do. I'm saying that it's what I would do and I would do it because I have a big chunk of legal experience to fall back on to do it myself. Anyone else who receives a C&D letter that they don't want to comply with should check with a lawyer before sending a response).


Richard White:
Seriously, can't we give the Media Tie-in writers their credit?

Can. Should. Will. :)

Media tie-in writers deserve a lot of credit and they are not fanfic writers.

MM

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 06:03 PM
My thoughts on this resulted in a blog post: http://words.leahraeder.com/opinion/fanfiction-is-not-a-crime/

Summary: Gabaldon, and those who agree with her nonsense, treat their fans like dumb consumers without minds or ideas of their own. Writers with that mindset are not true artists; they are tyrants. They are also not financially savvy artists, because fandom is free, self-sustaining and self-growing advertising.

Ultimately, it's pretty stupid to oppose any sort of harmless fanfiction that doesn't interfere with the creator's ability to profit from her original work.

Wow.

Even putting aside the logical leaps and unsupported conclusions threaded throughout, this is a rancourous and completely misguided post.

Tyrants? Come on.

And to accuse Gabaldon of treating her fans as "dumb consumers" is so off-base as to be laughable: you will find few writers who have as positive an estimation of their fans, and as positive relationship with them, as Gabaldon.

It's ludicrous to suggest that her response to a small portion of her fan-base -- those who are actively engaged in activities with her work with which she disagrees -- can be extrapolated to her feelings about her fans as a whole.

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 06:06 PM
By the way, I wrote the above AFTER reading the blog post you linked to, knowing full well that I was now falling under the scorn you heaped on this thread and the writers participating in it, "revealing that tight-fisted desire for canonical control and purity".

Way to respect your fellow writers.

scarletpeaches
05-06-2010, 06:11 PM
No, but that's acceptable. Those of us who object to fan-fiction are at best, short-sighted folk who look down on fanficcers' spelling and grammar!

At worst? Tyrants.

Respect only works one way, willietheshakes; didn't you know?

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 06:12 PM
I'm a tyrant.

scarletpeaches
05-06-2010, 06:16 PM
And I'm an insecure miser who thinks her readers are children to lecture and scold, because I agree with Gabaldon's 'nonsense'.

Perks
05-06-2010, 06:17 PM
Summary: Gabaldon, and those who agree with her nonsense, treat their fans like dumb consumers without minds or ideas of their own. Writers with that mindset are not true artists; they are tyrants.


You can intelligently defend the practice of fanfiction, and people (and the law) may agree or disagree with you, but this is utter rubbish.

Not everyone sees art as an ongoing collaborative exchange between the creator and the reader, or the observer, listener, fan, aficionado, connoisseur, audience, whatever. That is no commentary whatsoever on the intelligence or general worthiness of the reader.

Some people consider a creative work as a valuable product of some combination of effort, talent, thought, background, culture, and imagination. This product, then, is a point in development, a convergence of the creator(s) state of mind at the time. If what he's created is either good enough or well-marketed enough or both, then that event is open to the public for acceptance, rejection, discussion, and/or assimilation. And happily so. But, in my and many other's opinion, that does not imply opening the resultant product to manipulation. Some people feel that to do that would dilute the point of recording the mental, emotional, and societal juncture in the first place. Current copyright law agrees with this stance and protects people who wish to preserve the integrity of their work.

Now, there are invitational collaborations and dynamic artistic experiences and these also have value. But unless specifically encouraged to participate in the continuation or mutation of a work, I - and many others - feel that fanfic authors are using other people's property without permission.

I don't see the artistic arena as a preschool classroom where all the toys, dolls, dumptrucks, and puzzles belong to everyone. That is in no way heaping scorn on anyone who reads.

icerose
05-06-2010, 06:17 PM
My thoughts on this resulted in a blog post: http://words.leahraeder.com/opinion/fanfiction-is-not-a-crime/

Summary: Gabaldon, and those who agree with her nonsense, treat their fans like dumb consumers without minds or ideas of their own. Writers with that mindset are not true artists; they are tyrants. They are also not financially savvy artists, because fandom is free, self-sustaining and self-growing advertising.

Ultimately, it's pretty stupid to oppose any sort of harmless fanfiction that doesn't interfere with the creator's ability to profit from her original work.

That is the nastiest set of conclusions I have ever seen. It's a pity you have absolutely no respect for your fellow writers and no respect for their choices. Tyranical? Insecure. WTF? Gabaldon has far more respect and behaved herself far better than you did. She didn't debase her fans, she simply tore down the arguments for fanfic. She didn't attack anyone, but boy, you sure did.

