Lit Expanded universe. Canon or pro fan fiction?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by sithtimelord, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    Yeah this is a pretty dorky argument if you take it as anything other than snark.

    It's not fan fiction legally because it's licensed by LFL. It's not fan fiction descriptively because - as Mr Ostrander just noted - the entire process of approval is enormously different and as Robimus pointed out, while we're lucky enough that many Star Wars writers are fans, this is not a prerequisite or necessarily the primary motivation for an EU author.

    There's no way in which the EU is fan fiction.

    If we do look at it as a snarky comment on the illegitimacy of licensed tie-in material in general, then, fair enough, the man's opinion is clear, though I think the level of superiority implied is a little obnoxious. Especially in the context of a film franchise that began by putting Kurosawa, Campbell and Flash Gordon in a blender.

    It's true - tie-in material often does have an unstated lower-level status. Star Wars is unusual in its approach to the EU and its status (something I wonder if the original commenter was aware of; most people I know are not and react with skepticism when I explain it), but even in this franchise, we have degrees of canon - it's right there in the EU.

    Having said that, expecting it to lose in a tussle between two conflicting sources isn't the same as expecting it to be ignored where no conflict exists. For all the issues that TCW has left us with, it's also given us EU-created characters in starring roles. While less prevalent, Aayla Secura appears in Episode III; Coruscant is called Coruscant because of the Expanded Universe.

    I feel uneasy and frustrated by not knowing whether the ST will make reasonable attempts not to trash the EU or whether this really will be a step up from TCW and will essentially leave us with a franchise that relates to its tie-in fiction no differently than any other in practical terms, which would make me sad.

    That said, I do wonder how people will define what counts as "EU fan fiction" as we move forward. T-canon already muddies that previously clear boundary. With the ST be seen as simply something added on after the event, not worthy of "counting"? Or will the fact it's presented as an official continuation by the official license-holder be enough? If it is enough, then wouldn't that argument apply equally to the license-holder's position on the EU?

    I can see someone not really liking the idea of a new trilogy without Lucas' involvement, but it would surprise me to hear someone dismiss the endeavour as "fan fiction", at which point we come back to the fact that if the dude doesn't like the EU - or likes it but simply considers it a "what if" version of the Star Wars Universe, that is totally fair. But his choice of words leads me to read snotty superiority into his response.
  2. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
    Ultimately there will be an unspoken canon shift to a D type canon, the Lucas film purists as opposed to the whole sage purists. They will see the Disney movies as sell outs for money, whilst G canon remains the same, D canon will be the exact same with the inclusion of everything done in film after the Disney purchase, the majority of people will accept Disney films.

    The interesting thing that COULD happen would be IF the EU is held in tact, for the most part, will the then EU canon be made D canon as it is leading into EP 7...
  3. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    That's the literal definition, yeah, but usually the word is used much more casually, hence the whole "hardcore fan" designation. I mean, I don't even consider myself a "hardcore fan" of Star Wars; I read a lot of the books and comics, and post on a message board, but I don't collect anything, I don't go to conventions, I don't own anything SW related except the movies and books. I don't particularly care that much about the workings of the universe beyond the actual stories, hence my general lack of interest in the Essential Guides (but there certainly are exceptions). That designation is going to change depending on who you ask. I doubt that all but the most devout fans like every little SW work ever, and authors are obviously going to like certain parts of the universe more than others (to respond to your comment about the prequels, I would imagine many SW authors would dislike them or have a problem with them; I certainly get that impression in Zahn's comments. I personally don't find anything wrong with having critical thoughts about a universe you write for).

    Of course, you could argue all day on whether or not the word "fan" being used to casually is a misuse or not. I'd say you see it most often in music. "Oh yeah, I'm a huge fan of _____ band. Their latest single is great. No, I haven't heard anything else from them". Are they a fan? Dunno. I'm tempted to say no, but they like what they like, I guess...

    Really? That's interesting. I was always under the impression that most fanfic, not being copyrighted, was not protected, and that a sleazy author could steal all they wanted from various fanfics.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Jan 24, 2013
  4. krtmd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 4
    Nope. I've heard this from other authors as well. I frequent an author's own web page where there is a discussion forum for her books, and it is heavily moderated to prevent any type of fanfiction or even fan fiction-like ideas from being posted for this very reason. Seems crazy though, doesn't it?
  5. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Apparently everything ever written is copyrighted. In fact, this thread and of course this post is copyrighted.
    Of course, you still need to buy 'copyright' and 'patents' in order to sue someone in court for your work if your written stuff is ever infringed upon.
    In reality, I could yell my head off because someone quoted my post without giving my 25 cents, but because I didn't buy any copyright from the patent office, it's all for naught. I can try to take copyright infringers to court, but for the lack of 'official' copyright, I'll lose my case.

