Author Topic: About borrowing content from other stories  (Read 2925 times)

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Offline Janine

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About borrowing content from other stories
« on: Sun, Jun 10, 2007, 01:45 PM »
Yay! Another topic I can glue to the top of the board as announcement.

Because of a recent incident, please let me remind you all that if you intend to borrow contents from other stories that are not your own, you absolutely have to ask the respective writer for his/her permission before doing so.

Thanks for your attention.

Your friendly neighborhood dictator ;)
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Janine »

Offline DragonFire

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« Reply #1 on: Sun, Jun 10, 2007, 02:01 PM »
:hugs
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by DragonFire »

Offline evilgrin

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« Reply #2 on: Mon, Jun 11, 2007, 08:11 AM »
thank you Janine.
you're not a dictator, and for most people this is going to be basic common sense
Elaine:)
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by evilgrin »

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It was a rainy night in the big city. A hard rain. Hard enough to wash the scum off the streets. And I'm stuck in it without an umbrella. What a tool.

Offline Domino

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« Reply #3 on: Mon, Jun 11, 2007, 10:39 AM »
Agreed, Elaine.
At least it should be common sense....
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Domino »

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Offline Rachel

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« Reply #4 on: Mon, Jun 11, 2007, 04:03 PM »
An excellent point Janine  :rule
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Rachel »

Offline Bitten

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« Reply #5 on: Tue, Jun 12, 2007, 04:38 PM »
Janine is too a dictator! All hail Janine!   :bow

:giggle
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Bitten »

Offline DragonFire

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« Reply #6 on: Tue, Jun 12, 2007, 05:56 PM »
:laughter
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by DragonFire »

Offline okieinsomniac

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« Reply #7 on: Tue, Jun 12, 2007, 06:33 PM »
Quote
Because of a recent incident, please let me remind you all that if you intend to borrow contents from other stories that are not your own, you absolutely have to ask the respective writer for his/her permission before doing so.



*sigh* this one will probably get me into trouble, but I gotta ask for clarification. It's hell to have this need to play devil's advocate all the time....This is in two parts.

1) What are we referring to as far as borrowing content? If we're talking about plagerism where scenes, conversations of characters etc are stolen from a fic, then ok, no problem, I'm glad this is being taken care of.

However, here's a what if. I've got a story that I started a long while back, late 2002. This story came to me after I watched Pitch Black for the first time. At the time, I had read very few fanfics. I wasn't even considering writing fanfics at that time. And the fanfics I had read were in the Star Trek fandom.

For those who don't know, I work for Corrections. About that same time (2002) we had serious concerns with "NIMBY." NIMBY=Not in my back yard. (Still do, but it's not talked about as much right now.) It refers to the need for the public to feel safe. They want criminals locked up, but they don't want to see any references to this. They don't want to pay for the sentences, they don't want to see the razor wire, and they don't want to know that people put their lives in danger to protect them (the public) from these inmates. They quite plainly do not want the prisons in their communities. (You see the same with homeless shelters, etc.)

So I started looking again at prison history. One of the things that jumped to my attention was how during the emperialism stage of history this was also a prevalent idea. You didn't need to keep criminals in  England, France, etc. Just ship them to the colonies. They'll live or die depending upon the lord's will, and we won't be bothered by these people anymore.  (Overly simplistic, I understand, but that's the basic premise.)

The story I'm working on (right now it's more outline than story...one of the few I've actually taken the time to outline) brings this full circle and into the future.  

There is another story currently being posted which uses the same basic theme for the setting. The only similarity between the two stories is the idea of shipping inmates out of this planetary system to a penal planet. Mine deals more with the sociological evolution of the prison culture. I keep thinking about writing it as a Riddick fic, then working it around into the original story I had in mind. (I tend to work more on my fanfics than my originals...so this would be a way to get me to write on it.)

When you look at history, this would not be an original idea. Anyone could take the idea and run with it. As long as the stories are different enough, imho, no toes would be stepped on by using similar backgrounds for an original storyline. You see this all the time in the commercial market. How many romance authors have "lifemates" as an integral part of their fantasy world? It doesn't seem to be something that is a problem in real life.

Would I be wrong with that assumption? Would this story have to have someone's permission because they happen to use a similar setting, even though the inspiration for the story had no connection with them whatsoever?

And here's where I will most likely get myself into trouble.

2) If you read the quote above, we're all breaking this rule everytime we use Rids, Tay, Chris, X, or any of the other Vin or other fandom characters. We don't have the permission of the creators to use these characters. We cover ourselves with a flimsy "disclaimer" to CYA (cover yo' a$$). So are we saying the characters/ideas/etc created by our fanfic writers are more important than the characters being produced out of hollywood and the literary community?