Backing out because this can't end well if I continue.

Apparently I have no right to my own opinion and my own work.

scarletpeaches
05-06-2010, 06:22 PM
Me too, icerose.

Once again Perks posts in a manner far more ladylike than I'm capable of. Think I'll join you in some other thread. Bring chocolate.

Perks
05-06-2010, 06:23 PM
Me too, icerose.

Once again Perks posts in a manner far more ladylike than I'm capable of. Think I'll join you in some other thread. Bring chocolate.Lol! You've met me? Am I all that proper?

scarletpeaches
05-06-2010, 06:33 PM
You're moar properer than what I are.

icerose
05-06-2010, 06:38 PM
What kills me is I was actually becoming sympathetic toward fanficcers until that blogpost. If that's how they consider writers who prefer not to have fanfiction written about their work, forget it. No sympathy from me. It's that whole entitlement thing.

Anyway, really am dropping it. It just really gets me that I was actually listening to the whole "it inspires me so much" and "this is where I got my start and my confidence" but if it's okay for them to spit and deride authors who aren't comfortable with fanfic. Forget it.

Libbie
05-06-2010, 06:40 PM
But for a young, pre-teen writer, fanfiction is not necessarily a crutch. It may be, as it was for me, just a way to tell a story without realizing you might be breaking any laws. And as I've stated before, some of my favorite ideas for original stories began as fanfiction ideas. They aren't fanfiction anymore, but they wouldn't have come into being without that initial spark from the source material.

I don't want to argue the worth of fanfiction. That's completely up to the individual. I'm just saying it's not always a "crutch."

*shrug* I started writing my own original stories when I was about five. I was aware of "fandom" back then -- though I didn't know the word for it -- and I could have chosen to write my stories about Disney's Robin Hood or The Great Mouse Detective or Watership Down or any other characters I was really obsessed with -- and believe me, I was way obsessed with these characters. Instead, I made up my own characters and worlds. I don't see why other children can't do the same.

Yes, I realize that everybody comes to writing in a different manner. But to come to it by developing the habit of failing to create by yourself a significant portion of what you write seems like you're just setting up hurdles for yourself.

I guess the thing that strikes me the most about fanfiction is the inherent lack of creativity in it. Certain aspects of certain writers' stories can be quite admirably creative, but the huge majority of fanfiction is a) self-insertion sex fantasy that, as Diana Gabaldon said, is incredibly skeezy, if biologically normal, and b) amazingly lame, with nothing original or interesting in it -- not only are the characters and world stolen, but the plots are safe and common, the phrases are cliches. Fanfiction strikes me as being the domain of those who are intellectually lazy and creatively bankrupt, and totally cool with staying that way forever. And the over-praising mentality of the fanfiction community only reinforces "writers" staying inside their comfort zone.

Before anybody yells at me for that statement, yes, I know that there are some really, really good writers in fanfiction. I've heard this from several different sources. I have never read anything that I would consider good writing in fanfiction, myself -- even making allowances for the fact that some of the characters and the world are yoinked from another writer's work. And I read a lot of fanfiction. I read it for the same reason I watch a lot of bad movies: I find it hilarious and I loves me some free laughs. In all my perusing of fanfiction, I have never come across these great writers. I believe that they are out there, though. The Law of Very Large Numbers dictates that they virtually must be.

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 06:46 PM
At the risk of sounding pedantic, those of us who are Star Trek, Doctor Who, Stargate, X-Files and etc. authors, who have been published through Simon and Schuster, Berekley, Big Finish, Fandemonium, etc. are not fan fiction writers.

We have been commissioned by the license holders to create stories for their franchise in the same way that a screen writer or an animator or a game designer has been. The only difference is the medium.

We have to submit proposals. We have to submit chapter outlines. We have editors as well as licensing people who scrub our stuff in the same manner that a screen writer goes through. The only difference between my Next Gen story and the screen writer's is his was on TV and mine came out in a book.

Seriously, can't we give the Media Tie-in writers their credit?
If I did offend, I'm sorry. It certainly wasn't my intent.

Kitty27
05-06-2010, 06:47 PM
Uh,okay.

Ahem.

Though I don't have a problem with people writing fanfic,I can understand and respect the writers who don't like it. uIt wouldn't change my opinion of them or make me stop reading their books. Fanfic is a privilege,not entitlement. Some writers will say Ok,others will say hell to the no. Fans cannot get upset if a writer is of the latter category.

