Moderator Notices: DON'T POST STORY IDEAS, Spoilers, etc.

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by trampledamage, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, that's been going on for years already, and the lawyers do crack down on it regularly. But prose fiction doesn't have anywhere near the profit potential of films, so it doesn't get nearly as much attention.

    And the restrictions aren't ridiculous. Strictly speaking, all fanfiction is illegal. It's an act of generosity on the studio's part to tolerate its existence at all. But if people abuse that generosity by trying to make a profit and compete with the studio, then they've crossed a line and the owners of the property are entirely within their rights to rein in such excesses. The fact that they still tolerate it at all, even after some have abused the privilege, is still extremely generous. (Doug Drexler recently said on Facebook that it's like someone letting you drive their Ferrari once a week.) People who sell fanfic for a profit already get cracked down on routinely, while people who respect the rules and keep it nonprofit and recreational are still allowed to indulge themselves. The fan film rules are just a version of the same principles already enforced on prose fanfiction.
     
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  2. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Not yet; it's still never been settled in court, and the way copyright works there won't be any determination about its legal status until it has been. Best you can really say is "strictly speaking, all fanfiction is questionably legal".

    And even if it were, there are many creators that have openly stated that anyone that wants to write fic in their settings may do so, so such fanfiction would be legal.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Or rather, it wouldn't be penalized. Something can be technically extralegal yet still tolerated. For instance, here in Ohio, paradoxically, it's legal to buy and sell fireworks within the state but illegal to set them off here; you have to take them out of the state within 48 hours of purchase. But as I was annoyingly reminded all day yesterday, people set off fireworks in Ohio all the damn time, and the authorities rarely bother to enforce the law. They could crack down on fireworks use if they wanted to, but they indulge it anyway, and so Ohioans are free to traumatize pets, set off car alarms, injure themselves and their families, and just generally irritate the hell out of me.

    This is a similar thing. Legally, the owners of a franchise have the right to forbid others from using their intellectual property. That's what ownership means. If they chose to forbid any and all fanfiction, they'd be within their rights to do so -- just like the owner of the Ferrari in Doug's analogy would have the right to forbid friends from borrowing it. They just generally don't bother to enforce that right, because it would be prohibitively expensive and because fanfiction can be good promotion for the franchise. But if they change their minds and start enforcing their copyright, then that's something they were already entitled by law to do.
     
  4. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    That depends entirely on the terms of the license involved. It is completely possible to create a license that the owners of the property do not actually have the legal right to revoke as one of the license terms; take the Open Game License that Wizards of the Coast released the third and fifth editions of D&D under, for example. They granted it as a perpetual license such that no future modifications of the license would supplant earlier versions, where anyone could use the specific rule text of any product released under the OGL so long as the product they used it in was itself also released under the OGL. And it was certainly legitimately perpetual; after all, the main commercial product of Wizards of the Coast's biggest competitor, Paizo Publishing, was released as an extension and modification of the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons when Wizards moved on to their fourth edition, and Wizards had literally no way to keep them from doing so due to the terms of the OGL.

    Or take the Creative Commons license (emphasis mine):

    And from that very list that I linked:

    Any Valdemar works that someone creates under that license (which Mercedes Lackey has said openly is allowed by absolutely anyone that wants to do so), Mercedes Lackey literally cannot remove from publication so long as it abides by the other terms, because she waived that right under the terms of the Creative Commons license.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, I guess there have been developments in devising licenses that specifically allow for such things, and I'm still thinking in terms of older times before such progress was made. Still, it's something that has to be specifically granted by the creators' choice. It's not the default situation. And Star Trek is definitely not a Creative Commons work. There has never been an official grant of any public license for Star Trek, just a tacit understanding that fanfic would be indulged so long as certain lines weren't crossed. And then those lines were crossed, so CBS was in its rights to lay down a clearer set of guidelines for what's acceptable.
     
