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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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entitlement in fandom
And lo, there's controversy. Of a non-fun kind.

Here, bonibaru posts about the misappropriation of her vids in the Firefly fandom, in which vids are taken, without permission from the creators, burned to CD, and GIVEN TO THE ACTOR.

debchan suffered the same thing and talks about it here.

popfantastic had her vids TAKEN and REPOSTED ON ANOTHER DOMAIN, and discusses it here.

goss recently had a piece of art used without permission by another LJ user as an icon. After explaining politely that she hadn't given permission for that and that the person in question perhaps should have asked permission first to take the original out of common courtesey, much less alter it, the person in question made accusations that Goss was bitchy, selfish, and greedy for not wanting to 'share'.

celli, months ago, wrote a very intresting entry on reader demands in pairings.

jacquez recently remarked in an entry on feeling like a vending machine and removing her fic from ff.net due to readers who DEMANDED instant gratification.

TWoP has the vid thread under Firefly. You'll have to skip back a few days to get the vid-related details.

Anyone seeing a pattern here?

Right, LJ land has had the coverage on it, but you know, repeition can't hurt. And at this point, neither can flaming. Lots of it.

taraljc, many days ago, brought up something interesting to me in chat, an impression of fandom becoming more consumer-oriented. The focus shifting from 'wow, look what these people are writing/manipping/creating/maintaining, how cool' and towards a sense of entitlement from fen to HAVE those things as their due. The controversy over Debchan's screencaps over a year and a half ago with bandwidth-stealing, leading to a more recent one involving someone lecturing her on what she SHOULD be capping, since she was serving fandom.

Serving. Fandom.

liviapenn was lectured about what she SHOULD be doing with her archive, the SSA, including a massive relabeling project of over TWO THOUSAND STORIES to make it easier for a reader to find the stories she wanted. Even after Livia explained the sheer amount of work (not to mention pissing off writers) of relabeling all those fic.

Then there is the entire Write!This! (thanks, celli), in which fen feel the need to tell other fen what to write and how, and no, I'm not talking about what everyone does because they want fic and chat up the author about it, but the militant ones that seem to think that it's the writer's job to please them now, dammit, or they will annoy/flame the shit out of you.

And misappropriation and bandwidth thievery of art is so damn common that we barely bring it up anymore.

And if you're curious, except for the first Debchan screencap thing and Celli's rant? This is stuff that's happened in the LAST FEW MONTHS.

This doesn't count the stuff I've seen pulled on my lists, including the one mecurtin referred to in her LJ post a while back.

You know, oddly, the biggest problems we've had in fandom can be traced RIGHT back to that idea that fandom is all about consumers.

Ideally, fandom is community in the purest sense--a group of people working together, each applying their talents and interests to make something together. Right, we don't live in Plato's Utopian Fandom, but I can dream.

In current reality, there DOES seem to be a movement toward the idea that fandom is, in fact, a kind of business venture, in which fans want other fans to produce exactly what they want and those same fans using those resources carelessly without regard for the creator.

Or, to put it more bluntly, acting like fucking socially-inept morons who need to get their heads out of their asses. Apparently working off the idea that because it's on the net, it's NOT property. And the idea that vids (stories, etc) aren't actually OWNED by the creators of it because they are derivative work of a show/book/comic, so therefore are open to being taken by anyone, altered, used, SOLD or GIVEN AWAY WITHOUT PERMISSION

This isn't new in fandom. TPM and Trek have both had their share of fic-stealing, as well as other fandoms. Plagiarism is so rampant that we get something on that once a week, or sometimes it feels like that. Vids are the new medium to be added to the list of things that are being treated as public domain toys, not property.

Oddly, this links back to another rant I could never decide what side I was on--the fic as gift thing last year, I think. Or why feedbackers should get responses and authors are being snobby not to send replies, because feedback is a gift, not fic, and the circle continues.

The idea that anyone in fandom is entitled to ANYTHING but common courtesey seriously stretches my imagination to its limits. Screencappers share their work because they love their show and want to share it with others. Ficsters share their work because they love the show and want to share it with others. Vidders--right, repetition. Artists? It's something we love to do, and damned if we don't get a kick out of others liking it too.

Now, far as I can tell? This doesn't equal 'you, fan-producer, owe the fandom'.

Livia runs the largest, most successful SV archive on the web. Because you, the fan, go there and use it for your fic needs does not equal 'Livia should do it the way I like and if she doesn't, she's a bitch because she's doing it for the fandom.' Being a reader does not mean you get to dictate terms. Uploading without reading the FAQ, breaking the rules of the archive as stated very clearly IN that FAQ and Livia deleting the story and then BLAMING HER for that?

