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Old 05-24-2013, 10:27 PM   #16
crich70
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Originally Posted by RZetlin View Post

So I can have Harry Potter team up with my super hero but I can have him team up with Batman.
Funny you should mention that crossover, I know of at least one Harry Potter fan fic where Harry ends up becoming Batman's butler Alfred. lol.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #17
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Myth Loki was a force of nature, of chaos, and chaos isn't evil - you cannot hate tornadoes and earthquakes no matter how much death and destruction they leave in their wake. So people explore what would happen if there was an actual breathing personification of chaos with thought processes completely alien to how we think and feel.
There's also the take that Loki is a trickster god like Hermes or Coyote, which is a role that IIRC has no place in a monotheistic system. Monotheistic religions are always srs bsns, at least in the minds of their priests and more fundamentalist devotees. Christian editors would have thus written Loki as a flat-out god of evil, just like how they (and some greeks before them) wrote Set(h) as a god of evil.

Other possibilities I remember include Loki as a fire god and Thor's drinking buddy (Mead Horn of the Giants), part of a seasonal cycle (Death of Baldur) akin to the modern Oak King- Holly King cycle, and possibly a punisher of those who show off too their divine- given blessings too much (also Death of Baldur).
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:20 AM   #18
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The fanfic communities have been all over this; there've been roundups of fannish and pro reactions.

My own thoughts: it's a bad deal for authors, like many publishers' "outreach" programs to allow unsolicited manuscripts from the web. It's got low royalties compared to other ebook programs, and allows Amazon & the media company too many rights. It's not "licensed fanfic;" it's "essentially invite unsolicited manuscripts for tie-in novels" (not my quote.)

The terms are more invasive than most tie-in novel terms, but not substantially so. Unlike total works-for-hire, the author here retains some rights. (It's unclear what those are, since it's an "exclusive" contract; I suppose they can write more with their original characters, not in the tie-in world, and publish it as kindlebooks?)

A comment at The Passive Voice points out that the stories will go through an editor of sorts; they're not accepting any-and-all stories. There may be a list of rough plot outlines they're looking for, and otherwise, there'll probably be a strict list of thou-shalt-nots: only canon pairings, or no converting the villain to good nor the hero to evil, or no "coffeeshop AU," and so on.

They're looking to catch the next E.L. James before she can make it big without giving them a cut; they're not looking to actually publish fanfic.

Also: the three worlds they're starting with are all corporate-owned; the books are works-for-hire. There is no author to get involved with the approval process. It's possible Kindle Worlds will never have options to write in a single-person-owned world, but be focused on TV properties that may or may not already have tie-in novels.
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:44 AM   #19
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Elfwreck: The T&C were the thing that stuck out for me too. My initial reaction was it's a good thing, then I read the T&C and thought whilst it's still a good thing, there's no way if I were an author I'd accept those T&C.

Perhaps down the line it'll open up to less editorial control whilst still retaining the right to remove certain stories they think cross whatever line. However, even with that the T&C would still put me off.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #20
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So if I'm understanding Elfwreck correctly, it's less a program for publishing fanfic, and more another avenue to discover pro authors. They are just trying to attract fanfic writers to the program? Sort of like Microsoft putting up "engineers wanted" signs at a computer club meeting?
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:14 PM   #21
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It's not even "want to attract fanfic writers" as "hey, some writers of that 'fanfic' stuff have been making money; I bet WE could be making some of that money!" And as my friend flourish said:
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One of the most erroneous, but far-reaching attitudes I've found in the entertainment industry is the attitude that all fans want to be part of the "in group," that they want to be paid to work on the properties they like.
"Fanfic" is a trendy term in publishing today. Most people involved in pro publishing--especially everyone who's not an author--has no idea what fanfiction really is; at best, they think it's like Star Trek novels but maybe with gay sex. And there is that. But there's also everything from quarter-million-word stories about minor characters or from the "villain" pov (which often isn't as villainous when they're telling the story) to 400-word snippets of dialogue to fill in a gap between scenes, to "coffeeshop AU" stories where all the characters are imagined as the staff and customers of the local Starbucks. (I don't read coffeeshop AUs, but apparently they're big.) And then there's the alpha/omega/beta thing, which I am absolutely certain is not going to be licensed. (If you don't know what that is, odds are you don't want to. Gay sex is just the beginning.)

