The 2006 Stupidest FanFic Writer Award Gets Retired Early

Via Nick Mamatas, I learn of Lori Jareo, who has written up a Star Wars fanfic novel, published it without the expressed, written consent of George Lucas, and has it listed for sale on Amazon. Oh, but she’s not worried about the massive copyright violation; Indeed, let’s see what she has to say about it in her “author interview.”

Q: Having set Another Hope in an already existing universe, I find myself wondering if there was any concern on your part regarding copyrights?

No, because I wrote this book for myself. This is a self-published story and is not a commercial book. Yes, it is for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.

Let me repeat this, just to savor the juicy cluelessness of it: “Yes, it’s for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.” I feel myself getting stupider every time I read that line, but the good news is that I have a long way to go before I would be actually stupid enough to say that line myself.

For those publishing novices out there, let me, as a public service, outline all the many ways Ms. Jareo’s statement above is ill-informed and/or ignorant and/or just plain idiotic.

1. “I wrote this book for myself.” If one is writing a book for one’s self, then why would one sell it on Amazon? Unless one has clones, of course. And while that would be perfectly consistent with the fictional universe whose copyright Ms. Jareo is violating, in the real world, alas, there are no human clones to be had, much less ones who access Amazon on a regular basis. Also, if it’s for one’s self, why the Web site promoting it, complete with interviews, reviews and excerpts? Ms. Jareo ain’t exactly being all Emily Dickinson on us.

2. “This is a self-published story –“ Strangely enough, U.S. Copyright law does not say “you can’t violate someone’s copyright, unless of course you’re self-publishing, in which case it’s perfectly fine.” Also, Amazon’s publisher information has “Wordtech Communications” listed as the publisher of the book in question — Wordtech Communications being a publishing concern which claims to be “one of the nation’s largest poetry publishers.” Ms. Jareo is apparently one of the principals of the company, so I guess you could say it’s self-published, in the sense that, say, Tom Doherty could claim to be self-published if he were to write a book and have it put out by Tor.

3. “– and is not a commercial book.” Someone explain to me how selling a book on Amazon is not a commercial endeavor. It’s possible the book is not commercial in the sense that no one in their right mind would publish it, because then George Lucas’ Sith Lord lawyers would unleash their dual-bladed tortsabers on them (leading to the “self-publishing” in this particular case). But, you know, if you offer a book in exchange for money, you’re engaging in commerce, and it doesn’t really matter if you make any profit off it or not. Lot of publishers publish lots of books that make no money, or even lose money. They’re still engaging in commerce.

4. “Only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.” Hello, Lori Jareo. I’d like to introduce you to my 15,000 daily readers, almost none of whom, I suspect, are your family, friends or acquaintances. Funny how the Internet has a way of being leaky.

This would be bad enough if this woman were just some clueless person letting off some Mary Sue steam and then getting the idea that, gosh, this could be a real live book, but in fact Ms. Jareo purports to be a professional editor — which is to say she really has no excuse. In her interview Ms. Jareo mentions something along the line of “George Lucas says as long as no one is making a profit, tributes are wonderful,” but I think she rather seriously misapprehends what Lucas almost certainly means here. Leaving aside the fact that even if Lucas tolerates a little geekery on the down-low, he’s still fully invested in his copyrights and can enforce them at will and at whim, there’s the issue of scale. Geeking out with little stories of Yoda and Chewbacca on the Wookiee Planet on a personal Web site that’s visited by your friends is one thing. Publishing an unauthorized Star Wars novel via your publishing company and putting it up for sale on Amazon (not to mention Barnesandnoble.com and Powells.com) is really quite another.

I’ve said before I think fanfic is generally a positive thing for any science fiction universe, but I don’t think being a fan means you suddenly have a license to be stupid. Publishing your fanfic novel and selling it online is just plain stupid, and publishing your fanfic novel and selling it online when you’re theoretically a professional editor is just about as stupid as you can get without actually receiving head trauma from a tauntaun. If Ms. Jareo is lucky, she’ll only get smacked with a Cease and Desist order from Lucas. If she’s not lucky — say, Lucas wants to provide a cautionary example to ambitious-to-the-point-of-oblivious fanficcers everywhere — she and her company are going to get their asses sued, and given the blatant and obvious and self-incriminating copyright violations here, she should be thankful if she gets out of it without all of her assets, and the assets of her publishing company, encased in carbonite.

As it stands I think it’s worth it to start a pool on how long it takes for Ms. Jareo’s book to get pulled from Amazon. I’ll say this next Monday by 3pm Pacific. Any one else want to bet?

251 thoughts on “The 2006 Stupidest FanFic Writer Award Gets Retired Early

  1. I’d like to introduce you to my 15,000 daily readers, almost none of whom, I suspect, are your family, friends or acquaintances.

    *blink*

    Can you spare a couple thousand, John?

    On another note, this is beyond ridiculous. I’m not sure what kind of principle of a publishing company that is “one of the nation’s largest poetry publishers” could possibly not realize that she is violating a copyright by putting this up for sale. But then, as Nick also pointed out, there’s also a free PDF for download on her site, so my mind boggles wondering WHY she put it up on Amazon in the first place.

    I’m willing to chalk it up to “spur-of-the-moment-stupidty” and leave it at that.

    (Of course, I’d also disagree that fanfic is good for science fiction. But that argument will likely get me killed.)

  2. I’d like to introduce you to my 15,000 daily readers, almost none of whom, I suspect, are your family, friends or acquaintances.

    *blink*

    Can you spare a couple thousand, John?

    On another note, this is beyond ridiculous. I’m not sure what kind of principle of a publishing company that is “one of the nation’s largest poetry publishers” could possibly not realize that she is violating a copyright by putting this up for sale. But then, as Nick also pointed out, there’s also a free PDF for download on her site, so my mind boggles wondering WHY she put it up on Amazon in the first place.

    I’m willing to chalk it up to “spur-of-the-moment-stupidty” and leave it at that.

    (Of course, I’d also disagree that fanfic is good for science fiction. But that argument will likely get me killed.)

  3. I’d like to introduce you to my 15,000 daily readers, almost none of whom, I suspect, are your family, friends or acquaintances.

    *blink*

    Can you spare a couple thousand, John?

    On another note, this is beyond ridiculous. I’m not sure what kind of principle of a publishing company that is “one of the nation’s largest poetry publishers” could possibly not realize that she is violating a copyright by putting this up for sale. But then, as Nick also pointed out, there’s also a free PDF for download on her site, so my mind boggles wondering WHY she put it up on Amazon in the first place.

    I’m willing to chalk it up to “spur-of-the-moment-stupidty” and leave it at that.

    (Of course, I’d also disagree that fanfic is good for science fiction. But that argument will likely get me killed.)

  4. Man, Ms. Jareo should also be up for a Darwin award….If nothing else, she has risked the whole business she is a partner in for a little egoboo she could have better gotten elsewhere.

    I do both pro and fianfic writing and *I* hope to hell Lucas sues.

  5. I think someone around Lucasville will be working on the weekend and able to send an email, and considering this information is now out there in science-fiction-aficionado-land, if I were a betting man I’d say before Monday. That’s before 12am Pacific, Monday. Of course, I’m not.

    I like how when you click to read the first page it says “copyrighted material” at the top and bottom. It’s funny because it’s true.

  6. I think someone around Lucasville will be working on the weekend and able to send an email, and considering this information is now out there in science-fiction-aficionado-land, if I were a betting man I’d say before Monday. That’s before 12am Pacific, Monday. Of course, I’m not.

    I like how when you click to read the first page it says “copyrighted material” at the top and bottom. It’s funny because it’s true.

  7. No Bet…

    I do wonder how someone who was apparently intelligent and creative enough to write a novel that others seems to want to sell; and smart enough to get it noticed; could be stupid enough to not nuderstand copyright.

    Perhaps I should now take her complete manuscript take all her characters and write a sequel. After all, copyright doesnt really matter does it.

  8. If not for my horse i would not have wasted 3 years at collage.

    anyway reading part of the book i think she might get away with it being satire.

    But it being so bad it is hard to tell if the satire is intentional.

  9. I note that you can download the whole book. I suspect that this is the fig leaf that she’s trying to hide behind. Nevermind that whether she sells it or gives it away, it still infringes on copyright.

    Anyways, I skimmed a couple of pages of the excerpt. I suppose if she were desperate, she might get away with the parody defense. I hope not though because I really like the right to parody and wouldn’t like it if some test case curtails it. If this work makes any sort of commentary about Star Wars or popular culture, I suspect that it’s unintentional. The plot blurb at the web site sounds so earnest.

    As for WordTech, I don’t know a whole lot about publishing and even less about publishing poetry, but any company which calls itself “A New Paradigm of Poetry” raises my alarm bells. Their books are non-returnable. They expect the authors to do all the marketing. I hope this is not how poets typically get published.

  10. PS: I read the excerpt on the Amazon listing. I was bored by sentence #4.

    Sad thing is, my mailbox gets deluged with POD efforts like this, nearly all of which are unreadable. Have yet to see anyone actually publishing fanfic of someone else’s copyrighted intellectual property to sell on Amazon, though. I mean…DUH!

  11. otherdeb:

    “Oh, and may I link to this?”

    Of course!

    joshua corning:

    “If not for my horse i would not have wasted 3 years at collage.”

    Mmmmm… Lewis Black. A good way to start the morning.

  12. I too would like some of the 15000 daily readers. One or two is fine.

    I’d also like to point people to my new book “Old Man’s War with The Ghost Brigades But Not Those Ghost Brigades, Other Ghost Brigades. Seriously.” I wrote it for myself, and while I’m trying to sell it online, in bookstores, in monastaries, in airports and on street corners, it’s really only for myself and my family. By the way, I consider every person on this planet, and other planets family.

    What an idiot. Seriously. I mean, in this day and age where you can’t have the TV on for 5 seconds without seeing a commercial for a law firm, how can she expect to not get sued by selling an unauthorized book based on quite possibly the most popular science fiction universe of all time?

  13. For the pool, I would be very suprised if it’s not off of Amazon by the end of the day. In fact, I’ll pick noon PST today. That doesn’t take a C&D letter, it just takes someone at Lucasville making a phone call. Amazon’s catalog software is more than capable of pulling an item in minutes, and I have no doubt there is someone in legal with the training to do just that.

  14. For the pool, I would be very suprised if it’s not off of Amazon by the end of the day. In fact, I’ll pick noon PST today. That doesn’t take a C&D letter, it just takes someone at Lucasville making a phone call. Amazon’s catalog software is more than capable of pulling an item in minutes, and I have no doubt there is someone in legal with the training to do just that.

  15. Bill Marcy:

    “but how does one copyright a universe?”

    One writes it into existence. For example, the universe “Old Man’s War” is copyrighted by me, because I thought up the particulars of that universe, like who is in it and all their names. So if someone wrote up a universe that had John Perry and Jane Sagan’s cousins fighting aliens for the Colonial Union (and so on), I could say “hey, now. That’s mine.”

    This is not to say that if they wrote up a universe like mine — hostile with rejuvenated soldiers and such — I could automatically sue; you can’t copyright an idea. What you can copyright is the proper nouns involved.

    If someone were to write OMW fanfic and share it with her pals, I wouldn’t be particularly concerned. If she then tried to sell the story, there would be problems.

  16. “but I don’t think being a fan means you suddenly have a license to be stupid.”

    Unfortunately, I think few people need a license to be stupid — they seem to do just fine all on their own. >_

  17. Oy bloody vey – just when I thought I’d heard all the incarnations of “stupid writer”.

    At least this gave me one hell of a chuckle this morning. :)

  18. Her web site says she did a signing at the AWP book fair. That’s a long way for her friends, family and acquaintances to go to get a copy of her non-commercial book . . .

  19. Her web site says she did a signing at the AWP book fair. That’s a long way for her friends, family and acquaintances to go to get a copy of her non-commercial book . . .

  20. I read the first three pages on Amazon. Oy. Three pages of “As you know, Bob” exposition on galatic topography.

    And Sith Lord lawyers don’t use tortsabers. They kill too quickly for proper tort fun.

  21. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that whether or not you’re trying to make a profit is secondary in copyright issues. Whenever you make something available for public consumption, it potentially dilutes the ability of the copyright holder to make money from their ideas whether or not you are trying to make money on it.

    Just another way that this book was a bad idea.

  22. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that whether or not you’re trying to make a profit is secondary in copyright issues. Whenever you make something available for public consumption, it potentially dilutes the ability of the copyright holder to make money from their ideas whether or not you are trying to make money on it.

    Just another way that this book was a bad idea.

  23. I can see the defense now. Blame Paramont for their incredibly lenient attitude toward Star Trek fan tribute-everything. For God’s sake – there are live action TV-style episodes availabale on the Internet that are not just in the Trek universe but use the original characters! How’s a girl to know?

  24. Ehhh…what a maroon!

    I’ll place my vote on preliminary action (C&D letter and/or Amazon taking it down) by end of business today, with more formal action bright and early Monday.

    Having been involved in a video game which spawned a few fanfics (Septerra Core), I have to say that it’s very flattering and not at all a bad thing – unless it moves past the fanfic stage.

  25. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that whether or not you’re trying to make a profit is secondary in copyright issues. Whenever you make something available for public consumption, it potentially dilutes the ability of the copyright holder to make money from their ideas whether or not you are trying to make money on it.

    Copyright infringement is a strict liability matter: it doesn’t matter whether you made money, or whether your intentions were pure, or whether the author’s ability to make money was diluted: if you’ve infringed on copyright, then you’re liable.

    “Fair use” is a _limitation_ on what constitutes an infringement, and that’s where you consider “(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

    Dilution is a trademark concept.

  26. It’s been mentioned on a forum at starwars.com where Lucasfilm editors read and post. (“Eeusu Estornii”, who later replies to the question with “I have no idea, but not one of ours,” is Sue Rostoni, a Lucasfilm licensing editor.)

    You might want to pull that bet to a little earlier in the day. Even with Amazon being based on the West Coast.

    As a once-fanfic writer, I really am not much amused. I’m with you on the effect of fanfic on science fiction, and Star Wars in particular has a very lively community, quality spread on both sides of a Gaussian curve. That kind of thing was possible precisely because Lucasfilm has been nice to the fandom. If this makes that change, I shall be very unamused, and a great number of people shall be even less amused.

  27. Hopeless

    Lee Goldberg, a TV and novel writer whose online bête noire is fanfic, has broken the astounding story of a woman who put her POD Star Wars fanfic for sale on Amazon. Her self-delusion is truly remarkable. John Scalzi (“The…

  28. Hopeless

    Lee Goldberg, a TV and novel writer whose online bête noire is fanfic, has broken the astounding story of a woman who put her POD Star Wars fanfic for sale on Amazon. Her self-delusion is truly remarkable. John Scalzi (“The…

  29. Hopeless

    Lee Goldberg, a TV and novel writer whose online bête noire is fanfic, has broken the astounding story of a woman who put her POD Star Wars fanfic for sale on Amazon. Her self-delusion is truly remarkable. John Scalzi (“The…

  30. POD = print on demand. It’s a technology used by a number of small publishers to (relatively economically) print books in single copies only when ordered.

  31. Seeing as how this story has begun to spread around the internet, I’ll place my bet on today (Friday 4/21) by 6PM for the book to be gone from Amazon. I really hope Lucas sues.

    And if I may chime in on my opinion of fanfiction: If and when I ever get published, I’d be flattered if I saw fanfiction based on my writing in random internet places, but if someone tried to publish it like that? I’d be ticked off. Plus, being a Harry Potter reader, I can’t help but stumble across fanfiction from that universe. Every so often, there is a really well-written story, and I just want to scream at them, “Why are you wasting your time with this? Why not write your own, original stuff?”