She runs the archive for love of the fandom, but that doesn't mean you're entitled to it.

Debchan was the most productive and cleanest capper I've seen--Sarah T as well. This does not equal 'you do this for the fandom, therefore the fandom should decide your output'. The very idea that the act of sharing gives the anyone the right to decide content and use blows my mind.

And you know? Te writes fanfic. And oddly enough, this does not equal 'Te writes stories in the fandom, therefore as a reader, I am owed what I want when she writes. And I shall be bitch if she doesn't. And also flame if my feedback isn't responded to seconds after I send it'.

You are seeing where this is leading, right? It's called password protection and privatization. It's called ruining access for everyone. Firefly's poorer today because of this entitlement crap. Smallville might be coming up on the list. And God knows what has/will happen in other fandoms.

The entire point of the community is to share this stuff. Not respecting the wishes of the people producing, who invest free time, money, energy, enthusiasm, into their work, does not make them want to share. Exposing them to potential legal action, does not make them want to keep working.

Let's flip this and try it from another angle.

When we, the cappers, archivists, vidders, artists, writers, etc., post/do something fannish, there are some basic conditions that you'd think would be pretty much self-explanatory. This is a work of art/fiction/etc and we made it and are sharing it. The act of sharing does not preclude our right to distribute as we see fit and to choose where it is kept or what is done with it. It does not mean, because it is in the archive/on our webpage/open to the public, that it is up for grabs for anything a fan wants to do with it. I may let you play with my Clark action figure, but you sure as hell better not start writing on him with magic marker just because you want him Goth. Or whining at me because I don't have the one with bendable elbows. Or ranting because after you covered him with magic marker, I don't want you to touch him ever again. And you know, I CAN take him away and never share him again. Because it IS mine and I shared for pleasure, not because I owed you anything.

Seriously, this is kindergarten level stuff here. And I assume most of us are beyond kindergarten.

Abusing someone's bandwidth, thus costing them money, does not want to make them share pretties with you. Calling someone names because she asks you not to break the rules of a forum or an archive really doesn't make that person want to keep administrating the forum or archive for you. Stealing--and it IS stealing--art and vids doesn't endear you to vidders and artists. And does this really need to be spelled out in small, easily understood words?

Ignorance isn't an excuse, not here. Real life good behavior isn't an optional thing online. And if the only enforcement is to either remove the product in question or to make it a fucking war to force good behavior, well, I'm okay with that.

My thanks to liviapenn, goss, tstar78, celli and dammitcarl, for commentary to help put this together.

*grins* Rantyness is freeing sometimes.

Ignorance isn't an excuse, not here. Real life good behavior isn't an optional thing online. And if the only enforcement is to either remove the product in question or to make it a fucking war to force good behavior, well, I'm okay with that.

Amen. And as I've demonstrated the past two days, I'm up for the war of information. It's already been brought to our doorsteps, into our homes.

Amen. And as I've demonstrated the past two days, I'm up for the war of information. It's already been brought to our doorsteps, into our homes.

Yes. And yes again. If that's what it takes, I'm all for it.

That is freaky. What the hell is going on??

God, I wish I knew. And that's just the stuff I could find and *remember*. God knows, there's more that hasnt' been seen or is too old to remember immediately.


Indeed. I am grateful to those named, yourself and many others for sharing your stories, fanfic, vids, websites etc. Some of which I will download to my own computer if I know I'll look at them often. But they're not mine. I'm just lucky enough to know of people who produce mindblowing (and occasionally other-parts-of-the-body blowing) fic and art and that share it with us.

I'll just shut up now since I'm babbling.

*huggles* Thanks for your supportiveness, chica. *hugs more* And babbling, as a diagnosed babbler myself, is a HIGHLY underrated pleasure.

Go, girl! I'm appalled at stuff like this.

I'm still shocky, honestly. When I read [Bad username: bonibaru"]'s LJ, I literally had to stop and read it twice just to make sure I hadn't misunderstood.

Were these people raised in the forest or something? Dear God.

You know, oddly, the biggest problems we've had in fandom can be traced RIGHT back to that idea that fandom is all about consumers.

