OTW Fannews: Multiple takes of the same thing

Banner by Bremo with the post title and images of three different actors portraying Sherlock Holmes

  • The romance publishing industry was among the first to start bringing in self-published writers and first time novelists, which they are now doing through Wattpad. The site has been active internationally, both promoting its site and now partnering with publishers to create a print imprint. Allen Lau, CEO of Wattpad, said “A lot of writers are afraid of sharing their work…And if you hide your work, you miss the opportunity to let other people appreciate your writing, and also missing some big opportunities in the process—your story might even become a movie, for example.”
  • Writers wary of sharing their work have a good reason for it though — theft. The case of Shey Stahl is a good example of many writers feeding one person’s career. “Goodreads reviewer Ari Bookzilla posted a word-by-word comparison between excerpts of Stahl’s latest novel, For the Summer, and a popular Twilight fanfic known as Dusty…Other Goodreaders claimed that the novel’s summary had been lifted from another Twilight fic: another popular offering called Pickup Truck…Even the title, “For the Summer,” is the title of another well-known Twilight fic…The question of why Stahl may have stolen so much from Twilight fanfic authors is simple: She was one. Stahl wrote fanfic under the pen name Jaydmommy, and she was plagued by plagiarism allegations then, too.”
  • Such cases of plagiarism make cases such as the ongoing lawsuit involving Sherlock Holmes seem as antiquated as the copyright at the center of the battle. As Tech Dirt pointed out, it would seem that the Conan Doyle Estate Is Horrified That The Public Domain Might Create ‘Multiple Personalities’ Of Sherlock Holmes. The estate’s argument “presents a way to make copyright on characters perpetual. You just need to have someone continue to release new works that have some minor change to the character, and they get to pretend you have a new starting point for the public domain ticker” meaning that “so long as you never ‘complete’ the character creation, they can never go into the public domain.”
  • Shadowlocked argued that there not only can be should be multiple takes on a franchise. “Neill Blomkamp’s humility in acknowledging the subjective side of fandom and that his take on the franchise wouldn’t have been for everyone is admirable, but perhaps fans as well as filmmakers could learn from this approach. As a fan, it’s arguably better to look at a film in a franchise made by a particular director as that director’s take on the franchise, rather than, ‘How dare they ruin my beloved franchise?’ Because directors can be fans too, and not all fans appreciate the source material in exactly the same way.”

What stories about fanfiction publishing and legal rights have you seen? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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