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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

never again is what you swore the time before.

A Londoner is visiting his kin in eastern Massachusetts, where the family owns a cranberry bog. He happens to visit during the harvest, and is amazed by the variety and number of cranberry dishes on the table. He asks his cousin, "How ever do you deal with all these cranberries?!"

"Welp," his cousin answers, "we sell the most of 'em, and then for the rest we eat what we can and we can what we can't."

Well, the Londoner thinks this is the funniest thing he's ever heard, and when he returns his home, he tells his mother about the cranberry bog, and the cranberry chutneys and mustards and stuffings and breads and biscuits and salads and glazes. "How ever do they deal with all those cranberries?" she cries, amazed.

"Well," says the Londoner, drawing himself up with a twinkle in his eyes, "they eat as many as they are able, and tin the rest."

I probably should keep my mouf shut on this issue, but I can't resist saying Just One Thing: the most amusing thing about the Sekrit Anonymous Mail that Certain Star Writers of the Blogosphere have been getting regarding A Certain Fandom Plagiarism Flap is that I apparently missed a memo where pro writers are somehow supposed to care about unpaid fan writers borrowing our words, but be okay with them borrowing our characters and settings.

Yeah. Think about that for a minute and get back to me on it.

Here, have some reviews:

livejournal comment on B&I:

IROSF (Lois Tilton) "recommended" review of "Ile of Dogges": (free registration required, but they're nice)

Finally, somebody loffs Sarah's Ben Pastiche as it should be loffed.

And Booklist reviewed The Chains That You Refuse:

I've been telling anybody who will listen that I may have

"bright moments of storytelling....extraordinary"--Booklist

tattooed backwards on my forehead so I can see it in the mirror every morning.


I apparently missed a memo where pro writers are somehow supposed to care about unpaid fan writers borrowing our words, but be okay with them borrowing our characters and settings.

Ah, but if you focus on that dichotomy for too long, then you're just stifling free expression as defined by the fanfic crowd. (I'd best shut up before my mailbox is full of nasty "Why do you hate fandom?" missives; I'd worry about literal letter bombs, but that's implying the lazy little bastards bother to pull down their pants when taking a crap.)
Well, I'm repeatly on record as to my attitudes toward fanfic. It's not like I've changed them in the last twelve hours....

But if you expect me to wink at you sticking my characters in bed with a Horta, why should I be any more upset about filing the serial numbers off a few paragraphs of prose?
I thought one of the things driving this particular round of the kerfluffle was that the writer in question was going pro, and maintaining these erm..."borrowing" habits in the paid work. Unless this is a different plagiarism thing going round.

And I guess when it comes to fanfic in general vs plagiarism, I feel that there's a difference between saying:

"Hey, I just had an awesome idea! What if Han Solo danced a jig in the control center of the Death Star while singing a naughty song about Hutts, then shot an apple off of Tarkin's head? What a fun idea I've come up with, I'll write about it.",


"Hey, I just had an awesome idea! What if Han Solo were frozen in some carbonite and then when he was revived, couldn't see very well and had a comical half-blind fight on a lurching airship? What a fun idea I've come up with, I'll write about it."

The former may be problematic on one level or another (assuming you aren't Lucas or someone hired by Lucas), but the latter feels infinitely lamer and less honest to me.
If she does it in paid work beyond the bounds of fair use, somebody will take her to court and sue her pants off. It may be her publisher. It's a self-correcting problem, and it's not my problem.

As for the rest of it, I don't care about the fandom politics, or what the standards of behavior in fandom are. Please read my comment. What I said was that it's awfully funny that the people writing to John and Cherie seem to think they would care more about their words than thaier characters.

That's just ridiculous.
Why is it ridiculous? I've never heard of an author publically giving her blessing to wholesale appropriation of her prose, but I've heard of plenty who are on the record as being fine with noncommercial fanfic using their characters and settings. It's not just the fans who are making and enforcing that distinction.
What we're talking about here isn't a "wholesale" appropriation. It's not taking an entire book and putting your name on it. It's a much more jigsaw thing than that.

And frankly, the characters and the settings are the part I care about. And I don't care if people use them (or swipe chunks of prose and file off the serial numbers, for that matter) in fanfic, because (a) it's all borrowing (or theft, if you prefer), (b) it's all ethically equal (in my eyes), and (c) it still belongs to me. There is no way a fanfic writer can take away anything that belongs to me, unless I'm put in a position where I have to defend a copyright and I don't do it. (One reason your average writer will have a don;t ask, don't tell policy about fanfiction.)

You can't make my characters not my characters, no matter how much you write about them. Even if you write about them *better* than I do.

Just as Lord Darcy will always belong to Randall Garrett, no matter how many books about him Michael Kurlaud is contracted to write, and just like Dune will always belong to Frank Herbert, no matter how many spinoffs his son and Kevin Anderson pen.

Just as Oz belongs to L. Frank Baum, not Ruth Plumly Thompson. Nobody writing derivative works based on my work can affect the canon.

To quote Anais Nin, "My wife is not made of soap. She will not wear out."

And you can't make me divorce her. *g*
Other authors, of course, may have a much stronger negative response to the idea of fanfiction, borrowing prose or characters or what have you. That's their privilege.

