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A.P.M.
01-28-2012, 07:35 PM
So, I have a quick question for people, that may stimulate some discussion:

Is it acceptable to edit a fanfic that you've written by removing all elements that make it a fanfic, and then publish it? Has this ever been done, or is it frowned upon?

Assume also that the writer would take down the fanfic in question from whatever site they post it on.

Maryn
01-28-2012, 07:49 PM
Of course it's been done. You and I have probably read it and not realized it began as fanfic, because the author successfully obliterated everything which suggested the source material's canon.

I figure if nobody can tell a story or novel began as fanfic, then it's okay to market it. The changes to make it differ sufficiently ought to make it so different from the fanfic version that you could probably leave it up.

Be advised, though, the changes have to be substantive. You can't just make the high school a differently-named high school, the characters with similar traits and problems sporting different hair color and names. You have to genuinely change it to the core. Make the high school a factory, ghetto, or a seminary, make the handsome young hero an older woman, like that.

Maryn, who's done that

Jamesaritchie
01-28-2012, 07:56 PM
It's been done, but it isn't easy. It's probably a heck of a lot tougher than just writing an original story.

Zelenka
01-28-2012, 08:50 PM
It's been done, but it isn't easy. It's probably a heck of a lot tougher than just writing an original story.

One thing though, I think it depends on the original source you're writing fanfic for. Some things are easier to rewrite than others. I've redone stuff that was originally meant to be fanfic a lot (but mostly because I turned out to be a lousy fanfic writer, always wanted to go off on one and do my own thing). Things like my Lord of the Rings-based stuff would be really hard to rewrite because it was so tied up in the Tolkien universe it would be almost impossible to take out the elements from it. On the other hand, my UFO stuff that I wrote years ago, I've successfully adapted into original works, because the idea of a covert ops department looking for something or other is much easier to transplant.

James D. Macdonald
01-28-2012, 09:01 PM
Yes, it's been done.

The process is known as "filing off the serial numbers."

If you're planning to do this, yes, take down/remove every single copy of the original. Even then, the Net has no secrets and an infinite memory. If your story is published, and gets any sort of success, someone will find the original version and publicize the fact -- and the original copyright holder may hunt you down. Tears and sadness all around.

ladyleeona
01-28-2012, 09:30 PM
Tears and sadness all around.

Yep. Remember ^^^ when you're filing off those serial numbers. And when you think you're done, I'd suggest another very thorough scrubbing, just to be on the safe(r) side.

SafetyDance
01-28-2012, 10:28 PM
Yes, it's been done.

I wish people wouldn't, though. Readers start to look for it. And then authors like myself get reviews claiming our stuff is fanfic for some straw-grasping reason, when it isn't.

The Otter
01-28-2012, 10:42 PM
Yes, it's been done.

The process is known as "filing off the serial numbers."

If you're planning to do this, yes, take down/remove every single copy of the original. Even then, the Net has no secrets and an infinite memory. If your story is published, and gets any sort of success, someone will find the original version and publicize the fact -- and the original copyright holder may hunt you down. Tears and sadness all around.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this situation has ever happened in reality--that is, someone being sued because their original work started out as a fanfic. Of course it's a hypothetical possibility, but it strikes me as very unlikely.

Edit: I can, however, think of an example of someone successfully transitioning from fanfiction to original work; Cassandra Clare. I never read any of her fanfic, but apparently she was well known within the Harry Potter community, and a lot of people speculate that she lifted ideas or characters from her fanfiction and used them in her original novels. Her original work is quite successful, however, and she's never run into any legal trouble, as far as I know. People gossip, but being a bestselling author I'm sure she doesn't give a fig, and in her shoes I wouldn't either.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-29-2012, 01:09 AM
Ms. Clare was also in a loooot of legal trouble over that, although I believe the situation involved more than just her work starting out as fanfiction.

Here's the vital thing to keep in mind, as Uncle Jim said: if it has been published before, as fanfiction, anywhere, ever, you have a huge potential liability on your hands. If it's just a story that you originally envisioned as a fanfic but decided to push it towards original fiction instead, that's something else, and much easier to deal with.

Jamesaritchie
01-29-2012, 02:54 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think this situation has ever happened in reality--that is, someone being sued because their original work started out as a fanfic. Of course it's a hypothetical possibility, but it strikes me as very unlikely.

Edit: I can, however, think of an example of someone successfully transitioning from fanfiction to original work; Cassandra Clare. I never read any of her fanfic, but apparently she was well known within the Harry Potter community, and a lot of people speculate that she lifted ideas or characters from her fanfiction and used them in her original novels. Her original work is quite successful, however, and she's never run into any legal trouble, as far as I know. People gossip, but being a bestselling author I'm sure she doesn't give a fig, and in her shoes I wouldn't either.

I'd care a lot. She did get in legal trouble, and many other times it's been the threat of legal trouble that made writers back off.

At any rate, being a bestselling author doesn't and wouldn't make me treat another writer's work as if I owned any part of it. I don't want another writer doing that to me, and I won't do it to them, legal trouble or not.

Sometimes, money isn't enough. I like a healthy does of ethics to wash the money down.

Cyia
01-29-2012, 03:00 AM
Cassie C1aire/C1are's woes had less to do with fanfic than they did the presence of "shockingly similar" passages from multiple sources.

Having said that, yes, it's possible to "file the numbers off" a fanfic and sell it. It's been done, and more than one author has included at least bits of their fanfic in their original fiction if the scene fit the new story.

absitinvidia
01-29-2012, 03:11 AM
Edit: I can, however, think of an example of someone successfully transitioning from fanfiction to original work; Cassandra Clare. I never read any of her fanfic, but apparently she was well known within the Harry Potter community, and a lot of people speculate that she lifted ideas or characters from her fanfiction and used them in her original novels. Her original work is quite successful, however, and she's never run into any legal trouble, as far as I know. People gossip, but being a bestselling author I'm sure she doesn't give a fig, and in her shoes I wouldn't either.

She's the worst possible example to bring up. Most of her "fanfic" was other people's published work that she cut and pasted and called her own. Many of us are utterly disgusted that she got a publishing contract.

MaryMumsy
01-29-2012, 03:20 AM
Assume also that the writer would take down the fanfic in question from whatever site they post it on.

It is never truly gone. The wayback machine has a loooong memory.

MM

Cyia
01-29-2012, 03:32 AM
It is never truly gone. The wayback machine has a loooong memory.

MM

Wayback doesn't archive ffn ;)

thothguard51
01-29-2012, 04:25 AM
Before I would publish anything, I would make sure their are no accessable versions of the work on line, anywhere.

Posting a chapter or two in share you work is far different from posting your full book on line. Things can come back to haunt you, or so I have learned...

Diana_Rajchel
01-29-2012, 05:17 AM
It just seems like a bad idea. I'd suggest you let the fanfic be fanfic, and that you simply start a new project. Enjoy the skills you polished writing fanfic so you can concentrate on the challenges inherent in creating your own world and characters.

The Otter
01-29-2012, 05:26 AM
She's the worst possible example to bring up. Most of her "fanfic" was other people's published work that she cut and pasted and called her own. Many of us are utterly disgusted that she got a publishing contract.

