Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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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 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.
Tags: meta: fandom
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