  32. Judging by the prices Wordtech is charging, I suspect that they are a POD operation. ($17 for a 124 page book in trade paperback!)

    Ingram and Amazon have a deal going where, if the publisher pays a fee and gets an ISBN, they will load it into their catalogs automatically. However, to get the graphics on Amazon’s page, the author / publisher needs to upload it manually.

  33. Judging by the prices Wordtech is charging, I suspect that they are a POD operation. ($17 for a 124 page book in trade paperback!)

    Ingram and Amazon have a deal going where, if the publisher pays a fee and gets an ISBN, they will load it into their catalogs automatically. However, to get the graphics on Amazon’s page, the author / publisher needs to upload it manually.

  34. I must be a glutton for punishment, but I pulled the PDF.

    I was surprised to see an ISBN #. Maybe I misunderstand the definiton, but the word commercial comes up an awful lot:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isbn

    Which begs the question, can any piece of crap that rolls off a printer get one of these? Or do I need to get a special ISBN upgrade to my Inkjet?

  35. Bill Marcy:
    Excuse the stupid question and the lack of piling on, but how does one copyright a universe?

    By using the Hubble Space Telescope to zoom in on disk-shaped galaxies, astronomers have found one with a large “C” in it.

  36. Ugh.

    The VERY FIRST sentence in her own “about the book” information… and I quote:

    “It is a dark time; the evil Galactic Empire rules with a titanium fist.”

    Titanium.

    Yes… because, as anyone knows titanium is the ultimate in high strength material… at least according to movies and basic ignorant people… lets leave aside for a moment that fact that Star Wars never mentions TITANIUM… (Maybe a durasteel fist?) But titanium, while stronger than iron is not stronger in general than, say, steel… its just lighter at the same time… So.. are we saying that the Empire has a strong but dainty and light hand? … ugh… ugh… ugh…

    Er… sorry. Pet peeve among aerospace engineers…

    Still… pet peeve aside, the description itself screams HACK! … Not a very bright move on her part… if you’re gonna break the law, at least do it with a quality product… sheesh…

  37. OK… so now I read part of the excerpt… (I know I know… I have to slow down and look at car wrecks too).

    It’s like a badly written technical manual… so much pointless technical exposition… both because real Star Wars fans already know this stuff… and because its not what Star Wars is about anyways…

    Horrible, Horrible writing. George Lucas should sue, confiscate every printed copy and place the pages in Lucasfilms restrooms so they might serve a useful purpose…

    Man, she manage to nail my Huge-Star-Wars-Fan petr peeve as well…

  38. OK… so now I read part of the excerpt… (I know I know… I have to slow down and look at car wrecks too).

    It’s like a badly written technical manual… so much pointless technical exposition… both because real Star Wars fans already know this stuff… and because its not what Star Wars is about anyways…

    Horrible, Horrible writing. George Lucas should sue, confiscate every printed copy and place the pages in Lucasfilms restrooms so they might serve a useful purpose…

    Man, she manage to nail my Huge-Star-Wars-Fan petr peeve as well…

  39. OK… so now I read part of the excerpt… (I know I know… I have to slow down and look at car wrecks too).

    It’s like a badly written technical manual… so much pointless technical exposition… both because real Star Wars fans already know this stuff… and because its not what Star Wars is about anyways…

    Horrible, Horrible writing. George Lucas should sue, confiscate every printed copy and place the pages in Lucasfilms restrooms so they might serve a useful purpose…

    Man, she manage to nail my Huge-Star-Wars-Fan petr peeve as well…

  40. Or a good set of golf clubs! Yeah, that’s it! The author watched that ‘Star Wars Kid’ video on the Web too many times and decided that in her universe, all the lightsabers were putting irons.

  41. Hmmm, a million habitable planets and twenty million sentient species? Uh, okay… sounds a bit crowded to me… but at least they’ve got the diversity requirement nailed.

  42. Bill Marcy: Excuse the stupid question and the lack of piling on, but how does one copyright a universe?

    Steve Eley: By using the Hubble Space Telescope to zoom in on disk-shaped galaxies, astronomers have found one with a large “C” in it.

    Steve is my hero.

  43. CoolBlue:

    I have a license to be stupid.

    I took the stupid test to get it.

    Saved my ass on a number of occasions.

    Believe me.

    Why should we believe you? You’re stupid, remember?

    :-)

  44. You would think Amazon would themselves know better and not aid and abet the copyright violation. (Then again they allowed RPF of Royalty up for sale.) Could a distributor ever be held partially liable? In other markets the seller of stolen goods is held responsible even if he was not the one who stole; and has a responsibility to ensure he is selling legitimate goods.

  45. Wretched. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Wretched.

    I’ve been writing Star Wars fanfic for years (acknowledged geek, right here) but titanium? Ai Eru!

    Says on the author profile that she’s written software manuals. Given the several hundred words of technological yammering and not one iota of character or plot development, believe me, it shows. This so-called story may have a detrimental effect on the fanfiction community as a whole (Lucas might decide to forbid it entirely) but I hope they come down on her like a ton of rectangular building things. This is a travesty.

  46. I wonder if her next book will be an adaptation of Anne Rice characters.

    We all know how tolerant SHE is of fanfic, after all….

  47. Back at my high school, Mike was a young film director. His grandmother had bought him a Trans Am. He and a few of his buddies used the car in their own homemade movie. The Trans Am was supposed to have a hyperspace drive. Unfortunately, they named the film after a Steve Martin skit and the movie was mentioned in the amateur filmmakers section of Cinemagic magazine. Of course, Steve Martin’s attorneys saw the article and sent Mike and his buddies a “cease and desist” letter. The lawyers didn’t care that Mike and the guys were teenagers who were not trying to make a profit. This is where I first heard about the concept of “riding coattails.” It is illegal for you to use the name of a well-known product. I suspect it is a form of trademark infringement.

  48. Wow. This would probably be the stupidest thing I’d seen all week, if it weren’t for the news story on some random man going door to door posing as a doctor, offering women free breast exams and being taken up on that offer.

  49. Clearly this woman is reaching for immortality among fen. She wanted to write something even worse than The Eye of Argon and sell it on Amazon. Yesterday it reached a respectable sale rank of #27,535 in Books. Today it has sadly fallen off to a mere #85,854.

    From the interview: “I made a conscious decision to remove my editor’s cap as I was writing this story.”

    Please, madame, put it back on.

  50. Aw, man. I started a nice little Old Man’s War fanfic about Mary Sue the sweetest person who ever existed used to be really pretty and have long blonde hair and didn’t want to be old anymore , but as I kept writing I realized that it gave away plot points.

    Shoot. What will I sell on Amazon now?

  51. Shoot. What will I sell on Amazon now?

    No worries, Rachel! I’ll let you collaborate with me on The Rough Ghost Agent’s Old Man’s Guide to the Brigades of the Dumb.

    I’ll tell you the idea, and then you can write the book…

    And then we’ll give the money to Krissy to manage.

  52. John — I am so glad I wasted twenty minutes of my life clicking on links and verifying just how horrifying this situation is. It’s a good thing the Web doesn’t come with “Beat Down” button, because this poor “author” would be flattened already.

    However, though I am a computer professional, it’s too hard to expect the readers of MY blog to click to your article, so I’m going to copy the text of your entry and put it in my blog, though I’ll change some of the names of the commentators so my reader(s) won’t be confused. It’s so good, I might be forced to print up a pamphlet, though, and maybe sell it through Amazon — if I do the non-commercial marketing just right.

    { set-flag-irony=OFF }

    From Their Website:

    WordTech Communications LLC is one of the nation’s largest poetry publishers, bringing out approximately 50 titles per year by such authors as Philip Dacey, Frederick Turner, Rhina P. Espaillat, Allison Joseph, Nick Carbó, Ingrid Wendt, Christina Pugh, John Repp, Barry Spacks, Ravi Shankar, and other established and emerging poets.

    Wow! They publish Ravi Shankar!

    On Another Web Page:

    Ravi Shankar was born in Washington DC, grew up in Manassas, known for the Battles of Bull Run and Lorena Bobbitt, attended third grade in South India, went to a Science and Tech high school, worked a variety of jobs, including as knife salesman and drywall hanger, eventually matriculating from the University of Virginia and Columbia University. He is currently poet-in-residence at Central Connecticut State University and a founding editor of the internationally acclaimed online journal of the arts,

    Guess WordTech knows LOTS about marketing!

    (SIGH)

    Dr. Phil

  53. Hmm. I’ve only read 2 of the source books, but why let that stop me?

    Once there was an old lady named Mary Sue who used to be really pretty and have long blonde hair but didn’t anymore on account of being old. She didn’t want to be old anymore, so she decided to join the army.

    Unfortunately, on her way, she ran into a bunch of movie stars running out of a big building. “That guy is crazy!” shouted one of the movie stars who was pretty, almost as pretty as Mary Sue used to be.

    “What guy?” asked Mary Sue.

    “My agent!” cried the movie star.

    An oblong of alien oozed along the sidewalk. “Don’t join the army,” it said, casually eating a dog. “In the army, you’ll be forced to write on laptops at coffee shops and no one will really be fooled into thinking you’re a writer.”

    “Oh no!” cried Mary Sue, “An alien!”

    And then she began to scream.

    [/chapter one]

    …yeah, that was less funny than I hoped it would be when I started out. ;)

  54. Hmm. I’ve only read 2 of the source books, but why let that stop me?

    Once there was an old lady named Mary Sue who used to be really pretty and have long blonde hair but didn’t anymore on account of being old. She didn’t want to be old anymore, so she decided to join the army.

    Unfortunately, on her way, she ran into a bunch of movie stars running out of a big building. “That guy is crazy!” shouted one of the movie stars who was pretty, almost as pretty as Mary Sue used to be.

    “What guy?” asked Mary Sue.

    “My agent!” cried the movie star.

    An oblong of alien oozed along the sidewalk. “Don’t join the army,” it said, casually eating a dog. “In the army, you’ll be forced to write on laptops at coffee shops and no one will really be fooled into thinking you’re a writer.”

    “Oh no!” cried Mary Sue, “An alien!”

    And then she began to scream.

    [/chapter one]

    …yeah, that was less funny than I hoped it would be when I started out. ;)

  55. Echo the observation that this is beyond stupid.

    If you want to share the story with friends and family, I can see running off a few nice-looking copies, but not listing it on frickin’ Amazon.
    If she hadn’t gone the promotional circuit with it, I might’ve perceived this as an accident. I can easily see the situation where a POD publisher just automatically sends all their new ISBNs to the online booksellers, and didn’t realize this wasn’t for the public eye. But again, the author’s publicity efforts eliminate that excuse…

    Re:fanfic in general, Laura wrote:
    Every so often, there is a really well-written story, and I just want to scream at them, “Why are you wasting your time with this? Why not write your own, original stuff?”
    Um, generally because that’s the story they want to tell. [Or because that’s the story that’s screaming in their brain to be let out and shared.]
    Among other advantages, fanfic has a low barrier to entry, a built-in audience, and posting online provides near-immediate feedback and egoboo.
    I do read the blogs of many professional writers, and watching them go through some of the scutwork of publishing (cycles of rejections and rewrites, reviewing proofs) has convinced me to abandon my childhood dreams of becoming a professional writer. I enjoy writing, but not enough to put up with all the rest of it.

    Finally, a bit of pedantry: The “N” in ISBN == “Number”. So saying or writing “ISBN number” is redundant, like ATM machine.

  56. Every so often, there is a really well-written story, and I just want to scream at them, “Why are you wasting your time with this? Why not write your own, original stuff?”

    I hear this a lot re: my own fanfic, but it always puzzles me. Why do people assume I’m doing one or the other? I do both simultaneously.

    yeah, I don’t sleep much.

    This moron would only be another blip on the Moron Radar were it not for the fact that she may be endangering the ability of not-stupid fanfic writers to engage in their hobby. Argh.

  57. Read the excerpt and gotta scrub my brain. This is seriously Bad!Fic, not to mention stupid. First rule of fandom is “Thou shalt not profit.” Selling this … thing … at *any* price violates that. I shudder at the thought of how a stupid stunt like this is going to affect those of us who play with other folk’s toys purely out of love.

  58. Read the excerpt and gotta scrub my brain. This is seriously Bad!Fic, not to mention stupid. First rule of fandom is “Thou shalt not profit.” Selling this … thing … at *any* price violates that. I shudder at the thought of how such a stunt is going to affect those of us who play with other folk’s toys purely out of love.

  59. So.. are we saying that the Empire has a strong but dainty and light hand?

    Q, I am beyond amused that THIS is what you chose to focus on. *tips hat in your general direction*

    I like fanfiction in general, which is usually prefaced with “I’m not making money off this! Really!”s and “If you sue me, you’ll get the three pennies I have in my pocket”s, and is self-reportedly not making a profit but just there for fun and practice. It would be a shame if this person ruined fanfic writing for everyone else.

  60. I was reminded of this issue this afternoon when my brother downloaded a screen saver that creates the Matrix falling numbers effect. It’s a very nice piece of software – the graphics are very clean and impressive, there are lots of different display options. The programmer obviously worked hard and created a good product.

    And it’s shareware. The guy wants $7 to unlock the software.

    Am I wrong, or is this roughly the same situation as the one being described here? The falling numbers graphic was created by someone on the film’s design team. The programmer even uses the Matrix name in the screen saver. I believe shareware programmers should be rewarded for their hard work, but surely this isn’t right?

  61. I love that the Amazon entry has been tagged with “copyright infringement” and “crazy like a fox”. Hah! She’s going down, down, down!

  62. I love that the Amazon entry has been tagged with “copyright infringement” and “crazy like a fox”. Hah! She’s going down, down, down!

  63. Okay, let me clarify. Yes, I know that some fanfiction writers do also write their own, original pieces. That’s fantastic, and I can see how fanfiction can serve as anything from a writing exercise to a hobby to a diversion. But I have to wonder, when I see some works of fanfiction reaching novel length (and beyond,) if the balance of energy is being equally distributed. Personally, if I wanted to be a published writer badly enough that I had written original work, I’d make sure the energy erred on the side of my own pieces.

  64. I smell a new book title…..

    “You’re not fooling anyone when you violate copyright laws and publish your fan fiction and sell it on Amazon while claiming that only your family knows it’s there.”

    As the comedian Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid”

  65. Remember that post John made about sufficiently advanced incompetence being indistinguishable from malice?

    … That applies to this, too.

    PS – Laura, I understand how you feel.

  66. First John, let me say… I’ve read through this blog entry and it’s many comments, as well as some of your previous entries and I will definitely be back to read more.

    As for Lori Jareo and her book… I was surprized to find that at 5:30 pm EST, the link you provided on Amazon was still accessible. But I’ll pass on the bets for how long it will remain.

    Then after reading through all the comments, I foolishly decided to find out for myself just how awful this book was, so I followed the link to her website and clicked on the excerpt. I couldn’t get past the first page without my eyes glazing over were it not for the blatant copyright infringement issue, she could market this book to insomniacs. As unkind as that may sound, when a writer claiming to be a professional, self-publishes a book, the reader expects quality writing.

    Not only should her book be removed from Amazon and the other venues… but perhaps her company should be flagged as one for writers to beware of.

  67. When I told my wife, a born and bred Star Wars geek, about the Darth Vader ruling with a titanium fist, she immediately said, “Maybe in this universe, he golfs.”

  68. When I told my wife, a born and bred Star Wars geek, about the Darth Vader ruling with a titanium fist, she immediately said, “Maybe in this universe, he golfs.”

  69. This person is going to give fanfiction writers EVERYWHERE a bad name *is not impressed*.

    The tags for it made me laugh – so far it’s copyright infringement (1), stupid people doing stupid things, crazy like a fox, needs a good lawyer immediately or possibly a psychiatrist, wtf, Fanfic gone very wrong.’ – I think the entire Star Wars fanbase is screaming for blood right about now.