Ah, I hadn't heard about that. Like I said, I never read her fanfics, and I have no knowledge of any legal trouble she got into regarding that. I've read a couple of her original books and I know people have said it's similar to her fanfiction, but that's the extent of my knowledge, so possibly I just stuck my foot in my mouth, heh.

In any case, plagiarism is something entirely different than modifying your own fanfic into original work, and I was referring to the latter.

The original point I was making was simply that, as far as I know, no one has ever gotten in trouble for transforming fanfic into original work (CC ran afoul of the law for other things, if I'm understanding correctly). If anyone knows of any instances where this has happened, I'd be honestly curious to know.

The Otter
01-29-2012, 05:30 AM
I'd care a lot. She did get in legal trouble, and many other times it's been the threat of legal trouble that made writers back off.

At any rate, being a bestselling author doesn't and wouldn't make me treat another writer's work as if I owned any part of it. I don't want another writer doing that to me, and I won't do it to them, legal trouble or not.

Sometimes, money isn't enough. I like a healthy does of ethics to wash the money down.

I'd agree, and she was probably a poor example to bring up if she did indeed plagiarize other authors' work...which is a different thing from modifying one's own fanfic into original material. I definitely wouldn't condone plagiarism (which, I assume, is what you're talking about here) regardless of whether it got someone into legal trouble.

benbradley
01-29-2012, 05:40 AM
Wayback doesn't archive ffn ;)
I wouldn't bet a writing career on it! It's got a copy of my dinky little Mindspring website from a decade ago.

There's also Google Cache - you can put a dead URL in Google's searchbox and the first link generally goes to that URL, but it often has a "cache" link that has a copy from some previous time.

There are surely other web archivers out there, some may be publicly accessible, others not.

Just for the record, I've never written fanfic.

MaryMumsy
01-29-2012, 05:42 AM
Wayback doesn't archive ffn ;)

It does archive other sites that contain ff though. I've found stuff from defunct sites there.

MM

Becky Black
01-29-2012, 01:50 PM
It just seems like a bad idea. I'd suggest you let the fanfic be fanfic, and that you simply start a new project. Enjoy the skills you polished writing fanfic so you can concentrate on the challenges inherent in creating your own world and characters.

I like that advice. The thought of converting any of mine gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's the dialogue especially. I'd have to rewrite nearly every line of it, to make those character not proclaim their origin with every word. I'd think you could get away with taking one character from a fan work, put them somewhere else and retain their voice, but it's when you've got a whole group of them with their characteristic banter and interaction that people will start to say "This seems strangely familiar". I mean, can you imagine the work involved in trying to convert a well written Buffy fanfic which used the highly distinctive Scooby gang banter? it would be a nightmare!

Which is an interesting thought, that the better a fanfic is as a fanfic - the more in character it is, the more it captures the characters' voices and the tone and spirit of its source - the harder it will be to convert it. It's a good story, but it's a good story for those characters only and given to anyone else will be lacking at its heart.

Even some of the plot bunnies I have that I never got round to writing before I did my last fanfic don't look workable to me as originals, so actual completed stories, no way.

Prisoner24601
01-29-2012, 03:56 PM
It seems like there are quite a few people who file the serial numbers off their fanfiction or at least have used pieces/scenes/bits of dialogue/etc. from their fanfiction. I don't particularly have a problem with it if the author takes a kernel of an idea (like a character, a scenario or something) and legitimately does something different with it, builds a whole new world around it, and makes the story genuinely their own.

Here is a very recent example of how not to do it. (http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/9079353/1)This person wrote an epically long fanfiction for the Bioware game Dragon Age (basically following most of the events of the game, with an added romance thrown in), sent it into Bioware and tried to sell it to them, and then when she was rejected, put it up as a kindle ebook. This author didn't file the serial numbers off - she lifted the entire Dragon Age plot and used it as backstory, most of the characters from the game and all of the world building. All she did to make it her own was change the names of the characters (barely). Needless to say that the Bioware developers - who are extremely tolerant of fanfiction, even going so far as to encourage their fans to write it with a contest - are not particularly happy about this and I'm very curious to see how this all shakes out.

Katrina S. Forest
01-29-2012, 04:43 PM
Can it be done? Sure. I've never done it successfully. I've had ideas for fanfics then realized the situations I was imaging for the copyrighted characters made a lot more sense for original characters. (At that point, I was straying so far from canon that writing it as a fanfic didn't make sense.)

I think converting a fanfic to a publishable original work is incredibly hard. There's so much backstory you don't need to deliver in a fanfic, because the audience takes it for granted. Now you've got to make a backstory that isn't like the canon, but still matches the situation your characters find themselves in. It's like plotting backwards.

The Otter
01-29-2012, 08:07 PM
I think converting a fanfic to a publishable original work is incredibly hard. There's so much backstory you don't need to deliver in a fanfic, because the audience takes it for granted. Now you've got to make a backstory that isn't like the canon, but still matches the situation your characters find themselves in. It's like plotting backwards.

This is a good point. I've never converted an entire fanfic myself (though I've used bits and pieces from old fanfics, which I've long since taken down) for that reason. It's almost impossible to divorce the stories from the worlds in which they take place.

I guess it depends on the type of fanfic as well. It seems like an AU would be a lot easier because then you're starting from scratch with the world-building anyway.

JSSchley
01-29-2012, 09:04 PM
I think Katrina's point is key. Working backwards to create a believable backstory and characterization when you've been able to take those things for granted in fanfiction is often much harder than you might think. Legal issues aside, it's simply probably not worth your time.

In the age of e-books and fast self-publishing, filing the serial numbers off fanfiction is becoming easier and easier, and I wouldn't be surprised if more authors start taking this route. Doesn't mean it's a great idea, but a lot of people do do it.

IMO, filing, even if it's legal, often results in a weak book. Too much is taken for granted in the way of characterization and backstory, and plot progression which is rewarded in a serial format (lots of ups and downs) often makes for a jerky novel. Take the theme and the idea and use it to write your own book.

crunchyblanket
01-29-2012, 09:04 PM
I wouldn't try to convert an entire fanfic into an original piece. But I have cannibalised passages of fanfic for my original work.

thothguard51
01-29-2012, 09:25 PM
Authors cannibalize bits and pieces from their trunked work all the time. But fanfic is different because you are working within someone else's world.

Look at Robert E. Howard. When his publisher didn't like a story, he rewrote it, changed characters, etc, and his publisher then bought that one. The difference; it wasn't fanfic, it wasn't someone else's world, it was all his own original work.

James D. Macdonald
01-29-2012, 09:36 PM
... someone being sued ...

There's lots of tears and sadness that fall short of being sued. There and Back Again by Pat Murphy can never be republished.

The Otter
01-29-2012, 09:47 PM
There's lots of tears and sadness that fall short of being sued. There and Back Again by Pat Murphy can never be republished.

I'd never heard of that book before now. A sci-fi take on The Hobbit? Interesting concept.

It's a shame it can't be republished, but maybe being published once is better than nothing. Then again, I don't know the whole story or what kind of trouble the author ran into over this. At a glance, it seems it would fall under the umbrella of parody and thus qualify as fair use, but I can't say for sure without having read it.

James D. Macdonald
01-29-2012, 10:00 PM
In my opinion it was totally fair use, but the Tolkien estate has more money than they know what to do with and feral attack lawyers on retainer. Maybe she'd win ... twenty years from now and living in a refrigerator box under a bridge.