I've never used another fanfic writer's characters/ideas/storylines etc, and I never would. However, it seems like we are setting a double standard here. I've seen stories online where almost complete scenes were taken from books etc. The only thing the "author" was told to do was add the "inspiration" to the "disclaimer." It's sad when copyrighted material only has to have a disclaimer, but a reference to a fanfic (which is only loosely covered by copyright) would have to have the writer's express permission.

I don't take my fanfics that seriously. I put in my disclaimer that anything you don't recognize came from my twisted brain. However, if someone were to say something in one of my stories was inspiration for their own, it's not something that would bother me. I'd only be up in arms about them taking my story word for word or obviously stealing sections of my story and passing them off as their own. (And, yes, actually, I did have this happen to me at one time.)

Just me playing devil's advocate...what exactly are we talking about when we talk about borrowing content?

Okie
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by okieinsomniac »

Offline magicflute

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« Reply #8 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 01:18 AM »
I have to say that I agree with okieinsomniac 100%. Sorry folks.
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by magicflute »

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Offline Janine

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« Reply #9 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 03:52 AM »
Sometimes it happens that one writer loves the story of another one so much he decides to set his story in the exact same universe, maybe even using some of the names and places without actually plagiarizing a whole storyline though. This is what I mean by 'borrowing contents'. I guess in that case it's only fair to ask whoever had the original idea, especially if the original fic was also posted here on VX. Just acknowledging it publicly isn't sufficient, imho the original writer should be asked for permission. Is that making it any clearer?
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Janine »

Offline magicflute

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« Reply #10 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 04:02 AM »
Yep :) Thanks for clearing that up for me. Not that it would ever be likely to happen to me... got too many ideas of my own to write them down and I don't like to borrow lol
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by magicflute »

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Offline okieinsomniac

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« Reply #11 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 05:29 PM »
yes and no. Most of part 1 was answered, but I don't believe part 2 was. However since I really didn't think I'd get an answer for part 2, I'm good.

Just a bit more devil's advocate, then I'll be done. To me part 2 of my question is more important than part 1. It seems we're saying it's ok to write a disclaimer for our work and use any universe/any character from the literary/movie world. However, we expect that this same ideal will not be applied to us as writers.

I've been asked my opinion about this before. I don't believe in plagerism. However, I can't with good conscience say that someone can't use my characters/scenery etc within their fanfic without my permission. The reason? That's like saying I have more claim to Riddick et al than the actual creators of these characters. The characters and scenes I create would be sancrosanct, but I'm free to steal the ideas of Pitch Black et al.

I would expect that if someone made allusions to my ideas that they would give me the same courtesy as they would the creators of the characters we borrow. I don't ask for more than a mention in a disclaimer. Since I don't have the permission of Riddick's creator(s), I don't feel I should be elevated above their status.

I'd probably think differently if it were my original works (part of the reason I rarely post them online, and only do for a few days to get an idea of reception or allow a friend to read them). But even with my original works, I'd be flattered if someone wanted to incorporate them within the realm of fanfic as long as the characters were treated with respect.

The one thing I did get from the answer is that I should not be posting that one story of mine on the board. It has no relation whatsoever with any other fic, but it appears that since separate thought processes took two writers in a similar direction background-wise, that I'd have to have another's permission for my own writing. The story wasn't inspired by anyone else, but I'd be afraid it would be taken that way.
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by okieinsomniac »

Offline x-fuse

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« Reply #12 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 09:35 PM »
I think you are opening up a big can of worms. If a fic has a basic setting of (Iíll use the same setting) a prison planet than do I have to ask permission or state that okieinsomniac written about a prison planet first especially when the content of the story is different. Does okieinsomniac have to get permission/mention from Silver who has to get permission from Harley who has to get permission from Toto. I think Toto wrote one before Harley. Same thing with Carolyn surviving does everyone who writes a fic with Carolyn surviving have to get permission from me or mention my fic and then I would have to track down the twenty or other fics where she survived too.

Every since Iíve been in the fan fic world and that has been a long time, there has been a few golden rules that applied to fics.
You donít take anyoneís fic and post it as your own.
You donít use anyone characters without their permission.
You donít use anyone setup without their permission (Ie someone canít take where I am in any of my fics and write a fic based on what I have done so far) and you canít write a sequel without the writerís permission.

Every other board and site that I have been to (and I have visited a lot of fic worlds) enforce those rules. In some places itís unwritten but the moment one of them is broken the fic gets deleted and the person sometimes banned.

Everything is recycled in the world of storytelling. There will always be the same setting as long as the plot, character and content is different than itís a different story.
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by x-fuse »

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Offline Janine

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« Reply #13 on: Wed, Jun 13, 2007, 11:47 PM »
Quote from: "x-fuse"
Every since Iíve been in the fan fic world and that has been a long time, there has been a few golden rules that applied to fics.
You donít take anyoneís fic and post it as your own.
You donít use anyone characters without their permission.
You donít use anyone setup without their permission (Ie someone canít take where I am in any of my fics and write a fic based on what I have done so far) and you canít write a sequel without the writerís permission.