The point is... fanfic is huge and diverse, and most publishing execs are oblivious to its true scope. They believe that fanfic authors are writing unofficial sequels and the occasional self-insert story, and would all *jump* at the chance to have their name on a book with the official series logo on it--and that because of that interest, they can offer lousy publishing terms and still get plenty of good authors.

There are some who will go along with it. But it won't make any real impact on the fanfic communities; the vast majority will recognize it as a media ploy and not any kind of recognition of the value and unique literary aspects of fanfiction.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:44 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
"hey, some writers of that 'fanfic' stuff have been making money; I bet WE could be making some of that money!"
If it's true that some fanfic writers are making money off of copyrighted material without permission, then isn't this precisely the sort of thing the community is constantly saying the big companies should do?
Rather than suing for copyright infringement, which seem like it would be a perfectly legitimate course of action, they are recognizing changes and embracing new opportunities.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:30 PM   #23
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If it's true that some fanfic writers are making money off of copyrighted material without permission, then isn't this precisely the sort of thing the community is constantly saying the big companies should do?
The vast majority of fanfic writers are not making any money at it. A tiny fraction (and I do mean tiny) are making a few dollars here and there--google ads on their website, or sales of physical zines for a bit more than printing costs. Nobody's making serious income at it. Nobody's making income above the level of a once-a-year yard sale.

And not all of that may be infringement. "The Wind Done Gone" was ruled not infringing; "Coming Through the Rye: 60 Years Later" was ruled infringing. There's no hard and fast rule about what use of someone else's literary world without permission is infringing. I tend to believe most fanfic is transformative enough to be non-infringing, even if it were sold. (Which, as I mentioned, it's generally not.)

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Rather than suing for copyright infringement, which seem like it would be a perfectly legitimate course of action, they are recognizing changes and embracing new opportunities.
AFAIK, there are *no* lawsuits for copyright infringement targeting free fanfiction. I don't think there are any for those tiny pockets of fanfic that are earning a bit of money. There are DMCA takedown requests, and in the past, there have been C&D orders, but no lawsuits filed.

While "license, don't sue" seems like a reasonable approach, it hinges on the concept that most uses would be licenseable; I don't expect this one to allow licenses for the majority of types of fanfic written, even within these few worlds.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:25 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ApK View Post
If it's true that some fanfic writers are making money off of copyrighted material without permission, then isn't this precisely the sort of thing the community is constantly saying the big companies should do?
Rather than suing for copyright infringement, which seem like it would be a perfectly legitimate course of action, they are recognizing changes and embracing new opportunities.
Fan *artists* seem to make money, from commissions. I'm not sure I've heard of any fan *fic* authors making money off their work, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Although, I would make a case that the fanfic movement and its sacred cows are analogous to taking a Rembrandt (or even a Bob Ross, for those of us who watch PBS) and sticking a homemade decal of a character onto it. Their movement is intentionally stifling their creativity.

Not to mention the Big Lie of Fanworks- that you *have* to make a name for yourself doing years or even decades of fanworks before you can strike out on your own and create your own worlds. That alone has probably trapped some really good artists.

So yeah, not really a fan of the Fanworks movement. Seems to combine the arrogance of Modernism with the strictures of Egyptian tomb paintings.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:04 PM   #25
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This discussion of fan art vs professional art makes me think of the Japanese manga (comic book) market.

They have an extensive gray market in fan-made manga called doujinshi, which are sold at huge comics festivals. Nearly all of which feature characters from mainstream manga and anime.

The copyright laws in Japan allow the companies who own the characters to overlook all this without losing the rights to their characters.

Manga artists often get their start in doujinshi clubs and then go pro. There are also pros who do doujinshi as side projects.

One difference is that Amazon is barring pornography from the get-go, whereas doujinshi are frequently pornographic. (I have never gotten a straight answer from anyone who's been to Japan on what percentage of doujinshi are pornos, the gist of it is "more than a little, but not all.")
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:07 PM   #26
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My own thoughts: it's a bad deal for authors, like many publishers' "outreach" programs to allow unsolicited manuscripts from the web. It's got low royalties compared to other ebook programs, and allows Amazon & the media company too many rights.
Well hardly surprising it would have lower royalties, as someone else has already done part of the work, in creating the shared world and characters in the first place, so some of the money goes to them.
If you are reusing someone else's setting and characters, I don't think it is reasonable to get as much of the money as if you had created everything yourself.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:53 AM   #27
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It's not less work to write in a world with existing characters than to make up new ones. There's a potential argument that it's harder--you have to match preconceived notions of how the characters will act--but I think that balances out with having existing traits to draw on. A believable "what happens next" story takes just as much creativity and literary skill as a "here's what happened to people you've never heard of" story.

