PDA

View Full Version : The Customs of Intellectual Property



Sansophia
06-05-2013, 06:15 AM
I am asking about how publishers and agents look at intellectual property and its possible disputes. The kinds of stories I am interested in writing are deconstructions and reconstructions of genres and specific stories. Fanfcition is the wrong word, it implies a respect and devotion I don't have to the subject matter. What I want to do is a kind of active criticism, of explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead.

It stands to reason that to make a parody, a satire of another work or anything similar, one needs to make the new piece as close to the original as possible, to make the criticism as stingily clear as human limitations will permit. However, after studying the matter extensively, I have come to the conclusion anything I want to do is 'transformative' and can be argued either to be original or clearly fair use. The flip of this is that due to the murky nature of of copyright law as it is enforced, on a whim the work could be sued into the ground, buried in cost and fear of litigation before any case could be argued.

So how to publishers approach this issue? Where do they draw the line between plagiarism, mildly interesting fanfiction, an insightful reconstruction and the kind of story that destroys or redefines a genre? I'm reluctant to write that which would be considered unpublishable, so just knowing approximately where the line is gives me a target to shoot for.

I appreciate your time.

Siri Kirpal
06-05-2013, 07:24 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Parody, satire and literature criticism are all fair use. If what you're intending falls under any of these, you're probably safe.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Old Hack
06-05-2013, 11:06 AM
I am asking about how publishers and agents look at intellectual property and its possible disputes. The kinds of stories I am interested in writing are deconstructions and reconstructions of genres and specific stories. Fanfcition is the wrong word, it implies a respect and devotion I don't have to the subject matter.

Agents and publishers will probably proceed with caution if sent such material. One of the things they'll probably want, if they were to go ahead with such a book, is that its author has a decent platform from which to sell it, and a good reputation in the field.


What I want to do is a kind of active criticism, of explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead.

What authority do you have to "explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead"? Are you an established, successful writer or editor? If not, what is it about you that would interest readers enough to make them buy your book?


It stands to reason that to make a parody, a satire of another work or anything similar, one needs to make the new piece as close to the original as possible, to make the criticism as stingily clear as human limitations will permit.

With all due respect, your writing here is not "stingily [sic] clear" and that makes me concerned about the clarity of the writing in your book.


However, after studying the matter extensively, I have come to the conclusion anything I want to do is 'transformative' and can be argued either to be original or clearly fair use.

Take proper legal advice. It's too big a deal to trust to the advice of random strangers on the internet.


The flip of this is that due to the murky nature of of copyright law as it is enforced, on a whim the work could be sued into the ground, buried in cost and fear of litigation before any case could be argued.

That's true of any work.


So how to publishers approach this issue? Where do they draw the line between plagiarism, mildly interesting fanfiction, an insightful reconstruction and the kind of story that destroys or redefines a genre?

Without knowing more about your work I can't advise you; you really should pay for legal advice; and if you've not written anything yet, you might want to make a start and see how you get on before you do anything more.

Writing is hard work; writing to a publishable standard is even harder and, judging from your comments here, you have a long road ahead of you before you reach that stage. Further, you might not enjoy the work; you might find it's beyond you.


I'm reluctant to write that which would be considered unpublishable, so just knowing approximately where the line is gives me a target to shoot for.

Most first books are unpublishable. Most second and third and fourth books are unpublishable, but it's not because they're too risky to publish: it's because the writing isn't good enough.

Work on your writing. Make it clearer and more readable. Write a small section of the book (perhaps five or ten thousand words) to see if you can do it, then if you are still enamoured of your concept take proper legal advice.

Kerosene
06-05-2013, 11:19 AM
What authority do you have to "explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead"? Are you an established, successful writer or editor? If not, what is it about you that would interest readers enough to make them buy your book?

Yeah, I'd agree with Hack on this.

I apologize for being frank. Writing is one of the most subjective arts in all of humanity. How can you lead us towards all the right answers when there are no right/wrong answers to speak of?

cornflake
06-05-2013, 11:23 AM
The kinds of stories I am interested in writing are deconstructions and reconstructions of genres and specific stories. Fanfcition is the wrong word, it implies a respect and devotion I don't have to the subject matter. What I want to do is a kind of active criticism, of explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead.