They aren't tyrants or control freak arsehats. They simply want their work left alone and that is their right. They created it and what they say goes.

Reading through these posts,I can see where a writer might have a problem. I couldn't stand it if I wrote strictly MG books and someone wrote a BDSM fic featuring characters that are kids! That would rub me the wrong way(Full blown Rice-Out on some asses) and I certainly wouldn't want any of my books treated in that manner.

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 06:56 PM
What kills me is I was actually becoming sympathetic toward fanficcers until that blogpost. If that's how they consider writers who prefer not to have fanfiction written about their work, forget it. No sympathy from me. It's that whole entitlement thing.

The opinion of a single poster in this thread is suddenly representative of fanficcers as a whole? You're assigning her views to all of us now?

Awesome. :Huh:

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 07:00 PM
My thoughts on this resulted in a blog post: http://words.leahraeder.com/opinion/fanfiction-is-not-a-crime/

Summary: Gabaldon, and those who agree with her nonsense, treat their fans like dumb consumers without minds or ideas of their own. Writers with that mindset are not true artists; they are tyrants. They are also not financially savvy artists, because fandom is free, self-sustaining and self-growing advertising.

Ultimately, it's pretty stupid to oppose any sort of harmless fanfiction that doesn't interfere with the creator's ability to profit from her original work.
I'm sorry, but your sense of entitlement's getting in my eyes. I'm being blinded by the rhetoric. If you think a blow-up and name calling is going to make an author respect you and change their minds, try again. This is no better than the fits I've seen Anne Rice pitch on Amazon.

icerose
05-06-2010, 07:01 PM
The opinion of a single poster in this thread is suddenly representative of fanficcers as a whole? You're assigning her views to all of us now?

Awesome. :Huh:

I already had a negative view of fanfic. I already had a sense that fanficcers had a sense of entitlement. That the author OWES their fans certain allowances because they enjoyed the book when in reality all the author owes their fans is a good book and if they have a fan base to begin with they've already delivered.

That blog post just sort of confirms most of my misgivings about fanfic and leaves a really bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing that I was already uncomfortable with to begin with.

And that one blog post wasn't the only indication of that atmosphere of entitlement and what an author owes their fans. That doesn't mean I support authors abusing their fans or being rude in general, but asking a fan not to write fanfic does not equal being disrespectful or derogatory toward fans. A blasting blog entry like that does however and it shows the ultimate in lack of respect and lack of any sort of understanding for authors who simply want their stuff to be left alone.

Perks
05-06-2010, 07:01 PM
Well, what it really comes down to is the perception of a completed work and its value in remaining what it is - warts, conclusion, and all. It's inevitable (and not evil) that some people will come to different ends on this topic.

I actually do understand the pull to continue a beloved story and I couldn't be anything but flattered if something I wrote inspired someone else to write. The problem that I have with fanfiction is the public posting to "get feedback" and "gain confidence". Well, that and warping the characters and manufacturing circumstance to scratch the fanfic writer's sexual boredom issues.

Established characters, settings, and fictional relationships belong to their creator. The internet has made this easy to forget. Everything is free, so everything is everybody's. In my opinion, I have no right to get my ego stroked by fishing in a fanpond, with a hook swiped from someone else, baited with my daydreams. To me, writing is an ego-risky proposition, by necessity.

As I mentioned before, I don't think fanfiction is often malicious, and I don't think it's automatically of poor quality. I just think posting it online is symptomatic of what's wrong with the internet culture of everything's free and everything's mine.

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 07:14 PM
I already had a negative view of fanfic. I already had a sense that fanficcers had a sense of entitlement. That the author OWES their fans certain allowances because they enjoyed the book when in reality all the author owes their fans is a good book and if they have a fan base to begin with they've already delivered.

That blog post just sort of confirms most of my misgivings about fanfic and leaves a really bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing that I was already uncomfortable with to begin with.

And that one blog post wasn't the only indication of that atmosphere of entitlement and what an author owes their fans. That doesn't mean I support authors abusing their fans or being rude in general, but asking a fan not to write fanfic does not equal being disrespectful or derogatory toward fans. A blasting blog entry like that does however and it shows the ultimate in lack of respect and lack of any sort of understanding for authors who simply want their stuff to be left alone.

I understand, believe me, and I particularly agree with the part I bolded. I don't agree with Leah's post at all.

