Spoilers New Picard TV Series and Litverse Continuity (may contain TV show spoilers)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by chrinFinity, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Writing "cannon" instead of "canon" is my favorite typo, especially when people say "head cannon". It always makes me imagine them as this particular obscure Star Wars EU character: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/D'harhan
     
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  2. Terror Door

    Terror Door Commander Red Shirt

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  3. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm pretty sure I remember David Mack saying that the Control in Discovery is not intentionally based on Control from the TNG Relaunch.
    I would like to think that they would do the Special Thanks credit, if they actually took a character or something directly from the books.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I seem to remember hearing him on a podcast saying that Kirsten Beyer told him the DIS Control was inspired by the Control from the titular Section 31 novel.

    Also, David himself clicked the "like" button on my last post.
     
  6. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    I was being polite.
     
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  7. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    It really really really is not exploitative in the least.
     
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  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I don't think it's my place to tell you or the other authors how you ought to evaluate the contracts you sign.

    But just imagining if I'm an author, given my understanding of the details of work-for-hire contracts for a licensee producing media tie-in fiction, I would find it exploitative.

    As I understand the situation, basically if a character and/or plot is adapted from a novel, CBS is in a situation where it essentially gets to enjoy the benefits of someone else's labor without ever paying for it. S&S will have paid CBS for the license to publish Star Trek books, and then S&S pays the author subject to CBS's approval -- and if CBS likes and decides to adapt something, they get the benefit of that author's labor without ever having paid that author (since S&S bore the costs of paying that author). And while the author may eventually enjoy royalties on a novel if that novel earns out the advance that was paid to the author and continues to sell, CBS on the other hand gets to reap the financial benefits of that author's labor every time an episode using that author's characters or plot is re-run or streamed, without needing to pay that author for continuing to financially benefit from that author's labor.

    If you feel that's a fair deal, that's absolutely your right. But I don't think I would like that particular set of financial arrangements if I were an author; I might well sign the contract since I wouldn't have the bargaining leverage to change it -- but I would find it exploitative.
     
  9. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Then you shouldn't write media tie-in fiction. Them's the rules, them's always been the rules, and they're there to protect the copyright owner. As someone who is the copyright owner of his own work, I appreciate that such protections are there.

    It's also at least partly the economics of scale. The amount of money a book makes is a rounding error in a movie or TV budget. The amount of money involved in making a TV show or movie is several orders of magnitude greater than it is for a book, and that has an impact on remuneration.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. If you don't want to be "exploited" that way, don't play with other people's toys. If I write a STAR TREK or BATMAN or GODZILLA novel, I'm "exploiting" the fame and popularity of those franchises which I had nothing to with creating. Trust me, I have no illusions that my GODZILLA novelization hit the New York Times bestseller list because my name was on it. It sold that well because I was piggybacking on a more than fifty-year-old franchise.

    Look it at this way. If I'm a carpenter and I'm hired to build a deck on somebody else's house, should I get part of the proceeds if the home owners later resell the house at a profit? Of course not, because I was just a paid contractor. The house never belonged to me--and neither did the deck I built.

    That being said, yeah, I'd think twice before inventing a brand-new supervillain for a BATMAN or SPIDER-MAN novel because Marvel or DC would own that character forever. Smarter just to use the Joker or the Green Goblin or one of the other toys in the toybox.
     
  11. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    For my part, I will just say that if social media users are ubiquitously annoying in reposting fan art without crediting the source artists, then big corporations can at least to stand to regularly include one line of text explaining "And special thanks to [x name] for inventing this distinctive idea that we did not newly create for this work. This person rocks!"
     
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  12. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    At least when it comes to the Marvel and DC adaptations, they usually give some sort of a credit given to the original creator. The MCU movies usually include all of that character's major writers in the Special Thanks credits at the end, and the TV shows from both companies usually include a (character) created by (writer) and (artist) credit at the beginning of each episode. They even include one in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which surprised me since it's not actually based on any specific comic and most of the characters were original creations for the movies or show.
    I would like to think CBS would do the same thing if they purposefully took something specific from the books or comics.
     
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  13. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Last year I read Dave Stern's ENT novel Rosetta for the very first time (which is set during the fourth season of the TV series), and this particular passage (Malcolm Reed reflecting on his involvement with Section 31) absolutely blew my fricking mind when I saw it:
    Holy shit. :eek::alienblush: And this novel was published way back in February, 2006 (and probably written in mid-to-late 2005, not long after the TV series ended). Which is simply an incredible creative coincidence, but also amazingly cool in light of season two of DSC (and the "Control"-entity seen there).
     
  14. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I love accidental continuity like this!
     
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  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, probably not. Plus I'm pretty sure my dialogue would induce stomach pains. ;)

    That is an "appeal to authority" argument. No one's arguing that these are not the terms of the contract; but the fact that those are the terms of the contract does not make the contract fair or unexploitative. Why should a studio enjoy the financial benefits of an author's labor without ever compensating that author?

