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Playing in George?s Sandbox: Copyright Issues and Fan Fiction

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Jaya Solo, Apr 22, 2006.

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  1. Jaya Solo

    Jaya Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 12, 1999
    As many of your know, Uncle George is nice enough to let us play with his toys and his universe by letting us take his creation and write our own stories using his characters, creatures, ships, and settings. He has thus far tolerated fan fiction, and for that I am grateful.

    Thus far, in the Star Wars fandom, it is acceptable to write fan fiction and make it available to others via means of websites but it is not acceptable to make a profit off of this fan fiction. Anyone that does is liable to being sued.

    That being said, someone has gone and published her own fan fiction and has made it available for purchase in the form of a book. Why someone would chose to publish her own piece of [link=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933456027/103-1117709-8652630]Star Wars Fan Fiction[/link] and sell it on Amazon.com is beyond all comprehension for me. [face_plain] From other sites I have learned that she has published this work of fiction already in pdf form on her website and it?s available for download.

    This artist crossed the line when she put her book up for sale on amazon.com, and I fear the repercussions that it might have for fan fiction. Lucas has allowed us to write our own stories using his original material, but at any moment he could decide that he no longer likes this option because it tarnishes or waters down his creation. (Anne Rice has done this already; she won?t allow fan fiction to be written involving her characters.)

    Frankly, this worries me because Lucas could decide that because of the action of one person, he won?t allow fan fiction at all. I would hate to see that happen.



    As for discussion on this topic, please only rant a little about the actions of this woman. Let?s keep the discussion to what is acceptable and what is not in regards to copyright. Are there any means that we fan fiction writers need to employ to help us avoid being shut down?
     
  2. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 25, 2006
    That... is terrifying. [face_plain]

    That is incredibly... idiotic of her, to be perfectly honest.

    [face_plain]

    Perhaps we should all be required, before posting a work of fiction (however we would do that) to agree that this fiction will not be sold? Perhaps like a licensing agreement type thing that you are required to click "I agree" to prior to starting a new topic?

    EDIT: Did this lady manage to get a publisher, or did she self-publish?

    EDIT 2: Well, she does have a publisher. Worldteach or something like that. How did they not... notice this?

    EDIT 3: Well... never mind. Back to the idiotic idea.

    Do others think that the fact that we use screennames instead of our own names helps our cause, so to speak?
     
  3. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005
    I am glad to see this up and running, Jaya. My hat's off to you.

    While I don't think one incident like this is enough to prompy GL to kick us out of his sand box, I would hate to see repeats of this incident.

    I mean, really, Turn the BRAIN ON FIRST, PLEASE.


    EDIT: Luna, she actually owns the company that published.
     
  4. Jaya Solo

    Jaya Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 12, 1999
    I know a lot of people put disclaimers in their fics (I kinda forget to O:)), but I know that really won't stop anyone from being sued.

    Besides... I think that if you do publish it in any shape or form before it becomes a book then you lose "first publication" right or something like that. Why would people pay for it when you can get it for free?


    (And I think the website has been shut down, probably from people bombarding it by clicking onto it.)
     
  5. Inara

    Inara Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 30, 2005
    What baffled me was that this woman runs her own publishing company
    [link=http://www.wordtechcommunications.com/]Wordtech Communications[/link], which has now been taken down. She clearly should (and does) know better, yet in an interview, she seemed confident that GL wouldn't care.

    I couldn't believe that was for real at first. :oops:
     
  6. Eleventh_Guard

    Eleventh_Guard Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Although it technically doesn't mean anything, I keep a fairly detailed disclaimer on my fanworks that states upfront what I'm doing and what is and is not intended. I'll copy the one from my personal website here:

    A shorter version goes on the fics themselves. I don't know whether or not that's the best disclaimer or not, but it has a few purposes. First, it gives credit to Lucas and novelists (too many to list in the disclaimer; I write a lot of EU fics) and states that I know the universe isn't mine, and that I'm not trying to take credit for it. The part stating that they stories are offered at no charge is straightforward; one of the easiest ways to attract legal action is to solicit money for someone else's work and I say upfront that I'm not receiving any funds at all. Then I disclaim even my original characters except insofar as they could be put into original fiction; my Sith Lords still aren't completely mine, for instance, because they're based on Lucas's universe. Last, I say that the plots are partly mine, and in other words, they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the creator(s). That's important because I occasionally write adult fiction and/or pairings that would never make it into canon, written for a niche readership, and those are not implied to be part of the source material.
     
