snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Maybe it's all a trick.

When people are talking about The Problem of Fanfic - and I would argue that there really isn't one? Unless we want to bestow the term upon Cassandra Clare, sort of as a courtesy title - but when people are talking about it as if it does exist, someone usually brings up a story wherein Marion Zimmer Bradley (allegedly) had to scrap a Darkover book she was working on, because she read a fanfic that used the same idea, and there was some concern the fan would have legal grounds for suing her for plagiarism if she published it. Obviously this breaks all our hearts because the book was about Regis Hastur, and presumably also Danilo, being angsty together. (Except apparently it wasn't really exactly like that - both Mercedes Lackey's version and the fanfic author Jean Lamb's version of the story differ from the memetic one.) I've heard a similar story about Terry Pratchett and a lost Discworld book, though I can't find any links to it now.

My question is: Even given the currently nebulous state of fanfic-related case-law in the US, would it be possible to draft some sort of license applying to this situation? The problem of writers who might want to be able to read fanfic of their stuff but are worried about the legalities, I mean. I'm thinking something in the front of the book that says, "You may write fanfic about this work, but by doing so you agree that if I read it and want to cut and paste some of it into a book later THEN I TOTALLY CAN."

I don't think many people on either side of the aisle would like that! That means it is a good compromise, and I look forward to the dystopian intellectual property future which it will produce. I will stand above the smoking ruins of the internet and cackle; someone will have run a sword through Cory Doctorow, for some reason I haven't come up with yet.

But I'm just wondering if it's even legally feasible to word that sentiment. I mean, there have been challenges to the legality of the insane agreements you have to click through to use your copy of iTunes and such, and if I understand correctly those challenges are because all the power is on Apple or whoever's side. This would seem like the same thing!

Anyway, when I am an awesome best-selling writer who everybody loves, I think I want to have some sort of license saying, "You can write fanfic and make fanart and even sell it in small zines if you want, as long as such sales (of my work and other persons' using the same or a similar license) do not make up more than $x000 a year or x% of your income. I agree not to steal shit wholesale from you and put it in my books, but in return you agree not to sue me if I make Spoonbeam and Deathle make out and you think it's totally just like your story. If I ever bitch about your charity auction, you are allowed to hit me with one of those big foam stick things in public. You can call my publisher to make arrangements. Or call Diana Gabaldon's publisher. Just to see what happens."

The stuff in parentheses is there because, if such licenses ever became commonplace, somebody would start buying up the rights to confused people's fanart cheap and putting it on t-shirts and stuff, being careful to limit how much s/he was making off fanart of any one particular artist to keep his/her income under the limits.

-

Discussion Question: If I cover an officially licensed Frostmourne replica with sequins, call it Sparklemourne, and declare myself to be possessed by the spirit of the Lich King Edward Cullen, does the sword itself become an act of fanfic? Or is it merely the weapon I used in the act of fanfic which I have commited verbally? Will that change if I draw a little three-panel comic on the blade illustrating the process by which I became possessed by Edward Cullen? What if there's neither a little comic nor sparkles, but I've printed up a small chapbook explaining my ideas?

In any of those three situations, is it now illegal for me to resell Sparklemourne? I mean, it's a derivative work now, right? Does the adherence of an unapproved narrative to an item render it contraband?

Can I still resell my copy of Dragonflight if I wrote on page 96, "F'lar and F'nor are totally doing it?"

Date: 2010-05-12 12:13 am (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
*mightily entertained* Will there be a movie poster of this smoking-ruins internet moment?

Yeah, given the extent to which MZB was farming out the writing of "her" books during the period in question, I'm afraid I find Lamb's version more plausible. I mean, on top of the fact that one can't /be/ sued for plagiarism and that any attempt by an author of a non authorized derivative work to assert copyright infringement against the author of the work derived from would be thrown out of court in a New York second so... really, what /exactly/ was MZB so worried about that she ditched the entire book for the sake of a "take" or "twist"? Which action makes an awful lot more sense if the majority of the book was actually Lamb's text.

