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DLP's stance on /r/HPFanfiction's abandoned story project

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Lord Ravenclaw, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Lord Ravenclaw

    Lord Ravenclaw System God Admin

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    Recently, the staff was contacted by individuals who were interested in using DLP as a platform to promote their efforts to continue abandoned stories.

    Upon further investigation, it appears that the individuals involved (including some members of this site) are taking a non-response from authors as permission to use their works. To that end, we'd like to make two things abundantly clear:

    1. We will protect our authors' work on their behalf, pursuant to US Copyright Law, unless they authorize you explicitly to use it. By posting their works on this site, they have an automatic individual copyright over their works. Notice of the copyright can be found on the bottom of the forums.

    2. Any individuals involved in the theft of a DLP authors' work, including:

    • The continuation of abandoned stories without explicit permission of the original author.
    • Promotion of those continuations.
    • Facilitation of those continuations via hosting, etc.
    Will warrant a lifetime ban from DLP, effective 24 hours from this announcement. To be clear, this includes the individuals who host their forums, the moderators of /r/HPFanfiction, and all individuals involved in the project.

    Fanfiction exists on the goodwill of the original authors. Anne Rice was successfully able to shut down her fanfiction communities, whereas JKR has endorsed her fanfiction communities. It is otherwise a grey area. If JKR decided tomorrow that she didn't like our communities, she would have ample legal means to remove us. The same rights apply to works written by all authors (fanfiction or no), and we encourage the people behind the abandoned story project to take a very conservative approach to permission. Defaulting to assuming permission without explicit authorization is unethical at best not to mention offensive. DLP views this in the same light as plagiarism.

    Have a good day.


    NOTE: DarkSyaoran's previous ruling on not jihading on DLP's behalf remains in effect. You can go make your position clear, but have an argument. Don't reflect poorly on the site or we'll crack your head open.
     
  2. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Administrator Admin

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    I'd like to highlight this section in giant caps.

    [​IMG]

    I can't even tell you how much this kind of shit pisses the staff off.
     
  3. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    I want to say, that the thing that annoys me the most, both as an author of fanfiction and a Moderator with a responsibility to the authors on this board, is that they're taking a 'non-response as consent' stance. Worst still, they don't understand why it's unconscionable to do so.

    At this stage, quite frankly, even if they flipped their stance and agreed to change their perspective to 'non-response as a tacit no', I'd have concerns over whether those 'authors who agreed', actually agreed or not.
     
  4. Lord Ravenclaw

    Lord Ravenclaw System God Admin

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    The organizer of the effort has responded to say:

    As long as this continues to be the policy DLP will take no action, but otherwise we will explore all means within our power to help enforce our authors' rights.
     
  5. Denarii

    Denarii Squib

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    I'm personally kind of anti-copyright, but even so permission should be obtained from the author even if just for courtesy's sake. And this seems to have irritated quite a few people, so I've removed it from the sidebar of /r/hpfanfiction at least for now. As of the time I'm writing this the rules on their forums haven't been updated with anything about asking for permission.
     
  6. Palindrome

    Palindrome Magma Moderator Moderator DLP Supporter

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    May I ask, just for discussion's sake: why are many people not okay with someone else continuing something of theirs?
     
  7. Ankan

    Ankan Groundskeeper

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    There is probably many reasons for just that, some might be that the stories authors write can become personal and everything that comes with that.

    (many other reasons as well)
     
  8. Photon

    Photon Order Member

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    Especially as attempts to complete abandoned stories without consent from author are always utterly awful.

    At least I am no aware about any exceptions.
     
  9. Callagan

    Callagan Fourth Year

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    It's the same reasons why any published author may wish to shut down fanfiction; personal attachment to their works, dislike of the quality of the derivatives, dislike of the concept, etc. Even devaluing the brand can apply to some fanfiction.
     
  10. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Are they?

    I don't know why "so many" people wouldn't like it, since the only authors in here so far (Lord Ravenclaw and Jon) said nothing about that -- the point of this thread is clarifying we want to get asked on an opt-in basis, not a blanket ban on adoptions.
     
  11. Palindrome

    Palindrome Magma Moderator Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I said 'many', not 'so many' - just asking for some insight into why people wouldn't want someone else to continue their stories because I didn't quite understand it myself and wanted to hear others' opinions on the topic.
     