It stands to reason that to make a parody, a satire of another work or anything similar, one needs to make the new piece as close to the original as possible, to make the criticism as stingily clear as human limitations will permit.

This is very confusing to me. What it sounds like you're proposing - a full-length critique of an existing work - is not a story, satire or parody.

I also question what credentials you have that would make it reasonable for someone to publish your, "active criticism[s]... explaining why the subject was poorly written and how it should have been written instead."

folkchick
06-05-2013, 04:05 PM
What you're proposing sounds to me like Monty Python mocking up a version of any work by Charles Dickens, or Saturday Night Live taking on Shakespeare, or even something modern like 50 Shades (not sure if they've done that yet, but I wouldn't be surprised).

The point is, parody has been done many times before. Study the great satirists and see how they run a line between humor and flattery of the original works. MAD magazine would be a good resource.

Sansophia
06-06-2013, 04:07 AM
Hmm....authority? As though one needs to have authority to criticize. Well, the work itself is authority. Any blabbermouth can come along and decry why something that didn't go his or her way 'sucked' but its one thing to show a path, its another entirely to walk it up and down and map it.

I do not believe at all in the subjectivity of art; it is didactic in its purpose and any aesthetics are icing on the cake, the sugar never to be confused with the medicine. Art is never about the expression of the artist, the artist matters not one wit, art exists to educate the audience. It needs to be entertaining to be ingested, and ultimately be realistic to be applicable to the real world, to make the audience genre savvy to their own lives. Like all animals, we learn by play, whether we mean to or not.

So, you ask? It's a bold assertion, and by itself its one conjuncture of many, usually spouted by moral guardians. But if you take the premise of a flawed (mostly this means needlessly unrealistic) story then retell its using its conventions and how they will or could fly directly in the face of real world workings, you can make this new story which while superficially resembling first, borrowing whole elements of the first, it forces it to be a different, tighter, BETTER story than what it was.

The story itself is proof of concept of a better product. It's direct competition in the marketplace of ideas. The important thing in all this is tears down, dissect and reassembles the parts of the story, rather than using its tropes and structure verbatim to get a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. That's difference between a mockbuster or ripoff versus a deconstruction/reconstruction. If you are familiar with TVtropes, then its simple: I want to make Deconstruction Fleets, which while not played for laughs end up being funny because the tropes and genres being tackled are in the face of cold realism quite absurd.

Sansophia
06-06-2013, 04:11 AM
What you're proposing sounds to me like Monty Python mocking up a version of any work by Charles Dickens, or Saturday Night Live taking on Shakespeare, or even something modern like 50 Shades (not sure if they've done that yet, but I wouldn't be surprised).

The point is, parody has been done many times before. Study the great satirists and see how they run a line between humor and flattery of the original works. MAD magazine would be a good resource.

That is really good advice, although I need to expand my inspiration base beyond Johnathan Swift and Jane Austin. The problem with MAD, and I love MAD mind you, is that I'm more interested in Reality Ensues dilemmas than playing them up for laughs. Of course, there's no shortage of absurdity in the real world either, but that's another, delicate matter.

Kerosene
06-06-2013, 04:50 AM
Art is never about the expression of the artist, the artist matters not one wit, art exists to educate the audience.

No. Period. Sorry, no go.

Art is both the expression of the artist and the perception of the audience.
Some people believe that pure art is in of itself useless, ushering nothing from nothing.

Fiction evokes emotion. Non-fiction conveys information.
Neither try to educate the reader. Instead, they try to persuade the reader's thoughts.


Do you have any credentials? Do you have decades of experience in your field relating to the subject matter? Are you a respected member of your field? Do you have a degree in your field? Are you somehow accredited in your field? I'm guessing, no to all accounts.

It sounds like you're trying to be the big reviewer who's trying to change the writing world with their suggestions. Well, everyone can poke holes any any piece of writing. If you get two writers in a room, passing a single MS back and forth keeping to the story, they will continue to make revisions until the universe tears apart and existence seizes if god(s) are willing.



