Should it be called "Fan Fiction"?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Pentagamus, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Pentagamus

    Pentagamus The Bulgarian

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    I have an idea for a story, which I'm going to post in the forum at a later date. Right now I have a question. If I am writing a story that uses the "mythos" of a few completely different series, that are only connected by their themes, should my story be considered FanFiction? I am using characters from the original stories, yes, but I am completely reinventing many of the original concepts, to a point at which my story has become its own thing. Should I still post it in the FanFiction part of the forum?
     
  2. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I would think that as long as you make sure to leave a footnote saying that the characters are from "so and so" series you should be ok. not sure how many people who would be in the whole legal bit actually would come through here but always best to be safe. then again I'm not very versed in Fanfics except I kinda wrote one in middle school and failed because it was too similar to LotR.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Legally speaking fanfiction is typically illegal in so much as its unauthorized use of characters/elements copyrighted by another individual.

    This, of course, only holds true for works still under copyright; the reason you see Cuthulu everywhere is because copyright on the original source material has expired and thus is in the public domain.

    In America copyright is 70 years after the copyright holders death; its broadly speaking similar in most western nations.




    That said so long as you're nor profiting most if not all authors tend to ignore fanfiction as it does little to no harm and often times can actually increase interest in the source material. Many authors might dislike it from a personal perspective and others feel that new authors should make their own stories rather than weaken their writing ability by copy-catting anothers work.

    As far as the forum is concerned fan-fiction would probably suit it best yes; whilst you've made it your own thing you've strongly based it upon existing work and it sounds like the concept of it is to use those references directly as part of the narrative. So yes its a work of fan fiction :)
     
  4. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    listen to him. he practically runs this place when the admins aren't on.
     
  5. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    The law regarding fan fiction varies from country to country.

    In Spain, it is most likely a big NO unless you are doing a parody. Parody has a special protection as far as I know, so you can grab concepts from third parties even if they are copyright protected and include them in your satirical story.

    Beware that some elements from stories are actually registered trademarks, characters, etc. Chances are that, if a character is popular, the character is trademarked. Trademarks and copyright work under different laws and different restrictions and permissions apply.

    The way to play it safe is to get permission from the group that holds the publishing rights. Even if the group who holds the publishing rights has stated that they are fine with fan fiction, it is a good idea to get explicit writen permission.

    There are known cases of authors who have had to cancel teir own novels because some published fan fiction had similar elements and the fanfic author was threatening with a lawuit :( Don't expect much love.

    I think most authors and publishers don't care much if you publish fanfic as long as you are not generating a revenue or messing with the main publication process, however.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Did those cases ever actually make it to court and how similar were they? I would think a fanfiction writer would be hard pressed to oppose work if their own is simply a copy-cat of the original and follows predictable story pathways.

    That said if the author of the original copy-cats the fanfiction then even though the fanfiction itself breaches the copy of that also breaches - kind of like a double hit.



    Certainly hte laws vary country to country and there can be a lot of variation. Heck in China there are no copyright laws and exports from there are even under some rough protection (which is why there are all these chinese copy-cat products in their own market and many in ours).
     
  7. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    I have not followed the issues so much as for knowing the precise details.

    There was a somehow famous case in which a fanfic author was developing a long story, and was contacted by the "main" author because the story the fanfic writer was creating was similar to one the regular author was writing himself. I think the fanfic author threatened to sue back if he was not given credit for the idea in the regular author's book, and in the end the author just cancelled his book. Something of that sort.

    The fear of the phenomenon above has actually caused some authors to take aggressive stances against fanfics or take specific measures. Terry Pratchett refused to read fanfics and publicly stated so, because that way nobody would be able to say that he was copying ideas from the fanfics.

    The problem with trials is that it often does not matter who is right or wrong, because if you can't afford the trial, there is just not a case.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I think it might well be a case where "fear" is stronger than actual threat. These days anyone can "Say" they will sue you and many will avoid it because it can be a right nightmare. Even if you're going to win without question it still takes its mental toll and costs a fortune.

    And the higher profile you are the more the risk.

    Terry Pratchett's stance I think is one many authors take; if not just to help avoid legal problems, but also to preserve a form of integrity within their own work and to not let the voice of others start to influence their creation.
    Of course that depends on the relationship between the author and their work; for some its a very personal relationship; for others the writing is just a source of income.
     
  9. Pentagamus

    Pentagamus The Bulgarian

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    Thank you guys for the speedy responses! I will just stick this one in the Fan Fiction part of the forum. The main series of stories, on which my story is based, is from 1913, so I won't have any copyright problems. I was going to include a disclaimer about the original author and work anyways. I just realized that a character, who is very prominent in my book (and whom I spent a lot of time redeveloping and rebuilding) is from a 1962 book, which is unfortunate, as I can't use him. But for the purposes of posting it here, it'll be OK. If I ever decide to publish, I can just change his name. He barely resembles his original self anyways. I would even dare to say that my version of him is more interesting than the original, as the original is basically a ripoff of Sherlock Holmes with a dash of sinister and magic. Mine is a ruthless pragmatist (who doesn't even realize that what he does sometimes isn't good or right.) A "for the Greater Good" kind of guy.