I suppose my concern was that in the statement I previously highlighted, it sounded as though you believed we thought as Leah does about authors disagree with fanfic. And we don't. Most fandom members are very respectful of the creators wishes. It's just the bad apples that get talked about the most (Russet Noon, anyone?) and that tends to muddy the waters the worst.

I'm not here to change anyone's mind. I've seen the best and worst than fandom has to offer. It just sucks that it's the "worst" that gets all the attention.

aruna
05-06-2010, 07:15 PM
*shrug* I started writing my own original stories when I was about five. I was aware of "fandom" back then -- though I didn't know the word for it -- and I could have chosen to write my stories about Disney's Robin Hood or The Great Mouse Detective or Watership Down or any other characters I was really obsessed with -- and believe me, I was way obsessed with these characters. Instead, I made up my own characters and worlds. I don't see why other children can't do the same.



I did this too. When I was about 8 I was writing adventure stories in the style of Enid Blyton: several children, dogs and horses, catching thieves and finding treasure. But I made up my own characters, gave them my own names, thought up their situations, etc. In fact, that was half the fun!
The idea of writing an adventure for Dick, Julian, Anne, George and Timmy the dog just never occured to me. How boring!

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 07:19 PM
Well, that and warping the characters and manufacturing circumstance to scratch the fanfic writer's sexual boredom issues.

Some of the smut and slash out there makes me want to claw my eyeballs out. :scared: It's freaky, I tell you.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 07:20 PM
I made a list of writers who used other people's characters and worlds (http://marianperera.blogspot.com/2010/05/using-other-peoples-characters.html) - but got their books published.

I wonder if such writers would also be considered lazy, unoriginal, creatively bankrupt and so on. Surely they should be, since they're not making up their own characters.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 07:21 PM
So I'm at home, been thinking this over, and was starting to think it might benefit the thread to discuss copyright a bit. I am not, in any sense, a legal authority. However, I have in my hands the 2006 edition of The Law (In Plain English) For Writers, the closest thing I have right now to tracking down the actual laws on this (I'd also like to point out that the qualifier, "In Plain English" is bullshit.) But, here are some quotes, not meant to prove anything, merely to provide a frame of reference for both sides.

"Fictional characters, when sufficiently developed and expressed, can be protected by copyright. Cartoon characters, which are visual works, are sufficiently delineated to qualify for copyright protection. Unfortunately, the standard is more difficult to apply to characters described in written works. Cliched characters of the type that naturally flow from a common theme are considered to be ideas, and therefore cannot be copyrighted. An example would be a waiter in a short story who is incidental to the plot and does nothing more than take an order.

As plots become more developed and characters become more idiosyncratic, at some point they cross the line into expression and may be protected by copyright. A good example of such a character is James Bond, as developed in the works by Ian Fleming and various screenwriters" (DuBoff, 43).

So, no arguments there. We've all agreed on this the whole thread. Fictional characters (with exceptions such as the one noted above) are copyright. So, the question is, does fanfiction written and posted on a free site violate copyright? Here's what the book has to say on fair use and infringement:

"...four factors are considered in determining whether a particular use is fair:
1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether it is for commercial use or for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted works as a whole; and,
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work" (DuBoff, 65).

Now, bear in mind that here, they're mostly talking about words from the work itself, but both the work and the characters are copyrighted, so I would think it applies to anything that's copyrighted, including characters and setting. The book also points out, "Questions of fair use are decided on a case-by-case basis, and it is sometimes difficult to determine whether a particular use will be considered infringement of fair use. Although uses that significantly reduce the value of the copyright or intrude on the scope of the author's right to prepare derivative works are more likely to be found to infringe, there are no bright line tests defining what constitutes a fair use" (DuBoff 65).

The book doesn't cover fanfiction, but the closest thing it does cover is parody and satire. It's not the same at all, but here it is.

"Legally, a parody is a work that uses some elements of a prior work to, at least in part, comment on the prior work. In Sun Trust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin, the court found that Alice Randall's work, The Wind Done Gone commented on Gone With the Wind. She appropriated its characters, plot, and major scenes, and flipped them as a rejoinder to the way it depicted slavery and the relationships between blacks and whites...[however] parodies are not always exempt from findings of infringement" (Duboff, 66).

So, there it is. Appropriating characters isn't always copyright infringement, but it can be considered that way by a court, and the litmus test that will help determine that considers whether or not it somehow hurts the author's ability to make a profit, or if it was written with the intention to make a profit.

