This is a frequent problem I have: forgetting that my brain and body require a certain amount of time when I'm not actually trying to learn or create anything. It's very frustrating.
So is that sleep thing.
Anyway, the weekend is shot as work time, as I will have company, and Wednesday I have to fly out to WFC. So, because my brain does not want to think about vampires and murder mysteries, I will talk about fanfiction, and why it doesn't bother me.
Yeah, yeah, copyright infringement, creator's moral right to their creation, etc. Absolutely. No argument there. I'd even go so far to say that, especially in the case of a single-creator property, it's kind of obnoxious to disseminate fanfiction if you know the creator dislikes it.
One of the things I see going on is that, for some reason, there's this attitude that it's wrong to write because it's fun. Sure, I mean, plenty of people noodle around on the guitar or bang on a piano or mess around with pastels or oils or watercolors or collage because it's fun. 95% of them have no professional ambitions. They may keep the old drumset in the basement and pound on it on Sundays when the guys come over for a couple of hours. They do it for themselves.
So, say, if I want to sit here on my sofa with a six-string and butcher some Beatles tunes because it amuses and relaxes me, very few people are going to say I'm wasting my talent.
And to my mind, that's absolutely analogous to writing fanfiction. I'm not creating anything new; I'm not playing my own music, or even going out of my way to re-arrange an existing tune in an interesting and innovative way and make it my own. I'm banging out "Blackbird" exactly the way the fab four would have done so, only, you know, awful. (Not that all fanfiction, or all sofa guitar players, are awful. But I am.)
And it's not like I have a license to play that song. I'm sure not paying royalties to whoever owns the Beatles catalogue this week. And nobody's going to come after me for infringement as long as I'm just mutilating it around campfires. Now, if I make a tab arrangement of the song and post it on my website, the MPA *does* have the option of coming after me.
I rather think it makes them look sad and pathetic. But they have the legal option.
So as I see it, anyway, there's a moral difference between a fan riffing off my work in some non-commercial fashion, or even a very slightly commercial one, and somebody making gobs of money through theft. (Not that there's gobs of money to be made, or I would expect to be seeing some of it.) In other words, somebody publishing Hammered porn pamphlets and charging a fee to cover postage and photocopying is in a not-significantly-different legal position from somebody in Russia publishing a pirated version of the entire book, but to my mind a very-different moral one, just as a bar band covering "Freebird" is in a different position from some guy selling pirated copies of LYNYRD SKYNYRD LYVE on the Internets.
Unfortunately, unlike musicians, we don't make much of our money through touring, and unlike songwriters, we don't get royalties when other people cover our songs in legitimate venues. But other than that, the analogy holds up pretty good.
In other words, the vast majority of fanfiction writers are out there having a perfectly good time banging on their guitars. I don't see any reason to get het up over it. They're no threat to me, and I played make-believe when I was a kid.