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  6. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    MOVIE SPOILERS

    With the movie recently opened the BBS has stricter rules about posting spoilers for the movie - if you post an unhidden spoiler for the movie in this forum I will issue you with an infraction.

    Even if the thread itself has a SPOILER mark - unless it is a thread specifically about Star Trek Beyond - you have to mark any movie spoilers with a spoiler tag.

    DO NOT PUT SPOILERS IN THREAD TITLES

    Also, a request - many of you will see any problems before I do, so could you notify on any unmarked spoilers that you see so I can deal with them more quickly

    thanks :)

    Hope you all enjoy the movie!
     
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  7. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Was it really necessary to change the thread title to only talk about movie spoilers? No newbie will know that this is the general rule thread for this forum now ...
     
  8. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    I'll change it back in a while - I just wanted to draw attention to the movie rule.

    Any newbie who clicks on it is going to see the first post which gives all the links anyway.
     
  9. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Hmm. With regard to spoilers, I always endeavor to err on the side of caution. For example, even though it's been out since 1988, I would still spoiler-tag any statement I make to the effect that in Diane Duane's Spock's World, . . .
    . . . T'Pring, enraged by her scheme in "Amok Time" being foiled, is behind the secessionist movement, and is trading futures contracts on Federation-owned real estate on Vulcan to finance bribes to Vulcan government officials.
    Or that (ibid.). . .
    T'Pau dies at the end of the book.
    Even though you can read all that and more in Memory Beta's article on the book.


    With regard to the fanfic sub-thread, I'm rather reminded of how the Grateful Dead (and a few other bands) actively encouraged their fans to privately record their performances and trade those recordings, so long as they didn't do so for profit. (Probably about the only thing I know about the Dead that I actually like; my taste runs more towards classical, purely acoustic forms of jazz [mostly from ragtime to swing], and the sort of electronica that Wendy Carlos specializes in.)

    And speaking as an author with a couple of established, if almost entirely unpublished, franchises of my own, (and a couple of ST fanfics), I'd be downright flattered if somebody else wrote in my "Organ Princess" franchise, even for profit, so long as they don't abuse the characters (e.g., transforming Jennifer from a classically-trained child-prodigy organist who is a lifelong "militant tracker-backer" into a "left-foot Linda" who actually likes the sound of Laurens Hammond's Noisome Little Noisemaker). And of course, so long as they didn't beat me into the bookstores.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  10. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What would be even more helpful is if you identified on the spoiler button what movie/book/whatever the spoiler was for, so each individual could then determine for themselves whether or not it's "safe" for them to read...

    ETA: Gah! Spoiler tags don't survive the quoting process? :eek: I had to add them back in manually!
     
  11. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    That is very worrying! I'll ask the other mods if this is a fault or something we have to live with.
     
  12. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you! :) Just to let you know, I did a little bit of testing... it turns out that if you use "Reply" or "+Quote" on the post as a whole, they survive intact. However, if you select some of the text and then click the "Reply" or "+Quote" on the selected text only (which is what I did above), then the spoiler tags are gone in the quoted portion.
     
  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Mea culpa; I thought I had said I was talking about Diane Duane's Spock's World as an example of a book for which I'd use spoiler tags, even though they probably would not be expected or necessary.

    Correction made.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
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  14. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    There's been a number of poorly written fan fiction published for sale on Amazon.com.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
  15. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    We know.
     
  16. Doom Shepherd

    Doom Shepherd Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  17. vegaslover62

    vegaslover62 Commander Red Shirt

    I'm seeing two other self-pubs on Amazon right now, but the anonymous authors are offering them for free and have authorized lifting quotes from them. One of them is even self-described as "astounding science fiction" if the author does say so himself.
     
  18. vegaslover62

    vegaslover62 Commander Red Shirt

    The books I refer to are Star Trek: The Original Series: An E-book of Sci-Fi Revelations, by Red Leader; and Star Trek Tricorder Readings, by Jules Verne
     
  19. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always wanted to experience classic 19th-century Star Trek.