We can debate all elements of this issue till the cows come home, but some things like whether or not fanfiction is moral, are completely up to the individual. In this case, it looks like the legality of it is too, but I figured I'd at least cite someone who has a bit of education on the subject (not to say that no one here does, just that, well, I have a book :D)

This is the opinion I've drawn from this: Yes, you can get taken to court for fanfiction, but in my opinion, it's not worth either side getting worked up over. If I received a cease and desist notice from an author, company, whatever, asking me to take my fanfiction down, I would, because whether or not I agree that it's illegal, fanfiction is NEVER worth going to court over. Does it mean I'd stop writing and posting fanfiction from other fandoms that have not asked people not to write fanfics? No, though I haven't written or posted fanfiction in years. Does it mean I agree that it should be illegal? Well, I don't know. I don't see the moral harm in it myself but I do understand how others would, so that's hard to say. I will say it would sadden me to see a nasty cease and desist notice vs a polite one, but I would understand that there might be a million reasons for the tone, and it's frankly not worth me getting up for. I would take it down, send a notice that I had done so, and be done with it.

Kitty27
05-06-2010, 07:23 PM
Some of the smut and slash out there makes me want to claw my eyeballs out. :scared: It's freaky, I tell you.


I agree. Some folks have some serious issues going on and quite frankly, their fanfic reveals a need for strong medication.

I shall NEVER forget Tara Gillespie and My Immortal.

scarletpeaches
05-06-2010, 07:23 PM
At least seven of those books were written when the characters had passed into the public domain.

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 07:25 PM
I made a list of writers who used other people's characters and worlds (http://marianperera.blogspot.com/2010/05/using-other-peoples-characters.html) - but got their books published.

I wonder if such writers would also be considered lazy, unoriginal, creatively bankrupt and so on. Surely they should be, since they're not making up their own characters.

At least seven of those books were written when the characters had passed into the public domain.
And two are actually parodies.

DeleyanLee
05-06-2010, 07:26 PM
I just think posting it online is symptomatic of what's wrong with the internet culture of everything's free and everything's mine.

QFT

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 07:27 PM
I've seen the best and worst than fandom has to offer. It just sucks that it's the "worst" that gets all the attention.

I agree. I also find it disappointing that all of fanfic is often dismissed as porn (or pedophilia, furry porn, etc). There's much more to it than that. It's like saying that all romance novels are bodice-rippers.

And there are a few bad apples in fanfiction that spoil it for the rest of us, just as there are a few novelists who've plagiarized others, and a few multi-published authors who've had public meltdowns, and so on.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 07:29 PM
And two are actually parodies.

But they're still using other people's characters.

If a sign of creativity is the use of one's own characters and worlds, rather than using someone else's, then surely those writers are being unoriginal.

Whether or not the work is in the public domain, or is a parody, is not relevant to the issue of creativity.

Cyia
05-06-2010, 07:37 PM
Whether or not the work is in the public domain, or is a parody, is not relevant to the issue of creativity.

Exactly.

How many times do we see people - especially on this board - tell people "You are not your characters." or "You are not your novel." when querying. They're told to separate themselves from the work. Yet, now, it's back to MINE! ME! Get away!

No one's questioning that the original authors own their characters. No one's saying they should allow others to make money off them. But if someone they don't know and never sees wants to make up a story based on those characters, they want to strike out like a 3 year old who doesn't want to share the sandbox.

Fanfiction doesn't deny the original author use of their characters, nor does it damage the product already in production. It's not going to cost the original author money - but it might get them more interest. It's not piracy, because it's not distributing the original author's words.

Mad Magazine and SNL use established characters and worlds all the time.

(And the internet has nothing to do with it. Fan magazines were sent out by mail subscription for decades before things went on-line.)

Perks
05-06-2010, 07:45 PM
Some of the smut and slash out there makes me want to claw my eyeballs out. :scared: It's freaky, I tell you.Well, that's just people for you, ain't it? I think we're all hermited writers for a reason. People are oogie.

BenPanced
05-06-2010, 07:46 PM
But they're still using other people's characters.

If a sign of creativity is the use of one's own characters and worlds, rather than using someone else's, then surely those writers are being unoriginal.

Whether or not the work is in the public domain, or is a parody, is not relevant to the issue of creativity.
The same has been said of anybody who writes officially sanctioned media tie-ins.

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 07:46 PM
(And the internet has nothing to do with it. Fan magazines were sent out by mail subscription for decades before things went on-line.)