  70. I love fanfic, I write fanfic, and I whole-heartedly support fanfic that is shared freely and in fandoms for which the creator has not declared that s/he absolutely forbids it.

    Ms. Jareo has done something so utterly stupid, though, that I have to think it’s part of a larger plan. It’s too hard to believe that anybody could be so dumb or so egotistical. The one thing saving most fan writers is that we make no money. Plenty of us lose money; I go out and buy Star Wars reference books, novels, and other materials. But selling the stories is going way, way too far and violating that key concept that keeps most fanfic writers out of hot water, even if it’s not technically legal; we offer our work for free.

    Yeah – it has to be something larger, maybe a secret attack on fanfic, or she’s just snapped. No editor could make that mistake.

  71. Geeking out with little stories of Yoda and Chewbacca on the Wookiee Planet on a personal Web site that’s visited by your friends is one thing.

    I dunno. I’d guess that major fanfiction archive sites like fanfiction.net have significantly higher traffic numbers than that, and that fanfiction — in the best cases — provides a serious competing product, particularly with something like Star Wars where the quality of the professional product is, uh, highly uneven, to say the least. I think it’s probably a nontrivial drain on potential revenues.

    Okay, let me clarify. Yes, I know that some fanfiction writers do also write their own, original pieces. That’s fantastic, and I can see how fanfiction can serve as anything from a writing exercise to a hobby to a diversion. But I have to wonder, when I see some works of fanfiction reaching novel length (and beyond,) if the balance of energy is being equally distributed. Personally, if I wanted to be a published writer badly enough that I had written original work, I’d make sure the energy erred on the side of my own pieces.

    I guess that raises the issue of those Pride and Prejudice fanfics that get published from time to time. I know there are at least two — Pemberley and something else (neither of which I have read, mind). But one advantage that fanfiction gives a writer is that fanfic has a built-in audience, to some extent. It’s the same reason movies these days are practically all franchises.

    I think the audience problem is exacerbated in this age, where we have such a plenitude of choices. In some sense, it’s a kind of “long-tail” type problem. If all the various niches that make up the long-tail know how to find each other, and authors who write in those niches can find the readers who want to read those niches, then the problem — you can write right to that pool of readers already. Fanfic of Star Wars is much, much more specific than any broad topic like “science fiction.” And if you make it a sub genre — “slash” fanfic of Star Wars, say — then that’s even more specific. And when you write into one of those genres, people have that very specific understanding of what they’re going to get. If you want to reach an audience for your writing (as distinguished from getting published and receiving money), fanfic is actually an extremely good strategy. I think.

    When you add in the price (usually $0, excepting . . egregious instances, like the one at issue here) and the centralised repositories (including but not limited to the aforementioned fanfiction.net), and the ratings lists and reviews and favourites and whatnot that circulate through at least those genres of fanfiction that I read (or used to, when I had an excess time to kill), your potential audience is actually rather larger writing fanfiction, I think, than it is likely to be as a fledgling published author. But your readers’ pleasure is just as real.

  72. To the previous poster, If they dare TOUCH Anne Rice’s work, screw her suing, I will be amongst the first to sue. Her works are wonderful. and this is really ridiculous that she didnt understand the Copyright laws after apparently being a professional editor.

  73. Now, if she had only gone the “The Wind Done Gone” road with this, and re-told Star Wars from the perspective of the droids, then she’d be all set.

  74. Now, if she had only gone the “The Wind Done Gone” road with this, and re-told Star Wars from the perspective of the droids, then she’d be all set.

  75. Finally, a bit of pedantry: The “N” in ISBN == “Number”. So saying or writing “ISBN number” is redundant, like ATM machine.

    It’s called “RAS Syndrome” where RAS stands for Redundant Acronym Syndrome (Syndrome).

    But why would the author even bother publishing on Amazon if the target audience was only her friends & family? Why not just write her friends and family a letter asking if they’d like to buy a copy of her fanfiction?

  76. But I have to wonder, when I see some works of fanfiction reaching novel length (and beyond,) if the balance of energy is being equally distributed.

    Plenty of authors do very nicely writing fanfic–they’re just careful to base it in public-domain works. Look at Wicked and its follow-up books; The Red Tent, or any number of other stories that are re-tellings of Bible tales; or take-your-pick of books retelling the Arthur legends. Those are fanfic, all right, but they’re lit’rary, so it’s Acceptable.

    I think the point you’re getting at is that people who never write anything but fanfic are not growing as writers in some important ways, and that maybe some of those amateur fanfic writers could expend their energies writing publishable fiction.

    Oh, and as for Ms. Jareo–if I were going to piss off an author with a francise, George Lucas would not be the guy I’d pick. I do want a tortsaber, though.

  77. Well, looks like she woke up and pulled her book site. It’s now a Mac OS X Server 401 now.

    But why would the author even bother publishing on Amazon if the target audience was only her friends & family?

    Maybe she hoped LFL would find it, read it, love it, and offer her a contract to publish it for real? Crazy, but given the sheer nutjobness of the situation…

  78. Her site now says “Thank you for your interest in Another Hope. The book has been removed from the Books in Print database and will be removed from book distribution channels effective Tuesday, April 24, 2006. ” and that’s all that there. Guess we’ll never know what Lucas’s lawyers wrote ;-0

  79. “Her site now says ‘Thank you for your interest in Another Hope. The book has been removed from…’

    Heh. Yes, but things don’t get lost on the internet, do they? Just do a Google search on http://www.thenaberriegirls.com and you can pretty much read everything that WAS on her site; now in the Google cache.

  80. Quote: “… removed from book distribution channels effective Tuesday, April 24, 2006.”

    *eyes her Calendar*

    Fictional Universe, indeed.

  81. I guess that raises the issue of those Pride and Prejudice fanfics that get published from time to time.

    No, it doesn’t. “Pride and Prejudice” is a public domain work. “Star Wars,” on the other hand, is not only copyrighted, much of it is trademarked. This idiot is clearly violating those. And I honestly really wish Lucasfilms and RandomHouse would sue her.

  82. I guess that raises the issue of those Pride and Prejudice fanfics that get published from time to time.

    No, it doesn’t. “Pride and Prejudice” is a public domain work. “Star Wars,” on the other hand, is not only copyrighted, much of it is trademarked. This idiot is clearly violating those. And I honestly really wish Lucasfilms and RandomHouse would sue her.

  83. Laura said:

    Personally, if I wanted to be a published writer badly enough that I had written original work, I’d make sure the energy erred on the side of my own pieces.

    I said:

    I guess that raises the issue of those Pride and Prejudice fanfics that get published from time to time.

    Emily said:

    No, it doesn’t. “Pride and Prejudice” is a public domain work. “Star Wars,” on the other hand, is not only copyrighted, much of it is trademarked. This idiot is clearly violating those. And I honestly really wish Lucasfilms and RandomHouse would sue her.

    Perhaps Laura was talking solely about the legal aspects of the problem, in which case you are correct. I don’t think she was, though, and it was the original vs. non-original (as opposed to copyrighted vs. non-copyrighted) element I was responding to above. If you’re writing Jane Austen fanfic, that is, you’re no more original than a writer of Star Wars fanfic. It may be publishable, sure, but publishable and original are two very different things, just as getting published and getting an audience for your writing are — as I argued above — two very different things.

  84. What I find even *more* disturbing is the fact that there are 19 copies in the used & new section. So this means that at least *19* people bought this thing? Actually spent money on it???

    0.0

    why???????

  85. I’d guess that major fanfiction archive sites like fanfiction.net have significantly higher traffic numbers than that, and that fanfiction — in the best cases — provides a serious competing product, particularly with something like Star Wars where the quality of the professional product is, uh, highly uneven, to say the least. I think it’s probably a nontrivial drain on potential revenues.

    Actually…I believe you are quite wrong on the drain of potential revenues. Take the Lord of the Rings fandom as an example. The movies are out on DVD even extended releases…the buzz is gone, yet fanfiction keeps the fandom going and going and going. Thus, these people reading fanfic continue to buy MORE merchandise rather than less because the fresh fanfic keeps the fandom itself FRESH to them without new LOTR merchandise having to be marketed as heavily.

    Same goes with Star Wars…as the buzz dies down…new fans come in, read the fanfic…BUY more, not less.

    Every geeky fanfic writer and reader *I* know owns things like light sabers and not the cheap plastic ones you can get at Wal-Mart I’m talking $300+ replicas. They spend money on t-shirts, and toys, and toys for their kids and so on. There are Yahoo!Groups that post fanfiction and then when some new merch comes out you see posts of “Did you see such and such!?” and the discussion of “Oh where can I buy it?” ensues.

    Besides every writer of LOTR fanfic I know has the movies, (usually regular release and extended) has the books…all of them with appendices…those are their ‘bible’ on anything and everything on Arda. ;) Same with the Star Wars movies, books, comics, video games…see a trend?

  86. Kris, the used copies puzzled me too, although I do know what they are. All of those sellers are bottom feeder fringe dealers who use scraping bots to pull data about books that are selling. They then put in offers (often automatically underpricing the lowest by a penny) to sell, figuring that if they DO get a bite, they can contact the publisher, buy a box at steep discount and make some money. If you look at their feedback scores, you will see how well this plan works as far as customers are concerned.

    Frankly I would be delighted to see THEM get included in a Lucas-lawsuit, and try to argue their way out of their supposed possession of these books!

  87. And the sad thing is that based on her Amazon ranking, she was selling a decent amount. She was at 27000 yesterday and 48000 today. That really is not that bad (at all) for Amazon. People were actually buying the book.

  88. And the sad thing is that based on her Amazon ranking, she was selling a decent amount. She was at 27000 yesterday and 48000 today. That really is not that bad (at all) for Amazon. People were actually buying the book.

  89. By Antony:

    I think the point you’re getting at is that people who never write anything but fanfic are not growing as writers in some important ways, and that maybe some of those amateur fanfic writers could expend their energies writing publishable fiction.

    But I disagree that writing fanfiction keeps us from growing as writers. Most writers never even come close to being published. Even if they put their stuff on the internet for free, very few people would be drawn to it. (Unless they were writing porn.)

    Secondly, for many of us, we have to meet the grind of everyday life to bring home our very necessary paychecks. Working on a publishable fiction doesn’t offer enough return. Perhaps if I could find a local writing group, I would get that return, but I feel too constrained in such groups. They wouldn’t understand my slash, they don’t get the twists I use, and I would have to face them after. The internet offers at least the illusion of anonymity for things I wouldn’t want my friends and family to see.

    When you write in an existing “universe,” you are publishing to an existing fanbase. People are drawn to your stories because they are in that fanbase, but they don’t respond only to the unoriginal part of the story. They respond to your perception and exhibition of the characters. They respond to your original characters and situations. In the case of AUs and crossovers, they respond to your creativity, not to mention the fact that you’ve done something that will never happen in the commercial world. Further, you get a chance to test out writing styles and other types of word-play. It’s not just about instant gratification. To me, it is about growing as a writer.

  90. By Antony:

    I think the point you’re getting at is that people who never write anything but fanfic are not growing as writers in some important ways, and that maybe some of those amateur fanfic writers could expend their energies writing publishable fiction.

    But I disagree that writing fanfiction keeps us from growing as writers. Most writers never even come close to being published. Even if they put their stuff on the internet for free, very few people would be drawn to it. (Unless they were writing porn.)

    Secondly, for many of us, we have to meet the grind of everyday life to bring home our very necessary paychecks. Working on a publishable fiction doesn’t offer enough return. Perhaps if I could find a local writing group, I would get that return, but I feel too constrained in such groups. They wouldn’t understand my slash, they don’t get the twists I use, and I would have to face them after. The internet offers at least the illusion of anonymity for things I wouldn’t want my friends and family to see.

    When you write in an existing “universe,” you are publishing to an existing fanbase. People are drawn to your stories because they are in that fanbase, but they don’t respond only to the unoriginal part of the story. They respond to your perception and exhibition of the characters. They respond to your original characters and situations. In the case of AUs and crossovers, they respond to your creativity, not to mention the fact that you’ve done something that will never happen in the commercial world. Further, you get a chance to test out writing styles and other types of word-play. It’s not just about instant gratification. To me, it is about growing as a writer.

  91. Kris said:
    new fans come in, read the fanfic…BUY more, not less.

    Exactly. Good fanfic writers are fanatics. I keep notes on every episode of the Star Trek shows to fill in what the published guides don’t show. Afterwards, I evaluate my notes to decide which shows are worth buying on DVD. Most people think I work much too hard on simply watching TV.

    Further, I’ve become a casual fan of many a show or movie because of fanfiction. I want to see what inspired these works. It’s free advertising, often bringing in fans that never would have given the show a second look otherwise. What family, friends, and advertising couldn’t convince me to watch, fanfiction has.

  92. Kris said:
    new fans come in, read the fanfic…BUY more, not less.

    Exactly. Good fanfic writers are fanatics. I keep notes on every episode of the Star Trek shows to fill in what the published guides don’t show. Afterwards, I evaluate my notes to decide which shows are worth buying on DVD. Most people think I work much too hard on simply watching TV.

    Further, I’ve become a casual fan of many a show or movie because of fanfiction. I want to see what inspired these works. It’s free advertising, often bringing in fans that never would have given the show a second look otherwise. What family, friends, and advertising couldn’t convince me to watch, fanfiction has.

  93. On another note, I was wondering what impact people think this will have on fanfiction?

    Would having fanfic writers take a stand against this woman make a difference to owners who might be scared or pissed over this incident?

  94. From what I have been seeing online, most fanfic writers would happily deliver her to Lucas, giftwrapped and hog-tied on a silver platter, with an apple in her mouth and the original draft of her manuscript in her hands.And they’d pay for the platter as a gift to him.

  95. From what I have been seeing online, most fanfic writers would happily deliver her to Lucas, giftwrapped and hog-tied on a silver platter, with an apple in her mouth and the original draft of her manuscript in her hands.And they’d pay for the platter as a gift to him.

  96. The mind well and truly boggles.

    Frankly, if I were doing what this moron says shes doing (only publishing it for friends and family) I’d go down to Kinkos (or somewhere similar) and pay for them to print/bind the number of copies required and that would be that. I’m fairly sure that’s probably illegal, when it comes to fanfic, but on the scale of 1 to advertising your fanfic for sale on Amazon for $20, I doubt it would raise George Lucas’ hackles and, for that matter, it’s what ‘Zine publishers have been doing since the 60s.

  97. Every geeky fanfic writer and reader *I* know owns things like light sabers and not the cheap plastic ones you can get at Wal-Mart I’m talking $300+ replicas. They spend money on t-shirts, and toys, and toys for their kids and so on. There are Yahoo!Groups that post fanfiction and then when some new merch comes out you see posts of “Did you see such and such!?” and the discussion of “Oh where can I buy it?” ensues.

    I am pretty geeky. Well, no. I am geeky. I am a total nerd. I read a fair bit of Star Trek fanfiction when I was in middle school, and high school too, if I recall aright. I’ve watched a few episodes of Star Trek beginning to end, from various series, and watched a few of the movies. I have never had the slightest desire to purchase a Star Trek novel or collectors set or anything of the sort. And I expect I am not the only person who treats fanfic as a free substitute good in this fashion.

    With Star Wars, the situation is different, because I don’t know whether there is satisfactory free material available. When I was looking — i.e. ten+ years ago — there wasn’t, that I could find. Still, I did read enough of the Star Wars franchise novels to know that most of them are hardly better than fanfic (because, in a sense, that’s exactly what they are — licensed fanfic). Fanfic, that is, for other genres I know better, e.g. various anime series. And I expect there are people who treat them as a reasonable free substitute good, pushing out legal goods.

