You are viewing grrm

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A Few Last Words

I've just locked the comments section of the previous post. We've had about four hundred comments since the post went up last night, and the whole thing is about to collapse under its own weight. I suspect that someone or other has already said everything that can be said on the subject, so now we're starting to go around in circles.

Also, with this many comments, it's becoming obvious that some of the later commenters aren't actually reading what went before. I'm starting to get asked the same questions over and over again -- what about Suvudu? what about the Vance book? what about fan art? what about role-playing games? All fair enough questions, but I have answered all of them in responses to earlier comments. Some I have answered two or three times by now. I am not going to answer them four, five, six, or twelve times, sorry. So if you've posted a question that has already been asked and answered, your post will likely be ignored or deleted. (Yes, I know it's a pain to have to read four hundred comments. Tough. If I have to read them all, so do you. That's the price of taking part in the discussion).

Some comments haven't been unscreened yet. There have been so many of them coming in so fast that it has been hard to keep up. A few have been buried by now, especially comments on comments on comments. Ty or I will get to all of them eventually, I hope, and everything will either be unscreened or deleted.

I want to thank ninety-five percent of the people who took the time to comment. I appreciate your thoughts, and even more, I appreciate the relative calm and thoughtful tone of this discussion, which never degenerated into the kind of ugliness I've seen (and am still seeing) in the comments over on Diana Gabaldon's blog, where the discussion has long since been derailed. I don't know how many minds were changed here, but all the major issues were thoroughly aired, it seems to me, and I hope this generated more light than heat.

There were a few issues raised during the debate that I'd like to address a bit further.

A number of commenters suggested that I was wrong in my assertion that copyrights need to be defended, and suggested that I was confusing copyrights with trademarks. Perhaps so. This was raised often enough that it is obviously something I need to look into further. There were also posters who agreed with what I wrote, however, including some who identified themselves as lawyers or law students, so I don't think the issue is as clear cut as the "trademark" folks are claiming. I'll investigate this, and if I was wrong about this, I will come back here and say so (eventually, this is not my top priority in life). If I was right, I'll come back and mention that as well.

ERB v HPL. I never said that allowing others to play with the Cthulhu mythos was the ONLY reason Lovecraft died in poverty. Actually, I am a huge Lovecraft fan, and not much of a Burroughs fan at all (though Melinda Snodgrass and I did once work on the screenplay for A PRINCESS OF MARS). I know a lot about HPL. His work has been hugely influential on modern horror. But my point stands. I could write a Cthulhu Mythos novel tomorrow, and I would not have to pay a dime to any Lovecraft estate (if such exists) or get their permission. I would never dare write a Barsoom novel, though surely PRINCESS is in the public domain by now. (The later John Carter and Tarzan novels may still be under copyright).

A few people have quoted or posted links to the other side of the Marion Zimmer Bradley incident, the account of the fan involved. Fine, two sides to every story, check it out. At this point, twenty years after the fact, it all becomes she said/ she said. But the version I posted was hardly "urban legend," as one commenter called it. It was the version given by Marion Zimmer Bradley herself in SFWA FORUM, what she told the rest of the writing community. If you want to believe she lied, well, that's your prerogative.

More thoughts as I have 'em. Just now, I have work to do.


May. 8th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'm of a mind that fanfiction needs to go, much as remakes and reboots must, I'd compare they're artistic value to paint by numbers or those coloring books where the paper is impregnated with the paint, and all the user needs to do is run a wet brush around the page to color the picture in.

I'm a writer and when I'm finished, I'll be an author and to this end I've sacrificed much... I've woken in the middle of the night in a cold sweat from nightmares of plagiarism or someone absconding with my characters - who (as you said yesterday, GRRM) are just as much my children as my children are my children. Of my blood or of my mind, they're mine and nobody gets to touch them except me.
Anyone who has sacrificed their lives to produce any sort of artistic endeavor is deserving of the protection of law, failing that, an armed cadre of legbreakers.

So far we've talked about JPL, who I've never been a fan, but his influence is undeniable, I forward another - Gary Gygax, who utterly lost control of his own work and had to sit by while lesser individuals slaughtered his work and corrupted the original vision... If that ever happened to me, there'd be injuries. Grievous and mortal, inflicted with an axe.

George I've a question - Is there not a legal recourse to follow to kneecap such sites as I understand that squarshing fanfiction is about futile as policing porn, but if you take out the venue, the band will head back to the garage, where only the neighbors have to listen to their crappy tunes.
May. 8th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
One could sue, of course.

This is America. We can sue anyone over anything, pretty much.

The question is, is it worth the time, expense, and energy? The answer is, probably not. Lawsuits are a huge financial and emotional drain. I have better things to do with my life.

Someone will sue someday, I expect. But I doubt it will be me.
May. 8th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
Mayhaps the armed cadre of legbreakers is more your speed, sir. As it so happens I run with some blokes that'd make the Mountain balk and locating an IP is no stretch at all.
May. 9th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) maintains a list of authors who have asked not to allow fanfiction of their works, and refuses to post any fanfiction based on those authors' works.

The list is here.

I've Googled for fifteen minutes and failed to figure out how an author should contact to refuse permission; my best guess would be to send mail to their general support mail address,, and wait.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

Latest Month

December 2014


Page Summary

Powered by
Designed by Lilia Ahner