But, let me answer your question:

(Now, I'm very foggy about what you're doing because you're writing is so unclear. I'm think you're tearing someone's published writing/story apart and trying to show them how they could do it better)

I think you'd have to get the expressed, written consent from the author/publisher on using their words.

But...

What kind of self-respecting author/agent/editor/publisher would allow someone to slander the writing/story that they are (or could possibly be) making money from? You're are degrading their product, defacing the creator; the agent; the producer, and you are further making money off your actions.

Parody is making fun of something or copying it in a way that can help promote the product, but not slander it in the process.


Contact a lawyer on what you're doing and see if there are any legal repercussions that could come your way, because I'm guessing that there will be. Most of this will come under the Fair Use section of the Copyright law, which can be a very gray area.


EDIT: I forgot to add: You can avoid all this crap, and the publishers with the team of lawyers, by just writing your own examples and showing how to correct them.

CAWriter
06-06-2013, 08:04 AM
I can't help but think that you should be an editor (or a college professor) rather than a writer . It's arrogant yet unimaginative for you to propose taking an author's already published story but "deconstruct/reconstruct" it. In plain English--take it apart and put it back together.

As mentioned previously, who would be interested in representing or publishing such a work? If the work you're taking apart is something that has been successfully published and sold, who would be interested in buying it? The audience that appreciated it the first time is not likely to be interested in being told that they were fools to like the original work, "this is how it should have been done."

It's kind of like being an "armchair quarterback." Sure, it's easy to criticize when you haven't created the characters and world from your own imagination. No author is ever going to get every bit of every story so "tight" that there is no room for criticism from anyone. Who's to say your "improvements" would satisfy the audience any better than the author did?

I suggest you create your own story and use that as an example to the world of "how it can be done."

cornflake
06-06-2013, 08:30 AM
Hmm....authority? As though one needs to have authority to criticize. Well, the work itself is authority. Any blabbermouth can come along and decry why something that didn't go his or her way 'sucked' but its one thing to show a path, its another entirely to walk it up and down and map it.

I do not believe at all in the subjectivity of art; it is didactic in its purpose and any aesthetics are icing on the cake, the sugar never to be confused with the medicine. Art is never about the expression of the artist, the artist matters not one wit, art exists to educate the audience. It needs to be entertaining to be ingested, and ultimately be realistic to be applicable to the real world, to make the audience genre savvy to their own lives. Like all animals, we learn by play, whether we mean to or not.

So, you ask? It's a bold assertion, and by itself its one conjuncture of many, usually spouted by moral guardians. But if you take the premise of a flawed (mostly this means needlessly unrealistic) story then retell its using its conventions and how they will or could fly directly in the face of real world workings, you can make this new story which while superficially resembling first, borrowing whole elements of the first, it forces it to be a different, tighter, BETTER story than what it was.

The story itself is proof of concept of a better product. It's direct competition in the marketplace of ideas. The important thing in all this is tears down, dissect and reassembles the parts of the story, rather than using its tropes and structure verbatim to get a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. That's difference between a mockbuster or ripoff versus a deconstruction/reconstruction. If you are familiar with TVtropes, then its simple: I want to make Deconstruction Fleets, which while not played for laughs end up being funny because the tropes and genres being tackled are in the face of cold realism quite absurd.

What I can tease out of this word salad is that you want to take other peoples' stories and make "better" stories out of them. That's not called 'criticism,' it's called 'stealing.'

Terie
06-06-2013, 09:42 AM
Hmm....authority? As though one needs to have authority to criticize.

To criticize? No. To get paid for the criticism? Yes, indeed.

Beyond that, TL/DR.

Which says a heck of a lot about your writing and the chances of someone paying you for it.

Old Hack
06-06-2013, 11:53 AM
Hmm....authority? As though one needs to have authority to criticize. Well, the work itself is authority. Any blabbermouth can come along and decry why something that didn't go his or her way 'sucked' but its one thing to show a path, its another entirely to walk it up and down and map it.