Yeah, and, you know, this makes me think about how the worst kind of consumer is the one who gets stuff for free. When I worked retail one of the lamest "jokes" that customers ever made was when an item didn't have a price on it: (say it with me now) "It must be free!" Not inherently unfunny, but the aggression and near salivatory glee with which so many customers said this always made me cringe. There are few things that can bring out a consumer's most grasping, basest instincts as swiftly as the thought that they may be entitled to something for free; it simultaneously allows them to demand it and take it for granted. It's so disheartening to see some fans treat fannish productions with this same attitude. The disrespect to both individual artists and the fannish community is astounding. And then to have many of these folks turn around and accuse the vidder/artist/archivist/capper/etc. of being the selfish one not committed to the fannish community...grrrrr...

::barges into discussion::

It's true, it's true!! Where I work, we have a tray of cookies on the desk every day. We try to get them there by 4pm, but sometimes they're late, if we're very busy (or just plain forget to look at the clock...). These are free cookies, there for the taking. And don't people BITCH if they're late, or if there's no chocolate-chip today ... like there's an entitlement there. Makes me nuts.

People are getting rude and stupid. Maybe it's something in the water? ;)

Hey Jenn - Great post. My first instinct was to reply with a comment full of How could they?! and I would never! because I just can't imagine that sense of entitlement. Who are those awful people!?

But in the end, I'm posting to show another side of the fandom - the side that, overnight, took down a site which was using fanvids without permission (actually against the wishes of the artists). I woke up this morning gunning to spam the idiot in question (see Zahra's site for links) and it was already gone. I don't know how it was done - but the word was spread and the site has disappeared. The asshat still exists (free speech, y'all) but is no longer apropriating the work of others, and will never get away with it again. YAY FOR THE FORCES OF LIGHT!!

Just when you start getting annoyed with fandom, it does something cool like this. It's like Clark, that way, I guess :-)

I probably had something to do with it, though I'm not among those who contacted his ISP. The enlightenment is continuing (though he's resorted to namecalling and bringing my sex life into question, in addition to comparing himself to Jesus) over in the fff.net discussion boards.

Check out my LJ for more details and links if you're interested. I doubt this is over yet.

It gets on my nerves when the stupidity can ruin everything.
However, it’s not exactly complicated to understand that a fandom is based on altruism and courtesy.
As though there aren’t enough bad behaviours in real life *sigh*.

*nod* Yep. It's frustrating and sometimes completely incomprehensible, and GAH.


(applaud) Everything you said.

I get crushed when my feedback doens't get a response. But that's because I'm afraid the writer hasn't read my email. Because sometimes the writers don't check their emails and so on. I get more crushed when I get a response and I reply to that and that doesn't get a reply. For me that kind of second feedback is more important, because it has more my heart in it than the first feedback. That's why I like feedbacking in public review forums, FFnet reviews, lj comments, because I'm more sure the writer is going to read the feedback. Feedback response by a writer is not that important to me. If I just know that the writer has read my feedback, that's totally good enough. That's my two cents.

Oh hell yes

And, you know, this is not just a problem that applies to Smallville. In the last, oh, four years oh so, I've been around quite a few different fandoms, and my general impression is that this costumer approach was less common in the beginning. Of course, it's possible that this is all about me having 'the good old days' issues, but I don't think so. People have become a lot more demanding.

After announcing that I wouldn't be writing for a certain fandom anymore, I had people flame me for leaving series unfinished, for not being interested anymore, for leaving in general. I had someone send me an email along the lines of "write, bitch, write! Where da fucking updates?" a full two days after the last update of the section the person was referring to. The fuck?

When it comes down to it, these people seem to have forgotten that we're actual people, too. We breathe, we eat, we sleep. We're not the computers that allow us to share our work, no, in fact, some of us may even ::gasp:: have a life. We may not always have time, we may not always feel like writing/capping/archiving, it can take us a while to reply to feedback. And, guess what? We have every right to.

We're not being paid for anything. We don't owe our time and work to anyone.

As for the plagiarism stuff... I don't know. Maybe it's different with manips or vids, but I had this happen to me a while back. Some idiot stole my stories, search-and-replaced the names, then posted them to ff.net in a different fandom. Someone told me about it, and at the time, I was mainly stunned that anyone would do something like this (doesn't that kind of thing always seem to happen to others?), and, yes, I was hurt.

By now, I can pretty much laugh at the idiot. I mean, how pathetic do you have to be to post someone else's writing as your own, gather the praise, all the while knowing that it's not really yours? It's sad, really, and deserves pity more than anything else.

I think that maybe this is the best way to deal at least with the rabid write-more crowd: laugh at them, pity them. The plagiarizers, well... Make sure their websites disappear, have as many people as possible be aware of what they did, and get them banned from ff.net or wherever else they're writing. And then laugh at them.