(F'lar and F'nor /were/ totally doing it.)

Date: 2010-05-12 02:22 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I hadn't found so much detail on the MZB book-farming chronology until this kerfuffle, and now I really want to go back and read the Darkover books (which I haven't touched since I was a teenager, eek). I think it explains a lot in retrospect, but I'm not sure exactly what.

Date: 2010-05-12 06:07 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
I know! I picked up the Barnes-written ones while they still only had MZB's name on the cover and thought "wow, Marion's really changed her approach, I'm not sure I like this, this is weird". Couple years later, observing the growing cover credits to others, I look at the copyright and go "Oh."

Date: 2010-05-12 11:40 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I really want to go back and reread them in published order now.

Date: 2010-05-12 11:46 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
*nodnod* Even the wikipedia entry, which still has the crazycakes fan version of the Affair up (uncited), lists all the sharecroppers involved. It's mostly "with", but at least their names are up there now, even for the books they didn't get cover-credit on. I must admit, a quick browse of my Darkover shelf for the copyright information was enlightening.

Date: 2010-05-12 12:13 am (UTC)
ajnabieh: The text "My Marxist feminist dialective brings all the boys to the yard."   (3w4d)
From: [personal profile] ajnabieh
Discussion Question: If I cover an officially licensed Frostmourne replica with sequins, call it Sparklemourne, and declare myself to be possessed by the spirit of the Lich King Edward Cullen, does the sword itself become an act of fanfic? Or is it merely the weapon I used in the act of fanfic which I have commited verbally? Will that change if I draw a little three-panel comic on the blade illustrating the process by which I became possessed by Edward Cullen? What if there's neither a little comic nor sparkles, but I've printed up a small chapbook explaining my ideas?

I do not know what any of the words in this paragraph mean, and yet I love them all.

Date: 2010-05-11 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ross-teneyck.livejournal.com
I believe Jim Butcher's fanfic policy is something like, "You can write all the fanfic you like, but I will not read any of it, ever." If you want to protect yourself from accusations of plagiarism, that strikes me as a reasonable approach. Unless, of course, you as the author want to read fanfic of your own work, in which case you would need a different policy.

You could do something like what Larry Niven did with the Man-Kzin wars anthologies... designate a specific area of your universe for fans to play in, stay out of it yourself, and anthologize the best fan stories. (At least I think that's what he did; I don't believe I ever actually read any of those.) This works better for some universes than others, obviously.

Date: 2010-05-12 02:23 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I know of at least one author who reads (and has been known to comment on!) fic of her books. But she's not well-known and I would guess she just decided not to worry about it.

Date: 2010-05-12 02:07 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
I love the Larry Niven approach! If I were to ever write something that generated fans I think I would follow his lead.

Date: 2010-05-12 12:04 am (UTC)
chomiji: Akari, the shaman from SDK ... more to her than you might imagine  (Akari - autumn colors)
From: [personal profile] chomiji

Re: licenses for fanfic-type usage ... .

A couple of authors apparently allow Creative Commons licensing for fanfiction written based on their worlds. Mercedes Lackey is one. Another one was cited recently, but damned if I can remember his name.

Ah, here we go: Jim Butcher, and here's his statement on it.

Date: 2010-05-12 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mikkeneko.livejournal.com
If I cover an officially licensed Frostmourne replica with sequins, call it Sparklemourne, and declare myself to be possessed by the spirit of the Lich King Edward Cullen

I don't know, but I think you should find out.

Date: 2010-05-12 02:13 am (UTC)
manifesta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] manifesta
I utterly enjoyed your discussion question.
Now, if I had an answer to it...

Date: 2010-05-12 02:21 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
Your discussion question has killed me ded. Ded, I say! Or possibly unded, since we're talking about Edward Cullen.