You misunderstand me.

You can write anything you like, regardless of your credentials.

However, when publishers consider books for publication, they have to consider how many books each title is likely to sell. Part of their considerations will be focused on the author's credentials, because an author with an established reputation is likely to sell more copies than someone who is unknown in the field. That's what I meant when I referred to "authority". What are your credentials in this field? Have you published anything else in this area? Do you have demonstratable expertise in it, or a history of attracting readers? If not, you're not very likely to find a publisher for your work.


I do not believe at all in the subjectivity of art; it is didactic in its purpose and any aesthetics are icing on the cake, the sugar never to be confused with the medicine. Art is never about the expression of the artist, the artist matters not one wit, art exists to educate the audience. It needs to be entertaining to be ingested, and ultimately be realistic to be applicable to the real world, to make the audience genre savvy to their own lives. Like all animals, we learn by play, whether we mean to or not.

So, you ask? It's a bold assertion, and by itself its one conjuncture of many, usually spouted by moral guardians. But if you take the premise of a flawed (mostly this means needlessly unrealistic) story then retell its using its conventions and how they will or could fly directly in the face of real world workings, you can make this new story which while superficially resembling first, borrowing whole elements of the first, it forces it to be a different, tighter, BETTER story than what it was.

The story itself is proof of concept of a better product. It's direct competition in the marketplace of ideas. The important thing in all this is tears down, dissect and reassembles the parts of the story, rather than using its tropes and structure verbatim to get a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. That's difference between a mockbuster or ripoff versus a deconstruction/reconstruction. If you are familiar with TVtropes, then its simple: I want to make Deconstruction Fleets, which while not played for laughs end up being funny because the tropes and genres being tackled are in the face of cold realism quite absurd.

I'm sorry, but no.

Your writing is so convoluted and confusing that it is frequently nonsensical. Your premise is deeply flawed. Your reasoning leaps all over the place.

If you want to get published by a reputable publisher, you must improve.


I can't help but think that you should be an editor (or a college professor) rather than a writer . It's arrogant yet unimaginative for you to propose taking an author's already published story but "deconstruct/reconstruct" it. In plain English--take it apart and put it back together.

I disagree with your advice, although I do agree with your sentiments. I'm afraid that Sansophia's prose is nowhere near clear enough for her to work successfully in those areas.

JournoWriter
06-06-2013, 02:07 PM
Criticize and critique are two wholly different things.

Who's the intended audience? I can't think of anyone who'd be interested in reading a reconstructed story beyond students in a college literature class.

Cathy C
06-06-2013, 03:35 PM
Criticize and critique are two wholly different things.

Who's the intended audience? .

Here's the real question. Let's take, say, Twilight, as an example of a book you want to deconstruct/reconstruct. There are plenty of people who love the book, and equally as many who hate it. The people who love it won't buy your book. To fans, your book would be sacrilege. To detractors, your book would be . . . well, what exactly? If not a parody, lampooning what they hate (which they would probably buy, just to laugh) it would be a serious retelling? But if what the detractors dislike is the concept of the original, rather than just how the words are strung together, then they won't buy the book either. So what potential audience, exactly, would interest a publisher? :Shrug: i don't know either.

Now, if you're looking at a less grandiose target of your anti-affection, then again, what (much smaller) audience would a publisher hope to sell to?

There's always self-pubbing, of course, but then the entire risk of what does and doesn't violate copyright laws is on you alone. Then the others are right. Find a good attorney who specializes in copyright to explain the risks.

waylander
06-06-2013, 03:51 PM
I agree with what has been said above.
Why would anyone want to buy this?

onesecondglance
06-06-2013, 03:56 PM
I agree with what has been said above.
Why would anyone want to buy read this?

Fixed that for ya :D

(I'm being snarky, but this is an honest question. What is the appeal, commercial or not, of such a book?)

Jamesaritchie
06-06-2013, 06:11 PM
Without reading your work, there is no way to answer the question. But unless you have massive credentials for your views, there will be no agent and no market.

Seriously, do you read books telling you why writers you love should have written something in a different way? Neither does anyone else.

