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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » YAQFOSC -- Yet Another Question for Mr. Card

   
Author Topic: YAQFOSC -- Yet Another Question for Mr. Card
Portabello
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Everybody else is doing it, and now it's my turn to ask Mr. Card a question.

I know that OSC keeps a tight reign on his copyrights and squashes any "fanfic" that he finds. I have seen him say that if he doesn't do this, he risks losing his copyright.

But I also know that there is a huge network of, for example, Harry Potter fanfic writers and readers. Rowling apparently doesn't try to discourage it, and she doesn't seem to be in any danger of losing her copyright.

I'm guessing that I am missing an element of the equation. What is it?

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Orson Scott Card
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I do what my lawyer says, and Rowling does what HER lawyer says.
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rivka
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I suspect there is also a question of scope. In Rowling's case, there are quite literally HUNDREDS of websites devoted to HP fanfic out there.
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Portabello
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Mr. Card -- fair enough. Thanks for your response.
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TomDavidson
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Now I want to see OSC's lawyer and Rowling's lawyer in a no-holds-barred cagematch.
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Portabello
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Throw Lucas' lawers in there as well. He's allowed a complete fanfic movie.
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X12
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No offense to either of you, Senior OSC and Madame JKR, but Lucas's attorney would most definately eat everyone and if they find anyone talking badly about him he might
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ricree101
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It's all good so long as you don't get Tolkein estate lawyers in there.
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Verai
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Dilbert: "My company is sending me on a business trip to Elbonia for things that can be considered Treason. I could get the death penalty! Can you help?"

Lawyer: "Sure. What would I have to do, pull a lever?"

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sarcasticmuppet
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Or the Lewis Estate lawyers. They allow crap while squelching potentially good stuff!
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Pelegius
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There are 155 Orson Scott Card Fanfics on Fanfiction.net, which doesn't equal Rowling or come anywhere near Tolkein, but is pretty large. The site doesn't accept fanfic if the author of the origianal oposes. It is also one of the most popular fanfic sites, so, Mr. Card, I sorry to say it but you arn't doing a very good job surpresing your fans, of whom there are legions. You seem unlikly to loose your copyright, but I don't have a law degree, do what your lawyer says, but it seems a shame to keep so many fans from their entertainment. Now, if they published their work and claimed it as their own, that would be grounds to call a lawyer, as it is most include disclaimers saying what is their creation and what is yours.
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xtownaga
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okay this might be a bit nitpicky, but saying the number of OSC fics on fanfiction.net doesn't equal the number of Harry Potter ones is a bit of an understatement... there are 186,652 Potter fics.

Many fandoms have a large fanfiction following and that doesn't seem to hurt them much (indeed it actually can bring an incredible sence of community, even more so than what alraedy exists sometimes). That being said, in many cases a few (and only a few) of the fanfiction authors create better stories than the original, which I find somewhat unlikly in the case of OSC's work, so maybe we aren't losing out on all that much. And of course if there is a serious threat of OSC losing copyright or what-have-you and therefore abandoning one or more of his series it most definitally isn't worth whatever the community may gain from it (and I would immagine it's even less worth it from OSC's point of view...)

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Bean Counter
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I was never so happy as when the Amber universe was opened back up to a fan and auhor who could carry on the tradition. I think that since Rawlings is going to write seven books, then leave the Harryverse it would be fun for her to open it up for endless adventures and just take a cut. Maybe she sees it that way, but for OSC I think that there are directions that he does not want his universe to go. "The Sexual Adventures of Calvin Maker" and such, OSC is a strict parent with the children of his mind. That is a good thing. However he should name an hier should he leave unfinished work. Robert Jordan supposedly has all his working manuscripts and notes rigged for destruction if he dies. I suppose that is so one of his fans does not do him in to get an author with some talent left to finish his WoT series!

