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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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continuing cheerful adventures of girls who write porn and the ip that hates them
In my continuing quest to be lazy....

Part A

You were all waiting for it; anti-fanfic bingo!

The AntiFanfic Bingo Card by ithiliana.

But wait! There's more!

The Anti-AntiFanfic Bingo Card by entropy_house

Next argument, everyone meet her with their cards and pens; winner gets the deep satisfaction of worrying about the state of humanity! Whee!

Oh, but it doesn't end there...

ithiliana, being of stronger stomach than many of us, has also quoted us this from Scalzi's blog:

i, all. I’ve been following this discussion for four hundred comments or so, and I just have to say your talents at writing analogies have really kept up my fascination. Fanfic is like using the neighbour’s pool! Like painting with watercolours instead of oils! Like decorating someone else’s sandcastle!

Has it occurred to anyone here that what you are all doing is writing copyright law fanfiction? You’re having so much difficulty communicating about something so huge and blurry that you’re making up your own little stories to explain it to each other. You’re creating a shared community, expressing your opinions, and exploring meaning by telling stories that are based on the original laws–and which acknowledge the source you’re talking about–but which are, in the end, an individual response to a “canon” that someone else (IP lawyers) have written–and you’re sharing your interpretations with the people around you. (You’ll notice, of course, that I’m doing the same.)

It’s IP fandom, and y’all are having a ship war.

Comment 455 by Zulu

Okay, pony up--er, if you want to. Share with me your favoritest quotes from Scalzi's blog. Come on, let's face it; the guy who compared fanfic to rape* deserves his moment in the sun for such a deeply beautiful analogy that totally expresses the relationship between a fanfic writer and her deeply, deeply phallic pen keyboard.

* I didn't see this one, just heard about it.

** To clarify--this statement was (presumably) made in comments to the entry, not by the owner of the blog itself. Clarified in the above comments. I was horrifically unclear in that particular set of sentences.

ETA: Heads-up. Who got banned over at Scalzi's blog? Anyone know?
ETA 2: That was in the Heinlein thread, courtesy of scalzi. My thanks for both correction and clarification, sir.

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I found it quite interesting that the anti-anti fanfic bingo card has longer sentences than the anti one.

Which always seems to be the case - the knee-jerk anti people can use short slogans. The refuters have to use actual paragraphs because they want to impart real information.

Very true. Prosecution can get away with soundbites; defense is always in the position having to do more.

(Deleted comment)
*grins* I got a kick she used my sandcastle as an example, though I totally forgot that until I re-read it and recognized it.

Honestly, I do want the quotes from there; so many people who usually don't speak *did*, and many who always do were breathtaking. I want those available to everyone.

I repeat the earlier comment about the Sistine Chapel ceiling, almost all Leonardo de Vinci's works, and pretty much most of Renaissance art being based on Biblical stories or mythology. What! They didn't make up their ideas themselves! Not to mention the many incarnations of "A Christmas Carol", the movie Ten Commandments, various books based on various individuals accounts of history, etc.

Intellectual Property is one of those highly abstract things that it is notably difficult to understand. Remixing music is hardly a new idea. Why is it so odd when applied to written works?

It should be noted that many authors DO get terribly attached to their works, and I've seen at least one compare fanfiction to rape. Well, look. You put the story out there. Everyone is at least mentally going to have a different conceptualization of your characters and generate their own backstories to fill in your gaps. If you are so attached to your characters that you cannot handle other people having opinions about them and or rendering opinions about what they wish had happened in the book, don't publish. Keep your stories under your pillow. There are more than enough authors ready and willing to take your place who can handle it.

So true. It's--I understand the attachment? But geez. If the concept of anyone thinking differnetly is that hard, they need to reality check. They don't have to like or agree to acknowledge the right of existence.

the guy who compared fanfic to rape*

That may or may not have been Lee Goldberg, he's rabidly anti-fic but I don't know that he's shown up on Scalzi's blog at all.

Oh, and now I see from a further post that Scalzi banned a commenter... I'm itching to know who, but not to the point I'll trawl through the whole thread trying to guess. (And yeah, I'm assuming he meant someone in the fanfic thread. The Heinlein thread didn't get nearly as heated.)

Right now it's the bottom comment demanding proof that fandom is often run underground by DMCAs and the like and easily ignoring maygra's, while not specific, litany of issues.

I'm not in the mood, I hope someone else answers.

*grits teeth beneath smile* I'm not going to look. I am not going to look. I am not going to look.

Just not going to read a huge thread that will make me angry. They have their preconceived notions about fanfic and fanfic writers and nothing will change it.

You know, I don't think ignorance is the problem, to be honest. I think at the end, there's a plain me-disconnect going on; I do not do this, I am not interested in doing this, therefore it is not worth doing. If it was crochet or knitting or pretty much anything, they'd mock and wonder why anyone would 'waste their time' with it. Because it's a grey area legally, they just get the chance to mock it with cultural sanction and being able to add "I do not do this, I am not interested in doing this, it is not worth doing, and also, you shouldn't be doing this."

It's actually, in a way, a worldview that continues to boggle me; it's not quite enough not to like it, not to want to do it yourself. The world itself has to bend itself to acknowledge you are right by eliminating that which you do not agree with.

...I could be overthinking. But I don't think I am.

The person who was banned was not someone participating in the fanfic thread. It was in another thread, about Robert Heinlein.

Also, to be clear, the comparison of fanfic to rape did not come from me.

Huh. This is new and surreal.

But no; my apologies. I never meant to imply you did so at any time. I'll clarify in the original post that I was referring to comments within the blog itself, not you personally.

I think we need to do away with reality so that writers are writing within a void and therefore not relying on any outside stimulous or any previous thoughts or ideas. Otherwise it's not real writing, man!