Katrina S. Forest
01-29-2012, 10:44 PM
I guess it depends on the type of fanfic as well. It seems like an AU would be a lot easier because then you're starting from scratch with the world-building anyway.

I think you're right on.

I have a couple original stories that resulted from watching a series and misunderstanding what just happened. Then while the show goes off in its intended direction, I'm off thinking, "Well, wait, what if that did happen?"

Other times I'm at the rough planning stages of a story and I envision existing characters as visual placeholders. For example, "Okay, I've got this character who made some bad decisions in his past," and I'll picture him looking like Snape or something until I get a stronger idea of who he is. Then the story evolves into its own thing.

I suppose at these early stages, I could tweak my ideas to make the story a fanfic, but I go for original whenever I can. I can't picture myself writing something as a fanfic and then converting it later. The approaches I take when I'm writing are too different. I don't think the time and effort I've spent writing fanfics are wasted at all, but at the same time, I don't think they're so precious that it's worth frying my brain trying to salvage them into something publishable.

KSandoval
01-29-2012, 11:02 PM
It's not something I would try, personally. Which isn't to say it hasn't been tried successfully. I just feel like those are two things I do that I like to keep separate.

One thing to keep in mind, I'd think, is that people read fanfic because they already love the characters. So, just having people love a fanfic is no promise that they'd love a reworked, non-fanfic version of the same piece.

bertrigby
01-30-2012, 02:54 AM
The CC saga mentioned above definitely shows how long the internet's memory can be. She named her book series after a Harry Potter incest fic she once wrote, as well as using wholesale passages from a different fic. Whilst there's nothing *legally* dodgy about that, it's something I see mentioned in every single internet discussion about her - and plenty of people have the aforementioned fics saved to their computers, even if they have been deleted from the net. It's certainly tarnished her name (although clearly hasn't stood in the way of financial success).

Isobel Lindley
01-30-2012, 04:41 AM
She's the worst possible example to bring up. Most of her "fanfic" was other people's published work that she cut and pasted and called her own. Many of us are utterly disgusted that she got a publishing contract.

It's not just us, then. They could be the best books ever, but we're not touching them. When we see her books in a bookstore or KMart, or have samples of her novels handed out at Hudsons, I feel a wave of rage that a known plagiariser is coining money - especially as, to my knowledge, one of the writers she plagiarised was unable to find a publisher for her own later book, while CC gets marketed to the nth degree. I would not use CC as an example of anything but “how to get away with crap”. Although she’s laughing all the way to the bank, I suppose.

And then there's “the Hunger Games” and all those alternative universe different-time-place-and-concept “Battle Royale” fanfics.

I also remember being loaned a lesbian romance novel from a friend that was clearly Xena “altfic”, complete with illustrations of Renee O’Connor and Lucy Lawless as the (businesswomen? Techies? I don’t even recall) main characters. It was pretty dreadful, but I suppose that’s not the point. It was also probably self-published. I have fuzzy memories of an entire cottage industry of indie published Xena altfic, but I think it’s all dead and long gone now.

I would say only do it if:
a) You have not put the story up online anywhere.
b) You are willing to take the time and care to rewrite substantially, developing the characters and worldbuilding into something more uniquely your own.

I guess I'm saying, if anyone notices, you've done it wrong.

PhoebeNorth
01-30-2012, 08:50 AM
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books were heavily inspired by an episode of Doctor Who, featuring Jamie McCrimmon (played by Frazer Hines), an 18th century Scottish man who goes traveling with a time traveler. Her books, of course, are about Jamie Fraser, an 18th century Scottish man who falls in love with a time traveler.

She admits the influence in many interviews. She's pretty famously anti-fanfic, though she herself has seemingly advised that it's okay if you file off the serial numbers. Hmm, I wonder why? ;)

absitinvidia
01-30-2012, 01:45 PM
It's not just us, then. They could be the best books ever, but we're not touching them. When we see her books in a bookstore or KMart, or have samples of her novels handed out at Hudsons, I feel a wave of rage that a known plagiariser is coining money - especially as, to my knowledge, one of the writers she plagiarised was unable to find a publisher for her own later book, while CC gets marketed to the nth degree. I would not use CC as an example of anything but “how to get away with crap”. Although she’s laughing all the way to the bank, I suppose.

I won't buy anything she's a part of, whether it's her novels, anthologies she's contributed to, or books she's blurbed. If her name is anywhere on it, it's off-limits. And I've stopped a lot of other people from buying her stuff as well.



I also remember being loaned a lesbian romance novel from a friend that was clearly Xena “altfic”, complete with illustrations of Renee O’Connor and Lucy Lawless as the (businesswomen? Techies? I don’t even recall) main characters. It was pretty dreadful, but I suppose that’s not the point. It was also probably self-published. I have fuzzy memories of an entire cottage industry of indie published Xena altfic, but I think it’s all dead and long gone now.

Oddly enough, I'm not sure about that. As far as I know, Melissa Good is still cranking out her "original fiction" for publication.

SafetyDance
01-30-2012, 03:59 PM
There's the Fifty Shades of Grey series, currently topping all the erotica charts. It's Twilight fanfic but with different names. You can easily find the original as "Masters of the Universe" online, complete with Twilight names. It's published by the Writer's Coffee House and it's not cheap, either--$9.99 for an ebook.

The reviews are, for the most part, feverishly positive. And most are not bothered that it's fanfic with new names.

No idea whether Meyer has investigated legally but if I were her, I'd want every penny.

Torgo
01-30-2012, 04:03 PM
The CC saga mentioned above definitely shows how long the internet's memory can be. She named her book series after a Harry Potter incest fic she once wrote, as well as using wholesale passages from a different fic. Whilst there's nothing *legally* dodgy about that, it's something I see mentioned in every single internet discussion about her - and plenty of people have the aforementioned fics saved to their computers, even if they have been deleted from the net. It's certainly tarnished her name (although clearly hasn't stood in the way of financial success).

I think that on the evidence of her published fiction Cassie Clare deserves her success (unless it turns out bits of her published books are lifted from other people?) I read City of Bones, it was pretty good. Declaration of interest: I worked on the UK edition.

bearilou
01-30-2012, 05:01 PM
I guess I'm saying, if anyone notices, you've done it wrong.

QFT

While I love fanfiction and love writing it and have even considered filing off some serial numbers on fanfic I've written (and not posted on the internet), I've decided not to.

What I'm doing instead for one project is writing 'fanfic' of my own novel in progress and if it stands up to the final product (major plot points/characterizations stay intact), I may decide to bundle it with the main body itself.

Get my fanfic writing in and staying original!

shaldna
01-30-2012, 05:28 PM
Edit: I can, however, think of an example of someone successfully transitioning from fanfiction to original work; Cassandra Clare. I never read any of her fanfic, but apparently she was well known within the Harry Potter community, and a lot of people speculate that she lifted ideas or characters from her fanfiction and used them in her original novels. Her original work is quite successful, however, and she's never run into any legal trouble, as far as I know. People gossip, but being a bestselling author I'm sure she doesn't give a fig, and in her shoes I wouldn't either.