    They're there to facilitate a corporation's ability to minimize costs. The fact that a television writer is owed royalties when a character she creates is re-used even if that character remains the intellectual property of the studio (e.g., Theodore Sturgeon's estate being owed royalties for the use of T'Pau in ENT Season Four), is a pretty good indicator that the copyright owner would not be "unprotected" if the studio had to pay authors royalties for the use of novel-original characters in canonical productions.

    True. But the amount of wealth that is created through that expenditure also means that an author's labor in creating an original character has generated that much more value for the studio. If anything, the amount of money a TV show brings in, to me, reinforces the argument that the author should get paid royalties for each time that novel-original character is used.

    I mean, that's a bit like arguing that an employee is "exploiting" his employer if he earns an hourly wage.

    Sure. But if they decide that a character you create is valuable enough to put in the next Godzilla movie, that means that they have decided that your labor in creating that character was more valuable in than theirs in creating a character of their own.

    If you writing a novelization of Godzilla is comparable to an employee earning an hourly wage from his employer, their using a character you create in that novel in the feature film would be comparable to that employee creating a new process that increases the company's overall income. Just as an employee whose labor creates a disproportionate amount of wealth for the employer ought to get a higher wage, a freelance writer who creates an original character the intellectual property holder finds greater value in re-using than in replacing with a character of their own, ought to receive royalties for that character's usage.

    Maybe! If you really analyze it, the ways in which values are assigned to labor in our capitalist system are inconsistent and often contradictory. But I would say that the big difference there, is that a house generates income on only a handful of occasions; whereas, televisions episodes and films can air and stream and thereby produce more wealth for the copyright owner on a much more frequent basis. (That, and houses aren't usually considered intellectual property.)

    Which is also a legitimate strategy to avoid being exploited! Why should you expend the extra labor of creating an original character who might be used again without your remuneration, when you can just reuse an existing character and not expend the extra effort? Why should an employee develop a new process to increase the employer's income if the employer won't increase her compensation?
     
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  16. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Well, in all honesty it's probably not all that likely that Picard or Discovery or some other Star Trek show is going to wholesale lift a character or story plot form a novel(s) anyway. Picard pretty much overwrote the entire novel line from "Destiny" on so I think there's little chance of that except for perhaps an Easter egg sort of thing.

    The writers here have all acknowledged that this is well known going in for tie-in fiction, and is not at all confined to Star Trek. So I wouldn't call it exploitive. If all the rules are clear cut as they clearly are in this case, I don't think you could classify it as exploitive.

    But at the same time, if, IF a show were to lift a character or plot idea from a novel, it'd probably be a nice nod just to put something in the credits like "Lt. Chen inspired by story written by Christopher Bennett" or something like that. Though I'll grant I don't know if that would cause legal issues for CBS. Could they even do something like that? I'm sure a novel writer would be thrilled to see their name in the credits of a show--I mean I would. I'd probably take a picture, print it out and frame it :biggrin:
     
  17. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have a feeling if they did something like that, they'd probably just got the MCU route and include a special thanks credit to the author at the end.
    The only time I've ever seen a credit like you're talking about is for big characters like Batman.
     
  18. GaryH

    GaryH Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If you create a character for DC or Marvel then I believe you get some sort of royalty payment if they appear in other media. Nothing to retire on, but a cheque none the less.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, season two of Star Trek: Discovery already lifted the character of Control from the novel Section 31: Control just last year.

    That is not what defines something as exploitative. Exploitation is not an act of contract trickery. It is, in this context, the act of unfairly compensating someone for their labor. There are plenty of examples throughout labor history of workers being exploited even though they knew the terms of the contract in advance; what is relevant here is the relative power dynamics between the employer and the employed. If the terms of the contract are all dictated by the employer and the employed don't have the bargaining power to obtain better terms, there's usually exploitation going on.

    All I know is, when Agents of SHIELD features original characters from Marvel Comics like Deathlok, they put a "Special Thanks to X" line in their end credits; but when Star Trek: Discovery featured Control, they did not give the author of Section 31: Control such a credit.

    In addition to thinking it is exploitative of CBS not to pay that author a royalty for the use of the character he created, I think it's just disrespectful not to include a "Special Thanks" credit.
     
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  20. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I think that's a stretch in this case. The authors have a definite choice. They don't like it then they don't have to write tie-in fiction. And they get compensated for their works to begin with. It's not like the authors are working in a sweatshop for pennies on the dollar, which could then be exploitive.

    And I wouldn't even call it contract trickery. I don't think any author has ever felt 'tricked' into anything. They know 100% what the terms are going in. I can't speak for the authors specifically but I don't think any has ever indicated they feel in any way cheated or unfairly compensated.

    I think it's overstating things to say the authors of Star Trek novels are being exploited.

    Now, I tend to agree that it would be nice if an author got a special note in the credits. If Control was inspired by David Mack's novels it'd be nice to see a special thanks or 'inspired by' credit. But that's a long way from saying he or any author is being exploited by S&S or CBS.
     
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