BC

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delusional1
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well, considering rowling apparently stole a lot of the ideas for her writing to begin with, i doubt she's too awfully concerned with copyright laws, or morals, whatever.
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rivka
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*laughs* Stole? Certainly she makes use of a great many classics, and gets back stories from all sorts of interesting places (like there really was a Nicholas Flamel who was thought to be an alchemist (never mind that the more likely reason for his wealth was he married into a rich family)), but "stole"? Hardly.

None of the ideas she uses are protected under copyright -- among other reasons, because she has a wonderful talent of taking clich├ęs and putting her own unique spin on them.

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Dagonee
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It's very, very hard to protect story ideas under copyright, and rightfully so.

Characters are another matter, although even trivial changes (Al the Guy Who Makes Stuff) can be enough to save one character. But the pattern of characters interacting with each other will be evaluated as well.

One of the ways fanfiction is evaluated, however, is by how close it stays to the source material while being original. The pull toward the source material is very likely to be what makes it an unauthorized derivative work.

I'm not as big into the moral element of copyright, except as a matter of respect. The U.S., except for one particular section about works of visual art added so that we comply with the Boern convention, does not operate on a moral rights theory of copyright. It's strictly an economic incentive to encourage the production and availability of original works of authorship.

There's a credible case to be made that fanfic can hurt the economic potential of an author's universe. There's a credible case it can help the economic potential. That being the case, it's for the author (and other copyright holders) to decide for each particular work.

That said, I wouldn't publish in someone else's pool if they didn't want me to as a matter of respect, both for myself and for the author. But, except for the strict economic issues and accompanying duty to follow the law, I don't consider it inherently immoral for someone else to do so. Just like I don't consider it immoral to drive on the left side of the road absent the specific law/societal understanding requiring otherwise.

Dagonee

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rivka
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What I don't understand, though, is how Anne McCaffrey fits into this. I can understand that, for example, Rowling might legitimately do nothing about HP fanfics (in large part because there are SO many of them), while OSC's lawyer(s) insist that he go after them.

But McCaffrey not only allows fanfic writing within her Pern universe, but came up with very specific guidelines -- such as not using any of her characters for anything but brief cameos, and encouraging fanclubs to write primarily 200 years after the majority of the series is set -- for fanfic writing. Isn't that actually more risky (legally protecting copyright-wise) that either of the other two options?

[ May 05, 2005, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: rivka ]

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Dagonee
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Nope - she's giving permission for people to make derivative works and setting the conditions under which such permission is granted. Perfectly acceptable. However, the people who make the fanfic will have some rights in those works, and she is relinquishing an element of control there.

Having given that permission, she can't add aditional restrictions once someone has relied on it. She's comfortable with that; I'm guessing OSC isn't.

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rivka
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Ok, I think I follow that. Thanks! I always wondered, and figured her living in Ireland shouldn't make any difference, since her stuff in published primarily by US publishers.
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Orson Scott Card
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But you see, I never heard of this fanfic site. It's when I KNOW of something and then take no action to protect my copyright that I am in danger. And now that the rights are controlled by WB under their option, I can leave it up to THEIR lawyers.

It makes a huge difference when a movie comes out. They can tolerate fan fiction because the ancillary rights have already been sold and are protected by a studio's bevy of attorneys.

But if I allow people to use my characters before the movie comes out, then it is quite possible a studio will say, These characters are now public domain, so we will make a movie using them without paying you or respecting your original story.

That's the danger - that fanfic will steal the very rights that I need to protect in order to get the RIGHT movie made - and get paid for it.

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Orson Scott Card
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And Ann McCaffrey is MUCH nicer than I am. Everybody knows that.
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Chris Kidd
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Isnt virtual battle School and Hatrack 1830 Kind of fan fiction that is hosted on this site. I know at VBS theres a few rules that we have to follow so we arnt treading on the copyright.

no one can die.
no ender like characters.
its either set 5 years before ender was born or 5 years before enders game?

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rivka
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quote:
And Anne McCaffrey is MUCH nicer than I am. Everybody knows that.
That's true. YOU never sent me Harry&David pears.
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DarkRiku
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They should make a T-shirt that says: Be The Shoe.From Ender's Shadow.It would be awsome!!!!!
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