    There certainly is the effect of increasing the fanbase, and whipping up fan fervour and all kinds of other good things that franchise owners should like. And possibly those effects more than compensate for cheap bastards like myself, who treat fanfic as a substitute good. But in the absence of hard numbers (which I am unsure how we would obtain — are there any out there, though?) I am dubious.

    An alternative view, of course, is that because I am a cheap bastard, the price point for legal Star Wars novels is set higher than I am willing to pay (or “to pay, given the average quality”) and thus, because fanfiction is generally free, I am simply a consumer who would not otherwise be consuming Star Wars fanfiction, licensed or otherwise. This is somewhat like the online music situation, then — many people downloading music off the internet are too poor or too cheap to buy the music legitimately anyhow, so the effect on legal sales may be negligible. And this may be correct. I don’t know. But again, I am a little dubious.

  98. Every geeky fanfic writer and reader *I* know owns things like light sabers and not the cheap plastic ones you can get at Wal-Mart I’m talking $300+ replicas. They spend money on t-shirts, and toys, and toys for their kids and so on. There are Yahoo!Groups that post fanfiction and then when some new merch comes out you see posts of “Did you see such and such!?” and the discussion of “Oh where can I buy it?” ensues.

    I am pretty geeky. Well, no. I am geeky. I am a total nerd. I read a fair bit of Star Trek fanfiction when I was in middle school, and high school too, if I recall aright. I’ve watched a few episodes of Star Trek beginning to end, from various series, and watched a few of the movies. I have never had the slightest desire to purchase a Star Trek novel or collectors set or anything of the sort. And I expect I am not the only person who treats fanfic as a free substitute good in this fashion.

    With Star Wars, the situation is different, because I don’t know whether there is satisfactory free material available. When I was looking — i.e. ten+ years ago — there wasn’t, that I could find. Still, I did read enough of the Star Wars franchise novels to know that most of them are hardly better than fanfic (because, in a sense, that’s exactly what they are — licensed fanfic). Fanfic, that is, for other genres I know better, e.g. various anime series. And I expect there are people who treat them as a reasonable free substitute good, pushing out legal goods.

    There certainly is the effect of increasing the fanbase, and whipping up fan fervour and all kinds of other good things that franchise owners should like. And possibly those effects more than compensate for cheap bastards like myself, who treat fanfic as a substitute good. But in the absence of hard numbers (which I am unsure how we would obtain — are there any out there, though?) I am dubious.

    An alternative view, of course, is that because I am a cheap bastard, the price point for legal Star Wars novels is set higher than I am willing to pay (or “to pay, given the average quality”) and thus, because fanfiction is generally free, I am simply a consumer who would not otherwise be consuming Star Wars fanfiction, licensed or otherwise. This is somewhat like the online music situation, then — many people downloading music off the internet are too poor or too cheap to buy the music legitimately anyhow, so the effect on legal sales may be negligible. And this may be correct. I don’t know. But again, I am a little dubious.

  99. Every geeky fanfic writer and reader *I* know owns things like light sabers and not the cheap plastic ones you can get at Wal-Mart I’m talking $300+ replicas. They spend money on t-shirts, and toys, and toys for their kids and so on. There are Yahoo!Groups that post fanfiction and then when some new merch comes out you see posts of “Did you see such and such!?” and the discussion of “Oh where can I buy it?” ensues.

    I am pretty geeky. Well, no. I am geeky. I am a total nerd. I read a fair bit of Star Trek fanfiction when I was in middle school, and high school too, if I recall aright. I’ve watched a few episodes of Star Trek beginning to end, from various series, and watched a few of the movies. I have never had the slightest desire to purchase a Star Trek novel or collectors set or anything of the sort. And I expect I am not the only person who treats fanfic as a free substitute good in this fashion.

    With Star Wars, the situation is different, because I don’t know whether there is satisfactory free material available. When I was looking — i.e. ten+ years ago — there wasn’t, that I could find. Still, I did read enough of the Star Wars franchise novels to know that most of them are hardly better than fanfic (because, in a sense, that’s exactly what they are — licensed fanfic). Fanfic, that is, for other genres I know better, e.g. various anime series. And I expect there are people who treat them as a reasonable free substitute good, pushing out legal goods.

    There certainly is the effect of increasing the fanbase, and whipping up fan fervour and all kinds of other good things that franchise owners should like. And possibly those effects more than compensate for cheap bastards like myself, who treat fanfic as a substitute good. But in the absence of hard numbers (which I am unsure how we would obtain — are there any out there, though?) I am dubious.

    An alternative view, of course, is that because I am a cheap bastard, the price point for legal Star Wars novels is set higher than I am willing to pay (or “to pay, given the average quality”) and thus, because fanfiction is generally free, I am simply a consumer who would not otherwise be consuming Star Wars fanfiction, licensed or otherwise. This is somewhat like the online music situation, then — many people downloading music off the internet are too poor or too cheap to buy the music legitimately anyhow, so the effect on legal sales may be negligible. And this may be correct. I don’t know. But again, I am a little dubious.

  100. I’m fairly sure that’s probably illegal, when it comes to fanfic,

    Just a heads-up for anyone concerned — yes, that’s illegal. But all fanfiction is illegal (unless, I think, it falls in the parody exception). It’s unauthorised derivative work, after all. Sure, you may never have made a cent off the thing. Sure, your profit may be negative. But that’s what statutory damages are for. 17 USC 504, for anyone interested. And those can add up pretty quickly. If a copyright owner wants to be really obnoxious, he can probably garnish your wages or something too, when it turns out you don’t have enough money to pay those enormous fines.

  101. Jumping in late…but a bit of out-of-copyright fan fiction just won the Pulitzer Prize.

    I have written a lot of fanfic, and a lot of original fics too, and I consider my fanfic experience invaluable. Whether it’s your world or another’s, you still have to develop characters, write believable dialogue, transition between scenes, chapter effectively, and carry plots through several hundred, if not thousand, pages. Someone said that you have to write a million words of crap before you get any good; I’m happy to say that fanfic took me halfway to the goal! And my original fics are quickly closing the gap.

  102. Annals of short-lived phenomena: Star Wars fanfic on Amazon

    Lori Jareo wrote a not very good novel-length work of Star Wars fanfic called Another Hope. Nothing remarkable there. However,…

  103. Annals of short-lived phenomena: Star Wars fanfic on Amazon

    Lori Jareo wrote a not very good novel-length work of Star Wars fanfic called Another Hope. Nothing remarkable there. However,…

  104. I thought that Doug Feith was the stupidest F&*king person on the face of the Earth…Well.. I suppose they can share the title.

  105. *head in hands*

    I write Buffy fanfiction. I even have my own website. Some of my stories are archived on others’ websites.

    Do I publish my fanfic and sell it on Amazon?

    Only if I want Joss Whedon coming after me with a +6 Big Pointy Stake of Copyright Infringement Lawsuit!

    This stupid broad makes fanfic writers everywhere want to kill. I hope George Lucas sues her and takes her for everything she has, including all her floor rugs and whatever pet her kids might have. And her kids too.

  106. She’s so lying. She had a freakin’ book launch party.


    Q: How does it feel to have published your first novel?

    Yippee! Only my immediate family knew I’d been working on the book, and only when I had copies in hand did I tell anyone else about it. I had a launch party for it at a coffeehouse, which was great fun.

    If it wasn’t a commercial endeavor and it was only personal, then why the party? Eh? Yeah.

  107. I read a story not too long ago about a kid who wrote a short story about being in the Clone Army. Lucas read it, and loved it, and approved it. Kid then turns it into a novel. Lucasfilm does not approve the novel. Kid changes all the names in his book so it no longer takes place in the SW Universe & then publishes it. Lucasfilm sues kid anyways.

    My point: This poor stupid lady is going down, down, down.

    It’s not so hard to believe that there is one lady out there that stupid, but that the rest of the Publishing company must be off their rockers too… inconceivable!

  108. “Can we set up a paypal link for the silver platter Lunardreamed proposed?”

    Posted by: everbloom at April 22, 2006 11:03 PM

    Actually, that was mine, not the esteemed Lunardreamed’s.

    But you made my evening.

  109. “Can we set up a paypal link for the silver platter Lunardreamed proposed?”

    Posted by: everbloom at April 22, 2006 11:03 PM

    Actually, that was mine, not the esteemed Lunardreamed’s.

    But you made my evening.

  110. “She’s so lying. She had a freakin’ book launch party.”

    Not only that, as I found out, inspired by John and Los Bros Goldberg’s posts, she was using Another Hope in the bio she gave writer’s conferences.

  111. I’d just like to add that the ultimate irony is the “copyright material” tag on the pages up for view (STILL!) on Amazon.

    I think I’m going to die of a synapse error now. This is too much irony for my poor brain to take.

    (Well I would if I weren’t so worried that this could backlash against real ficcers, who are for the most part as sane as anyone else.)

  112. I couldn’t help noticing that all the attention you and Mamatas have poured on this issue have really helped boost the book’s sales. (The last time I checked, it was below the Amazon sales rank of 9,000, which is within the “commercially viable” sales rank range.)

    At present, it isn’t close to OMW or the Ghost Brigades, but it’s blowing all of Mamatas’s books out of the water.

    Without all of this hubbub, this book would probably have sold 4 or 5 copies per year. You guys have created a mini-bestseller of sorts.

  113. I think ol’ Lori has a clue she’s in deep trouble:

    Customers tagged this item with
    First tag: copyright infringement (Tarnished Southern Belle “Kelly” on April 21, 2006)
    Last tag: copyright infringement

    bad fanfic (7), copyright infringement (7), the stupid it burns (5), only living brain donor (4), Lucas is so going to kill you (2), Very Very Very Illegal (2), weapons-grade stupidity (2), a Chernobyl-esque mistake (2), is yoda gonna have to smack a btch (2), lawyer up sweetheart (1), Lucas i (1), Copyright Infringement (1), a moron (1), profiting illegally from fanfic (1), stupid in_deep_doodoo (1)

  114. Hey, it’s possible that she just disagrees with Anderson v. Stallone and that line of cases and wants a test case to challenge.

    Although in this particular case, I tend to doubt it. B)

  115. Hey, it’s possible that she just disagrees with Anderson v. Stallone and that line of cases and wants a test case to challenge.

    Although in this particular case, I tend to doubt it. B)

  116. Well, unlike one of the first posters, I am a lawyer. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one. I don’t understand the rant here. Didn’t Lucas, or whoever the author is, make enough money off of this story already? So what’s the beef? Copyright isn’t meant to give authors a windfall. Its purpose is to give them enough to write, but no more. As long as the original story is written, and has been adequately compensated, there’s nothing wrong in copyright theory to prevent everyone else from spinning off as many sequels as makes them happy. Of course there’s something in copyright law to prevent it, but that’s an entirely different story, or at least it should be. Judges and juries may care about the legalities, but the moral indignation of these posts just stinks. There’s nothing immoral about what she did, and therefore nothing inherently wrong, just perhaps illegal (depending in fact on how much of the copyrighted material she took, as opposed to the freely copyable underlying ideas, stock characters, standard plot twists, and such). And there’s a huge difference, something of which most of these posters are clearly entirely ignorant.

  117. Well, unlike one of the first posters, I am a lawyer. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one. I don’t understand the rant here. Didn’t Lucas, or whoever the author is, make enough money off of this story already? So what’s the beef? Copyright isn’t meant to give authors a windfall. Its purpose is to give them enough to write, but no more. As long as the original story is written, and has been adequately compensated, there’s nothing wrong in copyright theory to prevent everyone else from spinning off as many sequels as makes them happy. Of course there’s something in copyright law to prevent it, but that’s an entirely different story, or at least it should be. Judges and juries may care about the legalities, but the moral indignation of these posts just stinks. There’s nothing immoral about what she did, and therefore nothing inherently wrong, just perhaps illegal (depending in fact on how much of the copyrighted material she took, as opposed to the freely copyable underlying ideas, stock characters, standard plot twists, and such). And there’s a huge difference, something of which most of these posters are clearly entirely ignorant.

  118. “Copyright isn’t meant to give authors a windfall.”

    Yes, I’m sure Dickens spent all that time battling pirate editions because he was worried about losing *subsistence* income.

  119. The Force has been notified

    Fan fiction is tolerated, barely, by the copyright owners. And God (or George Lucas) forbid that it should get out into the open, where the lawyers will have a field…

  120. The Force has been notified

    Fan fiction is tolerated, barely, by the copyright owners. And God (or George Lucas) forbid that it should get out into the open, where the lawyers will have a field…

  121. If I may:

    The moral outrage comes from several factors, but can basically be summed up in a single statement: She has gone and done the one thing–published her fanfic for personal profit–that all fanfic authors take extreme pains to avoid, and in the course of doing so, has potentially endangered the pursuit of a highly enjoyable passtime for many in the possibility of a general crackdown on fanfic.

    So, to break that down:
    One: she is acting as if the reasonable rules–publish only for pleasure, not profit–do not apply to her, which is always an attitude that angers people. Fanfic authors always say somewhere on their site, story or both that they do not own or profit from their work, so the attitude expressed by Ms. Jareo is rather infuriating.

    Two: All fanfic exists at the sufference of the owner(s) of the copyright–or not. Just ask Anne Rice.

    Three: So, if LucasArts decides to crack down on fanfic writers because of this woman, you’re going to have a large number of people being unfairly tarred with the same brush who didn’t do anything to deserve that.

    Four: And if other owners–JKR, the Tolkein estate, Paramount, etc.–decide to crack down on their respective fandoms as well, which is a possibility, it will be extremely ugly.

    That’s basically it; there’s a few more minor points, but that’s the summation. Basically, this woman has managed to potentially screw up her life if LucasArts decides to make an example of her, but the rest of the online fandoms are worried that they’ll be tagged–unfairly–along with her.

  122. I don’t understand the idea that it’s okay as long as Lucas is still rich. Doing something to a rich guy instead of a poor guy doesn’t make it more or less illegal. And when do you say the victim has made enough money, been adequately compensated, et cetera? Does that mean that I can rip off a really bad story if the original author wasn’t paid at all, but if it’s kinda mediocre, I have to wait for the royalty checks to pass a couple thousand dollars?
    And who decides?

  123. I don’t understand the idea that it’s okay as long as Lucas is still rich. Doing something to a rich guy instead of a poor guy doesn’t make it more or less illegal. And when do you say the victim has made enough money, been adequately compensated, et cetera? Does that mean that I can rip off a really bad story if the original author wasn’t paid at all, but if it’s kinda mediocre, I have to wait for the royalty checks to pass a couple thousand dollars?
    And who decides?

  124. It’s interesting that as of 17:53BST amazon have pulled all reviews which mention the copyright issue, but have left the two content reviews and the book itself up. I would imagine that they are holding fire until the lawyers are back in the office tomorrow. But someone has noticed something.

  125. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one.

    Bluntly, md, you don’t sound like a lawyer at all, much less one who specializes in intellectual property issues. I’d expect an actual IP practitioner to talk about whether the work was derivative, the level of the infringement, and so on. I also wouldn’t expect one to invent distinctions between ‘copyright theory’ and ‘copyright law’, especially completely imaginary distinctions.

    Try again, perhaps on a thread where there aren’t any real lawyers.

  126. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one.

    Bluntly, md, you don’t sound like a lawyer at all, much less one who specializes in intellectual property issues. I’d expect an actual IP practitioner to talk about whether the work was derivative, the level of the infringement, and so on. I also wouldn’t expect one to invent distinctions between ‘copyright theory’ and ‘copyright law’, especially completely imaginary distinctions.

    Try again, perhaps on a thread where there aren’t any real lawyers.

  127. Md writes: “I don’t understand the rant here.”

    I disagree with Md’s quasi-defense of the book itself. Ms. Jareo made a blunder, and there will likely be consequences.