Date: 2010-05-12 02:40 am (UTC)
nagaina: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nagaina
.....Mmmmm, Sparklemourne. ::indulges in mental images of using said item to slay sparklepire death knights left and right in the environs of Pornshire::

I just realized I have no substantial input to offer this conversation. Carry on. ^_^

Date: 2010-05-12 03:40 am (UTC)
esther_asphodel: In the name of the pizza lord, charge! (pizza lord)
From: [personal profile] esther_asphodel
The discussion question is hilarious. Do you mind if I metaquote it?

Date: 2010-05-12 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Actually, I guess I do since I read your blog... um... moving along...

Re: Your Proposed Fanfic License: Even before this giant kerfuffle about fanfic (and honestly? authors, get over yourselves) I was thinking that if I ever made something that created fans who wanted to fic or art about it, I would totally give them permission to do so. I like your take on this idea, though, especially the parts about $x or x% revenue. That's brilliant, really. I think, especially in the modern Internet-driven world, there needs to be more of a collusion between original creators and fans, and the two sides need to stop seeing each other as some kind of enemy.

Re: Discussion Question: I think you can avoid the entire copyright issue by just putting Sparklemourne up in the Ironforge auction house... assuming you can get there without being reduced to a slideshow.

Date: 2010-05-12 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] royalarchivist
LOL, yes, BOP. ^_^
"For the Horde!"
I was thinking of making the joke reference the major Horde city but I couldn't remember what it was called. It's been a few years... >_>;;

Date: 2010-05-12 03:37 pm (UTC)
cerusee: a small boy singing and whistling (rin going his merry way)
From: [personal profile] cerusee
If I cover an officially licensed Frostmourne replica with sequins, call it Sparklemourne, and declare myself to be possessed by the spirit of the Lich King Edward Cullen, does the sword itself become an act of fanfic?

It's an act of something, all right.

Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-12 10:49 pm (UTC)
dragovianknight: (Cats - Disapproval Cat Frowns at You)
From: [personal profile] dragovianknight
Because now I want fic where F'lar and F'nor are totally doing it. *facepalm*

Re: Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-13 12:19 am (UTC)
waywren: (Default)
From: [personal profile] waywren
You mean they weren't?

Re: Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-13 03:38 am (UTC)
dragovianknight: A small kitten draped in green yarn (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragovianknight
Not on camera where I could enjoy it, they weren't!

Re: Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-13 01:29 am (UTC)
sharpest_asp: Close up of a lavender eye in a dark face (Default)
From: [personal profile] sharpest_asp
Written....if you really want it.
Edited (To add hyperlink) Date: 2010-05-13 02:04 am (UTC)

Re: Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-13 03:40 am (UTC)
dragovianknight: A small kitten draped in green yarn (Default)
From: [personal profile] dragovianknight
\o/

Re: Gods, I hate you

Date: 2010-05-13 07:23 pm (UTC)
sharpest_asp: Close up of a lavender eye in a dark face (Default)
From: [personal profile] sharpest_asp
My apologies. When I originally posted it on LJ I posted it under f-lock and with heavy warnings. Exposure to SPN fandom let me take it out of lock when I brought it over to DW, but I try hard not to advertise it much. She's got specific rules on fanfic, after all.

Date: 2010-05-12 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wintersweet.livejournal.com
<3 <3 <3 LOL LOL LOL

April 2014

S M T W T F S
   12 3 4 5
6 7 89 10 11 12
13 141516 17 1819
20 21 2223242526
27282930   

Style Credit

Page generated Apr. 23rd, 2014 11:16 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags

Creative Commons



The contents of this blog and all comments I make are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License. I hope that name is long enough. I could add some stuff. It could also be a Bring Me A Sandwich License.

If you desire to thank me for the pretend internet magnanimity I show by sharing my important and serious thoughts with you, I accept pretend internet dollars (Bitcoins): 19BqFnAHNpSq8N2A1pafEGSqLv4B6ScstB