I advocate this position.

I refuse to go read the originating journal thread, both as I don't have the time nor the blood pressure medication which would be required. But I have to wonder- the scope of IP "protections" I rountinely seen extended to media works (media and book) seems so different to the ones accepted for, say the bioengineering or technical engineering industries (where it used to be accepted practice that anything you the researcher come up with while working for a specific company is copyrighted to the company). Even in some writting venues, in my case writting technical reports, my employer owns my works, not myself.

So, I'm curious, how do different venues of creation affect the basic concepts of IP protection? Do all film media venues (by which I mean TV and movies) have the idea producers under contract, and therefore the studio/production company owns the content of the idea and no-one can work in that world unless under contract to the IP owner? Isn't the comic book industry similar, even though it is publishing? Certain comics houses own the rights to Spiderman or the Justice League of America, and they hire and fire both the story line/dialog writers and the artists while the comic line goes on?

My limited understanding of the publishing industry suggests that there are, at the moment, substantial differences in the way IP is "owned"; in that authors initially sell finished products to the publishers, thereby owning their own IP rather than developing it while under contract. But don't authors also now do more of the developing under contract type work (i.e. advances against up coming works, contracts for multiple sequels)? And did I read somewhere that some types (like theme lines in Romance novels) are produced more like comic books, with the publisher hiring writers at will and assigning them to a specific story idea? If that's the case, is the hard print publishing world moving towards an IP stance where the Publisher, and not the authors, own the IP rights, and authors may find themselves prevented from writing in their own worlds?

And all of this debate, which I am getting back hand of course, continues to make me think this is much more about models of commodity value and contract law than the actual ethics, morals, and conventions of Intellectual Property protection, regardless of what how it is couched. I would think professional authors in this country would encourage the cultural models which favor investing IP in writers as the creative source and not the contract holder, rather than the opposite.

None of this is very polished, but its the direction my mind is wandering, and I figured I cast it out there and see if others could help clarify matters for me.

Re: IP conventions?

I think you're talking about "work for hire" writing contracts. If, for example, an employee of a company, during the course of his/her employment, creates something, it is (usually) considered "work for hire" (WFH) with all rights reverting to their employer. Similarly, a contractor hired by a company to create a specific something is generally also doing his/her creating under a WFH contract. The bioengineers and comic book writers/artists, etc, you mention are all doing WFH.

Recently, I believe comics publishers have begun to open their work force to allow non-WFH creations. I'm not sure of the exact details, but someone who creates a new superhero (for example) has a chance of retaining rights to that character (or book or ... I'm fuzzy on the details). In years past, though, the creators of now-iconic superheroes/villains had no chance of retaining the rights to their creations. Kirby and Lee, who created much of the original Marvel superhero line between them, retained no copyrights to those characters. The original creators of Superman (Siegal and ... I'm not sure) and Superman (Bob Kane?) and Wonder Woman (Charles Moulton?), etc, also didn't retain any rights to their characters. When these creators stopped writing about the characters for the rightsholding companies, they stopped getting any income from their creations.

Nowadays, things are changing a bit for comics creators. The creator of, for example, The Crow, James O'Barr, retained ownership of the character/series - though he later leased those rights to movie producers and book publishers, etc, just like an Anne Rice or Jackie Collins would hold the rights but lease them to producers/publishers, etc.

Sorry, got sidetracked there. Anyway...

Some of the "formula" publishers - Harlequin, Silhouette, etc (the ones that've folded, the ones that're still around) - also have their authors under WFH contracts. There are some stringent guidelines (I have a copy someplace of the Harlequin publishing guidelines from back in the 80's) of ... stuff like chapter length and number, which chapter the first kiss should come in, which chapter the declarations of love, how much sex and when in the course of the book it should happen.... Really, *stringent* controls - "formulas" - for exactly how they want the book structured and paced and ... practically everything.

A few of their most successful writers eventually get out of the WFH ghetto and start writing non-WFH books. I'm almost positive Danielle Steel started out as a WFH formula romance writer, once upon a time.

Other examples include the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and other Stratemeyer Syndicate works. A variety of different authors wrote the books in these series, under this or that pseudonym assigned by the Syndicate, WFH. Other ghost writers (such as the writers who get "as told by" credits for moviestars' "autobiographies") are also usually WFH. As are writers of instruction manuals, movie/tv tie-in novels, etc.

And ... I'm now really extending myself here, because my knowledge of WFH is 15+ years old. But skimming the Wikipedia articles (links above) seemed to indicate that much of what I knew then is still on today. I am, of course, open for correction.

Oh! Staff writers for magazines are generally doing WFH writing; freelancers' work can go either way, depending on the publication policies (and the name recognition of the individual writer, I suspect).

Stopping now. (Gotta throw those breaks deliberately sometimes to stop the babble...)

...happier not knowing who Scalzi is?

...or just deeply uncool?

He wrote up a funny bit about going to the Creationism museum in Kentucky. You might want to read that.

I find the whole thing amazingly reminiscent of the "slash vs. gen" arguments and the "popular pairing vs. rare pairing" arguments, etc., ad nauseam. It all boils down to "I don't do/like/understand this, therefore it has no value/is bad/should be stopped." Cultural imperialism—one of my personal pet peeves—on a micro scale.

What really saddens me is the SF authors who are being so unimaginative. Where would SF and Fantasy be if Tolkien had been unable to conceptualize outside his own limited experience in order to create the world of Middle Earth? If Wells's vision hadn't included the idea of life on other planets? If Verne's imagination had extended only to the exploration of familiar continents?

I begin to see why I don't have my rocket car yet. ;-)

Rocket Car oppreshun!!

But mostly, IAWTC.

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