  12. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Every time someone has sent me a request asking permission to write a version of one of my fics, I've said yes. But that doesn't mean I'd be okay with people doing it without permission.

    Kinda like how, if someone came to my house and asked to use the toilet, I'd probably let them. But that doesn't mean I want people just coming into my house and using it, especially as those people are the kind most likely to just take a shit on the kitchen floor.

    For me, the issue is essentially one of creative control. In a fanfic-canon relationship, the canon remains the authoritative version, no matter what happens in the fanfic, no matter how popular the fanfic is, no matter how well-written the fanfic is. Regardless, canon is the correct version, recognised as such by everyone. This authority protects authors' creative control over their ideas, because they can take the story in any direction they like without fear of readers deciding that another version should be the "real" version from that moment on.

    In a fanfic-fanfic relationship, there is no such protection. If I write a character, or a piece of magic, and another fanfic author then takes that idea and uses it with some minor variation, there's nothing I can do to protect the authoritative nature of my work as the originator. They're both just fanfics, and if readers decide that the alternative version is the primary version, I'm now the one writing a knock-off of their story, even though the idea started with me.

    This is what happened with A Shattered Prophecy and The Darkness Within. The derivative completely supplanted the original.

    This is only made worse when the fanfiction being copied is incomplete, because it magnifies the effect. At least if a story is complete, it has a certain permanence to it, it stands as a unit that is clearly distinct from continuations. A derivative continuation of an incomplete fic, on the other hand, can present itself as the inheritor of the original's legitimacy.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  13. JoJo23

    JoJo23 Auror

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    I think it seems to be some kind of divide between new netiquette and old netiquette.

    People who have been involved in this kind of community back in the 90's and 00's know its just not done, while I suspect elements of reddit are more new to it, and are in a non fanfiction based community besides.

    Issues of politeness aside, I dont quite grasp the point of their project. Most fanfiction rarely gets so far removed from HP that you couldnt just start another story and weave in elements, if you really are interested in seeing how a plot goes. This form of "shared culture" is how the community developed the glory of the magical trunk after all.
     
  14. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Er, but if so far all authors (me included) here have no fundamental, general problem with it, then what is even the question? Why people might not want it, even though they actually do?
     
  15. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    My understanding is that this is coming from a well-intentioned place - that is, this is a group of people who really love certain stories and want to see them completed. It's not the desire to write stories like Story X, it's a desire to see Story X completed as a finished work.

    So, while I sympathize with that desire - I mean, I'm pretty sure every one of us has a few fics in the back of their head that they'd figuratively kill to see un-abandoned and completed - I also agree with everyone who's pointed out that silence = implied consent is kinda bullshit.

    For me, it boils down to knowing my ideas are in good hands. For example, you mentioned in my WbA thread that you were considering (but ultimately decided against) writing a story that "mimicked" mine. My initial reaction to reading that was that I was thrilled: I obviously think it's a cool setup, because I spent time writing it, and I've read enough of your stuff to know you're a good writer, so it would have been awesome to see your take on it.

    If you had gone ahead and written it, would you have needed my permission? I don't think so, if you were just taking elements from my story and reworking it (a "transformative work" I believe is the Fair Use phrase). I mean, I took elements from Harry Potter canon and The Order of the Stick and used them in my story, so it would be pretty hypocritical of me to turn around and tell you that I "own" that idea. Common courtesy would dictate a heads-up and/or a shoutout prefacing your own story, but I'm not sure I'd put the weight of a moral imperative behind it.

    Now, let's say I was in a horrible car accident and my hands got burned off, leaving me unable to continue my story. Not a transformative work - literally taking the last chapter of my story and saying "This is picking up where Newcomb left off." Now that, I'd want - require, really - someone to ask my permission for, and I'd think long and hard about it. Mainly because it's attached to me, it directly affects me. It's personal. I can't really speak to the legality of it - not my area of expertise - but as a writer, I can tell you that I emphatically do attach ownership to my writing. Every idea comes from somewhere, yes, and I don't own those things, but the way I say it is all me.

    If I were unable / unwilling to continue one of my stories, in the right hands it would be pretty amazing to see it taken up and completed. However, I definitely want to retain control over whose hands it ends up in.
     