Actually, I think internet has quite a bit to do with it. I had never even heard of fanfiction until I went to college and discovered the internet. The earliest fanzines were written and produced by a much smaller niche of fans, and they were passed around at conventions. In some ways, it was much more of a novelty.

Looking at fandoms now, you can find archives for almost any television show out there, many movies, and some books. Perks has made some very good points about entitlement/ownership that's come about because of the instant nature of the internet. Such a thing has its positives and it has its faults, and ownership is a huge fault that is fueled by internet forums and chat rooms. And it's that sense of fandom ownership that can bleed negatively into the creator's interaction with fans.

Forty years ago, fans couldn't throw up a very public webpage that slammed a scriptwriter's decision to change a character dynamic. The internet has very definitely changed the way fans and fandoms function.

Perks
05-06-2010, 07:48 PM
I made a list of writers who used other people's characters and worlds (http://marianperera.blogspot.com/2010/05/using-other-peoples-characters.html) - but got their books published.

I wonder if such writers would also be considered lazy, unoriginal, creatively bankrupt and so on. Surely they should be, since they're not making up their own characters.I don't know all the works on that list, but most of them are using books that have gone out of copyright, so there's no point arguing against that. Then there is also satire represented here, an artform of its own and afforded its own copyright protections.

I don't see any fanfic up there.

ETA -
But they're still using other people's characters.

If a sign of creativity is the use of one's own characters and worlds, rather than using someone else's, then surely those writers are being unoriginal.

Whether or not the work is in the public domain, or is a parody, is not relevant to the issue of creativity.

Okay, I came across this after I responded to the earlier post. If this is just to dispel that fanfiction writers are necessarily creatively bankrupt, then I agree, and I have since the beginning. The majority of fanfiction is utter shit, but so is the majority of everything subbed.

ChaosTitan
05-06-2010, 07:49 PM
Well, that's just people for you, ain't it? I think we're all hermited writers for a reason. People are oogie.

That's why I hide in my room, with my computer, and talk to my virtual friends. Oogie people germs? Noes! :eek:

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 07:50 PM
I don't know all the works on that list, but most of them are using books that have gone out of copyright, so there's no point arguing against that. Then there is also satire represented here, an artform of its own and afforded its own copyright protections.

I don't see any fanfic up there.

But that wasn't my point. I was discussing the issue of creativity, not of legality.

If it's unoriginal, lazy and creatively bankrupt for a writer to use someone else's characters or someone else's world, shouldn't that apply to every writer who uses someone else's characters or someone else's world?

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 07:51 PM
I don't know all the works on that list, but most of them are using books that have gone out of copyright, so there's no point arguing against that. Then there is also satire represented here, an artform of its own and afforded its own copyright protections.

I don't see any fanfic up there.

But I think the argument Queen is making is not whether or not the books are public domain, but rather, the fact that many people in this thread claim that people who write works that use characters/settings/etc created by others are unoriginal.

Perks
05-06-2010, 07:55 PM
Mad Magazine and SNL use established characters and worlds all the time.

In parody, which is different that fanfic.

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 07:55 PM
But I think the argument Queen is making is not whether or not the books are public domain, but rather, the fact that many people in this thread claim that people who write works that use characters/settings/etc created by others are unoriginal.

I see the point, and that's precisely why I always avoid sweeping generalizations in every possible instance.

But there's a qualitative difference between Neil Gaiman marrying the Holmesian and the Lovecraftian universes in A Study in Emerald and Harry/Draco slash, between Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and whatever the fuck that Stephanie Meyer nut-job fan was on about, between Wicked and Kirk-as-ocelot.

(shrugs)

Perks
05-06-2010, 07:56 PM
But I think the argument Queen is making is not whether or not the books are public domain, but rather, the fact that many people in this thread claim that people who write works that use characters/settings/etc created by others are unoriginal.Yep, you're absolutely right and I amended my post to reflect that. (I came upon the clarification after I'd posted.) I have no argument with her on that. Not all fanfiction is poorly written.

icerose
05-06-2010, 07:57 PM
Exactly.

How many times do we see people - especially on this board - tell people "You are not your characters." or "You are not your novel." when querying. They're told to separate themselves from the work. Yet, now, it's back to MINE! ME! Get away!

No one's questioning that the original authors own their characters. No one's saying they should allow others to make money off them. But if someone they don't know and never sees wants to make up a story based on those characters, they want to strike out like a 3 year old who doesn't want to share the sandbox.

Fanfiction doesn't deny the original author use of their characters, nor does it damage the product already in production. It's not going to cost the original author money - but it might get them more interest. It's not piracy, because it's not distributing the original author's words.