    At the same time, I think that the bloggers have gotten about enough mileage out of this one. (I just noticed that this issue is also being covered over at the Making Light blog, churning over much the same verbiage about *how stupid Ms. Jareo is.*)

    And stupid she is, or was. But Ms. Jareo, is, afterall, an unknown (until late last week) micro-publisher in Ohio; we aren’t talking about Enron here. Ultimately, this is an issue between Ms. Jareo, the copyright holder, and Amazon. And as several people have pointed out, George Lucas is more than capable of taking care of himself.

    The attention that this is receiving is starting to drift into overkill. As I mentioned in my previous post, the book would likely have sold 4 or 5 copies a year if not for the attention that Mamatas, Scalzi, and Nielsen-Hayden have insisted on showering all over it. All three of these gentlemen are professionals. Jareo quite obviously is not. But it is simply bad form for them to devote so much of their energies to beating up on an obsure wannabe.

  128. Wow … this thing is bigger than I realised! Interesting to see how the shockwaves go on and on … And I am morbidly curious to see how this plays out, though I know the final act will occur beyond our sight. It is simply beyond me how this woman, with the background she claims, could make such a stupendous mistake. Lucas *could* conceivably decide SW fan fiction has gone far enough – which is a scary thought.

    Just a note for those wondering *why* people “waste time” writing novel-length fan fiction, when they could better put their efforts to getting published … Allow me to say that I walk both roads, fan fiction and original fiction. I can testify many times over that the frustration, rejection, loneliness and repetition of submitting for conventional publication simply is not for everyone. A person can very easily spend years, if not decades chasing that elusive goal. Some of my rejections have been absolutely lovely personal letters, and often the cause is simply that I fell one small notch behind another story. Magazines have limited space, and someone has to miss the cut. That someone has thus far been me. My first novel is still out under consideration, but I know how tough the competition is, and I have no illusions of first-time acceptance.

    Fan fiction, however, allows an instant audience and instant voice, a community of writers and readers that feeds a sense of belonging. Yes, many fic writers have no interest in anything but playing in a bit of fantasy with some friends. But many fic writers’ offerings are as good or better than the books I see on bookshelves. These writers strive, they struggle, they endeavor to create works as good as they possibly can. Lacking the resiliance or the desire to endure the submit-reject cycle a few jillion times over does not make a person less of a writer. And believe me, it takes a deft and skillful hand to write fan fiction that truly and properly captures the characters, the voice and the tone of universe in which it is rooted.
    Best regards,

    ~ E

  129. Wow … this thing is bigger than I realised! Interesting to see how the shockwaves go on and on … And I am morbidly curious to see how this plays out, though I know the final act will occur beyond our sight. It is simply beyond me how this woman, with the background she claims, could make such a stupendous mistake. Lucas *could* conceivably decide SW fan fiction has gone far enough – which is a scary thought.

    Just a note for those wondering *why* people “waste time” writing novel-length fan fiction, when they could better put their efforts to getting published … Allow me to say that I walk both roads, fan fiction and original fiction. I can testify many times over that the frustration, rejection, loneliness and repetition of submitting for conventional publication simply is not for everyone. A person can very easily spend years, if not decades chasing that elusive goal. Some of my rejections have been absolutely lovely personal letters, and often the cause is simply that I fell one small notch behind another story. Magazines have limited space, and someone has to miss the cut. That someone has thus far been me. My first novel is still out under consideration, but I know how tough the competition is, and I have no illusions of first-time acceptance.

    Fan fiction, however, allows an instant audience and instant voice, a community of writers and readers that feeds a sense of belonging. Yes, many fic writers have no interest in anything but playing in a bit of fantasy with some friends. But many fic writers’ offerings are as good or better than the books I see on bookshelves. These writers strive, they struggle, they endeavor to create works as good as they possibly can. Lacking the resiliance or the desire to endure the submit-reject cycle a few jillion times over does not make a person less of a writer. And believe me, it takes a deft and skillful hand to write fan fiction that truly and properly captures the characters, the voice and the tone of universe in which it is rooted.
    Best regards,

    ~ E

  130. Greg, if you have been paying attention this is and will be more than beating on an obscure wanna be. She just gets to be the example and catalyst. It has brough up the issues of fanfic for debate(and in some cases lots of moral rationalization)in general. I’m seeing in many places the letter of the law being pitted against the wishful fantasies of fans. And quite the varity of ways to excuse fanfic as an art.

  131. P.S.
    Got so caught up in my own verbiage that I neglected to say – Good fan fiction writers also know that the secret to success is to stay in our little underworld. We don’t stand a chance out in the light of day … and sure as heck not on Amazon! ;-)

  132. Bibliophile20 sums up the pragmatic issues here, and the danger this behavior can cause to the general agreement between creators and their fans that fanfic is okay so long as it’s for fun and not profit. The law gives the creators the ability to go after those fans, and they choose not to, because the fans pay the bucks, after all.

    What md is talking about, and I agree with him/her as well, is that copyright is the result of a centuries-old agreement between creators and the public. The public will grant a monopoly to creators (monopolies are generally bad) so that they can recoup their costs of creation and hopefully make a nice profit as an incentive to create.

    Now, I personally think that creators long ago broke this agreement, and now the term of copyright has gone from 28 years max to life+70.

    You can tell how this was particularly devious because they extended the terms to works that had already been created. It’s one thing to say we need to increase the incentive to create – just extend the term to new works. Extending to old works is a simple giveaway.

    Now instead of a vibrant public domain, we have an almost completely stagnant one. And we will continue to as long as Congress listens to Disney and the recording industry.

    I also think that the definition of “derivative work” has gotten way too broad, and that also contributes to the problem. If the goal of copyright is the creation of lots of works, then thousands of people writing fanfic promotes that goal.

    Anyway, that’s the “copyright theory” side of this issue.

  133. Bibliophile20 sums up the pragmatic issues here, and the danger this behavior can cause to the general agreement between creators and their fans that fanfic is okay so long as it’s for fun and not profit. The law gives the creators the ability to go after those fans, and they choose not to, because the fans pay the bucks, after all.

    What md is talking about, and I agree with him/her as well, is that copyright is the result of a centuries-old agreement between creators and the public. The public will grant a monopoly to creators (monopolies are generally bad) so that they can recoup their costs of creation and hopefully make a nice profit as an incentive to create.

    Now, I personally think that creators long ago broke this agreement, and now the term of copyright has gone from 28 years max to life+70.

    You can tell how this was particularly devious because they extended the terms to works that had already been created. It’s one thing to say we need to increase the incentive to create – just extend the term to new works. Extending to old works is a simple giveaway.

    Now instead of a vibrant public domain, we have an almost completely stagnant one. And we will continue to as long as Congress listens to Disney and the recording industry.

    I also think that the definition of “derivative work” has gotten way too broad, and that also contributes to the problem. If the goal of copyright is the creation of lots of works, then thousands of people writing fanfic promotes that goal.

    Anyway, that’s the “copyright theory” side of this issue.

  134. and now the term of copyright has gone from 28 years max to life+70

    The egregious extensions of copyright a la Disney are recent. The old (and lame) 28-year copyright died in 1976. If the goal is “creation of lots of works,” then why not limit copyright to 5 years and allow derivate works to be sold for profit? I mean, if we’re just talking about volume, and not caring about creators’ interest in their own creations.

    Greg, what you’re missing is the fear that idiots like Jareo will spoil things for everyone. And on a practical level, coming into a thread and telling everyone to knock it off is not a great way to taper off a discussion.

  135. *laughs* Oh dearie… it looks that of the 28 reviews left on amazon.com only 2 remain. Although the reviews that got left were mainly from people screaming about copyright, permission and not reviewing the book at all. Still I’m not too sure what her problem is. In the Amazon.com pages if you go to the except you can see that she’s ACTUALLY GOTTEN PERMISSION to use the COVER PAGE PICTURE something that baffles me completely.

    BTW If anyone has the pdf version I’d be grateful if they emailed me a copy. I can be found at thewanderingdreamer@gmail.com

  136. *laughs* Oh dearie… it looks that of the 28 reviews left on amazon.com only 2 remain. Although the reviews that got left were mainly from people screaming about copyright, permission and not reviewing the book at all. Still I’m not too sure what her problem is. In the Amazon.com pages if you go to the except you can see that she’s ACTUALLY GOTTEN PERMISSION to use the COVER PAGE PICTURE something that baffles me completely.

    BTW If anyone has the pdf version I’d be grateful if they emailed me a copy. I can be found at thewanderingdreamer@gmail.com

  137. The egregious extensions of copyright a la Disney are recent. The old (and lame) 28-year copyright died in 1976. If the goal is “creation of lots of works,” then why not limit copyright to 5 years and allow derivate works to be sold for profit? I mean, if we’re just talking about volume, and not caring about creators’ interest in their own creations.

    The derivative work right is of course separate from the reproduction right. I don’t think 5 years is a long enough time to recoup cost of creation and give a good incentive to create. 14 is probably plenty – it’s still doing a good job in patent, after all.

    The derivative work right came about because the courts said that a translation from English to a foreign language was not copying.

    Although the list given in the definition of derivative work is not exclusive (“is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted”), I think that things like sequels do not necessarily fit well. But that’s just me, and it’s a different debate than what the length of the term should be.

  138. In the Amazon.com pages if you go to the except you can see that she’s ACTUALLY GOTTEN PERMISSION to use the COVER PAGE PICTURE something that baffles me completely.

    Um, do we actually know that she didn’t get a license from Lucas, or are we just assuming it?

  139. In the Amazon.com pages if you go to the except you can see that she’s ACTUALLY GOTTEN PERMISSION to use the COVER PAGE PICTURE something that baffles me completely.

    Um, do we actually know that she didn’t get a license from Lucas, or are we just assuming it?

  140. Noted for the record:

    Amazon.com Sales Rank: #3,835 in Books (See Top Sellers in Books)

    Yesterday: #35,860 in Books

    She may have locked up the Stupidest FanFic Writer Award(tm?), but clearly there are people who see that only as a caesura in the symphony of life.

  141. Noted for the record:

    Amazon.com Sales Rank: #3,835 in Books (See Top Sellers in Books)

    Yesterday: #35,860 in Books

    She may have locked up the Stupidest FanFic Writer Award(tm?), but clearly there are people who see that only as a caesura in the symphony of life.

  142. The derivative work right is of course separate from the reproduction right.

    But if all we want is volume, why not allow unlimited, for-profit derivative works from the get-go?

    Consider that shorter terms don’t just help the public, but help profiteers. I’m sure Disney would love a statute that limited non-corporate copyright holders to a decade or two.

  143. I suspect that very few of those orders that have rocketed her book up the Amazon charts are actually going to get fulfilled, though.

  144. I suspect that very few of those orders that have rocketed her book up the Amazon charts are actually going to get fulfilled, though.

  145. For some reason, when I try to send a trackback ping from Haloscan, your trackback system claims I’m “sending pings too quickly, please try again later.” Would be nice if that could be fixed.

    I wrote a journal entry (it’s in the URL field of this comment) about this issue, tying it to a couple of other interesting books-that-shouldn’t-be that are appearing on Amazon right now—such as the book that claims to be by Mercedes Lackey but that she’s never heard of. It’s interesting to me that Amazon allows these things to happen, and it makes me wonder if they’ll be able to get away with it for much longer.

  146. For some reason, when I try to send a trackback ping from Haloscan, your trackback system claims I’m “sending pings too quickly, please try again later.” Would be nice if that could be fixed.

    I wrote a journal entry (it’s in the URL field of this comment) about this issue, tying it to a couple of other interesting books-that-shouldn’t-be that are appearing on Amazon right now—such as the book that claims to be by Mercedes Lackey but that she’s never heard of. It’s interesting to me that Amazon allows these things to happen, and it makes me wonder if they’ll be able to get away with it for much longer.

  147. But if all we want is volume, why not allow unlimited, for-profit derivative works from the get-go?

    Again, my problem is more the scope of what’s considered a derivative work. I think the owner of a copyright in a book should also own the rights to a movie adaptation, and translations, abridgements, etc. And note that that wasn’t always the case.

    For things like sequels, fanfic, etc., I think we’ve veered way too far towards “expression” on the idea-expression spectrum. Now, with the book in question, the first page copies Star Warshappened to Google. Moral rights? Bah!

  148. This got lost somehow:

    the first page copies Star Wars verbatim and is clearly infringement. But if she had just used (what I consider to be) Lucas’s ideas, or just set her story in that “world,” then no, I don’t think it should be considered a derivative work.

  149. The cover is not from Lucasfilm, I understand. It’s reportedly an astronomical photo. Perrmission to use one of those can be very easy to get, for personal use, at least. (I’ve asked about permissions from the Hubble people. They said pretty much ‘as long as we get properly credited’ it’s okay.)

  150. md writes:

    “Well, unlike one of the first posters, I am a lawyer. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one.”

    Given the utter nonsense you wrote following these sentences and the apparent complete lack of understanding of copyright law that you appear to have, I seriously doubt you are a lawyer, a copyright lawyer, or a published one.

    As Mythago notes, pretending to be a lawyer on a thread where there are real lawyers (and, for that matter, real authors who are not ignorant of US Copyright law) is not a particularly good idea.

    If you genuinely are a intellectual property lawyer, please out yourself by name and location so I’ll know never to hire you, because you are apparently outrageously incompetent.

  151. The cover is not from Lucasfilm, I understand. It’s reportedly an astronomical photo.

    Yeah, it looked a tad too real to be Lucas :P

    My wondering was just in general – I doubt she has a license, but I wondered if that’d been confirmed.

  152. MD said:

    And there’s a huge difference, something of which most of these posters are clearly entirely ignorant.

    I think you’re selling the other posters short. For one thing, while in American jurisprudence, owing to the phrasing of the copyright clause, yes, the “moral” foundation of copyright — so to speak — is incentivising creation (through compensation), rather than any kind of inherent authorial right in his creation, there are plenty of copyright theorists who adopt a more European view, and promote a moral authorial rights version of copyright, under which using another author’s copyrighted works is legitimate cause for moral outrage.

    Scalzi said:

    Given the utter nonsense you wrote following these sentences and the apparent complete lack of understanding of copyright law that you appear to have, I seriously doubt you are a lawyer, a copyright lawyer, or a published one.

    If you look carefully, he’s talking about the theoretical justification underlying the copyright law, not whether there was infringement or not. For infringement, he hedged his assessment (a proper thing for a lawyer to do), by pointing out the kinds of criteria you use in making the infringement evaluation. In this particular case, I think there’s roughly 0 doubt that this is flagrant, wilful infringement, but copyright is not my particular field. I expect he understands copyright law just fine. The Constitutional text:

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries

    has been read by many commentators (including, presumeably, MD, in his real-life incarnation) to mean roughly:

    Copyright isn’t meant to give authors a windfall. Its purpose is to give them enough to write, but no more. As long as the original story is written, and has been adequately compensated, there’s nothing wrong in copyright theory to prevent everyone else from spinning off as many sequels as makes them happy.

    I.e. the Constitutional purpose of copyright is simply to incentivise authors to produce works by holding out the promise that they can reap economic gains from them. Once you’ve compensated them “enough to write,” then you might reasonably say that you’ve satisfied the Constitutional theoretical rationale for copyright, and that such theory gets you no further.

    On the other hand, you can make a justification for windfall profits (contra MD) along the same lines as the argument for expensive patents on valuable life-saving drugs: the costs of invention are non-trivial, and the rate of success is extremely low. To compensate those costs, you need to have a maximum possible return that greatly exceeds them, in order to cover for the low success rate. That is, structurally, you need some copyright-owners to reap windfalls, to preserve the incentive prospectively. Or something like that.

  153. Taeyoung:

    “If you look carefully, he’s talking about the theoretical justification underlying the copyright law, not whether there was infringement or not.”