I read the fanfics back when they were still on FF.net and when I, much later, read her City of Bones book I got a feeling that I had read much of it before, and when I checked I was right. She copied and pasted some considerably large chunks of her fanfic into what became the book series.

In addition, the characters are pretty much the same - except Ginny has become Clary, Harry has become Simon and Draco has become Jace - honestly, they are pretty interchangable.

In terms of her fanfic - it was removed and her user account deleted because she had plagiarised other writers works in her fanfic - most notably, but not limited to, Pamela Dean's books.

Re: the legal issues - they started when Clare opened a cafe press store to sell merchandise related to one of her LOTR fics. Obviously this would have been breaking various terms and conditions, not to mention the fact that she would have been profiting from fanfic and someone else's copyright materials. Cafe Press closed the shop and posted an announcement regarding copyright of the Tolkien stuff. Rumour at the time suggested Clare had recieved a C&D from Tolkien Enterprises.

That wasn't the only time that Clare was in hot water over profiting from fanfic - there was some nasty business with soliciting money to buy her a new laptop and she was requesting gifts from readers at one stage - posting a PO box address online.

randi.lee
01-30-2012, 05:30 PM
I've done it loads of times. Most of the poems in my poetry book started out as fanfics. Just pulled the fanfic out of them and published they were.

In fact, I'm recycling imagery from my fanfics for a current WIP.

Prisoner24601
01-30-2012, 05:35 PM
What totally blows me away about Cassandra Claire is that she's teaching at the Clarion Writing Workshop (http://literature.ucsd.edu/affiliated-programs/clarion/index.html) this year.

Which probably serves as a lesson - mainly that if you're a successful author, most people, even within writing communities, aren't going to give a crap that you filed the numbers off of a fanfic, even if it's totally obvious.

ChaosTitan
01-30-2012, 07:12 PM
Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books were heavily inspired by an episode of Doctor Who, featuring Jamie McCrimmon (played by Frazer Hines), an 18th century Scottish man who goes traveling with a time traveler. Her books, of course, are about Jamie Fraser, an 18th century Scottish man who falls in love with a time traveler.

She admits the influence in many interviews. She's pretty famously anti-fanfic, though she herself has seemingly advised that it's okay if you file off the serial numbers. Hmm, I wonder why? ;)

I think there's a huge difference, though, between being inspired by something, and a work being fanfic with the serial numbers filed off.

Ctairo
01-30-2012, 08:05 PM
What totally blows me away about Cassandra Claire is that she's teaching at the Clarion Writing Workshop (http://literature.ucsd.edu/affiliated-programs/clarion/index.html) this year.

Which probably serves as a lesson - mainly that if you're a successful author, most people, even within writing communities, aren't going to give a crap that you filed the numbers off of a fanfic, even if it's totally obvious.
Teaching? Whoa. I have to confess I've seen writers go after her online (the plagiarized fanfic episode(s)? Not pretty.). But it seems in the end, as long as the books sell, and as long as she's not currently plagiarizing, all is good.

skylark
01-30-2012, 09:09 PM
A friend of mine has filed the serial numbers off a fanfic and sold it as a short story.

Thing is, the serial numbers weren't stamped on very hard in the first place. It was a story where the canon-ness was all in the backstory - it was set years down the line from the original. She changed the names and the character backstories from the fandom-specific versions, and nobody would ever guess it had started out as fanfic.

I have no problem with that at all. She started off inspired by the relationship which two characters have, wrote an original story about it, and then replaced the canon characters with two different characters of her own who have much the same relationship. It's all her own work. It simply had an intermediate stage where it wasn't.

That, to me, is very different from selling a story whose attraction is that it's just like (insert canon here).

ios
01-30-2012, 09:19 PM
I don't think it's a bad idea as long as it comes out as an original story, not fanfic masquerading as an original story still.

I was inspired by a fanfic I started writing. I developed a world in that fic, and I ended up creating a short story based off it. It was published in a contest anthology.

I have also done fanfic in my head based on some characters, and ended up liking the idea enough that I decided to make it a novel or series. Walker Universe (a wip) is one. Not that you'd really recognize it the "fanfic" part of it--I AU'd the h*** outta the TV show it was originally based off. But Walker Universe isn't the only one I've done this too.

It might help for me to mention that I wrote AU fanfic (alternate universe fanfic), meaning most of the creation was mine anyway and was in no way canon.

So basically just be careful. Make sure it's your own work in the end.

Jodi

QuantumIguana
01-30-2012, 10:08 PM
How many fantasy stories have been published that looked an awful lot like Lord of the Rings?

PhoebeNorth
01-31-2012, 01:11 AM
I think there's a huge difference, though, between being inspired by something, and a work being fanfic with the serial numbers filed off.

If you search for Diana Gabaldon and Doctor Who, she says that what she was interested in was the character and his personality on the show as well as the setting. It's a very, very fine line. If I write a novel about "Benedict Holmes," a skinny, dark-haired detective who disdains other people and who investigates murders on a spaceship, I wouldn't fault people for thinking that my writing was fanficish, at the very least.

Cyia
01-31-2012, 01:27 AM
Actually, so long as Benedict didn't wear a pea coat or smoke a calabash pipe, you're good to go. Holmes is public domain; only the silhouette costume is trademarked.

KalenO
01-31-2012, 01:43 AM
Yeah, my big issue with CC has actually always been her shady legal/commercial practices. I remember back when 'LaptopGate' was happening, and her attitude through the whole thing was just reprehensible and made me swear I'd never even look at her writing.

And don't even get me started on her teaching at Clarion, lol. But yeah, its really always been her shameless profiteering that annoyed me, nothing about her writing.

PhoebeNorth
01-31-2012, 01:44 AM
I'm not talking about legal intricacies, but rather differing attitudes toward derivative works. What Gabaldon did--write a book with a character very, very similar to the character in another work (one that's still under copyright!) in personality and even name--is not at its heart really any different from what many fanfic writers do. Many of them even set characters in their own universes or have them interact with original characters.

However, my attitudes about literary mash-ups/derivative works/whatever are a bit broader than most. I got my start writing original characters in Pern fandom, back in the day when Anne McCaffrey let us play in her world but not with her people. She still considered what we were doing fanfic, and I'd be inclined to agree with her.

Ria13
01-31-2012, 01:49 AM
If your story is published, and gets any sort of success, someone will find the original version and publicize the fact -- and the original copyright holder may hunt you down. Tears and sadness all around.
what legal justification would they have to do this? I mean, just because you originally wrote it made fanfic doesn't mean that you have tried to publish fanfic.

(note that I ask this purely out of academic interest, not because I have fanfic that I would like to do this to... not that I haven't written fanfic.)

Ria13
01-31-2012, 01:51 AM
I never read any of her fanfic, but apparently she was well known within the Harry Potter community, and a lot of people speculate that she lifted ideas or characters from her fanfiction and used them in her original novels. Her original work is quite successful, however, and she's never run into any legal trouble, as far as I know.
well you can hardly get into trouble for using a character or concept that you created. (unless you have, I don't know, sold the right to use that character/concept to someone else, of course.)