Mad Magazine and SNL use established characters and worlds all the time.

(And the internet has nothing to do with it. Fan magazines were sent out by mail subscription for decades before things went on-line.)

Yet you show absolutely no respect for an author who does not wish fanfic of their creations. You are comparing them to 3 year olds. What does that make the fanficcers?

I'm not here to fight, but this sense of entitlement does piss me off.

Authors have the right to say "Please, leave my work alone" and be respected for it.

I don't have a problem with tie-ins, spin-offs, and recreations of older works because those rights are either bought or have passed into public use. It's the grab of rights that DO NOT BELONG to the public and then the utter disregard to the author's feelings on the subject just boggles my mind.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 07:59 PM
Okay, I came across this after I responded to the earlier post. If this is just to dispel that fanfiction writers are necessarily creatively bankrupt, then I agree, and I have since the beginning. The majority of fanfiction is utter shit, but so is the majority of everything subbed.

Thanks. I just think that if the use of other people's characters is a sign of unoriginality or mental laziness, then there may be several unoriginal and mentally lazy books on the shelves - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies being just one example.

I don't personally think so, of course - it depends on what's done with the characters. Wide Sargasso Sea is a beautifully written example of a writer putting her own spin on someone else's creation.

shaldna
05-06-2010, 08:02 PM
What kills me is I was actually becoming sympathetic toward fanficcers until that blogpost. If that's how they consider writers who prefer not to have fanfiction written about their work, forget it. No sympathy from me. It's that whole entitlement thing.

.


Me too.

Much as I love fanfic and am wholly supportive of it, I also respect the opinions of other people who do not support it and don't want their work used in that way. And that's fine.

But that blog post made me angry. And I'm a supporter of fic.

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 08:03 PM
Thanks. I just think that if the use of other people's characters is a sign of unoriginality or mental laziness, then there may be several unoriginal and mentally lazy books on the shelves - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies being just one example.


No argument here on that example.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 08:04 PM
I see the point, and that's precisely why I always avoid sweeping generalizations in every possible instance.

But there's a qualitative difference between Neil Gaiman marrying the Holmesian and the Lovecraftian universes in A Study in Emerald and Harry/Draco slash, between Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and whatever the fuck that Stephanie Meyer nut-job fan was on about, between Wicked and Kirk-as-ocelot.

True, but there's some good stories in fanfiction as well. It's not all furry porn and Russet Dawn, just as romance novels are not all bodice-rippers. There's a bottom of the barrel in any type of genre and writing.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 08:06 PM
:deadhorse

Cyia
05-06-2010, 08:07 PM
Yet you show absolutely no respect for an author who does not wish fanfic of their creations.

Not at all. As I already said, any author who asks people to refrain from fanfic gets what they want most of the time. What I object to is putting certain kinds of writing based on existing works in a category as "creative" and others in a category as "derivative" or "lazy".

Whether it's public domain, a commercial tie-in, or some fifteen year old daydreaming about her life with the MC of her choice, the mechanics are the same.

As for the the 3 year old comparison, it's a sound one. Just like the loud screaming toddler will chase away all the kids that would otherwise have played with him, an author who puts their fans on lockdown is going to leave a sour taste with them. They don't *have* to share their characters anymore than a kid has to share his toys, but doing so will do him favors down the line.

Mystic Blossom
05-06-2010, 08:08 PM
True, but there's some good stories in fanfiction as well. It's not all furry porn and Russet Dawn, just as romance novels are not all bodice-rippers. There's a bottom of the barrel in any type of genre and writing.

And then there's Half Life: Full Life Consequences, which breaks some sort of awful fanfiction barrier that's just indescribable.

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 08:09 PM
True, but there's some good stories in fanfiction as well. It's not all furry porn and Russet Dawn, just as romance novels are not all bodice-rippers. There's a bottom of the barrel in any type of genre and writing.

Granted.

I mostly have issues with the sense of entitlement on display.

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 08:16 PM
And then there's Half Life: Full Life Consequences, which breaks some sort of awful fanfiction barrier that's just indescribable.

I thought that was Celebrian.

icerose
05-06-2010, 08:37 PM
Not at all. As I already said, any author who asks people to refrain from fanfic gets what they want most of the time. What I object to is putting certain kinds of writing based on existing works in a category as "creative" and others in a category as "derivative" or "lazy".