    I looked carefully and saw mostly confused reasoning (and as Mythago noted, a completely aside-the-point conflation of “copyright theory” and actual copyright law), so with all due respect, I while I see what you’re saying, I don’t know that I would grant that is what md was trying to say. I’m still unconvinced he/she is a lawyer or understands copyright.

    In any event, if one wishes to make the argument that Ms. Jareo was morally correct in what she was doing, well, fine, whatever. However, I don’t see Ms. Jareo getting that far in her own thinking on the matter. She didn’t try to sell her book on Amazon on the reasoning that she was striking a moral blow for the ability of people to utilize intellectual property that had already sufficient recompensated its creator and thus should be in the public sphere. She tried to sell her book on Amazon because “only friends and family know about it.” Which is to say her moral underpinnings for her action sum up to “I’m not likely to get caught, so it doesn’t matter, anyway.” I’m not sure I would credit that position with great moral standing, personally.

  154. Scalzi said:

    If you genuinely are a intellectual property lawyer, please out yourself by name and location so I’ll know never to hire you, because you are apparently outrageously incompetent.

    Absofriggin hilarious. Plus it is spot on.

  155. Scalzi said:

    If you genuinely are a intellectual property lawyer, please out yourself by name and location so I’ll know never to hire you, because you are apparently outrageously incompetent.

    Absofriggin hilarious. Plus it is spot on.

  156. Scalzi said:

    If you genuinely are a intellectual property lawyer, please out yourself by name and location so I’ll know never to hire you, because you are apparently outrageously incompetent.

    Absofriggin hilarious. Plus it is spot on.

  157. Here’s a thought question? For all those that think copyright law is unfair and that there is a moral argument for letting fanfic and other bits legitimize, what are you actually doing about it? Are you joining the process of lobbying for change in the system and participating in how laws are made? Or are you just gabbing about it in theory and maybe one day on it’s own it will magically change for the better.

  158. Me, I wonder that she uses the excuse that only her family and friends know about it. Is she so hard up for cash that she can’t give or email them a copy of this story if they want one?

  159. Are you joining the process of lobbying for change in the system and participating in how laws are made?

    Mostly I was going to sit around until Mickey Mouse’s birthday comes up again, and then fight as hard as I can to knock some sense into Congress.

    In the meantime, I’ll try to convince anyone who’ll listen, including perhaps the fine readers of this blog B)

  160. What I wonder about those so glibly commenting that copyright law is unfair, is how many of these people are copyright holders? Do we have any movie producers, screenwriters, or published or hope-to-be published novelists among us, who are willing to be so free and easy?

    Think about it. Just suppose you’ve finally sold your movie/novel/script after lord knows how many revisions, submissions, rejections. That’s on top of the umpteen months or even years you spent creating the thing. Would you honestly be able to tell the world at large, “Okay, I got my paycheck: feel free to take my intellectual property and do anything you want with it. The fact that I spend X years sweating and creating this story/universe/mythos means nothing to me. Go ahead, do what you want with the characters/situations/worlds that I so laboriously invented.”

    Anybody? Beuller?

    As for the truth as to how illegal the book is, there is a post on the Star Wars forum by ‘Eeusu Estornii’ who works in Lucasfilm Licensing, which says: “Don’t buy it — it will only encourage this type of thing. I’m really surprised that the publisher took the risk in publishing this, and that amazon.com agreed to sell it. Obviously, they’re going to be contacted by our legal department…. ” http://forums.starwars.com/thread.jspa?threadID=222689&start=1890

    Regards,

    E

  161. “Okay, I got my paycheck: feel free to take my intellectual property and do anything you want with it. The fact that I spend X years sweating and creating this story/universe/mythos means nothing to me. Go ahead, do what you want with the characters/situations/worlds that I so laboriously invented.”

    I don’t accept the premise embodied in the phrase “intellectual property,” that one’s expression of ideas is property. If I did, I would support perptual copyright.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court has totally rejected “sweat of the brow” arguments – see Feist. I could spend my entire life coming up with the greatest idea in the world, and it would still not belong to me.

    Furthermore, there’s nothing new under the sun. Watch Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and tell me how inventive George Lucas was in creating Star Wars.

    Finally, because registration is no longer a requirement, I own a copyright in everything I’ve ever written, including this comment, and of course every photograph I’ve ever taken. I concede that I’ve never made any money from exploiting my copyrights, apart from the approx. $4 I’ve earned from AdSense B)

  162. “Okay, I got my paycheck: feel free to take my intellectual property and do anything you want with it. The fact that I spend X years sweating and creating this story/universe/mythos means nothing to me. Go ahead, do what you want with the characters/situations/worlds that I so laboriously invented.”

    I don’t accept the premise embodied in the phrase “intellectual property,” that one’s expression of ideas is property. If I did, I would support perptual copyright.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court has totally rejected “sweat of the brow” arguments – see Feist. I could spend my entire life coming up with the greatest idea in the world, and it would still not belong to me.

    Furthermore, there’s nothing new under the sun. Watch Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and tell me how inventive George Lucas was in creating Star Wars.

    Finally, because registration is no longer a requirement, I own a copyright in everything I’ve ever written, including this comment, and of course every photograph I’ve ever taken. I concede that I’ve never made any money from exploiting my copyrights, apart from the approx. $4 I’ve earned from AdSense B)

  163. “I don’t accept the premise embodied in the phrase “intellectual property,” that one’s expression of ideas is property. If I did, I would support perptual copyright.”

    You don’t have to accept the premise. It’s the law, however. The solution to laws you don’t accept isn’t to break them but to change them. There’s been a lot of discussion lately in various communities regarding Orphan Works—pro and con. Get involved.

  164. I sure hope she makes a huge profit off the book…she is going to need it when George’s lawyers show up at her doorstep with that lawsuit.

  165. I don’t accept the premise embodied in the phrase “intellectual property,” that one’s expression of ideas is property. If I did, I would support perptual copyright.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court has totally rejected “sweat of the brow” arguments – see Feist. I could spend my entire life coming up with the greatest idea in the world, and it would still not belong to me.

    Then what *does* belong to us? Objects? Cars? Houses? Pets? By that logic, patents should not apply, either. After all, what is invention but ideas? If someone invents a better jet engine, it’s only an idea, and patents are a bother, and it should be tough cookies if someone else comes along, pinches their years of research and labor, and makes a million with it.

    I can’t agree with any of that. Of course nothing is new under the sun. Every song, every story, every poem will, at some point, be reminiscent of some other work. There are themes in storytelling alone that have been repeated for thousands of years. We’ve been on this planet too long to not repeat or echo ourselves, and sometimes creativity itself is drawn from inspirations and influences that we are not consciously aware we’ve absorbed.

    Reckon we’ll just agree to disagree. If I spend 2 years writing a novel, and 10 years shopping the thing before I finally get it to the right editor on the right day at the right time, when his/her publishing house is open to selling a book like mine … there is no way in hell I’d want some stranger to come along a year after publication, and do as s/he choses with my work. Nothing would outrage me more than to see my creation bastardized, changed, and corrupted away from my original vision, sheerly for profit by someone whom I never authorised. That is why I support copyright laws.

    And that is why so many are leery of what may come of Ms. Jareo’s spectacular blunder. Fan fiction exists only by tolerance and/or tacit omission. Ms. Jareo blew that all to heck.
    Respectfully,

    E.

  166. I don’t accept the premise embodied in the phrase “intellectual property,” that one’s expression of ideas is property. If I did, I would support perptual copyright.

    Moreover, the Supreme Court has totally rejected “sweat of the brow” arguments – see Feist. I could spend my entire life coming up with the greatest idea in the world, and it would still not belong to me.

    Then what *does* belong to us? Objects? Cars? Houses? Pets? By that logic, patents should not apply, either. After all, what is invention but ideas? If someone invents a better jet engine, it’s only an idea, and patents are a bother, and it should be tough cookies if someone else comes along, pinches their years of research and labor, and makes a million with it.

    I can’t agree with any of that. Of course nothing is new under the sun. Every song, every story, every poem will, at some point, be reminiscent of some other work. There are themes in storytelling alone that have been repeated for thousands of years. We’ve been on this planet too long to not repeat or echo ourselves, and sometimes creativity itself is drawn from inspirations and influences that we are not consciously aware we’ve absorbed.

    Reckon we’ll just agree to disagree. If I spend 2 years writing a novel, and 10 years shopping the thing before I finally get it to the right editor on the right day at the right time, when his/her publishing house is open to selling a book like mine … there is no way in hell I’d want some stranger to come along a year after publication, and do as s/he choses with my work. Nothing would outrage me more than to see my creation bastardized, changed, and corrupted away from my original vision, sheerly for profit by someone whom I never authorised. That is why I support copyright laws.

    And that is why so many are leery of what may come of Ms. Jareo’s spectacular blunder. Fan fiction exists only by tolerance and/or tacit omission. Ms. Jareo blew that all to heck.
    Respectfully,

    E.

  167. Someone mentioned the live-action Star Trek episodes. Those are over on http://www.newvoyages.com The Difference between them and the star trek rip off is New voyages are being done with the permission of Paramount. Also Lucas has hos fan film awards. There are ways to play in someone else’s universe legally. But it seems this lady is clueless.

  168. Then what *does* belong to us? Objects? Cars? Houses? Pets? By that logic, patents should not apply, either. After all, what is invention but ideas? If someone invents a better jet engine, it’s only an idea, and patents are a bother, and it should be tough cookies if someone else comes along, pinches their years of research and labor, and makes a million with it.

    But we do have patent. For limited times. But they’re not some natural property – they’re a bargain between inventors and the public.

    Let’s say I invent an engine that runs on water. Should I be able to prevent anyone else from building one? Forever? That’s called a monopoly, and monopolies are bad. But we give inventors monopolies for limited times so that in return they’ll actually invent stuff.

    It’s the same with copyright. And patent is even stronger. Let’s say two people on the opposite sides of the country, with no contact with each other, both right the same exact song, but person B finishes five minutes later. They both have a copyright in the song.

    But if we substitute inventions for songs – the person who gets to the patent office first gets the patent, despite all the hard work of the other person.

    That is why I support copyright laws.

    Well then, you should support perpetual copyright and amending the Constitution.

    As it stands, the Constitution embodies that deal made centuries ago between authors/inventors and the public. You give us writings/inventions, we give you limited monopolies, and the end result is a rich and diverse public domain and robust innovation.

    Tipping the scale too much in either direction harms those two goals. And there are a lot of thumbs pressing on the author/inventor side right now.

  169. Then what *does* belong to us? Objects? Cars? Houses? Pets? By that logic, patents should not apply, either. After all, what is invention but ideas? If someone invents a better jet engine, it’s only an idea, and patents are a bother, and it should be tough cookies if someone else comes along, pinches their years of research and labor, and makes a million with it.

    But we do have patent. For limited times. But they’re not some natural property – they’re a bargain between inventors and the public.

    Let’s say I invent an engine that runs on water. Should I be able to prevent anyone else from building one? Forever? That’s called a monopoly, and monopolies are bad. But we give inventors monopolies for limited times so that in return they’ll actually invent stuff.

    It’s the same with copyright. And patent is even stronger. Let’s say two people on the opposite sides of the country, with no contact with each other, both right the same exact song, but person B finishes five minutes later. They both have a copyright in the song.

    But if we substitute inventions for songs – the person who gets to the patent office first gets the patent, despite all the hard work of the other person.

    That is why I support copyright laws.

    Well then, you should support perpetual copyright and amending the Constitution.

    As it stands, the Constitution embodies that deal made centuries ago between authors/inventors and the public. You give us writings/inventions, we give you limited monopolies, and the end result is a rich and diverse public domain and robust innovation.

    Tipping the scale too much in either direction harms those two goals. And there are a lot of thumbs pressing on the author/inventor side right now.

  170. Then what *does* belong to us? Objects? Cars? Houses? Pets? By that logic, patents should not apply, either. After all, what is invention but ideas? If someone invents a better jet engine, it’s only an idea, and patents are a bother, and it should be tough cookies if someone else comes along, pinches their years of research and labor, and makes a million with it.

    But we do have patent. For limited times. But they’re not some natural property – they’re a bargain between inventors and the public.

    Let’s say I invent an engine that runs on water. Should I be able to prevent anyone else from building one? Forever? That’s called a monopoly, and monopolies are bad. But we give inventors monopolies for limited times so that in return they’ll actually invent stuff.

    It’s the same with copyright. And patent is even stronger. Let’s say two people on the opposite sides of the country, with no contact with each other, both right the same exact song, but person B finishes five minutes later. They both have a copyright in the song.

    But if we substitute inventions for songs – the person who gets to the patent office first gets the patent, despite all the hard work of the other person.

    That is why I support copyright laws.

    Well then, you should support perpetual copyright and amending the Constitution.

    As it stands, the Constitution embodies that deal made centuries ago between authors/inventors and the public. You give us writings/inventions, we give you limited monopolies, and the end result is a rich and diverse public domain and robust innovation.

    Tipping the scale too much in either direction harms those two goals. And there are a lot of thumbs pressing on the author/inventor side right now.

  171. md posted: Well, unlike one of the first posters, I am a lawyer. I am a copyright lawyer. And a published one. I don’t understand the rant here. Didn’t Lucas, or whoever the author is, make enough money off of this story already? So what’s the beef?

    Great advertisement for your services as a copyright lawyer. I do hope you cite this discussion whenever you’re looking for new clients.

  172. Taeyoung:
    Fanfic, that is, for other genres I know better, e.g. various anime series. And I expect there are people who treat them as a reasonable free substitute good, pushing out legal goods.

    Japan is not the U.S. I know this, BUT:
    The fanfic marketplace in Japan is very well developed, and for profit. I think twice a year there is a huge gathering of fanfic writers/artists and they walk around buying and selling for profit fanfic. It would be impossible for copyright holders to be ignorant of this fact. But, for some reason, they don’t unleash the hounds.

    The only incentive I know of, to the publishers, in this case is that the fanfic (Doujinshi) market is some kind of minor-league/feeder-market, from which artists and authors are pulled to write original professionally published works.

    Perhaps the difference between what I’m talking about, and what you’re talking about is that the Japanese semi-pro fanfic market has price-tags, so the people who have a limited budget are forced to choose between the fanfic and the canon work? It seems strange that charging money for access to your copyright infringing work would make it less harmful to the copyright holder… but I also suppose stranger things have happened.

    It seems to me, that at the end of the day, fans of a universe/character/storyline prefer, and will pay for, official/canon works even when low-price and free fanfics are available. If they didn’t like the canon enough to scrape together pennies for it, will they like the fanfic’s enough to get them (even at a $0 cash price)? (This is where an exception for pornographic fanfic applies [Somebody may not like Ai Yori Aoshi, but may be willing to dish up money to se Aoi… physically compromised])

  173. Taeyoung:
    Fanfic, that is, for other genres I know better, e.g. various anime series. And I expect there are people who treat them as a reasonable free substitute good, pushing out legal goods.

    Japan is not the U.S. I know this, BUT:
    The fanfic marketplace in Japan is very well developed, and for profit. I think twice a year there is a huge gathering of fanfic writers/artists and they walk around buying and selling for profit fanfic. It would be impossible for copyright holders to be ignorant of this fact. But, for some reason, they don’t unleash the hounds.

    The only incentive I know of, to the publishers, in this case is that the fanfic (Doujinshi) market is some kind of minor-league/feeder-market, from which artists and authors are pulled to write original professionally published works.

    Perhaps the difference between what I’m talking about, and what you’re talking about is that the Japanese semi-pro fanfic market has price-tags, so the people who have a limited budget are forced to choose between the fanfic and the canon work? It seems strange that charging money for access to your copyright infringing work would make it less harmful to the copyright holder… but I also suppose stranger things have happened.