Sansophia
06-06-2013, 10:53 PM
These are good questions!

For instance, Who would ever want to buy read this....?

Anyone who cares to. A good work will find its own audience, sometimes ones never remotely intended. Bronies are the ultimate contemporary example. It’s my job to make it good, then good will sell itself, and not relevant to this inquiry.

And they’ll pay for the same reason people watched All in the Family, cheerfully read Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns killing off the Silver Age of Comic Books and still read Austen to this day: because the stories are in and of themselves good, but they are also insightful. They enlighten, educate, and force the reader to think just a little bit more clearly.


And why, isn't it STEALING?! (dun dun dun! *thunder crack*)

No more so than Northanger Abbey stole from the Northanger Horrid Stories, nor Shakespeare when he brutalized Marlow’s work. Not that I respect any claims or protestations of originality, there is no such thing, only reiterations of the same concepts. Goethe had it right: [I]The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before. And more importantly, as I said above the purpose is not to tell something more aesthetically pleasing, but to illustrate through counter-example what was wrong and why and the opportunities for exploration growth and organic turns were missed in the process.

Moreover, its calling stories and genres out, to force them to confront their own twisted logic or lack thereof and step up their game or die. I want to write for the same reason Cervantes wrote Don Quixote: to expose ignorance and folly, romanticism and irrationality. And do it in awesome story form.


And you want an example: say I wanted to do this to Fallout. I love Fallout, but there's a lot wrong with it, mostly in that it wants to be a comic book. Rather than being tethered to a character or plot, the anchoring mechanisms are those suspicious similarities. Whatever looks the same only looks the same; the reality is quite different. The most pervasive example would be
that the pre-war era superficially remains the same, and the survivor's post war half memories of that time being mostly like the 'real pre-war' as depicted in Fallout. All the while, the story makes clear repeatedly why events couldn't have happened that way because it makes no sense, while drawing on real world research into memory, bias, nostalgia and social memeing to provide a justification on how people could actually be that ignorant of an era they themselves lived. Have the Social Behavior Project of the Vaults still be there, but mock the insane levels it was taken to be mocked as ugly urban rumors. Tone down the horrors because reason dictates it would be unneeded and wasteful and provide too much blow back if the nuclear exchange didn’t destroy the world to attempt. And of course mock the ignorance of SCEINCE! (yes it's spelled that way, especially in New Vegas: Old World Blues) by showing real, known, established science and the realistic ways some technology could be achieved, but not others, and how those technologies would actually work.

Force people to think logically what they are being told and why, and decide based on the evidence what is the truth. It also gives an opportunity to create a very hard sci fi story based on a very, very, very soft sci fi story. It’s a thought experiment with the real world research listed on a citation page in the back. It also provides me the author a way to break the chains of the original plot. By tearing apart, the logical inconsistencies like Airplane! did with disaster movies, but insisting there is a rational way to form the story, an organic build from the premise: retrofuture America gets nuked into cinders in 2077, two generations later a long term bunker needs to open to forge for supplies, it becomes a very different story.

In fact, even before the character leaves Vault 13 (keep the name to establish the connection and the criticism), Vault 13 becomes a vastly, vastly different place. In this case going from hidden elf village to being a city of dwarves (or morlocks if you’re being unkind) simply by taking into account the interceding years of social development in that confined context.

This allows a needed side-by-side comparison for those familiar with the original piece while standing on its own as a complete and awesome tale for those who aren't. Like Don Quixote or Northanger Abbey.

cornflake
06-06-2013, 11:51 PM
These are good questions!

For instance, Who would ever want to buy read this....?

Anyone who cares to. A good work will find its own audience, sometimes ones never remotely intended. Bronies are the ultimate contemporary example. It’s my job to make it good, then good will sell itself, and not relevant to this inquiry.

And they’ll pay for the same reason people watched All in the Family, cheerfully read Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns killing off the Silver Age of Comic Books and still read Austen to this day: because the stories are in and of themselves good, but they are also insightful. They enlighten, educate, and force the reader to think just a little bit more clearly.