Ria13
01-31-2012, 01:54 AM
actually I read the beginning of a novel that came out recently that to me at least read like fanfiction based on [censored so I won't get sued]. if I ever meet that author I will ask her if she ever got the inspiration from [censored]. not in an accusatory way, mind you, I simply would like to know. I think that she did.

heza
01-31-2012, 02:14 AM
Authors cannibalize bits and pieces from their trunked work all the time. But fanfic is different because you are working within someone else's world.

Cannibalizing fanfic is different only if you're cannibalizing the parts that are recognizable from the original work. If I write a lovely description of a ship and ships aren't particularly unique in the original work, then I can use my description in any original fiction I want. Granted, if there is anything in it recognizable from the original work, then I need to change it. But just because it's fanfic doesn't mean that I don't own my specific wording and that I can't use it somewhere else so long as I'm not impinging on anyone else's characters or specific, world-identifying details.

I've sort of pondered the idea of filing off the serial numbers because I've worked on a pretty AU fic. But I decided not to. The reason I wrote the fic in the first places was so my friends in my fandom fic community could enjoy it... and if I try to turn it into something it's not, then I destroy the reason I wrote it in the first place. I'm not saying it's the best choice for everyone, but I'll probably just let my fanfic stay fanfic, as it was meant to be.

heza
01-31-2012, 02:20 AM
However, my attitudes about literary mash-ups/derivative works/whatever are a bit broader than most. I got my start writing original characters in Pern fandom, back in the day when Anne McCaffrey let us play in her world but not with her people. She still considered what we were doing fanfic, and I'd be inclined to agree with her.

I would completely agree with her.... what reason do other people give as not considering it fanfic if it's still in her world but with original characters?

PhoebeNorth
01-31-2012, 02:24 AM
Well, back then her lawyers took a wide interpretation of "her world" and went after writing groups whose worldbuilding, they thought, LOOKED like Pern. To about the extent that Eragon looks like Pern. Which is to say, a fair amount, but it's very hard to know where inspiration ends and derivative work begins, and while some forms of derivative works might be more legal than others, in terms of the actual spirit of the act, they're really not very different at all.

heza
01-31-2012, 02:52 AM
Well, back then her lawyers took a wide interpretation of "her world" and went after writing groups whose worldbuilding, they thought, LOOKED like Pern. To about the extent that Eragon looks like Pern. Which is to say, a fair amount, but it's very hard to know where inspiration ends and derivative work begins, and while some forms of derivative works might be more legal than others, in terms of the actual spirit of the act, they're really not very different at all.

I guess, without having really played out all the bizarre scenarios, I have a pretty straight line for what counts as fanfic and what doesn't. If it's got Holds and Weyrs and dragons and thread falling and it's set in a place called Pern and all the names are H'norific!, then I'm pretty sure I'd call it fanfic. Change most of that, and I wouldn't. But I can see where broadly claiming your world (if Eragon would have fallen into their definition) would muddle it up.

I wasn't sure from your post a few up (when you said "back in the day", is all Pern fic outlawed now? Or has it opened up more from those older restrictions?

Amadan
01-31-2012, 03:02 AM
I remember back in the day when I did online RPGing. People would frequently start campaigns based on a movie or book series. Which, technically, falls into the same legal gray area as fan fiction. But most authors don't care (or are flattered) if people want to roleplay their characters, or in their world.

But Anne McAffrey freaked out whenever anyone tried to start a Pern campaign, and would start threatening legal action.

Isobel Lindley
01-31-2012, 03:09 AM
Oddly enough, I'm not sure about that. As far as I know, Melissa Good is still cranking out her "original fiction" for publication.
Good heavens. I must google. But not necessarily read.

I must add that my wife was looking for a Star Trek: Voyager epic altfic she fondly remembered, and found that it had been taken down - to prepare for publication.


I would completely agree with her.... what reason do other people give as not considering it fanfic if it's still in her world but with original characters?

Battle Royale fanfic (based on the novel, maga or movies) often isn't even set in the same world. There's fanfic that takes the same central idea of teenagers being sent into isolated locations to fight to the death, with the sole survivor being rewarded by the oppressive government, any children who resist the programme becoming enemies of the government, and sometimes the winners/survivors banding together to violently resist the government ala the film BRII. But the writers often transplant the story to settings different from the fascist alternate-history Asia of the novel or the near-future Japan of the movies, and keep no original characters. It's still labelled as fanfic.

Unless, of course, it's "The H***** G****" trilogy.

Ria13
01-31-2012, 03:13 AM
I recently read The Hunger Games (just the first one) and started the Battle Royale novel (as opposed to film, etc.) and they really have nothing in common in terms of tone, theme or main character. or setting, even. (Battle Royale takes place in an abandoned island with buildings, etc., and The Hunger Games in the wilderness.)

Amadan
01-31-2012, 03:14 AM
Speaking of books that read like fanfic with the serial numbers (somewhat inadequately) filed off - "The Hunger Games".


Huh? What do you think The Hunger Games is fan fic of?

And if you say Battle Royale, Ima gonna hurt you.

ETA: Ninjaed by Rai13!

Isobel Lindley
01-31-2012, 03:24 AM
Huh? What do you think The Hunger Games is fan fic of?

And if you say Battle Royale, Ima gonna hurt you.

ETA: Ninjaed by Rai13!
Hurt me if you like. But I was one of the people who read it absolutely gobsmacked at the lack of originality... and finding it oh so easy to predict what came next, right up to the [redacted: shared ending of HG1 and BR novel, manga series and first movie] to the [redacted: shared plot of second two HG books and BRII film] plot. It's not just the novels that was mined, either - changes made by the movies and the manga also made it into HG.

The differences in tone seemed mainly a matter of reducing the gore (a good thing to reduce, IMO) and the political analysis of the novel (less good).

I still bought them, mind.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 03:40 AM
Hurt me if you like. But I was one of the people who read it absolutely gobsmacked at the lack of originality... and finding it oh so easy to predict what came next, right up to the "let's bend the rules so two children, including a saintly one who should by rights have been a corpse, can survive" to the the BRII "let's form a resistance group around former winners!" plot. It's not just the novels that was mined, eitehr - changes made by the movies and the manga also made it into HG.

The differences in tone seemed mainly a matter of reducing the gore (a good thing to reduce, IMO) and the political analysis of the novel (less good).

I still bought them, mind.


I strongly disagree. They're really only similar to the same degree that any two epic fantasy novels or space operas are similar.

Suzanne Collins has said she was unaware of Battle Royale until after she wrote The Hunger Games, and I see no reason to disbelieve her.

PhoebeNorth
01-31-2012, 03:43 AM
I guess, without having really played out all the bizarre scenarios, I have a pretty straight line for what counts as fanfic and what doesn't. If it's got Holds and Weyrs and dragons and thread falling and it's set in a place called Pern and all the names are H'norific!, then I'm pretty sure I'd call it fanfic. Change most of that, and I wouldn't. But I can see where broadly claiming your world (if Eragon would have fallen into their definition) would muddle it up.

I wasn't sure from your post a few up (when you said "back in the day", is all Pern fic outlawed now? Or has it opened up more from those older restrictions?

I was in a club that her lawyers shut down that involved psychic dragons of different colors (not the colors used in Pern). Otherwise, it was a space opera with guns and high technology, no thread, no weyrs, no honorifics. Was the whole psychic dragon thing really derivative? Yeah--and obviously so. Legally, did her lawyers have a leg to stand on? Who knows. We were a bunch of 13 year olds. We weren't really going to fight them. :P

Pern has, within the past decade, been pretty much completely opened up for fanfic, to my knowledge. It used to be one of the more closely guarded universes, though, with lots of threats of litigation.