Thank you! I think that pretty much sums it up. :rule

@Oki: You are free to ask Riddick's creators for their permission to use their characters anytime. If we start going down that road, I can simply close down all the fanfic boards and never have any writing posted again. Personally, I believe there's a silent agreement between the film industrie and the writers, after all they make their stuff public to millions of people. But pick any of the writers and you'll see they're not all keen on sharing their stuff. If you don't mind other people using your ideas, hey, fine for me. There are writers though who do and that given I don't see a point in discussing this over and over and over again. It might sound rude now, but I have more important things to do than nit-pick over a simple reminder I've posted in this section.
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Janine »

Offline Domino

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« Reply #14 on: Thu, Jun 14, 2007, 12:11 AM »
Here's my opinion on this whole thing:

I really don't think we want to get into the discussion if fanfiction is legal and allowed or not. This has been argued over for as long as there is fanfiction. Fanfiction is tolerated by the production companies for various reasons:

1.) the authors do not make any money with their stories.
2.) fanfiction helps boost the interest in the movie in question and thus might even push sales so the production company benefits from it.
3.) the legal issue is very undetermined so suing fanfic authors could be a very long and tricky trial.

But thatís not the issue here. The issue here is that yes, there is a difference between taking a movie, a character of a movie, or a book as inspiration for a story and taking another fanfic author's ideas and writing them in your story. Maybe it is a double standard but then again, with another fanfic author you at least have the chance that you can ask for permission and will actually get an answer.

We are not talking about plots and setting being similar. There are so many fanfics about for example Riddick out there, that it is very difficult to come up with plots and settings that haven't been there before in one way or the other. After all, there's only so much you can do with a character like Riddick. What's important is that you leave your own mark on a setting that has been there before. Isolating prisoners in some secluded area and leaving them to themselves without interference other than preventing them to leave that place, is a very old plot that has been around for years. Honestly, I don't think that any of our writers here can claim that they were the first to come up with this idea (best example for this, I think, is the 80s movie "Escape from New York" and the famous character of Snake Plissken).

But there are similarities that are bound to happen or in some cases incidental and there are similarities that take things too far. Taking scenes, dialogues, original characters from the story of another writer without the prior permission and using them for your own story is what we were referring to. And this should not be done without asking the permission of the other writer first.

Let me give you another example: Hooking Johns up with Riddick in a story is not a new plot and has been written often, it's what you do with this general plot, where you take the story, how you develop it, that makes it your plot, your setting, your story.

I hope this has clarified the issue for all of you who were still wondering.

Vins Maus
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Domino »

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Offline magicflute

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« Reply #15 on: Thu, Jun 14, 2007, 02:44 AM »
Quote from: "x-fuse"
Every since Iíve been in the fan fic world and that has been a long time, there has been a few golden rules that applied to fics.
You donít take anyoneís fic and post it as your own.
You donít use anyone characters without their permission.
You donít use anyone setup without their permission (Ie someone canít take where I am in any of my fics and write a fic based on what I have done so far) and you canít write a sequel without the writerís permission.




Yup that somes it up beautifully. I like the way you keep things straight to the point and practical, x-fuse! (even if "setup" could be perhaps replaced by "dialog and action", so that there can't be any confusion, see above discussions about setups that have been around the bloc and around the bloc until their tires became as smooth as a baby bottom).

I think we should just trust our mods and admins that when they take off a story there is one or several of the above reasons for this. If it's gone then it probably was bad for the board, either because rules were openly broken or because the thing was begging people for having online fights.

So far I've never seen the stuff here just have a personal fit or randomly punish people just because they don't like their guts (I HAVE seen that sort of thing happen on other private boards you know? And it usually disgusted me into leaving. There is nothing more sad than admins attention whoring and throwing childish fits ... don't ask.)

People and stuff HERE are fair, give fair warning, usually by pm too or if it's in a public thread they always stay polite and reasonable.

Can you tell - I'm just very happy here! :dream
« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by magicflute »

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Offline Domino

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« Reply #16 on: Thu, Jun 14, 2007, 03:11 AM »
Thank you for the praise Flute, it's nice to see that our work is appreciated.  :)

Just to add to your points: If stories get pulled off the board, mostly it is done because the writers address us and ask us to remove their stories. It is very rare that we actually pull stories because they are not according to our rules. This is something that we always try to solve differently.

But enough said, we're getting a off topic here.

I think that everything that needed to be said on this "not borrowing" issue has been said, discussed and commented on so I'm going to lock this thread now. Thank you all for your participation in this discussion.

Vins Maus
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« Last Edit: Wed, Dec 31, 1969, 04:00 PM by Domino »

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