And why, isn't it STEALING?! (dun dun dun! *thunder crack*)

No more so than Northanger Abbey stole from the Northanger Horrid Stories, nor Shakespeare when he brutalized Marlow’s work. Not that I respect any claims or protestations of originality, there is no such thing, only reiterations of the same concepts. Goethe had it right: [I]The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before. And more importantly, as I said above the purpose is not to tell something more aesthetically pleasing, but to illustrate through counter-example what was wrong and why and the opportunities for exploration growth and organic turns were missed in the process.

Moreover, its calling stories and genres out, to force them to confront their own twisted logic or lack thereof and step up their game or die. I want to write for the same reason Cervantes wrote Don Quixote: to expose ignorance and folly, romanticism and irrationality. And do it in awesome story form.


And you want an example: say I wanted to do this to Fallout. I love Fallout, but there's a lot wrong with it, mostly in that it wants to be a comic book. Rather than being tethered to a character or plot, the anchoring mechanisms are those suspicious similarities. Whatever looks the same only looks the same; the reality is quite different. The most pervasive example would be
that the pre-war era superficially remains the same, and the survivor's post war half memories of that time being mostly like the 'real pre-war' as depicted in Fallout. All the while, the story makes clear repeatedly why events couldn't have happened that way because it makes no sense, while drawing on real world research into memory, bias, nostalgia and social memeing to provide a justification on how people could actually be that ignorant of an era they themselves lived. Have the Social Behavior Project of the Vaults still be there, but mock the insane levels it was taken to be mocked as ugly urban rumors. Tone down the horrors because reason dictates it would be unneeded and wasteful and provide too much blow back if the nuclear exchange didn’t destroy the world to attempt. And of course mock the ignorance of SCEINCE! (yes it's spelled that way, especially in New Vegas: Old World Blues) by showing real, known, established science and the realistic ways some technology could be achieved, but not others, and how those technologies would actually work.

Force people to think logically what they are being told and why, and decide based on the evidence what is the truth. It also gives an opportunity to create a very hard sci fi story based on a very, very, very soft sci fi story. It’s a thought experiment with the real world research listed on a citation page in the back. It also provides me the author a way to break the chains of the original plot. By tearing apart, the logical inconsistencies like Airplane! did with disaster movies, but insisting there is a rational way to form the story, an organic build from the premise: retrofuture America gets nuked into cinders in 2077, two generations later a long term bunker needs to open to forge for supplies, it becomes a very different story.

In fact, even before the character leaves Vault 13 (keep the name to establish the connection and the criticism), Vault 13 becomes a vastly, vastly different place. In this case going from hidden elf village to being a city of dwarves (or morlocks if you’re being unkind) simply by taking into account the interceding years of social development in that confined context.

This allows a needed side-by-side comparison for those familiar with the original piece while standing on its own as a complete and awesome tale for those who aren't. Like Don Quixote or Northanger Abbey.

So... stealing. You realize you don't actually say what you'd do with Fallout there, right? As noted by others, your writing is so convoluted and wandering it's nearly impossible to make sense of, which wouldn't exactly lend itself to this exercise were it not an exercise in thievery. Copyright laws weren't in effect in the time of Don Quixote. Now, however...

Sansophia
06-07-2013, 04:44 AM
Actually that's the thing: adding to the social value or critique of an existing work is being 'transformative' and if a work is not held to be original enough to constitute an 'original work' being transformative is a legal defense. It wins a lot, examples coming right off the head are Wind Done Gone, a direct retelling of Gone with the Wind from the nursemaid's perspective and 2LiveCrew's version of Pretty Woman. In both cases permission was some combination of never asked for and not given, both were commercial works, and both were vindicated in a court of law. There's more than a few works that deal with this

Of course what wins in court is not what's litigated. In fact a lot of baseless intellectual property suits get filed every year, and only a fraction go to trial, something referred to as copyfraud. In fact there's a fairly thorough look at it by Brooklyn Law Professor Jason Mazzone in a book by the same name, and who's website is here: http://www.copyfraud.com/

So believe me when I say I'm very familiar with the case law and the legal theory behind it, as well as the common interpretation of Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution which is what allows intellectual property in the United States. Stealing isn't just too harsh, its also completely the wrong word.