I honestly think much of this is decided by the zealousness of the copyright holder and the sneakiness of the writer of the derivative work. There's a LONG history of derivative work in the Western canon, including within the world of literary fiction. One man's "self-insert AU fic" is another man's "original fiction with a character inspired by some guy I saw on tv." :)

Ria13
01-31-2012, 04:17 AM
Hurt me if you like. But I was one of the people who read it absolutely gobsmacked at the lack of originality...
you included a bigass important spoiler concerning the ending of both books there. please re-edit your post to put in a warning there. I mean you just spoiled me, because I haven't read Battle Royale myself beyond the first couple of chapters.

Ria13
01-31-2012, 04:20 AM
The differences in tone seemed mainly a matter of reducing the gore (a good thing to reduce, IMO) and the political analysis of the novel (less good).
given the subject matter, I thought The Hunger Games went out of its way to avoid gore.

Isobel Lindley
01-31-2012, 04:23 AM
given the subject matter, I thought The Hunger Games went out of its way to avoid gore.
Yes? That was kind of my point - less gore, political analysis reduced to "naughty rich city keeps provinces as slave labour and kills children. Is it right to kill in response?"


I strongly disagree. They're really only similar to the same degree that any two epic fantasy novels or space operas are similar.

Suzanne Collins has said she was unaware of Battle Royale until after she wrote The Hunger Games, and I see no reason to disbelieve her.
I think we'll have to agree to - strongly - disagree, here. The trilogy itself is sufficient reason for me to disbelieve her. There are just too many vast similarities to the various BR versions, in central concept, in plot development, and in individual scenes, for it to seem to me at all likely to be a pure coincidence. That being said, I still enjoyed and recommend the trilogy, especially to people who find the original BR novel a bit too confronting and/or violent.

But I don't want to hijack the thread to argue it out once more here, especially as I don't think either side of this debate has ever convinced the other. :)

Ria13
01-31-2012, 04:36 AM
Yes? That was kind of my point - less gore, political analysis reduced to "naughty rich city keeps provinces as slave labour and kills children. Is it right to kill in response?"
okay, me dumb.

I haven't actually read all of Battle Royale so I suspend judgement on how much she borrowed.

BTW, though, I really wish you would go back and re-edit those big spoilers out of your earlier post.

That being said, I still enjoyed and recommend the trilogy, especially to people who find the original BR novel a bit too confronting and/or violent.
I find it morally dangerous to take on violent subject matter and not confront the reader with horror.

Ria13
01-31-2012, 04:38 AM
we live in a world where, in the western world, governments encourage teenagers to pick up arms for vague reasons. if fiction can tell those kids why they might not want to do that, why they might want to question that, then all the better.

Isobel Lindley
01-31-2012, 05:27 AM
Hi Ria13 - I did edit any actual spoilers quite a while back. All that remains visible is the shared central concepts - nothing about which way the plot goes.

Mark Moore
01-31-2012, 06:46 AM
I've actually been considering doing this with two lengthy fanfic series that I'd written.

One picks up right after the TV series, so, in addition to altering the characters' names, settings, and weapons and removing copyrighted song lyrics, I'd have to write a new origin. Oh, and I'd have to gut out a lot of crap. I've been told that the characters in this fanfic continuation don't sound or act much like their TV counterparts, so it should make the transition to original novel easier.

The other is a more recent fanfic series that's set in a new universe but uses a lot of characters from various TV series. Other than the names, though, you'd never tell that these were the TV characters, so this is also fairly easy to turn into a novel.

I'm gonna focus on getting "Vampire Killer" published before trying to publish these suckers, though.

djf881
01-31-2012, 02:36 PM
Ms. Clare was also in a loooot of legal trouble over that, although I believe the situation involved more than just her work starting out as fanfiction.



This appears to be a load of shit.

From what I can tell, the extent of Cassandra Clare's legal trouble is that she had a Cafepress site ten years ago where she sold some t-shirts related to her popular LOTR fanfic, and Cafepress shut the site down, possibly at he request of the Tolkien estate.

She shouldn't have done that, but it's not exactly "serious legal problems."

Her "plagiarism" sounds similarly trumped up. She had a habit from inserting recognizable lines of dialog from TV shows into her fanfic, noting that she had done so in a footnote, and challenging her readers to find it.

This is called "reference." It's what Kevin Smith does when he drops lines from "Star Wars" into "Clerks." This is half of every episode of "Family Guy." When you incorporate a line or a phrase to make a reference, you don't intend for readers to think you originated the line; fans of the source are supposed to recognize it. And Clare attributed her stuff, in a general way, in footnotes, by telling her readers that she was weaving references and allusions to various properties into her text.

People sometimes conflate the technical wrong of copyright infringement with the mortal sin of plagiarism. Infringement is the act of appropriating someone else's intellectual property for your own purposes, beyond the permitted limits of certain exemptions. Plagiarism is the act of claiming authorship over someone else's work.

Plagiarism is not a legal crime, but, rather, it is an intellectual one. It goes beyond the technical vagaries of copyright infringement or the letter of any law. It's the most unforgivable act a writer can commit. The plagiarist is entirely discredited, and the penalty is immediate disassociation from everyone in publishing. It's like being shunned by the Amish. Convicted murderers can, in certain circumstances, have their work published by commercial houses, but plagiarists are untouchable.

While Clare has removed her fan fiction, and I can't examine it myself, I'm certain that Clare's publisher and their lawyers looked into this stuff very closely before they published "City of Bones." It's a gargantuan embarrassment to a publisher to have an author caught ripping stuff off, and when it's discovered, publishers have, in the past, recalled all copies of the offending book at great cost. I am certain that if there was any merit to these accusations, Clare would never have been published in the first place.

Plagiarists are considered permanently tainted, and no publisher would knowingly associate with one. The reason it's so unforgivable is that plagiarism is, most critically, a crime of dishonesty. You can never publish a plagiarist, because, no matter how carefully you may try to vet their future work, you can never be sure it's really their own.

Apparently, Clare made some enemies in the fanfiction community by speaking ill of other writers. Plagiarism is a bannable offense on Fanfiction.net, so Clare's enemies started spamming the mods with plagiarism complaints over her incorporation of dialog from "Buffy" and other sources. As far as I can tell, the Fanfiction.net mods never took action on these complaints.

Clare's apparently extensive use of borrowed dialog in her fanfiction would be unacceptable in a publishable story. But it was not plagiarism, because she was very open about what she was doing; she didn't intend for her readers to believe she'd originated those "Buffy" one-liners any more than she intended for them to believe she'd invented Harry Potter.

All fan-fiction infringes on copyright, but it is an appropriation that is tacitly permitted by most copyright owners. Writing fan-fiction is essentially creation by appropriation, and the appropriation of dialog from "Buffy" in the context here is no different than appropriating characters, settings and backstory from Rowling. Clare is no worse, in other words, than anyone else known to have published fan-fiction. While claiming authorship over someone else's words is a capital crime, appropriating dialog (without claiming authorship of it) in a story about appropriated characters in an appropriated world is kind of like farting in a sewer.