  7. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2003
    luna - no, using the screen names does nothing, because both the web server and probably the board software logs the IP address which is associated with the screen name, from that, it's easily backtracked to your internet connection.


    Let us be perfectly honest here. Me. Lucas by ignoring fan fiction has allowed the thought that people can publish materials based upon his work (which in effect is what we're doing). That has become a LEGAL precedent, which is probably what she will argue.



    Secondly, if anyone has read parts of that story (amazon allows u to read the first few pages) she is not that good of a writer....


    eleventh-guard- ultimatley it doesn't mean a thing, besides letting the readers know certain facts. Disclaimer or not, it's still copyright violation, and is no way included under the 'fair use' clause of the relevant laws (this is all US im talking btw). It's more of a matter that Mr. Lucas allows and encourages fan participation.

     
  8. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    I am not, and have never been a member of the fanfiction publishing party.
     
  9. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrely Community Mod star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jul 7, 2000
    It was pretty amazing in general that someone would consider to publish and try to sell their fanfic and then try to claim they meant if only for friends and family.

    We shouldn't have anything to worry about. I know even her listing TF.N as a resource hsouldn't give us anything to be concerned with.

    I would so miss the wonderful stories here. [:D] [:D]
     
  10. Jaya Solo

    Jaya Solo Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 12, 1999
    Mu, by posting your stuff here, you are in fact "publishing" it. Kidan has some very good points; those disclaimers really don't do much legally. We could still get our butts sued off. And your comment about the precedent set by allowing fan fiction to continue is a good point. But fan fiction was around long before the internet in fanzines and so on.

    I still think out right publishing it in novel form and selling it is something slightly different and more likely to get a person sued.
     
  11. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    For the sake of discussion, what about this situation.
    Someone who owns a publishing firm and or knows a friend who owns one.
    Then he/she writes a fanfiction in whatever universe and either bind the work or have their friends bind it for them.
    After which he/she orders X amount of copies and distributes them to family and friends.
    After which their friends and family donates them to the salvation army store in the book section or whatever.
    Then the charity bookstore sells the work for 50 cents to 3 dollars.
    Is that copyright infringement?
     
  12. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 25, 2006
    If we have been here for as long as it seems we have, and Lucas has not raised a peep... I don't think the stupidity of one woman will be sufficient to make him change his mind. He has always seemed to be very open-minded to the use of his work among his fans, with fan movies and so forth... just as long as we don't profit from it.

    I think, and hope, that he will deal with her indiscretion separately and accordingly, and leave us alone as we have so far caused him no trouble.

    At least... I hope.
     
  13. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    I'm scared...
     
  14. Noelie

    Noelie Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2005
    I honestly can't imagine why someone would do what she did.

    Does she have no newspapers or TV's near her to understand how easy it is to be sued over copyright issues?

    It is good of Mr Lucas to let us do this. He could demand we stop. It would be well within his rights.
     
  15. Star_Angel

    Star_Angel Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 18, 2006
    My god, my stomach is like a knot right now, how could someone do that:mad: .

    God, reading about people that dose this makes me so angry. I mean, I mean...I don?t know what I mean, but I hate it when one person destroys it for the rest of us.

    I hope that she...well, I?m not going to go into details on what I hope.


    Jaya Solo wrote:

    Why would people pay for it when you can get it for free?

    You?re right about that, why would anyone pay for something that is so insulting toward a person (George Lucas) who have spend, I don?t know how long, working on this amazing movie epics for us, is and always will be beyond me. It makes me want to cry:( :_|

    Luna_Nightshade wrote:

    Perhaps we should all be required, before posting a work of fiction (however we would do that) to agree that this fiction will not be sold? Perhaps like a licensing agreement type thing that you are required to click "I agree" to prior to starting a new topic?

    That...that might actually be a good idea.


    EDIT: Sorry I missed some things there; thanx Healer_Leona, somehow, your words makes me feel better.

    DARTH_MU ? I think that if you are scared then pm one of the mods with questions but if you look up some post and you can read what Leona told us.


