Sunday, August 13, 2006

Everything Old is new again

It was almost a year ago that I made my last post, and at the time I was tracking conversation between pro writers and fan writers and the clashes and points of agreement that rise and fall between them.

surprise: the topic has come up again, this time in response to a rather well documented bit of fannish plagiarism and thus a lively discussion of the implications of that and the standards to which (some) fan writers at least attempt to hold themselves.

The conversation is worth reading (the comments especailly) as people weigh in on the validity of fan fic as a modern form of storytelling, how it clashes with US copyright law (and when it does.)

this time it's John Scalzi genially holding the debate with his first post "Crimes of Fanfici and then following up a day or so later with Follow-up on Crimes of Fanfic.

Completely irrelevant to that discussion, I found myself once more getting irritated (As I have on Lee Goldberg's blog) with the term "fanficcer". It kind of has the cutsey slap in the face quality of calling a grown woman, "little girl", and I won't even speak to the possibly underscoring individual reasons why people use it. Like any other online terminology, I'm reasonably certain it's an organic growth, coming out of the inherent laziness that prohibits the use of "fan fic writer". although I'd be willing to take specualtion as to whether it's actual laziness as opposed to a kind of childish refusal to call those who write fan fic, "writers" sinc ethat seems to be a bone of contention in perpetuity.

Of course, I'm equally annoyed by the use of the term "ficcies" which I'm pretty sure sprang out of the collective Hello-Kitty id of the post-asdolescent budding writers on, although I doubt seriously whether they consider it derogatory at all. It's merely linuistic, jingoistic shortcutting.

Oh, and look! Lee Goldberg has indeed chimed in, since fan fic is something near and dear to his heart (or at least a thorn in his paw). Although, categorizing the participating fan writers as irked at Mr. Scalzi's assertion that fan fic is illegal seems to be taking a bit of creative dramatic license with what was actually being said. I'd categorize the discussion as being a rather reasonable disagreement with Mr. Scalzi's position as opposed to being irritated.

I tend to side with Mr. Scalzi in this regard, that it is most definitely copyright infringement, but mostly harmless, although it would be an interesting mock-court hearing to apply the same level of infringement to media properties (outside of trademark) as to literary one. I do think Fan fic mostly closely provides competition with literary properaties than film or television, the mediums being similar, but since Mr. Goldberg writes tie-in novels in addition to his original works, I could see where he might disagree.


Update: and the legality debate rages on...I'm thinking about making popcorn.

Paul William Tenny from weighs in here and here


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