    P.S.
    A poor man's copyright is probably better than nothing. What you do is write a Star Wars fanfic, print it out, mail it to yourself. Only then do you post it on the web.
    You could probably win your case then, maybe.
  6. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    You can't copyright ideas - only the text itself. Thus, a fanfic text is (at least techincally) as patented as a published novel - but it works only for the actual textual material. The problem would probably be to prove the fanfic existed on a internet page before it did in a published novel - in the latter, you have a clear date to tell when it started to exist.
  7. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
    There is a way to pass on the right to your ideas, I am not sure the way to do it. However you can basically sign something saying Hey if you use this, "I will be happy you used it and not try to sue for partial right"
  8. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    Specific Ideas are called patents.
    You can see your patents (ideas) or copyright (texts, movies, or games,music, etc).

    There's something called money you see, they come in shapes and sizes, and virtual realities. j/k.
  9. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    You have any opinion on those who insist the EU will somehow be swept away in favor of the new movies and everything will magically become non-canon?
  10. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    This is covered under the concept of liscensing. It is possible to create was is essentially a completely open public liscense that basically says 'I give anyone and everyone the right to use this idea for whatever they want.' This is rarely done of course, since it generally surrenders any competitive advantage the original creator might have, but there have been experiments. A few years ago WotC created the 'Open Gaming Liscense' which basically authorized the core rule set of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 to the use of anyone out there. The result was a huge amount of internet-produced fan-made material got slapped together on shoestring budgets and turned into actual product that you could sell (and people did buy).

    Of course, copyright does not last forever. It eventually lapses, and everything becomes part of the public domain. If you go back in time a ways copyright was much, much shorter than it is now (the Walt Disney corporation has been instrumental in lengthening copyright protection) which changes the nature of this whole debate.

    I have no idea whether this is a reasonable question or not, but out of curiiousity, is this a universal situation in the Star Wars author community? Are there Star Wars authors who have written material within the universe before getting contracted to do so, even though they presumably never took the step of putting it on the internet (and obviously wise choice for professionals). Are there a bunch of stories hidden in the basements and hard-drives out there?
  11. Darth_Kevin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2001
    star 5
    I'm not sure how all this got into intellectual property law, but I know a bit about it.

    Copyright is something you have to all original written words and other media immediately after you write them. However to be able to better prove and enforce your copyright from a legal standpoint if it is registered with the copyright office. Although technically copyrights are supposed to expire after a certain amount of time, in the U.S. it seems every so ofter Congress extends that length of time. I don't believe anything has expired in something like 80 years in the U.S. Interestingly enough I think the primary lobbyist of the government to keep extending the length of time for copyright is Disney, which does so every time it looks like Mickey Mouse is about to enter the public domain. i believe the current expiration is something like 75 years after the death of the author.

    Since fan fiction is actually a derived work, based on other copyrighted material, I don't think the authors can really have any enforceable copyright and would be liable to the author / holder of the original work's copyright if they tried to make any money from it. They might have copyright on the original elements of the fan fiction, but it is probably very murky.

    Copyright has nothing to do really with patents for the most part. Patents are submitted for inventions in order for the inventors to have exclusive ability to profit from their idea for a period of time. I believe patents expire after 20 years.
  12. Malachi108 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2009
    star 3
    This post has made me laugh so hard... Did you know that D-Canon is already being reserved for Detours comedy show? ;)
  13. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
    OK Double D Canon for Disney Then ;)
  14. Danz Borin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2012
    star 1
    Troll thread FTW.
  15. son_of_skywalker03 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    Clearly it'll be M Canon.
  16. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    Kevin Rubio comes to mind. He did the Troops fanfilm before getting contracted to do official writing for LFL.

    There may be more.
  17. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    I'm not sure how relevant this is since it's not specifically related to Star Wars, but if we're talking about other franchises, I believe Devin Grayson wrote fan fiction before she wrote Nightwing professionally for DC Comics.

    The other issue is that if it is true, given the fact that fan fiction is almost always pseudonymous and, while less so these days, still often looked at with some degree of disdain, it's probably not the sort of thing many authors wear on their sleeve even if it is true, so I suspect getting that sort of information is likely to be difficult.
  18. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
    OP hasn't been back since his well... Original Post, unless I missed something
  19. cwustudent Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2011
    star 4
    I'm so glad this thread was created! I do not consider the EU to be canon; its not canon, its apocrypha. Its part of SW history, so I don't completely disregard the EU's influence. Some of it works, some of it is wonderful and, of what I do have, I'm proud to have it on my bookshelf. BUT I disregard any "Lucasfilm says its canon" sentiment. And I won't call it professional fan-fiction either, because a lot of EU is garbage.

    There. My $0.02 has been added, and I shall return to LACWAC. Have a nice day, everyone. [face_peace]
  20. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    We should have a "Is The Clone Wars Pro Fan Fiction Thread" :p
    Last edited by Robimus, Jan 28, 2013
    Zeta1127, Esg, Zorrixor and 2 others like this.
  21. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
  22. _Catherine_ Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    I think it's the name of the duck from those insurance commercials.
  23. Kyris Cavisek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2012
    star 4
    I figured it out, it is what the TV people call their thread, like ours it LIT.
  24. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    What's a duck?
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  25. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    So you admit TCW is garbage? Carry on