Publishers don't have a habit of paying authors less if they're working with public domain texts as a base. Arthur Laurents didn't have to pay royalties to any Shakespeare Foundation for "West Side Story." All Creative Work Is Derivative... we're all working with ideas created and developed by other people. It's not inherently less creative to use someone else's names or places than to use someone else's tropes, themes, and plotline--and those are free to borrow.

I'm not saying we should abolish copyright, or that all derivatives should be legal without permission, but that they're not innately less artistic than work where the source material is more blurry. The hundreds of fantasy authors who retold "Lord of the Rings" with different names and slight personality twists didn't get paid lower royalties than those who wrote other stories.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:14 AM   #28
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It's not less work to write in a world with existing characters than to make up new ones.
Shrug. I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
Creating a fully-populated, internally consistent, world is difficult.
Do people writing Star Trek/Buffy/... novels get the same payment split as authors writing original works? I doubt it.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:15 AM   #29
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It's not less work to write in a world with existing characters than to make up new ones. There's a potential argument that it's harder--you have to match preconceived notions of how the characters will act--but I think that balances out with having existing traits to draw on. A believable "what happens next" story takes just as much creativity and literary skill as a "here's what happened to people you've never heard of" story.
A tangential aside, since whether or not it's easier or harder is not the point at all, but I'm not buying the "harder" argument for one second.

Good writing is good writing and it may be hard no matter what, but starting with a successful, popular idea does nothing but make it easier.

Like in TV, comparatively lots of writers write or contribute to episodes of successful series, but far fewer create a successful, popular show that goes on to employee those episode writers, and generate fan fic.

Now, show me a fanfic writer who was was perhaps the ONLY fan of an obscure forgotten property, and who's fanfic work MADE it into something popular, and I'll agree that person did the harder work.

But as I said, that's all an aside. Copyright exists to give the creator control for a period of time. It's supposed to be a reasonably limited time, to encourage the production of work that will LATER be available to everyone, for all kinds of uses, but for the limited period of copyright, it's up to the owner as to how it's used. There's no reason for or defense of publishing fanfic from that point of view. And I think it's a good point of view, if only we can get that "reasonable time" thing back into existence.
Until then, various progressive and novel licensing terms are the way to, not undermining copyright protection altogether.

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Old 05-29-2013, 10:39 AM   #30
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Good writing is good writing and it may be hard no matter what, but starting with a successful, popular idea does nothing but make it easier.
I was talking art, not business, but you do have a valid point. Ability to create a good story is not directly related to the ability to make a living at creating stories, and the latter is easier for popular subject matter.

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Now, show me a fanfic writer who was was perhaps the ONLY fan of an obscure forgotten property, and who's fanfic work MADE it into something popular, and I'll agree that person did the harder work.
I think that's an unfair challenge; copyright law makes it pretty much impossible for unauthorized fanfic to drag a work out of obscurity because it can't be sold without risk of ridiculous lawsuits.

However, there are cases of licensing of obscure works that allowed the fanworks to drag the original out of obscurity; the Cthulhu mythos is a great example. It was a little-known group of horror stories before Chaosium bought the rights to make an RPG out of it.

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But as I said, that's all an aside. Copyright exists to give the creator control for a period of time. It's supposed to be a reasonably limited time, to encourage the production of work that will LATER be available to everyone, for all kinds of uses, but for the limited period of copyright, it's up to the owner as to how it's used. There's no reason for or defense of publishing fanfic from that point of view.
Depends on how much control the owner is supposed to have and how one interprets fair use and the transformative-vs-derivative debate. But mostly, yes; if copyright is working correctly, licensed sub-works for a limited time are a legitimate part of the creative works business. The terms for licensed sub-works are not expected to be as generous as those for original works.

The question of whether *these* terms are too onerous for most authors is a separate debate; I suspect enough people will sign up for them, at least initially, that someone will declare the program a success.

There's the solid possibility that some of the terms are unenforceable in Europe, where moral rights cannot be given up by contract. Kindle Worlds may get around this by just flat-out not accepting works from non-US authors.
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