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Tony Grist

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Fandom [Aug. 4th, 2007|12:12 pm]
Tony Grist
Fandom- I don't get it.

Why would you want to mess with someone else's characters when you can create your own?

Does J.K. Rowling take pleasure in badly written stories about her characters having sex?  I doubt it.  Why- If you admire and enjoy her work - would you want to disrespect her so? 

Isn't "fan" a bit of a misnomer?

But lets move from the general to the specific. An artist just got banned by LJ because of an image she posted of Harry and Snape.

Only the banning seems ineffective because she's bounced back and the image is viewable. (I'm not giving links. I don't want to give her any more publicity than she's getting already).

I clicked. I was expecting an image of them kissing. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

The characters were clearly modelled on Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman. Isn't this defamation of character or libel of something?

Even more to the point:  British comedian Chris Langham is about to go to prison for downloading images which (I assume ) are comparable to this. 

So- forget morality- LJ needs to guard itself against prosecution.

But I don't want to forget morality. You take characters from a beloved children's book and you produce an image of them that any paedophile would be proud to own (you can quibble over whether Harry looks underage or not if you want to be legalistic and miss the point) and  I can't think of any grounds on which I'd be prepared  to defend you.

A lot of fans are up in arms and banging on about censorship.  I just watched a video of a girl give a little self-righteous speech then attempt to burn her LJ shirt with a blow torch .  Fine. Off you trot to some less scrupulous site and good luck to you!  As it happens, I'm perfectly happy to see you go.

[User Picture]From: elfwreck
2007-08-05 04:36 am (UTC)
There's a difference between "technically, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone at any time with no warning" and deliberately misleading people about how their rules will be applied. Bait and switch is illegal, regardless of what the TOS says. If they've enforced their rules in a particular way in the past, and made statements about how they intend to enforce it in the future, and do something else--that's against the law.

If they didn't technically break the law, it's still psychotically bad business practice to do so.
I don't believe fanfic is intellectual property theft--and it's a matter the courts have been unclear on. At a minimum, fan fiction falls into a middle ground between a film of a book and a "musical composition inspired by a novel."

Certainly if the fic in question is parody, it falls under fair use. (It is my belief that all HP slash is parody, as it mocks the "children's novels can't have erotic content" concept.)

Since affect on sales of the original, and commercial gain of the derivative work, are both part of the consideration in copyright infringement cases, fanfic has a heavy push in the "legal" direction--I don't believe any original works have been financially damaged by fanfic; quite the opposite. (I'm aware that's not the only consideration. But two of the four considerations are "money.")

Every one of the couple-hundred slash fans on my f'list bought at least one copy of Harry Potter 7. Some Americans bought one for every member of their family, plus the British edition.

However, I don't know any Anita Blake fanficcers. The author doesn't "allow" fanfic. (Whether that would hold up in court is unknown; currently, no large fanarchive site is willing to host content that the author actively objects to.) Don't know any Anne Rice fanficcers; same issue.

I do know that none of those couple-hundred slash fans buy their books. The general attitude is, "if you don't want people to play in the world you created--if you want your universe to be a diorama that sits untouched on the shelf--we'll play somewhere else."

Fanfic is no different from a review or essay about the original work... it's another form of exploration of the ideas in, and commentary on the meaning of, the original.
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