But! While some may be damn annoying, there are also many, many people who are incredibly nice and grateful, who understand the demands of real life, who send thoughtful feedback, who are always up for interesting discussions or, alternatively, fangirlish squeeage. They're the ones that make it all worth it, don't they?

*applause* Jesus, I hate fandom sometimes.

This happens all over in every fandom I've been in, even original fandoms that produce original items. I've seen art and writing made for love be copied, passed around, and altered without permission ending up god knows where. All the person wanted to do was share their love or vision with fellow fans and instead they get the tired line of 'You put in up for free on the internet didn't you realize that means you gave up all your rights! Stop whining about it.'

Many people will just stop putting their stuff up for people to enjoy and that leaves us that much poorer or that much biter. =(

Don't know where this is heading other then when putting up art on the internet I now embed a copyright and a website because it makes it harder to just take. And still, I'm paranoid. Originally I just wanted to draw pretty pictures and share but now, bitterly I know better then to do that without some notices.


My husband has a theory that if you do something for someone more than three or so times, then they start to see it as their due, and also their right that you'll do it for them again. He was thinking more in terms of business -- doing free work for customers in a certain area of a project, giving staff a Christmas bonus -- but it probably applies to fandom too.

In one way, I think the the free nature of most fandom exchanges works against them, because if something is given away for free, then it can have no value, right? I think it's perhaps a fundamental part of human nature that if something has no cost and they have no immediate, personal knowledge of the effort it took, then it becomes 'worth' less, and certainly less worthy of respectful treatment. This is one reason why authors and vidders are probably more respectful of others' work than the people who haven't done it themselves and don't viscerally *know* the effort involved in production.

LJ itself had a similar problem and has tried to overcome it with the codes system, to make people see that what they're getting *isn't* a worthless thing. And LJ account now had some value. I'm not sure whether this is entirely a good thing, though because you only have to go to some of the news threads about LJ service to find free users who, damn it, have a *right* to some specific level of service. I wonder if this kind of complaint was higher or lower before the codes were introduced.

It is mind boggling to think that common courtesy needs to be explained. But sadly the concepts of polite, "please may I"s and "thank you for the ..."s are not taught or practiced in some peoples everyday life. Would these people walk into a museum and tell the curator to rearrange the exhibit more to their liking? Would they say "give me" and expect to be allowed to grab and walk out with a piece of art they happen to covet at that moment? And I don't think this is a hell of alot different. This fandon has so many talented Artists creating their visions and sharing with us their love of a subject that my fear is the idiots who abuse the artist's creations will ruin it for the rest of us who just are so happy to have the sharing. Wise up guys. Or the talented will pack up their toys and go home. Or lock in down so none of us get to enjoy it.

This is why I couldn't understand the earlier arguments about the right to feedback, or comments to feedback given, or writers meeting expectations, panhandling to the reader - stuff. These wonderfully talented folks who post and share their work are not getting paid to please us the readers! They don't *owe* us a single solitary thing and to expect or demand or steal from them is so fucked up. The only person an artist is *obligated to* is his or herself, fulfilling the spark in their imagination. So don't screw with them and if you do don't be surprised or rant when they slap you hands and tell you NO, BAD DOG.

I don't have to like an artist's work, I don't have to tell them why or comment, but if I question or comment my politeness is mandatory, common courtesy is mandatory. And if they produce something that moves me and I want to pet them and gush over them and tell them I'll have their babies, and I'll try to do so with correct spelling.

So to you Jenn and to the other authors, artists, filmmakers, and other wonderful sharing souls who post on Lj and on-line: please don't let the assholes of less than polite society spoil this venue for you. The majority of us out there appreciate your work and talent, your art lightens and brightens our days.

And note to the BAD DOGs: Wise up.

Amen... only one problem: the bad dogs don't bother reading stuff like this. :-/


I read this with interest and not a wee bit of guilt. I am one of those spectacularly un-creative people who does NOTHING for the SV fandom. I do not cap, vid, write or draw anything but I consume plenty.
I'm very grateful to the artists and am rather worried that my free drug of choice might disappear behind closed doors even though I understand and appreciate the reasons why. Stealing is stealing!

But just a word about feed-back from the other side. I don't feed-back everything I read, just what I consider to be the very best stuff. This is because: I do need to get off the computer sometimes; I don't want to give luke-warm feed-back for a story I don't 100% love because that might be discouraging and who am I to talk since I can't write? Lastly, if I feed-back everything from say, one fave writer (Jen - I'm looking at you), I start feeling like a stalker! But OTOH I do feel a bit bad for reading stuff and NOT feed-backing. Protocol can be a bitch!