  16. Anarchy

    Anarchy Prisoner DLP Supporter

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    I've had a few people message me, asking to continue my work (shocking, I know). I've turned them all down, because frankly, the stories they want to finish are shit, and yet, somehow I know that they would take them and somehow make them worse. Of course, they probably went ahead and did it anyways - I know of at least one story out there that uses one of mine (one of my vampire!harry) stories, and somehow made it worse. Usually these are the kind of people who want to change the pairings, make it a harem, make it slash, or at bashing to the story. Not really my cup of tea, so I say no every time.
     
  17. Republic

    Republic The Snow Queen Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think it boils down to not trusting the other person to not fuck your story up. Most cases are simple, because the asker is quite simply a worse writer than the original author, and the decision to deny is quick and easy.

    Even on cases where the asker possesses whatever amount of talent the author considers acceptable, accepting isn't an easy choice, because while he may be good, you have no guarantee he sees things the way you do and may choose to take the story in a direction opposite or simply not in line with what you had envisioned for your plot, which would leave most quite bitter, I think.
     
  18. Jon

    Jon The Demon Mayor Admin DLP Supporter

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    My initial response was fairly dismissively of the question, so I gave myself a moment to consider the question properly.

    I think that generally it comes down to the sense of ownership and pride that people take in their work. The end product of writing may just be 'words on a page/screen' but just labeling it at that and ignoring the hours and hours of writing that goes into the creation is just unfair. I'm not just talking about the time spent writing a chapter, I'm also talking about the time spent story-boarding and ensuring a smooth continuation and expansion upon the plot, or elements within a story that you're trying to highlight.

    I do not believe it comes down to a simple case of 'not being okay with someone else continuing your story'. I personally feel that most people who want to continue someone's abandoned fanfic are not the people who you'd generally want doing so.

    But, like how everyone has a price for which they will do something, every author has a criteria, even if they don't know it, for the a person who they will allow to continue their work in their stead. Some people's requirements maybe be as simple as 'they want to do it'. Others may demand perfection and oversight on the persons efforts to ensure its 'up to standard'.

    What would I require if someone wanted to continue one of my many, many abandoned stories?

    1. For starters, they'd have to have a proven track record with writing already. I wouldn't be comfortable leaving a story of mine in the hands of someone who hasn't shown clear competency.

    2. What is their style, is it close enough to mine that a continuation wouldn't be significantly jarring from a reading perspective? For most people writing is writing, they can't pin point the differences, even if they know that they're there. An example of my work 'Voices' which I wrote intending to use Butcher's 'voice and style', which was noticeably different from my usual. Story wise it sucked, it didn't have a compelling finish, but my goal of using a different style was met and the general standard of writing was kept consistent.

    3. Is their 'vision' in line with my original one, or are they trying to take the story into what they consider to be 'perfect'. That isn't to say that if their vision wasn't superior that I wouldn't be happy to concede it. But if their goal is to just hook character a up with character b, then it's hardly a compelling reason to let them play with my toy is it?

    4. Do I like the person enough to give them creative control over something I've put a lot of time and effort in it? No matter how skilled or talented, no matter how strong and compelling someone's vision is, if I don't like them, no way am I giving permission for them to touch something I've put my heart and soul into.

    5. Do I ever want to continue the story? You can't just take it back after you've said yes. Once you've given someone permission and they've begun to invest time and energy into it, telling them that 'hey, I'm back, fuck off' is just a downright dick move.
     
  19. EsperJones

    EsperJones Order Member

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    Huh. I've written some crap in the past, but I'm nowhere near an authority as any of the real authors. That said...

    The whole concept of fanfiction is built on playing around in other peoples' sandboxes, frequently without any permission, tacit or otherwise.

    It seems very hypocritical (if very understandable) that authors who themselves are relying on appropriating ideas of other authors are in turn refusing to allow others to do the same.

    Copying the work directly? That's annoying and just rude. But saying "this is a fanfiction of fanfiction X that starts after chapter 26" seems no different to me than saying "this is a fanfiction of Naruto after chapter 431."
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  20. Hawkin

    Hawkin Minister of Magic

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    The difference is you're not the one posting the first 431 written by the original author. I think it's pretty important.