STC's Lolani

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Jay, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. Earthrise

    Earthrise Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I personally don't care about Continues. I'm just pointing out that we don't really have enough information one way or another to make a judgement. I could go get that information if I were willing to read the book and watch the show, but as I said I don't really care. The reason I said anything at all is because I've seen too many writers get all worked up over something that turned out not to be plagiarism and thought I'd share that perspective.
     
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  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    That's the thing--there is no actual PROOF of plagarism yet. Only a possible allegation. No one is saying it didn't happen, but also no one has proven conclusively that it did happen.
     
  3. DCR

    DCR Commander Red Shirt

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    In the US, copyright exists on creation; however you have to file a copyright registration to be eligible for statutory damages. If you read the author's blog, it appears that he didn't do so until after the similarities between his novel and Lolani came to his attention.

    If that's the case, then as far as I can tell, he wouldn't be eligible to sue for damages regardless of the facts of the matter.

    As for the similarities in plot beats: you can bet money that if I saw that many similarities between another piece and one of my existing novels I'd be raising the roof. This is a lot more than the fact they both tell the story of an escaped pleasure slave using her pheromones on a starship crew. The two are close enough that plagiarism has to be considered a reasonable possibility. After all, Wilson paid a lawyer to ensure that if he sold the film rights to his novel he wouldn't be liable for charges that he plagiarized Lolani. That right there says that he believes the two stories are very similar.

    That's not to say that it is plagiarism; but the lack of further action on Wilson's part is not a sufficient argument to deflect any such charges.
     
  4. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Commodore Commodore

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    These cases are notoriously hard to win in court. IANAL, but I don't think what's in those posts is enough, especially with no evidence that anyone on STC has read the book.

    "Innocent until guilt is demonstrated" is not much of a mental gymnastic. I know U.S. courts apply only a preponderance-of-evidence standard to copyright infringement claims (I'd prefer clear-and-convincing, alas), but I don't believe Mr. Wilson has met even that low burden in his blog posts. He is correct that I haven't read his book, nor do I intend to, unless I am impaneled on a jury in a civil trial or find some other very strong reason to make a fully informed decision about this. Since Mr. Wilson has indicated that he is not going to pursue the matter any further, that wraps it up for me: without more evidence, I can't in good conscience find STC guilty of copyright infringement, and will not treat them as infringers on Mr. Wilson's copyright. Benefit of the doubt should always benefit the accused. Always.

    Of course, YMMV. What's inadequate evidence for me might be enough for you. That's why we put 12 people on a jury, instead of just one.
     
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  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Due to curiosity I've downloaded the Kindle version of this book.

    I'm only a few pages in and so it's too early to tell anything other that the writing doesn't impress me. If I based my impression on that alone I wouldn't read any further. But I am curious so I'll keep plugging away to see what I can see.
     
  6. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Commodore Commodore

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    Has anyone read the book in question?

    I'll read the kindle sample, but if there isn't some pretty compelling evidence, I'm not inclined to drop $5.00 on a book I've not heard of before in order to compare it to a fan film I kinda liked.

    ETA. Damn, that was spooky!
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I was going to say see the post above. :)
     
  8. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Commodore Commodore

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    Ok, there were lots of formatting problems in the sample, and it's pretty clearly a Trek story with the serial numbers filed off. I almost quit because of those two things. Plus, the Wiccan doctor character was kind of annoying at first. But I kept on.

    Glad I did. It's a good story, pretty well told. I'm going to buy it on kindle and read the rest. Which I never, ever would have done if not for the controversy. I simply would never have heard of this book otherwise. Plus, the name of the author's self publishing press (Firebringer) evokes the libertarian Prometheus awards. So, I associate it with Sad Puppies. So, even if I'd heard of the book, I wouldn't have given it a shot, based on my preconceptions about the author and his politics. Oops, my bad.

    So I think it's safe to say he's had two sales today (me and Warped9) that would never have happened if not for the controversy over "Lolani".

    There isn't yet anything at all that seems directly lifted by STC. In fact, the details are quite different. What similarities I see are based on common parentage -- both stories are homages to TOS. I'd be interested to hear the genesis of the Lolani story/script. I don't think "Taken Liberty" was an influence.
     
  9. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Jinx, Captain?
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Snagglepussed Admiral

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    Regarding protecting a work via Copyright, some of you might find this interesting (link). A relavent excerpt:

    The reason for this is that under U.S. copyright law, if a writer suing for copyright infringement wants to recover his attorney’s fees and/or statutory damages in the lawsuit, then the writer MUST have registered the work with the Copyright Office BEFORE the infringement began. In the case of a motion picture, the infringement of the writer’ script began when the infringing script was written, NOT when the movie is released. So, usually by the time the writer hears that a movie infringing the script is being released (e.g., by seeing a trailer or reading an article in the trades) it is too late. The writer may register with the Copyright Office at that time, but he will be barred from recovering his attorney’s fees and/or receiving statutory damages.
    In this case, if Mr. Wilson's book (which appears to be self-published) was not registered before Lolani was written, even if he had an iron-clad case the lack of the Copyright registration would—as-above— limit the damages he could collect. Given how high attorney's fees are, being barred from recovering them and/or receiving statutory damages could make even a winnable suit prohibitively expensive.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Trying to read this book is excrutiating. The writing and characterization are lousy.
     
  12. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Commodore Commodore

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    I haven't made any headway on it in the last week. To be fair, Tim Powers' new book came out last Tuesday and distracted me...

    The first chapter was ok-ish, but when we flash back to her childhood as a sex slave, I kinda lost my will to keep reading. Maybe I just need to skip ahead a bit.
     
  13. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

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    From what excerpts I've read by poking through the preview on Amazon.com, the universe presented is dark and militaristic and un-Trek-like.

    It also has some graphic sex scenes in it that are what one might expect in penthouse forum that sure reads like the author writing in a little wish-fulfillment to service a fetish.
     
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    From what I've read so far it isn't impossible for the broadstrokes of the story to have been lifted, but I haven't yet come across anything specific that proves it originated here.
     
  15. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country copied The Hunt For Red October. And Balance of Terror copied The Enemy Below... Probably way more closely than any tenuous link between Lolani and whatever this awful e-book is called (I don't feel like looking further up the thread to find out).

    Reworked stories and plots are just part and parcel of fiction. This isn't some college class where unattributed use of or inspiration from another source will be labeled as plagiarism and get you a failing grade. This is real life, where ideas get copied all the time, with or without attribution.

    Kor
     
  16. Earthrise

    Earthrise Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ideas aren't even protected. Only the expression of those ideas can be copyrighted. That's why I'd be looking for more specific indicators of plagiarism, instead of broad plot elements.
     
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  17. D'Ger

    D'Ger Ensign Newbie

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    Personally, I couldn't care less if this accusation is true or not. As a fan of both ST:NV and STC, I think "Lolani" is not only one of the best fan episodes but one of the best episodes of any TREK series ever.
     
  18. Karzak

    Karzak Commodore Commodore

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    ...so what you're saying is, if a story is good enough, the question of it being potentially plagiarized isn't important to you.

    Speaking as a writer, that's remarkably troubling to me.
     
  19. D'Ger

    D'Ger Ensign Newbie

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    Let him prove it, instead of just asking people to buy his books.
     
  20. Karzak

    Karzak Commodore Commodore

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    That's not the point I was making.