    It seems to me, that at the end of the day, fans of a universe/character/storyline prefer, and will pay for, official/canon works even when low-price and free fanfics are available. If they didn’t like the canon enough to scrape together pennies for it, will they like the fanfic’s enough to get them (even at a $0 cash price)? (This is where an exception for pornographic fanfic applies [Somebody may not like Ai Yori Aoshi, but may be willing to dish up money to se Aoi… physically compromised])

  174. Steve Brady said:
    Do we have any movie producers, screenwriters, or published or hope-to-be published novelists among us, who are willing to be so free and easy?

    Actually, yes, depending on just how “free and easy” you mean. Right now, copyright law gives no flexibility to the audience/consumer fanbase of a work. Fair Use is the only loophole available, and that doesn’t cover any form of alteration to the original or sharing with others. People are getting a bit tired of having big corporations tell them what they can and can’t have in the way of entertainment, and since the technology has been improving, it has become much easier for the population at large to express their own creativity and share it with others.

    There is no reason that a time-limited full copyright followed by compulsory licensing (as demonstrated in the music industry already) can’t be used effectively. What’s more, given the international nature of the web, copyright laws are going to have to be negotiated to suit more than one country. There are several other countries who do not have any desire to uphold US copyright law, and not even the Big Powerful Media Conglomerates will be able to make them.

    What it really comes down to is, the Big Media are going to have to learn to play nice with their fans, and since some of them are making progress in that direction, the fans are understandably upset with Lori for disturbing the peace talks.

  175. Why should we believe you? You’re stupid, remember?

    Well, I’m not always stupid. It’s just that when I do do something stupid, I get to show my license and say: “See? What did you expect?”

    The fact is everybody is stupid sometimes. Some more often then others and, thank God, we’re not all stupid at the same time.

  176. Japan is not the U.S. I know this, BUT:
    The fanfic marketplace in Japan is very well developed, and for profit. I think twice a year there is a huge gathering of fanfic writers/artists and they walk around buying and selling for profit fanfic. It would be impossible for copyright holders to be ignorant of this fact. But, for some reason, they don’t unleash the hounds.

    Yes . . . on the other hand, there are elements of the doujinshi community who are clearly aware of the risks they run, and have tried to make clear to doujinshi circles that their notion that they’re allowed, somehow, to make doujin based on copyrighted work, is completely wrong. See, e.g. here for a site on doujinshi and copyright (in Japanese).

    The only incentive I know of, to the publishers, in this case is that the fanfic (Doujinshi) market is some kind of minor-league/feeder-market, from which artists and authors are pulled to write original professionally published works.

    Well, yes. And there are industry workers who cross over (I think Gotoh Keiichi does, also the Love Hina guy, and the Haibane Renmei guy).

    But doujin are sold at ridiculously high prices, like $10 for an issue, so it’s almost certainly only hardcore fans who buy it, and those fans are, except on the margin, likely to purchase pretty much all the official stuff as well. Or at least that’s my guess — i.e. that doujin actually price themselves out of the ordinary consumer market, and aren’t a major competitive good for the core product for that reason.

    OTOH anime DVD’s are insanely expensive in Japan (unlike manga, which is dirt cheap, especially if you buy it at K-Books or Book Off or someplace like that), so doujinshi may actually price in at the same level as other fan-oriented goods. Not sure.

    Perhaps the difference between what I’m talking about, and what you’re talking about is that the Japanese semi-pro fanfic market has price-tags, so the people who have a limited budget are forced to choose between the fanfic and the canon work? It seems strange that charging money for access to your copyright infringing work would make it less harmful to the copyright holder… but I also suppose stranger things have happened.

    See above for my guess at what is going on. But in some sense, yes, that’s what I think is at work in the Japanese fan market. Not that I’m actually “plugged in” to it really — I just read 2ch from time to time.

  177. Hi,

    Long-time netter, first-time poster … well, here, anyway … and recent(ish) Star Wars fanfic writer.

    George Lucas has been, to date, extremely tolerant of derivative work, both literature and film. Legend has it, after the Great Paramount Clampdown of the Nineties (when they famously shutdown a few Star Trek fansites, Lucasfilm’s laywers suggested similar action but Uncle George refused to be draconian. “Take action against anything unsavoury but leave the fans alone,” he whispered in his customarily bland voice. “And, while we’re at it, show me this TROOPS video my ex-wife told me about.” In effect, he enjoys the self-propogation of brand loyalty inherent in fan creations.

    Regardless of the actual existence of this conversation, Lucasfilm has been more than generous to its fans by both hiring a great googly one to an high-profile position, to offering legal advice/support to the biggest fansite (theforce.net) and backing a fanfilm competition on atomfilms.com. However, in doing so tHEy also made very clear rules. Copyright ownership should be clearly posted, content should reflect the Star Wars values of “good taste”, anything derived from LFL products pretty much BELONGS to LFL (see EULA for Star Wars Galaxies), and, most importantly, Ye Shall Not Profit!

    Ergo, Lori Jareo, is willfully violating clause iv of the unwritten yet-often-enforced rules of Star Wars fandom. She hereby receives a BONK! for her transgressions, and prolly some schnifty legal papers courtesy of LFL’s representation.

    Last year, there was talk of ‘publishing’ my own fanfic into a coffee table book and selling it for profit. I, ehem, nixed the idea because of the above reasons. Making it widely available on the net is okay (and relatively fruitless because it is already supersaturated with SW fanfic) but profiting from it was a definate no-no in my mind. Making a coffee table book (ooo, with pictures and sidebars and yummy stuff) is still, in theory, on the slate, but we could sell it at no more than cost (I think). Further, we’d have to keep verifiable accounting in case the Great Lawyers of Lucasdom turned their eviscerating eyes upon us.

    All this Niixionics to say that, while I sympathize with her desire to be recognized for her work (satirical/parody or not), I believe this is an insult to a property which has gone out of its way to accomodate such desires by fans without breaching the needs to protect their copyright from the dreaded fall into public domain.

    The legal and public world all bloody well know Star Wars belongs to George. You’d have to live in a closet (or a very thirdy third world country) to be ignorant of this. But to be aware of this and see to challenge the existing system is not just farcical, it’s downright bantha poodoo.

  178. Furthermore, there’s nothing new under the sun. Watch Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and tell me how inventive George Lucas was in creating Star Wars.

    How about you watch Hidden Fortress and tell us how people continue to recycle such lit-crit poppycock? Having seen it, I can attest that the relation between the two is something you have to really want to see for it to be there. It’s even less of a relation than that between The Lion King and Hamlet.

    Boy, that sure was relevent.

  179. Furthermore, there’s nothing new under the sun. Watch Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress and tell me how inventive George Lucas was in creating Star Wars.

    How about you watch Hidden Fortress and tell us how people continue to recycle such lit-crit poppycock? Having seen it, I can attest that the relation between the two is something you have to really want to see for it to be there. It’s even less of a relation than that between The Lion King and Hamlet.

    Boy, that sure was relevent.

  180. Right now, copyright law gives no flexibility to the audience/consumer fanbase of a work. Fair Use is the only loophole available, and that doesn’t cover any form of alteration to the original or sharing with others. People are getting a bit tired of having big corporations tell them what they can and can’t have in the way of entertainment, and since the technology has been improving, it has become much easier for the population at large to express their own creativity and share it with others.

    Exactly. Frankly, if I can’t entertain myself with what is produced in the manner I choose, I don’t want to buy their stuff. I want to be able to rip my cds and dvds onto my computer, so I don’t have to get them out everytime I want to listen or watch. I want to be able to make copies for my own use. And I want to be able to write fanfiction and share it with fans.

    Fanfiction is how I entertain myself. I don’t just sit there watching TV, I engage it. I share with other fans. We speculate, we write, and we support each other. (In fact, it’s a little odd that at the same time that people complain about how TV is rotting our children’s brains, people are objecting to those who choose to be active participants in their entertainment.)

    As children, we would buy action figures and act out our own stories with friends and family. My friends and I made up stories and shared them together. In school, we explored our creative talents using copyrighted material for plays, movies, musical backgrounds to presentations, singing, dancing, etc. Even these things are being threatened by corporations demanding that even Girl Scouts pay for rights to sing songs within their own groups.

    I really only think of fanfiction as a more mature version of these things (and sometimes not so mature). Sometimes there are no local fans, and even if there were, what is the harm in sharing with more. I’m not writing anything I wouldn’t write anyway (truly, I wrote fanfiction before I had any idea that there were fan communities for this stuff). I realize that it would be unreasonable for me to profit by riding the coattails of someone else’s creativity, but I’m not profitting. I’m just having fun. And I fail to understand why people producing entertainment would object to people having fun with it. Why would they do it then?

    Truthfully, if I ever succeeded in getting my original work published, I would appreciate fans wanting to have fun with it. I would want my work, not only to be enjoyed, but also to be available as a vehicle for people to explore their own creative talent. No, I wouldn’t want them making a profit before my copyright ran out, and I would stand against that kind of copyright violation. Yes, I would feel uncomfortable with unusual interpretations of my characters or “universe”, but I wouldn’t oppose that.

  181. Taeyoung:
    See, e.g. here for a site on doujinshi and copyright (in Japanese).
    Wow, I really wish my Japanese skills were up to that. Considering my choices are now Google-Garbage, ~20 hours of dictionary work, and skipping it with a sigh… I’m going with #3 (If that was a “how much Japanese does this Scott guy know” test, I will raise my hand and take the “F” I deserve)

    It does really make some kind of sense that the price makes the copyright holders less nervous… but only some kind of sense. But I think part of the point is, much like the Lucas-Talk, that peaceful coexistance is possible, but only if the person with legal authority chooses it. Now, it’s also possible that established norms will govern behavior… I think a manga publisher would alienate a significant fanbase if they chased down the doujin authors they spawned. And not just the other doujin authors and readers, but other people who just think it’s “a stinky thing to do.”
    Which, if I may digress, is why the MPAA’s lawyers give testimony in movie piracy cases, rather than Columbia-Tristar’s (or whoever’s).

  182. How about you watch Hidden Fortress and tell us how people continue to recycle such lit-crit poppycock? Having seen it, I can attest that the relation between the two is something you have to really want to see for it to be there. It’s even less of a relation than that between The Lion King and Hamlet.

    Not to get all school yard on you, but pop in the Criterion DVD some time. You’ll see George Lucas say the following:

    “The one thing about Hidden Fortress is, it did influence me in doing Star Wars, because as I was beginnign to write the screenplay and put it together I remembered Hidden Fortress and I remembered the one thing that really struck me about Hidden Fortress and I was really intrigued by was the fact that the story was told from the two lowest characters. I decided that that would be a nice way to tell the Star Wars story, to take the two lowliest characters as Kurosawa did and tell the story from their point of view, which in the Star Wars case was the two droids, and that was the strongest influence actually.

    The fact that there was a Princess trying to get through enemy lines and everything I think was more of a coincidence than anything else. Because in my film the princess is more of a stand and fight kind of princess. In the beginning, in some of the first drafts I had a little bit more of her and a Jedi, an older Jedi trying to escape and that sort of thing, and then it evolved into the story of Luke.”

    And then he bloviates for a while about how all stories have been around for thousands of years and there really aren’t that many plots so he really couldn’t help it.

    Which I’m fine with, so long as he acknowledges that it wasn’t entirely original, as he does. Arrogantly, but still.

  183. How about you watch Hidden Fortress and tell us how people continue to recycle such lit-crit poppycock? Having seen it, I can attest that the relation between the two is something you have to really want to see for it to be there. It’s even less of a relation than that between The Lion King and Hamlet.

    Not to get all school yard on you, but pop in the Criterion DVD some time. You’ll see George Lucas say the following:

    “The one thing about Hidden Fortress is, it did influence me in doing Star Wars, because as I was beginnign to write the screenplay and put it together I remembered Hidden Fortress and I remembered the one thing that really struck me about Hidden Fortress and I was really intrigued by was the fact that the story was told from the two lowest characters. I decided that that would be a nice way to tell the Star Wars story, to take the two lowliest characters as Kurosawa did and tell the story from their point of view, which in the Star Wars case was the two droids, and that was the strongest influence actually.

    The fact that there was a Princess trying to get through enemy lines and everything I think was more of a coincidence than anything else. Because in my film the princess is more of a stand and fight kind of princess. In the beginning, in some of the first drafts I had a little bit more of her and a Jedi, an older Jedi trying to escape and that sort of thing, and then it evolved into the story of Luke.”

    And then he bloviates for a while about how all stories have been around for thousands of years and there really aren’t that many plots so he really couldn’t help it.

    Which I’m fine with, so long as he acknowledges that it wasn’t entirely original, as he does. Arrogantly, but still.

  184. Having seen both Hidden Fortress and Star Wars, I think it’s pretty clear that Kurasawa, especially that film, influenced Lucas. However, I think one would be hard pressed to find a film-maker, especially around Lucas’s age, who was not influenced by Kurasawa in some way.

    The way that I, and I suspect Greg Lescoe, read the comment about the inventiveness of Lucas in light of Hidden Fortress was that it was meant to imply that A New Hope was really some sort of remake Hidden Fortress, in much the same way that The Magnificent Seven (or Battle Beyond the Stars for that matter) was a remake of The Seven Samurai.

    I think that would be a tough position to argue convincingly. (And I’m not saying anyone actually espouses that position. I could be attacking a strawman here based on a misreading of the original comment.) Yes, Lucas acknowledges being influenced by Kurasawa, but each movie has scenes which have no counterparts in the other movie. The treatment of the princess character is quite different and A New Hope is ultimately about Luke.

    I don’t think anyone ever claims to have created anyone completely free of influences by others. (This does remind me of an Orson Scott Card story whose name I don’t remember about a composer forbidden to listen music, lest he be influenced by that music and cease to be original. The plot kicks into action when someone slips some a recording of Bach.) That he is influenced by previous work is not an automatic indication of the lack or even the paucity of invention… unless one cares to make the same argument about, say, Shakespeare. Stunningly beautiful language. Mindblowing insights about the human condition. But we’re not exactly talking about completely original plots here.

    Read Menaechmi and tell me how inventive Shakespeare was in creating The Comedy of Errors :-)

  185. I was responding to the idea that a creative work is born solely from its author and therefore belongs to the author in naturalistic or moral way. Everyone borrows from everyone else, and not only is that fine, it’s good. Things like “reap only where you have sown” do not apply.

    In film geek terms, I’d call Star Wars half a remake of Hidden Fortress. And it’s only one of the sources that Lucas drew from.

    And I’ve read the Menaechmi. In Latin. Not that I could anymore B)

  186. I was responding to the idea that a creative work is born solely from its author and therefore belongs to the author in naturalistic or moral way. Everyone borrows from everyone else, and not only is that fine, it’s good. Things like “reap only where you have sown” do not apply.

    In film geek terms, I’d call Star Wars half a remake of Hidden Fortress. And it’s only one of the sources that Lucas drew from.

    And I’ve read the Menaechmi. In Latin. Not that I could anymore B)

  187. SUP HUMBLE PIE

    I’ve actually never heard it postulated (though it’s a much more reasonable position) that Lucas was merely INFLUENCED by Hidden Fortress — all that ever gets bandied about is the generic whinging about something Japanese getting stolen by the evil white man and being remade and OH THE ORIGINAL IS SO MUCH BETTER.

    And really, Star Wars and Hidden Fortress really are rather generic stories, with the only major notable features being how that story is told. That’s why they’re classics, I suppose.

  188. SW Geekdom and Mythological Punditry now demands the obligatory nod to Dr. Joseph Campbell. Monomyth, Monomyth, Monomyth!

    (It’s a bit like saying Betleguese 3 times)

  189. The Amazon page now reads (and didn’t yesterday):

    Availability: THIS TITLE IS CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE. If you would like to purchase this title, we recommend that you occasionally check this page to see if it has become available.

