Thursday, May 04, 2006

FanFic Redux

Last week, I made mention of the infamous Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover case. I'm proud to say that my quick recitation of the popular understanding of the facts didn't really come down on one side or the other. I'm also proud to say that I have since tried to delve deeper into the matter after seeing a few "um, that's not really relevant" comments elsewhere. And when I say "elsewhere", I mean in Anna Genoese's recent posting about fanfiction, which led me to the monstrous Making Light thread (!!!750+ comments!!!), and to various legal-type links from there.

In those many, many comments, after the MZB incident got bandied about and was met with less-than-universal acceptance, Mercedes Lackey (apparently as close to the cat's mouth as we can get now that MZB has passed) provided the details of the situation. Meanwhile, Teresa Nielsen Hayden was crafting this analysis of the MZB affair. So there you have it: what really happened in the MZB case, and a good analysis of why it's representative of other things for authors to watch for rather than of how fanfiction causes problems for authors.


Andi said...

I have zero intention of ever reading any fanfic that might be written based on anything I write. For one, it would probably irritate me to see my careful worldbuilding and characters behaving in a way that I know is completely wrong. ^-* For two, I can see how it could cause a LOT of trouble. I know of people who think that an idea is copyright-able, and we live in a sue-happy society which loves frivolous law suits. Why risk it?

The three worlds I write fanfic in no longer exist (i.e., there is no new material being produced in these worlds - they have been finalized by the authors), and I keep them on my private sites - not posting them to the public fanfic locations. I don't think I'd ever write in a current fandom, mostly because I don't know where the author might decide to head, and I like to see a finished product before I consider doing anything new. Also, I add in characters who never existed, and I would be disappointed if something that WAS my creation suddenly appeared. Nothing I could do about it, though - it's not my world.

Then again, I know ideas parallel and intersect. One of my fanfic ideas in the SeaQuest ended up with a parallel on the show! Granted, my idea is still better (and more plausible ^-*), but I was stung. It taught me that nothing is unique, though - an important lesson that I don't blink at anymore. The fanfic angle has taught me a lot, so I just can't condemn it. *-*

(Yeesh, I can't think straight today!)

Kellie said...

I'd never condemn fanfic unless legal action forced me to. I'm all for people getting their creative juices flowing.