Since I have never said that, and I really don't see how it could be anything but derivative, it is "derived" from an existing work, that does not make it equal lazy or uncreative. We all borrow to a point, but fanfic is definitely derivative. That does not make it worthless, but it does make it stepping into territory it does not own, and that is where I have the problem.



Whether it's public domain, a commercial tie-in, or some fifteen year old daydreaming about her life with the MC of her choice, the mechanics are the same.

As for the the 3 year old comparison, it's a sound one. Just like the loud screaming toddler will chase away all the kids that would otherwise have played with him, an author who puts their fans on lockdown is going to leave a sour taste with them. They don't *have* to share their characters anymore than a kid has to share his toys, but doing so will do him favors down the line.

Deleting snarky reply. I will never agree with you here. A writer isn't required to do it and it's nothing like a three year old not sharing their toys with the neighbor. They deserve respect for their decision and the everyone needs to accept it, not go on a tirade like a little brat who got denied something they really wanted.

brainstorm77
05-06-2010, 08:53 PM
We all need to agree to dissagree.:box:

Celia Cyanide
05-06-2010, 09:03 PM
Will something really bad happen to me if I say I like Batman fan fiction? I've just had this thing ever since I was a kid where I love anything of Batman, and I don't really care what it is.

DeleyanLee
05-06-2010, 09:06 PM
We all need to agree to dissagree.:box:

And take the fun out of the discussion? ;)

Momento Mori
05-06-2010, 09:09 PM
icerose:
Authors have the right to say "Please, leave my work alone" and be respected for it.

Yes they do and I can respect an author who makes a calm and collected statement along those lines (see GRRM) even if I disagree with the decision.

I cannot, however, respect an author who says (to paraphrase) "Writing fanfic is like writing a sexual fantasy about my daughter and sending it to me because it's about something I created!". That is hyperbole and hysteria.

I cannot respect an author who says (to paraphrase) "If you write fanfic then you are wounding me because my works are like a piece of me!". That is also hyperbole and hysteria.

Gabaldon did what a lot of authors do - she went off on one without bothering to check out her facts (specifically as to what fanfic is) and she couched some of her objections in hyperbolic terms that insinuated all sorts of unpleasant things about fanficcers by making piss poor analogies. IMO that was stupid because she was making those insinuations about the most loyal part of her fanbase.

So while I might abide by her decision, I don't have to respect it and I certainly don't respect her as a person.

Equally, I don't respect pro-fanficcers who do precisely the same thing. It's stupid. It makes fanficcers look stupid.

MM

Amadan
05-06-2010, 09:16 PM
Momento Mori wins.

An author who says, calmly and politely, "Hey, fan fiction is fun, but I'd rather you not do it with my characters, thanks," will probably be respected by his or her fans.

An author who throws a temper tantrum about fan fiction will become an object of mockery, as Anne Rice, Robin Hobb, and now Diana Gabaldon have discovered.

Momento Mori
05-06-2010, 09:24 PM
Amadan:
Momento Mori wins.

Really? Cool. I never win anything.

Is there a prize? ;)

MM

Marian Perera
05-06-2010, 09:29 PM
Will something really bad happen to me if I say I like Batman fan fiction?

Not as bad as what will happen to you if you say you write it. ;)

willietheshakes
05-06-2010, 09:29 PM
Momento Mori wins.

An author who says, calmly and politely, "Hey, fan fiction is fun, but I'd rather you not do it with my characters, thanks," will probably be respected by his or her fans.

An author who throws a temper tantrum about fan fiction will become an object of mockery, as Anne Rice, Robin Hobb, and now Diana Gabaldon have discovered.

I think in this instance, at least, "temper tantrum" is VERY much in the eye of the beholder.

icerose
05-06-2010, 09:38 PM
I don't see it as a temper tantrum either. She never once degraded anyone. I don't see it as a hysterical response and when she referenced the neighbor having sex with her daughter in fiction, it was probably in response to the ones that do involve sexual fantasy, so yeah, I think what she said was appropriate.

Celia Cyanide
05-06-2010, 09:49 PM
Not as bad as what will happen to you if you say you write it. ;)

I totally don't! Although my friend is writing a Batman fanfic about me!

Oddly enough, it occurs to me that I don't have enough confidence to write fanfic.

icerose
05-06-2010, 10:02 PM
Update on her blog.

http://voyagesoftheartemis.blogspot.com/2010/05/fan-fic-ii.html

Apparently the comment section got even more flaming than here. Glad to see the situation with the cancer fundraiser got sorted out!