If all this means is that no matter what I do I am vulnerable to copyfraud abuses, so be it. It means I can dash fully into the wind.

As far as me wandering, I don't deal with small ideas, and big ones need to be given space to begin to appreciate the scope. It's one thing if you like a work of genre and want to create something similar, but creating an antithesis and defending that antithesis inside the antithesis, that's complicated stuff.

cornflake
06-07-2013, 04:54 AM
Actually that's the thing: adding to the social value or critique of an existing work is being 'transformative' and if a work is not held to be original enough to constitute an 'original work' being transformative is a legal defense. It wins a lot, examples coming right off the head are Wind Done Gone, a direct retelling of Gone with the Wind from the nursemaid's perspective and 2LiveCrew's version of Pretty Woman. In both cases permission was some combination of never asked for and not given, both were commercial works, and both were vindicated in a court of law. There's more than a few works that deal with this

Of course what wins in court is not what's litigated. In fact a lot of baseless intellectual property suits get filed every year, and only a fraction go to trial, something referred to as copyfraud. In fact there's a fairly thorough look at it by Brooklyn Law Professor Jason Mazzone in a book by the same name, and who's website is here: http://www.copyfraud.com/

So believe me when I say I'm very familiar with the case law and the legal theory behind it, as well as the common interpretation of Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution which is what allows intellectual property in the United States. Stealing isn't just too harsh, its also completely the wrong word.

If all this means is that no matter what I do I am vulnerable to copyfraud abuses, so be it. It means I can dash fully into the wind.

As far as me wandering, I don't deal with small ideas, and big ones need to be given space to begin to appreciate the scope. It's one thing if you like a work of genre and want to create something similar, but creating an antithesis and defending that antithesis inside the antithesis, that's complicated stuff.

Well, no, to me it means you can't think up your own ideas. Same as the convoluted, wandering, word salad thing says to me someone is incapable of conveying something simply. It's possible to convey complex ideas simply - that's one of the barometers many people use to determine someone's understanding. If you can't explain a concept in a single sentence, there's generally something wrong with either the concept or your understanding of it. Same as if you can't condense your novel (well, in your case, someone else's novel), to one sentence, there's something wrong with it or the way you're trying.

Old Hack
06-07-2013, 02:36 PM
Actually that's the thing: adding to the social value or critique of an existing work is being 'transformative' and if a work is not held to be original enough to constitute an 'original work' being transformative is a legal defense. It wins a lot, examples coming right off the head are Wind Done Gone, a direct retelling of Gone with the Wind from the nursemaid's perspective and 2LiveCrew's version of Pretty Woman. In both cases permission was some combination of never asked for and not given, both were commercial works, and both were vindicated in a court of law. There's more than a few works that deal with this

Of course what wins in court is not what's litigated. In fact a lot of baseless intellectual property suits get filed every year, and only a fraction go to trial, something referred to as copyfraud. In fact there's a fairly thorough look at it by Brooklyn Law Professor Jason Mazzone in a book by the same name, and who's website is here: http://www.copyfraud.com/

So believe me when I say I'm very familiar with the case law and the legal theory behind it, as well as the common interpretation of Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution which is what allows intellectual property in the United States. Stealing isn't just too harsh, its also completely the wrong word.

If all this means is that no matter what I do I am vulnerable to copyfraud abuses, so be it. It means I can dash fully into the wind.

As far as me wandering, I don't deal with small ideas, and big ones need to be given space to begin to appreciate the scope. It's one thing if you like a work of genre and want to create something similar, but creating an antithesis and defending that antithesis inside the antithesis, that's complicated stuff.

Sansophia, you're underestimating the ability of most of the people who have taken time to help you in this thread. You're patronising us, and behaving as though you're cleverer than we are.

That's not a good stance to take.

You're also overestimating your own ability, at least as far as writing is concerned.

If you sent me a submission I would reject it if it were written in the same dense, self-declamatory prose you've used here.