     
  16. DarthNightfire

    DarthNightfire Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 3, 2006
    My advice to this simple minded person is: If you want your fan fiction to be published (which everyone does), then contact Uncle George's people, and ask if it's ok. Then you sweet talk them (I'm excellent at that), give basic info of your life, and wait for a reply. I'm in the progress of one quadlogy of Star Wars, and hope to get it published by my way. But I'd say that George Lucas is one of the nicest people in the world (if not, the nicest), and probably won't sue her, unless a Rocket hits the Star Wars Franchise.
     
  17. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    I read all the comments about her "book" on amazon.com and the attitude was overwhelming that the commentators wanted her to cease and desist before the lawyers got involved. I can only hope that this will be the end of it. But Lucas could shut us down at any time I believe. It is a violation of copyright as far as I know, no matter what the disclaimers state.

    Some of the fanfilm people have the same problem. I know that sometimes people will download fanfilms onto DVDs and sell them at conventions (all without the original fanfilm people getting a dime - not that they would want any but really, they are getting ripped off as well). It's also illegal and a violation of copyright but since it is done overseas, they have different copyright laws and get away with it.

    I think that once the lawyers get involved, it could get bad. Maybe.
     
  18. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    mysterious voice: keep buying the books and games from LucasArts and LucasBooks as well as watch Star Wars TV shows from Lucasfilms and we should be fine.
     
  19. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jan 25, 2006
    To be honest, this makes me sick.
     
  20. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Anyway, I think they'll tackle fanfic.net before coming here.
     
  21. Vongchild

    Vongchild Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Pity this woman. She is clearly operating on less than half a brain. (Because it is actually possible to sugically have half your brain removed and still function at normal intelligence.) That said, allow us to analyze the situation.

    Star Trek allows published fanfiction. In fact, they have anthologies of the stuff published every so often. Star Wars, however, is much more internet-based. Is there any officially published Star Wars fanfic?

    She runs a publishing company. Therefore, she can do this and not be punished... immediately. However, GL will catch wind of this and it will all be over but the shouting. From the reviews, her novel appears to be utter tripe and she seems to have little knowledge of actual Star Wars novels. Since she potentially could make profit off of it, it is copywright infringement.

    What we do here is different. This is a not-for-profit, free location where we write fanfiction for various personal reasons. Most people here aren't stupid enough to do something like that.

    Moving on, what posesses someone to think that's a good move? OF COURSE GL is going to mind. You are desecrating his creation! (Okay, so are the smut writers on ff.net, but they aren't getting paid to type with their foreheads.)

    Well, I'll rest easy knowing that there aren't any idiots on TF.N that would do that.

    Don't make me realize I spoke too soon.

    Please.
     
  22. Layren

    Layren Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2003
    When I first read about my eyes just about popped out of my head. Then I read an interview with her that made me even more mad. I just hope Lucas doesn't put a perm ban on all fanfiction just because of this one stupid decision to violate copyright.
     
  23. Star_Angel

    Star_Angel Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 18, 2006

    Amen to that Luna, this dose makes me as sick as it makes me angry.
    I do hope that she gets what she deserves and that without us getting riped of my favourite hobby, writting fanfics.
     
  24. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    can anyone provide a link to the interview?
    I went on to the publisher's website, but can't find info anywhere... (poem paradigm, huh?)
     
  25. _JM_

    _JM_ Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 26, 2001
    I know that Lula (a self-publishing company that advertises on some of the webcomics I visit) have a statement that they will not publish any fan fiction, not even if you state you only want a few copies for friends/family.

    I also know that although it is not expensive that they would level an extra charge for giving the book the ISBN number (cheaper for just US, more for world wide) which would allow it to be sold through places like Amazon.

    And I also know that before I saw the "no fanfic" statement that it hadn't occurred to me that I'd want to use their service for my fanfic. The possibility simply hadn't come to mind, I'd always been thinking in terms (whenever I saw their advert) of this being something to consider if I write an original (or at least a non-fanfic :p )novel.

    This is quite strange, I honestly don't understand why this person would do this. I am always surprised even when people say they have printed out one of my stories rather than reading onscreen, so to pay $20 for something you could have got for free seems strange.
    (Actually...that said I have bought books which I'd already read on a CD included with a Honor Harrington hardback but, without wishing to be too nasty to this person, those were professional quality novels. There are people here whose work I would buy if it was possible to buy, but reading the excerpt this author is definitely not in that class.)
     
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