  190. The Amazon page now reads (and didn’t yesterday):

    Availability: THIS TITLE IS CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE. If you would like to purchase this title, we recommend that you occasionally check this page to see if it has become available.

  191. The Amazon page now reads (and didn’t yesterday):

    Availability: THIS TITLE IS CURRENTLY NOT AVAILABLE. If you would like to purchase this title, we recommend that you occasionally check this page to see if it has become available.

  192. And please, let us not ignore this publishing drama in the making: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=512948.

    It is funny that this sort of thing is making news now. I nearly fell over when I read
    Robert Irwin’s The Arabian Nights: A Companion
    at the same time I was reading
    A. S. Byatt’s The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye.
    The similarities between the two never made the internet.

    I read these both about 7-8 years ago, and I recall some of the Djinn’s dialogue in Byatt’s book of fairy tales as being word for word from Irwin’s scholarly exegesis of the Thousand and One Nights. And we know she read it, as she acknowledges Irwin in the front or back of her book of stories.

  193. I wonder if this issue will become as heated as the Disney ws. the Air Pirates thing from the 70’s (A Group of Underground cartoonists make And publish a bunch of X-rated Mickey Mouse comics, have them smuggled into a Disney board meeting, and get sued by Disney in a bloody and bitter conflict that lasted for most of the 70’s). While Lori Jareo’s actions were not quite as egregious as those of the Air Pirates, you can see how much of a legal pissing contest something like this can turn into.

  194. I wonder if this issue will become as heated as the Disney ws. the Air Pirates thing from the 70’s (A Group of Underground cartoonists make And publish a bunch of X-rated Mickey Mouse comics, have them smuggled into a Disney board meeting, and get sued by Disney in a bloody and bitter conflict that lasted for most of the 70’s). While Lori Jareo’s actions were not quite as egregious as those of the Air Pirates, you can see how much of a legal pissing contest something like this can turn into.

  195. Are you joining the process of lobbying for change in the system and participating in how laws are made?

    Mostly I was going to sit around until Mickey Mouse’s birthday comes up again, and then fight as hard as I can to knock some sense into Congress.

    LOL. I’d have to agree, though if Anon has any specific suggestions on how we might go about making a difference in the copyright laws sooner, I am all ears. It’s easy to say, “Go lobby for change.” The practical application is a bit harder.

    In fact, it’s a little odd that at the same time that people complain about how TV is rotting our children’s brains, people are objecting to those who choose to be active participants in their entertainment.

    Ironic, that, but I think for the most part they’re two different groups of people. I could be wrong, though.

    As children, we would buy action figures and act out our own stories with friends and family. My friends and I made up stories and shared them together.

    Yes! That’s exactly what fandom is all about, and exactly the kind of thing that copyright law currently forbids. Jessica Litman (Digital Copyright) makes an example of a six-year-old re-enacting Star Wars in the living room: nobody but you knows he’s doing it, but it is a violation of existing copyright law. Frankly, I find that ridiculous. I don’t agree with people who want to abolish copyright altogether, mind, but this? Too restrictive.

  196. Are you joining the process of lobbying for change in the system and participating in how laws are made?

    Mostly I was going to sit around until Mickey Mouse’s birthday comes up again, and then fight as hard as I can to knock some sense into Congress.

    LOL. I’d have to agree, though if Anon has any specific suggestions on how we might go about making a difference in the copyright laws sooner, I am all ears. It’s easy to say, “Go lobby for change.” The practical application is a bit harder.

    In fact, it’s a little odd that at the same time that people complain about how TV is rotting our children’s brains, people are objecting to those who choose to be active participants in their entertainment.

    Ironic, that, but I think for the most part they’re two different groups of people. I could be wrong, though.

    As children, we would buy action figures and act out our own stories with friends and family. My friends and I made up stories and shared them together.

    Yes! That’s exactly what fandom is all about, and exactly the kind of thing that copyright law currently forbids. Jessica Litman (Digital Copyright) makes an example of a six-year-old re-enacting Star Wars in the living room: nobody but you knows he’s doing it, but it is a violation of existing copyright law. Frankly, I find that ridiculous. I don’t agree with people who want to abolish copyright altogether, mind, but this? Too restrictive.

  197. The current copyright law (as are most other laws) exist mainly for the benefit of the big corporations (and that includes Lucas) who have the money for the lawyers to enforce the copyright of their properties. Technically, when fan-fic with any characters from any established universe is xeroxed and bound into a little book or fanzine and sold at dealers tables at sci-fi cons, they’re violating a copyright also. At least Lucas has SOME sense of respect for his fans (who, after all, are the ones who made him a billionaire) and let’s these minor violations go.

    Disney, on the other hand is RUTHLESS and goes after anybody doing anything with any Disney character, no matter how minor. Web video trading sites that trade ANY Disney title are always shut down That’s what happened to the Disney page of Video Addicts.

    Super-filmmaker Mike Jittlov made a great little short film of guy who lives and dreams Mickey Mouse images and toys, etc. and after seeing thousands of little animated Mickey toys, winds up in a psychiatrist’s office, where even more Mickey toys appear. To tell this little 3-minute story, Jittlov HAD to use Mickey Mouse images. The film does NOTHING to libel or slander Mickey Mouse or Disney, but he can NEVER release the film to video in any format because he has Mickey Mouse images in it. Likewise, since Jittlov made the film, and Disney didn’t, Disney can’t release the film, either, airing it only ONCE in 1978 for their Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary TV show, for which the film was originally made, and so, unless you taped that show in 1978, or scored a bootleg dub of it, NO ONE will EVER see this little MASTERPIECE of a film on video.

    So it comes down to how MEAN any given copyright holder is, and the laws FAVOR the meanest of these.

    So if YOU wanna write fan-fic, it’s best to write entirely ORIGINAL fan-fic, and copyright it YOURSELF, to at least be able to prove WHEN you wrote it and WHAT it was, in case someone wants to do something to YOUR work and characters. Then you decide how MEAN you want to be about other people using it.

    And before you just want to “give” it to the world uncopyrighted, consider this: If YOU don’t copyright it, someone else WILL, and then even YOU can’t do anything with your OWN creation.

    This is how Bill Gates got rich off of Windows; even though he stole it from Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniac at Apple (who stole it from IBM), Gates was the first to COPYRIGHT AND PATIENT it, and so became the ONLY one to make money from it.

    How’s THAT for mean?

  198. To Dan Fiebiger: Although I would not disagree about the draconian measures Disney’s copyright lawyers take, the Mike Jitlov short you mention has been released by Disney on DVD, on one of the Mickey Mouse Disney Treasures sets. (I believe that it’s on either “Mickey Mouse In Living Color, Vol. 2″ or “Mickey Mouse In Black And White, Vol. 2.”)

  199. Jessica Litman (Digital Copyright) makes an example of a six-year-old re-enacting Star Wars in the living room: nobody but you knows he’s doing it, but it is a violation of existing copyright law.

    Does she really? That seems to me to be a private performance and so not a violation of 106(4) – similar to how every family in American can sing “Happy Birthday” in the privacy of their homes, but if you make a movie depicting a family singing “Happy Birthday” in the privacy of their home, you have to pay for the license.

    I doubt the Air Pirates case could possibly come out for Disney today, after Campbell.

  200. Looks like Amazon finally took down the entire listing. Drat. I kind of liked that wiki entry I wrote for it. Now I have to go back to google-searching for all the useful links I put in for myself to have handy all in one place. :(

  201. Looks like Amazon finally took down the entire listing. Drat. I kind of liked that wiki entry I wrote for it. Now I have to go back to google-searching for all the useful links I put in for myself to have handy all in one place. :(

  202. Does she really? That seems to me to be a private performance and so not a violation of 106(4) – similar to how every family in American can sing “Happy Birthday” in the privacy of their homes, but if you make a movie depicting a family singing “Happy Birthday” in the privacy of their home, you have to pay for the license.

    Yes, in chapter four. Perhaps because Happy Birthday was written to be performed, but motion pictures are produced to be played as-is on your television or computer screen only? I’m not a lawyer, and my studies of copyright are purely independent of the classroom, but that seems a logical explanation for the difference. Not that I like it much, but it would seem to follow.

    I kind of liked that wiki entry

    I liked your wiki, too – I hadn’t realized Amazon was doing those.

  203. Yeah, the Amazon links are dead, but searching for the Title draws an odd result – namely, the blank spot where the book’s entry would be… funny. BTW, B&N still had the book for sale as of this posting.

  204. Yeah, the Amazon links are dead, but searching for the Title draws an odd result – namely, the blank spot where the book’s entry would be… funny. BTW, B&N still had the book for sale as of this posting.

  205. “LOL. I’d have to agree, though if Anon has any specific suggestions on how we might go about making a difference in the copyright laws sooner, I am all ears. It’s easy to say, “Go lobby for change.” The practical application is a bit harder.”

    I don’t know about the American system but in Canada most laws (some special exceptions) can be changed by the legislators when they want to, there’s a process but still the books can be opened and close at any time. So it’s up to the constituents to motivate them. I don’t see why you have to wait for an expiry date to get your politicians asses in gear to change the ink on paper. Lord knows on many occasions the damn politicians change their minds and go back and rewrite something without being asked.
    Things like this discussion and some others do contribute. Public education of the issues and public discussions that get all parties involved not just the corporate lobby interests helps in the long run. If you sit quietly waiting when the renewal time comes folks may have forgotten what the big deal was in the first place or fall for agenda hype of the moment.
    I noticed increased membership and endorsement towards the Creative Commons campaign and EFF, thumbs up. Creating legally valid alternatives is a good front to wage the battle on.
    Someone could also play the martyr card and test the gray areas in court to set precedent, risky though.
    I think copyright holders should also stop the passive aggressive approach and make their individual feelings clear on record. Communicate with the fans and the good ones will respond. There are examples of authors with a healthy symbiosis of respect with the fans. Of course there are also good examples of those that went about it the wrong way.

  206. “LOL. I’d have to agree, though if Anon has any specific suggestions on how we might go about making a difference in the copyright laws sooner, I am all ears. It’s easy to say, “Go lobby for change.” The practical application is a bit harder.”

    I don’t know about the American system but in Canada most laws (some special exceptions) can be changed by the legislators when they want to, there’s a process but still the books can be opened and close at any time. So it’s up to the constituents to motivate them. I don’t see why you have to wait for an expiry date to get your politicians asses in gear to change the ink on paper. Lord knows on many occasions the damn politicians change their minds and go back and rewrite something without being asked.
    Things like this discussion and some others do contribute. Public education of the issues and public discussions that get all parties involved not just the corporate lobby interests helps in the long run. If you sit quietly waiting when the renewal time comes folks may have forgotten what the big deal was in the first place or fall for agenda hype of the moment.
    I noticed increased membership and endorsement towards the Creative Commons campaign and EFF, thumbs up. Creating legally valid alternatives is a good front to wage the battle on.
    Someone could also play the martyr card and test the gray areas in court to set precedent, risky though.
    I think copyright holders should also stop the passive aggressive approach and make their individual feelings clear on record. Communicate with the fans and the good ones will respond. There are examples of authors with a healthy symbiosis of respect with the fans. Of course there are also good examples of those that went about it the wrong way.

  207. Because I have no idea how large John’s box is.
    Part two
    “LOL. I’d have to agree, though if Anon has any specific suggestions on how we might go about making a difference in the copyright laws sooner, I am all ears. It’s easy to say, “Go lobby for change.” The practical application is a bit harder.”

    I know copyright should be taught in school. What I remember is all we got was “plagiarism is bad don’t do it” and that was it.
    Fans have to participate as well. There are those that don’t agree with the laws but just ignore them doing what they want and then cry moral outrage when busted. Also fans should crack down on the “false prophets” among them. A loud minority keep spreading the copyright myths around and for new and young fans how are they to know that person is full of it. Fans should also get more into a habit of asking when things are unclear on ere on the side of caution.
    Regardless copyright should not be the elephant in the room, discusion never hurts.

  208. Coming to this late, but…

    What md is talking about, and I agree with him/her as well, is that copyright is the result of a centuries-old agreement between creators and the public. The public will grant a monopoly to creators (monopolies are generally bad) so that they can recoup their costs of creation and hopefully make a nice profit as an incentive to create. Now, I personally think that creators long ago broke this agreement, and now the term of copyright has gone from 28 years max to life+70.

    I can’t tell you how angry this makes me feel. The tenor of this statement is that I, as a writer, OWE the world my stories and should be gratified to receive a pittance in return to keep me motivated to keep fulfilling my moral obligation to the world.

    EXCUSE ME?

    Whatever the history or the theory behind copyright law is, the current effective deal between writers and readers is simple: I control the reproduction of the words I created and put together, and people can then do whatever the heck they want with those physical reproductions (as long as they don’t reproduce them or use them to make something like them….). The *eventual* passage into public domain is fine by me, but the book itself is MORALLY mine, mine, mine, and as a writer, is my main means of passing anything on to my children. It is my LEGACY. I support the eventual laspe of copyright only because it fosters creativity and, in a practical sense, if a work becomes owned by too many people, keeping it accessible–even for a price–becomes problematical.

    If my books earn out at $5,000 each, they earn out at $5,000. But I am simply aghast that you suppose that if my books made $5 mil I am in violation of some sort of moral code because I would be filthy rich rather than living hand-to-mouth as it proper for those of us who should be slaves of the public.

    In simple words: I don’t owe the public one lick more than it owes me. People don’t HAVE to buy my books out of some moral imperative to support the starving genius. And I don’t HAVE to give away stories to you just because I happen to be good enough at writing that people want to publish me.

    If I invested in real estate and made my living that way, would you claim that I should have to give up my properties to the public once I’ve made “enough” off them? Guess what–I’d have a monopoly over those houses as long as I owned them! This is the way I see books. There are millions of books that have been printed. If you don’t like the going rate for one (like the cost of staying at a hotel), then get another. Sure, they’re all unique. But many hotels are, too.

    Want to make a guess as to who turns public domain into a steady cash-cow business? Publishers. Yep. Isn’t it better to have ALL the profit goes to big companies so that the money-grubbing authors can’t give it to their spoiled grandkids?

    Still, I see the reversion of copyright to the public domain–whatever its archaic legal history (flogging was once a recognized form of punishment, too)–as a kind of sacrifice that writers make–or are made to make–for the good of future generations of writers and literature as a whole.

    But my brain belongs to me.

  209. The wierd thing about “Happy Birthday” Is that the words and music are copyright at different times. I think that the music is well into the public domain, having first been released in the late 1800s, but the words are still copyright.

    In other words, reprinting the words to “Happy Birthday” would probably classify as a copyright violation. — unless you accept the (untested) claim that the words to “happy birthday” were published without copyright around 1913, and are thus in the public domain.

    And, of course, the result of all this legal wrangling will depend on which jurisdiction you are wrangling in.

  210. The wierd thing about “Happy Birthday” Is that the words and music are copyright at different times. I think that the music is well into the public domain, having first been released in the late 1800s, but the words are still copyright.

    In other words, reprinting the words to “Happy Birthday” would probably classify as a copyright violation. — unless you accept the (untested) claim that the words to “happy birthday” were published without copyright around 1913, and are thus in the public domain.

    And, of course, the result of all this legal wrangling will depend on which jurisdiction you are wrangling in.

  211. The wierd thing about “Happy Birthday” Is that the words and music are copyright at different times. I think that the music is well into the public domain, having first been released in the late 1800s, but the words are still copyright.

    In other words, reprinting the words to “Happy Birthday” would probably classify as a copyright violation. — unless you accept the (untested) claim that the words to “happy birthday” were published without copyright around 1913, and are thus in the public domain.

    And, of course, the result of all this legal wrangling will depend on which jurisdiction you are wrangling in.

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