Fan-fiction and copyright
OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.She goes on to lay out a number of the arguments in favor of fan-fiction (I won't list them here) and explains in detail why she disagrees.
But writing stories about characters whose creators are not only alive and kicking, but actively writing about those characters _themselves_...sorry, guys, it’s just not on.Here's the conundrum:
Recently, a couple of people have drawn my attention to a person who’s been posting on various boards about fund-raising for an uninsured friend named Stacie who has breast cancer. Her (the poster’s) idea for fund-raising is to auction off a custom-written piece of fan-fic, involving Jamie Fraser and Emmett someone (who I _think_ is from Twilight; I sort of hope it’s not the willowy young “bottom” from the TV show “Queer as Folk”…). She hastens to note that it won’t be slash, but will otherwise take the bidder’s tastes into account—and of course, all proceeds will go to Stacie’s hospital expense fund. She did not, naturally, ask ¬_me_ about this. What would I have to say about it? Well, the question here, of course, is—what _do_ I say about it? Do I write to this person and tell her to cease and desist, and too bad about Stacie, thus seeming heartless? Do I give this manipulative project my blessing, thus opening the door to an endless parade of piously disguised fan-fic “charity”? Make it clear that I disapprove of what she’s doing, but stop short of forbidding her to do it, and turn a blind eye if she does? I’m not exactly asking for a vote here [g], because it’s my concern, and I’ll do what I think is right in the circumstances—but I’d be interested to know what y’all think.If you want to tell Diana what you think, click on the link above, or you can post in the thread on Compuserve, here. I am sort of ambivalent on this issue. I've read and enjoyed a lot of fan-fiction over the years, mainly Star Trek [original series] and Harry Potter. I used to pay money occasionally for printed copies of longer (novella-length) fan-fiction works, back before the Internet made such things readily available for free. I know people who enjoy writing and publishing their own fan-fiction stories. Some of this stuff is REALLY awful; some of it is quite good, thought-provoking, emotionally powerful. But I can certainly understand why the existence of fan-fiction (of whatever quality) makes Diana upset. Jamie and Claire and the rest of them are, after all, her characters, her creations, the basis of her entire career and livelihood. And yes, certainly she has the right as the author (and holder of the copyright) to decide how others can use those characters. I suppose the question really is, does the existence of OUTLANDER fan-fiction take away from readers' enjoyment of the books? Are the people who write fan-fiction breaking the law, or just being rude (borrowing the characters without permission), or doing it out of a sincere love for the characters and the universe Diana has created? Provocative questions, to be sure. <g> I'd like to know what you think. Feel free to comment here, if you don't want to post on Diana's blog. Related posts: Fan-fiction and copyright: Diana's response More on the fan-fiction controversy Diana Gabaldon's official fan-fiction policy An apology from Diana One final comment about fan-fiction