In the absence of proof of any real wrongdoing, it seems any rational person would trust Simon and Schuster and an NYT bestselling author over a couple of people on the Internet who are still angry about a fanfic flame war from a decade ago.

I am going to flag this thread and ask the mods to delete it, because I don't believe these allegations have any merit whatsoever. Plagiarism is a very serious intellectual offense, and falsely accusing a working writer of it is damn close to defamatory.

In fact, the difference between Harry Potter and "City of Bones" seems to be pretty close to a textbook example of the degree to which fanfic must be transformed in order to be publishable. Changing it enough to avoid the technicalities of copyright law will keep you out of court, and may be enough for some less-selective markets. However, a technically non-infringing off-brand imitation of an existing bestseller isn't an enticing submission to an agent or a publisher who rejects 999 queries out of 1000. You must present a new franchise with an original hook to stand a chance.

Edit: Apparently, Clare did get banned from Fanfiction.net.

Amadan
01-31-2012, 04:42 PM
I am going to flag this thread and ask the mods to delete it, because I don't believe these allegations have any merit whatsoever. Plagiarism is a very serious intellectual offense, and falsely accusing a working writer of it is damn close to defamatory.


Whoa, there. You make a good case re: Cassandra Clare, but asking mods to delete a thread because you don't like what's being said about her? The plagiarism accusations have been floating all over the Internet for years, and if you feel so strongly that they are unmerited, then it's sufficient to do what you did, and lay out a counter-argument.

FWIW, I read up on the whole CC drama years ago (I never did read more than a few pages of her fan fiction, nor have I read her books) and I believe what you say is mostly true, though I think her "borrowing" was a little more extensive than she admitted to. (If I recall, there were entire paragraphs she lifted nearly verbatim from various books, changing only some names.)

Cyia
01-31-2012, 04:58 PM
I am going to flag this thread and ask the mods to delete it, because I don't believe these allegations have any merit whatsoever. Plagiarism is a very serious intellectual offense, and falsely accusing a working writer of it is damn close to defamatory.http://www.fanhistory.com/wiki/Cassandra_Claire%27s_Plagiarism

http://www.fanhistory.com/index.php?title=Talk:Cassandra_Claire/Misc

http://wiki.fandomwank.com/index.php/Plagiarism_and_All_That

Thump
01-31-2012, 05:37 PM
I have read both Battle Royale and Hunger Games and I admit it took me a while to read HG BECAUSE it sounded like a rip-off of BR.

However, aside from the obvious similarities, both being part of the same genre, they are, in fact, different enough that I, as a fan of BR, have no issues whatsoever also loving HG. For example, the reasons why the governments make the children fight are completely different, the governments represent completely different kinds of fascism/evil/politics, how they select the competitors is different... HG is the Roman Empire in the future which BR is definitely not.

If anything, they are both rip-off of Lord of the Flies anyway.

Just because one person wrote about children being made to battle to the death by an evil government doesn't mean no one else can provided that they don't do it the same way, with the same words etc. Otherwise that'd be most of Fantasy and Science-fiction gone right there. Just because my book has elves and dwarves and an evil being they need to defeat doesn't make it fanfiction of LotR.

I have no problem with people publishing fanfiction that's been edited not to mention anything that clearly marks it as such. You can't own ideas and just because something was set in your universe originally doesn't mean the words don't belong to the fanfic writer. The only thing they don't own are the characters and place names and such and if they remove those things that ARE protected by copyright, what's left is all original work. Whether you find it tasteful or not is up to you but those are your hang-ups and not inherent to the activity...

As someone said before, people write in different ways and some people can and do use fanfiction as a sort of middle-step with existing characters and 'verses as placeholders until they have a better grasps of where they want to go and what they want to do. *shrug*

There's no such thing as a completely original story anyway so who cares how a story got started so long as it's good and brings in something new?

Alitriona
01-31-2012, 10:30 PM
There's the Fifty Shades of Grey series, currently topping all the erotica charts. It's Twilight fanfic but with different names. You can easily find the original as "Masters of the Universe" online, complete with Twilight names. It's published by the Writer's Coffee House and it's not cheap, either--$9.99 for an ebook.

The reviews are, for the most part, feverishly positive. And most are not bothered that it's fanfic with new names.

No idea whether Meyer has investigated legally but if I were her, I'd want every penny.

Aside from other issues with TWCS practices, the novel is about a well know business tycoon with a troubled past involving a dubious sexual relationship in his youth. He is heavily into a BDSM lifestyle, meets a young woman during an interview for a college paper and takes her as his sub. No paranormal elements involved. Many of the reviewers don't know it was ever fanfic, so I'm not sure why they would be expected to take issue with it.

absitinvidia
02-01-2012, 01:24 AM
Plagiarism is the act of claiming authorship over someone else's work.

And this is precisely what she did. She took entire passages out of Pamela Dean's books without acknowledging she'd done so, let alone crediting or citing Dean.



Plagiarism is not a legal crime, but, rather, it is an intellectual one. It goes beyond the technical vagaries of copyright infringement or the letter of any law. It's the most unforgivable act a writer can commit. The plagiarist is entirely discredited, and the penalty is immediate disassociation from everyone in publishing.

. . .

Plagiarists are considered permanently tainted, and no publisher would knowingly associate with one. The reason it's so unforgivable is that plagiarism is, most critically, a crime of dishonesty. You can never publish a plagiarist, because, no matter how carefully you may try to vet their future work, you can never be sure it's really their own.


If you're going to call for a thread to be shut down because people made false statements, then your post qualifies.

The truth is, publishers "knowingly associate with" plagiarists all the time. Janet Dailey is still publishing.

quicklime
02-01-2012, 01:30 AM
People sometimes conflate the technical wrong of copyright infringement with the mortal sin of plagiarism. Infringement is the act of appropriating someone else's intellectual property for your own purposes, beyond the permitted limits of certain exemptions. Plagiarism is the act of claiming authorship over someone else's work.

Plagiarism is not a legal crime, but, rather, it is an intellectual one. It goes beyond the technical vagaries of copyright infringement or the letter of any law. It's the most unforgivable act a writer can commit. The plagiarist is entirely discredited, and the penalty is immediate disassociation from everyone in publishing. It's like being shunned by the Amish. Convicted murderers can, in certain circumstances, have their work published by commercial houses, but plagiarists are untouchable.

.



whaaaaa?

publishers don't drop anyone who plagiarizes out of some knightly code of conduct, they do because OF the legal issues you cite, and an unwillingness to put themselves at risk (once someone is caught, a later vow to "pinky swear" they aren't a stealing liar just doesn't seem to cut it, and if you in any way knowingly sold plagiarized work your ass is also in the sling). it is a business decision. A very good one, but that isn't like being shunned by the amish any more than a dude with impotence issues is almost like someone who has made a vow of chastity.


as for the op question, i wouldn't do it myself, out of my own little moral compass (the fact there is a name for the process, "filing the serial numbers", which essentially refers to how a criminal removes the traces from a stolen fierarm, probably tells you a bit about how it is viewed in general), but on top of that I'm just not sure it wouldn't be almost as much work as just re-writing something of my own in the first place.