Let's cut back to the post with which you started this thread. I'll cut out all but the significant part:


I'm reluctant to write that which would be considered unpublishable

The work, as you've described it, is unpublishable for numerous reasons, some of which have been discussed in this thread.

That's all you need to know.

kaitie
06-07-2013, 07:20 PM
I don't know about others, but what your describing sounds (to me) like a way to say "I'm a better writer than that guy. Isn't he terrible? Let's look at how terrible he is!"

I'm a fan of satire and parody, but what you're describing strikes me as bordering on bullying. No writer is perfect, and every book has elements that could be improved, even much loved books. There are books I absolutely despise, and occasionally books that make me say "If this can get published, surely I can as well," but I think writing a book to rip apart and show how terrible (in your opinion) the original was just seems cruel.

I wouldn't want to read something like that, and I imagine many people wouldn't want to be associated with it.

If you really want to point out silly aspects of genre or something of that nature, read Terry Pratchett and see how he handles it. His books are brilliantly written with colorful characters and a great world, and they also parody many fantasy elements while telling a fun and entertaining story.

You can't write a story for the purpose of showing readers how silly tropes are (keep in mind, a lot of tropes are popular because people enjoy them, even if they are silly) unless you have a great story to tell in the process. I certainly wouldn't focus on one particular book, however, and I don't think you'd have much success with it.

Granted, you could always just write it and self-publish it on Amazon and test your theory.

Cathy C
06-07-2013, 07:54 PM
My favorite example of scathing parody remains Is Martha Stewart Living? (http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Stuart-Living-HarperPerennial/dp/0060951826) :D

Terie
06-07-2013, 07:59 PM
I don't know about others, but what your describing sounds (to me) like a way to say "I'm a better writer than that guy. Isn't he terrible? Let's look at how terrible he is!"

The best way to prove you're a better writer than XXX is to write original books that sell better, not to write books explaining how XXX isn't as good as people think they are. If you can't write original books that sell better, it could be that you aren't as good as you think you are. It's really that simple.

At its most fundamental level, this is a matter of 'show, don't tell.' If you think you can write better than these authors you want to deconstruct/reconstruct, write better original books. Period. Because if you can't write better original books than them, you might well not be a better writer.

Sansophia
06-08-2013, 05:37 AM
Well, I'm not inspired by originality. Because there is no such thing; there are only so many stories that can be told. Some say seven, some say two. Besides, what I want to do is more original from the critiqued than the average zombie movie is from Night of the Living Dead. But if there is a hard and fast rule of what is 'original' and when the 'ripoff' becomes 'original' it seems I will not find it here.

I thank you for your time and consideration though. Be well everyone.

Bergerac
06-08-2013, 06:53 AM
I've been following this thread (with alarm? mirth? consternation?) and I wish to another voice from the herd.


Well, I'm not inspired by originality.

You've been quite clear about this throughout your posts. I am in no doubt that you are correct: originality is not for you.

Because there is no such thing; there are only so many stories that can be told. Some say seven, some say two.

Who is "Some"?

Besides, what I want to do is more original from the critiqued than the average zombie movie is from Night of the Living Dead.

Nothing you have said is in the least bit original, which is consistent with your dislike of originality -- Bravo!


However, very original writers have tackled deconstruction/reconstruction within fictional texts... the only thing is, they write the original works themselves. You know, Nabokov in PALE FIRE. John Barth, too, of course. Those slaves to originality.


Perhaps you might try reading more widely than you have thus far.

But if there is a hard and fast rule of what is 'original' and when the 'ripoff' becomes 'original' it seems I will not find it here.

Perhaps not. However, let's just hope that the lawyers of those pesky "original" authors find you... then all your questions may be answered.


I thank you for your time and consideration though. Be well everyone.

laurasbadideas
06-08-2013, 08:01 AM
I can't tell whether you want to:


Write a parody, or
Rewrite an existing novel in your own voice, or
Write an instructional text using examples from an existing novel, or
Something else entirely

But whatever it is you want to do -- if you want to do it without worrying about intellectual property issues, just use source material in the public domain.