I honestly fail to see any moral difference between unpaid riffing off prose and unpaid riffing off characters.
We're in agreement on points A and C at least, then.

As for point B-- I don't see any ethical problems with the sorts of allusion and homage and spot-the-quote games that formed the bulk of CC's borrowings. I would have more of a problem with large chunks of prose, but I do think that sort of direct plagiarism, in non-commercial fanfic, is the fandom's problem, and enforcement is the fandom's responsibility.
Bingo. I am, of course, speaking from the point of view of somebody who gets paid to write. OTOH, I've pointed out in the past that the only reason some of my stuff isn't "fanfiction" is because I've filed off enough of the serial numbers to make it legal, or because I am using material that's out of copyright.

And I'm not alone. Check out Charles Stross's The Jennifer Morgue when it comes out. *g*
Sorry,, not knowing the contents of the letter being sent around, I misunderstood. I thought it was merely more discussion of the kerfluffle, not a request for particular action or something. You're right, it's not your problem.

And my second bit was more responding to your Horta comment than the comment in your initial post. I've had both general ideas/premises/terms appropriated without my permission for someone else's profit (this wasn't within a fandom/fiction writing context), as well as specific word for word blocks of text and that's how I felt about it back then. I never considered suing because the politics of it would have affected my continued employment at the time, which I valued more than the stolen bits. *shrug*
*nod* I value the people in my stories a lot more than the words. The words are just a medium for getting the story into the heads of the reader. *g* I revise them, my editor revises them, my first readers suggest changes, my copywriter revises them--hell, half the time I don't remember who came up with what.
Well, sure. The people writing to Scalzi and Priest (I don't know them so I use last names) sort of have the wrong end of the stick and I don't see that it's a) reasonable or b) going to be helpful to their cause.

I do see some issue with alleged plagiarism even in the context of fanfic, because I have some problems with Author #1 (whoever it may be) claiming that her words are her (original) words when they're not. But I don't expect to see eye to eye with you on this, so that's cool.
claiming that her words are her (original) words when they're not.

Right. That's a different ethical issue, however--not an issue of copyright violation, which is what fanfic and plagiarism both come down to (in my eyes). That's "lying to your friends."
I thought one of the things driving this particular round of the kerfluffle was that the writer in question was going pro, and maintaining these erm..."borrowing" habits in the paid work.

That may well be what's being said, but I have read the work in question as have several far more canny pro writers of my acquaintance, so I feel comfortable asserting that what's being said is in error.
Thank you, Holly.
That's all right, when my chiropractor moved to a new abode I said, "Oh, does that mean I have to wear my posh frock to come visit?" He just went "Eh" total blank. I had to explain. Sighs. I should learn. As a waitress I played upon the Brit accent. Actually earned me a load of tips, especially if I spoke 'Somerset' IE: 'zider I up and send I 'ome.'
*g* I love that joke, but you have to pick your target audience very carefully, or get a lot of blank looks.
See, I started reading that as "cranberry blog" and the whole post went downhill from there...

Gotta stop reading with my brain instead of my eyes. :)
I'm pretty sure there is a cranberry blog. Because the internets are mighty.
*weeps bitterly* I do not get the joke. I am of the suckage.
*g* The New Englander is punning on "can." Because of dialectical differences, the Londoner loses the pun when he tries to retell the story....
OH. I...

...okay, I need to explain. I didn't even feel the pun in "we eat what we can and we can what we can't," because it just sounded like normal speech to me. So the line "Well, the Londoner thinks this is the funniest thing he's ever heard" made me think that what he thought was funny was the whole Massachusetts Cranberry Situation--because I didn't see anything funny in that spoken line-- and when he describes what the New Englanders are doing with their cranberries, I thought the kicker was that he neglects to tell his friends that they SELL some!

...Which for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why it was a punchline. Did he want to buy up all the cranberries himself? Did he want to make sure they went unsold? What?

As a New Englander myself, I feel your pain....
Hah! I thought you'd see that.

Thanks for another good book.

You're welcome. *g*
In re: fanfic authors, progoingness, and plagiarism, I prescribe rolly eyes and scrolly mouse. As is usual with fandom -- and especially a feral fandom like HP -- a certain segment of the people will take a concept all the way past the end of the logical extension and off the cliff.

Based on comments here, I don't think we see fanfic the same way, you and I, but a healthy eye-roll is never to go unsaluted, if you know what I mean.
Fair enough! (I seem to be too liberal on the issue for many pros, and not liberal enough for many fans. Which seems to me a fairly good place to be...)

I love the concept of feral fandoms. As opposed to the tighter and closer societies of other fandoms.
Feral fandoms are a lot more fun when you don't have to wade through reams and reams of teh craxxy to find what you're looking for. (Or, if you're into bloodsports, or the anthropology of high school.)

I think overall, media-fandom (but especially feral branches of same) has got to look like the world's biggest, most poorly-organized soap opera in the history of melodrama. On the internet, it's so easy to be Erica Kane!
There is, yea verily, a reason why the only fandom I hang around at all is a small one full of people over thirty. *g*