Fwd: Re: Fanfic (OT?)

Nat Case ncase at hedbergmaps.com
Tue Apr 17 16:21:01 EDT 2001


>Gili: very well put.
>
>It is very hard to write a piece that defends itself against 
>copying, imitation and sequeling. DWJ's books do this well.
>
>I'd like to expand on my earlier point about the 
>two-edged-swordiness of copyright law: it defends creators against 
>theft of original ideas, but if overenforced it prevents the spread 
>of those ideas, which is after all part of why creators get into the 
>business. In the end, having an original idea isn't what wins you 
>fame fortune and security--it's the execution of those ideas.
>
>DWJ has not built up her reputation based on flashy best-sellers. 
>For most of the time I've been reading her, it was an amazing thing 
>to run into anyone who had ever heard of her, let alone thought her 
>books were the bee's knees. As both Gili and Alexandra have pointed 
>out in different ways, she is a master at careful structuring, and 
>she takes the nuts-and-bolts crafting of a story very seriously. 
>That is an aspect of her work that defies easy imitation.
>
>I still feel like authors who discourage others (beginning writers 
>especially) from entering their world(s) is problematic. I think 
>tackling that job all the way through can make it clear (as it does 
>to Polly in Fire and Hemlock) how small a part of writing a novel 
>the thinking up of "what happens next" really is. I wish Cooper had 
>simply reminded me that She owns copyright to the characters and so 
>I had no right to attempt publication, but encouraged me to finish 
>it and share it informally. If it really _was_ good, changing the 
>characters' names and sweeping away the DARK IS RISING references 
>would have probably helped the piece.
>
>My whole sense of this would be different if I weren't working in 
>the field I'm in. enforcing copyright on maps in the US is very 
>hard. I see imitations of our/my style and content all the time. 
>It's not productive to act all litigious (as some in the industry 
>have done). It ends up wasting energy that should have been spent 
>making and selling maps. About all we do enforce against is people 
>who make lots of photocopies of our maps as handouts. In terms of 
>stylistic copying, our general philosophy is more one that imitation 
>is flattery, and we hope we do a better job than copyists do.
>
>Copyists are hacks, and in the end hacks are a serious threat only 
>if you aren't doing your work as well as you can (work here includes 
>selling/distributing that work in addition to doing it).
>
>Nat

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