Ria13
02-01-2012, 01:41 AM
If anything, they are both rip-off of Lord of the Flies anyway.
oh, come on. "influenced by" does not equal ripped off by. tons and tons of sf has done similar themes.

I notice that in this thread a conflation of

-- fanfiction
-- works influenced by other works
-- plagiarism

not the same thing by any means. fanfiction gets thrown around a lot as a synonym for works influenced by other works.

SafetyDance
02-01-2012, 03:00 AM
Aside from other issues with TWCS practices, the novel is about a well know business tycoon with a troubled past involving a dubious sexual relationship in his youth. He is heavily into a BDSM lifestyle, meets a young woman during an interview for a college paper and takes her as his sub. No paranormal elements involved. Many of the reviewers don't know it was ever fanfic, so I'm not sure why they would be expected to take issue with it.

And yet the book's initial popularity stems from the fact it was very popular on a fanfic site, where it traded on the idea that this story played out between Meyer's characters.

Sorry--if somebody did this with my characters and got money out of it, I'd be after that money.

Celia Cyanide
02-01-2012, 04:43 AM
And yet the book's initial popularity stems from the fact it was very popular on a fanfic site, where it traded on the idea that this story played out between Meyer's characters.

Sorry--if somebody did this with my characters and got money out of it, I'd be after that money.

I don't know. Sure it gained popularity there, but anywhere it was actually sold, it wasn't using her characters, which are generic and could be anyone.

Alitriona
02-01-2012, 04:50 AM
And yet the book's initial popularity stems from the fact it was very popular on a fanfic site, where it traded on the idea that this story played out between Meyer's characters.

Sorry--if somebody did this with my characters and got money out of it, I'd be after that money.

A thousand and one books popularity stem from being a whole heap more similar to Twilight than that book does. I don't remember reading Edward was a twenty something human business man keeping a room with sex toys into dominating his sexual partners. So we have a book with an immortal teen virgin vampire who sparkles and another book written by someone else with a wealthy emotionally messed up sex dominant human tycoon by a different name. Yet, you claim both characters are Meyer's creation.

I have no idea what made that particular story popular, I haven't read the book but whatever it was it wasn't similarities to a YA book about vampires. The fact it is topping the erotica charts, shows it isn't aimed at the YA market and I doubt someone is going looking for a YA paranormal and picking up erotica instead, so it's not impeding sales of Meyers books. The two books side by side couldn't be more different from what I heard.

Personally, if someone wrote a story that had no relation to one of my books or characters other than names, then changed the names and sold it, I'd say more power to them. Now, if someone took my characters, my universe, my storyline and wrote something in that world then sold it, that would be a different kettle of fish.

PulpDogg
02-02-2012, 02:06 PM
Just wanted to give my 2 cents on the original question.

"Filing off the serial numbers" depends heavily on what kind of story was written in the first place. If I write a fanfic involving the principal characters of the universe, it is pretty much impossible to rewrite it to something original. If I am just writing a story that kind of plays in the universe - its easier.

I haven't written a lot of ff ... one idea I do have could be written in 2 different fictional universes, so I imagine I could transform that idea to something original rather easily. Some Star Trek FF ideas that are still lying around on my hard drive will probably not ever become a story, let alone something original ...

A.P.M.
02-02-2012, 04:37 PM
Hey guys, I meant this thread to simply discuss this practice-it wasn't intended to attack anyone. Please don't shut down the thread.

Anyhoo, I brought it up because I wrote a fanfic with purely original characters and plot-but the world is inspired by someone else's creative property. I've been struggling with the decision to try and "file the numbers off," so to speak, on the urging of another writer, but I simply wasn't sure how kosher that was.

I'm at least reassured to see that it's been done before.

Although, from what I'm seeing in this thread, it looks like doing it does spark some controversy.

shaldna
02-02-2012, 05:28 PM
The issue with plagiarism is that it's not a criminal offense, it's a civil one, and so it's costly to prove. In addition, the onus is on the accused to prove that they didn't plagiarise, rather than the victim to prove that their work was stolen.



The truth is, publishers "knowingly associate with" plagiarists all the time. Janet Dailey is still publishing.

Yes, but you can bet that her publishers are very, very careful with her now and she'll be subjected to a whole host of additional scrutiny from them and readers, and she'll know it too.

You have to bear in mind that it took nearly 5 years for Dailey to be able to get another book deal after the plagiarism of Nora Roberts came to light.

And while Dailey seems to have been able to recover her career, many other writers aren't able to do that - Cassie Edwards, Kaavya Viswanathan and Q.R. Markham to name a few.

Yes, there are some plagiarists who are blatantly guilty - Dan Brown - but still manage to get away with it because of the nature of civil court cases - it doesn't always matter who is 'right' or 'wrong'

Stormhawk
02-04-2012, 05:20 AM
My series is my fanfic with the serial numbers filed off. And a coat of paint. And a genre change. And 5+ years of world building.

Ok, it's more accurate to say that it's the original concepts I put into my fanfic with the serial numbers filed off. If I step people through the elements that went into the fanfic, how the they related to the original canon, and have now been used in the original fiction, they can see it, but without it, no one would know.

I wrote Matrix fanfic, it became urban fantasy, and I regret nothing.

writer1709
08-27-2012, 09:27 PM
First off it's wrong to publish fanfiction stories because you are using copyrighted characters. As someone who was in the Harry Potter fandom for years, Clare's plagiarism was no the worst. SHe opened a cafe press shop selling merchandise for her Lord of the Rings fanfics, Tolkein empire shut her down. Then she was receiving gifts from her fanfic admirers. Then she was soliciting money from her fanfic reviewers to buy a new computer so she could continue writing fanfiction! UGH

Clare's characters are Rowlings, people in the HP fandom have PDFs of her fanfics, she pretty much just copied the Draco Trilogy into the Mortal Instruments and added thousands of words. Jace is Malfoy, Clary is Ginny Weasley, and Simon is the boy whom the 7 books were based on your guessed it folks Harry Potter.

Filigree
08-27-2012, 10:00 PM
I remembered reading the original fanfics on several sites some years ago, back when I first discovered Potterfic. I've never read 'The Mortal Instruments' series (deathly allergic to YA at the moment, sorry) but I'm not surprised they took off. We live in an era of sampled and recycled creative content.

James D. Macdonald
08-28-2012, 12:37 AM
All art is in conversation with all other art.

Mutive
08-28-2012, 12:49 AM
FWIW, I read up on the whole CC drama years ago (I never did read more than a few pages of her fan fiction, nor have I read her books) and I believe what you say is mostly true, though I think her "borrowing" was a little more extensive than she admitted to. (If I recall, there were entire paragraphs she lifted nearly verbatim from various books, changing only some names.)

From what I can recall, the plagiarism brou hah hah was started after she dumped an entire chapter from another book into her fan fiction.

Admittedly, she had been putting in quotes for years and asking readers to figure out which ones were lifted (which seems fine and even kind of cute to me). But lifting an entire chapter is...pretty worrisome.

I would be highly surprised, though, if this chapter made it into her published works...

Filigree
08-28-2012, 12:58 AM
Apparently, lots of large text blocks from other novels made it into DRACO DORMIENS, and thence to CITY OF BONES. That was part of the fan-based fun, figuring out which Buffy/Zelazny/Tanith Lee/whatever reference was from what source.