Of Cabbages and Kings
Looking for intelligent life at Fanfiction Net? We feature something for everyone: casual chat, serious discussion, debate, fun and games, and that delicious wank. Are you ready to play with the big dogs? Come inside, come inside!
New Follow Forum Follow Topic
Page 1 2 3 4 11 .. Last Next »
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Plagiarise; let no one else's work evade your eyes! You know why the good lord made your eyes, so don't shade your eyes, but plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise! (Never forgetting always to call it 'research'.) Tom Lehrer

We fanwriters use the works of the original author freely. So what do we owe to one another?

Part discussion part wank, this was inspired by NiRi's post in the Well of Woe, copied below.

4/17/2009 #1
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

NiRi asked:

Well then let me help boost the post count. And Randy tell me if this should go elsewhere and I'll move it.

A friend of mine had a falling out with her jerk of a beta several months ago. She cut off all communication with him because well, he's an ass. Last night he posted a story to SoA crediting her for the plot bunny saying she had given it to him. Errr... No, they had talked about it when they were still speaking but she had NEVER given him permission to use it. He took all her ideas and wrote the story.

Thoughts? It's not 'plagiarism' but it's pretty bad conduct in my opinion.

We 'get' ideas from lots of places. Sometimes ideas occur to us independently, like when Aislynn and I coincidentally thought the mithril chainmail might have belonged to Legolas. I got a plot bunny from seeing one of NiRi's stories, and she graciously allowed me to write my own take on it. Iggy and I get ideas all the time just chewing the fat.

Who owns an idea? Simply because I see something in a story that had already occured to me, does that mean I can't use it without getting the permission of the person who beat me to it? I would say not really.

However, if I were discussing a story idea with a beta reader and said beta reader went ahead and wrote it without asking me first, I think I'd be a little bit ticked.

Unless the discussion went something like, "Hey, it would be cool if someone wrote *fill in the blank* someday!" Then the idea is common property.

4/17/2009 #2
NiRi's Narrations

Unless the discussion went something like, "Hey, it would be cool if someone wrote *fill in the blank* someday!" Then the idea is common property.

If that were the case, then no problem. It's not, however. HE was betaing for her and she was bouncing ideas off him for a future story. She's not had a chance to write it yet. They had a falling out several months ago and then suddenly, he's gone and wrote HER story using ALL the ideas she shared. He KNEW she had planned to write it. I saw BAD FORM!!!

Not that it's a big surprise. In the past I had showed him the opening of a story I was working on that wasn't' posted anywhere yet and within a couple days he had posted a very similar story and when I called him on it, he claimed it was his original idea and if I had something similar, I was copying HIM! *deep breath*I avoid this person as much as I possibly can now a days and have become VERY careful who I share plots with.

4/17/2009 #3
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

If that were the case, then no problem. It's not, however. HE was betaing for her and she was bouncing ideas off him for a future story. She's not had a chance to write it yet. They had a falling out several months ago and then suddenly, he's gone and wrote HER story using ALL the ideas she shared. He KNEW she had planned to write it. I saw BAD FORM!!!

To quote Aragorn, that was not so courteous.

In the past I had showed him the opening of a story I was working on that wasn't' posted anywhere yet and within a couple days he had posted a very similar story and when I called him on it, he claimed it was his original idea and if I had something similar, I was copying HIM!

That is also not very nice. And he didn't say, at the time you showed him the story opening, that he'd had a similar idea. That's telling.

I will never forget how glad I was that I stayed up late to post a short POTC piece I had dashed off right after AWE came out. Mine was posted at around 2:00 AM. The group's admin posted a similar short story (involving Bootstrap taking over as captain of the Dutchman so Will could go free) at around 6:30 AM. I think that if I'd waited, I would never have been able to post it at all.

4/17/2009 #4
Aislynn Crowdaughter

I will never forget how glad I was that I stayed up late to post a short POTC piece I had dashed off right after AWE came out. Mine was posted at around 2:00 AM. The group's admin posted a similar short story (involving Bootstrap taking over as captain of the Dutchman so Will could go free) at around 6:30 AM. I think that if I'd waited, I would never have been able to post it at all.

But that points the finger on part of the problem, too: there are only so many ideas. Sometimes, one really needs to remember that - especially in fanfiction - it is perfectly possible for two or three writers who never even heard of each other or saw each others stories to come up with a similar scenario for their fic, independently from each other. In your case, the idea you and that forum admin had were a natural possible outcome for a sequel, and I would not be surprised if some third or fourth writers would have come up with "Bootstrap becoming captain instead", too.

Basically, I think that if one asks another writer permission to use their plot or ideas for a story spin off, or a similar story, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the story is not basically copy-paste of the parent with very few changes. In the case NiRi mentioned, it's bad form mainly because the beta in question did not say, hey, would you mind if I wrote something akin to that, and because he knew she wanted to write that story herself and then had the gist to claim she stole from him, not that he got inspired by her. He knew he made it impossible for her to use her own ideas, and that is worse than just bad form. It is positively aggressive.

However, it would be a sad thing if we all never could write any stories that are based on other people's ideas, or that come up with tghe same ideas, ever again. First, that would mean, no fanfic, ever. Second, it would mean, no art or fiction at all, because vbasically, all plots and stories and ideas are already told by somebody in some form somewhere. There is a reason why ideas can't be copyright protected in law, and why originally copyright was limited to a short time period after release so the ideas and stories could go into the public domain afterwards. The idea was that the public domain should grow and people could use it to build their own ideas from it. (That was before Disney decided they wanted to keep their damn mouse copyrighted for longer, and lobbied for extending that period to the time it is now).

4/18/2009 #5
Spiced Wine

I have not written anything no-one else can think of, I'm sure. But I think in the above mentioned case, this person is not, shall we say, very nice. He seems to be egotistical, and probably thinks that there is nothing wrong in using an idea some-one discussed with him. There is no way the writer could really have concentrated on the story in the last few months as she has been through some tough times, and they tend to leach away creativity and concentration.

Surely several people can come up with an idea almost simultaneously, I believe. I can't claim a particlualr non canon character is *mine*, but I can claim the OC I invented, with his history and personality is, and so if I were to see two or three plot points which I had written, yes, I would call that plagiarism, it would be too coincidental, and I'd be as annoyed as hell. Mind you, if I was asked if some-one could use a specific plot-point or OC, it would be a different story, I would probably say, 'Thank-you for asking, knock yourself out.'

The person should have asked, knowing their history, it would have been polite.

His reply when she asked him to take the story down was lengthy, but one part struck me.

If *** formally asks me to remove this story, then I will, though I think that will be unfortunate for *** (archive).

O_o, Wow! Lol. Please lend me some of that confidence?

4/18/2009 #6
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

But that points the finger on part of the problem, too: there are only so many ideas. Sometimes, one really needs to remember that - especially in fanfiction - it is perfectly possible for two or three writers who never even heard of each other or saw each others stories to come up with a similar scenario for their fic, independently from each other.

Absolutely. I will never forget running across a story about Legolas's part in the battle of the Five Armies partway through the writing of my own and thinking -- does this mean I can't do it?

In your case, the idea you and that forum admin had were a natural possible outcome for a sequel, and I would not be surprised if some third or fourth writers would have come up with "Bootstrap becoming captain instead", too.

Absolutely -- but given her nature, I daresay she would not have seen it that way. The idea was damned obvious, though.

Basically, I think that if one asks another writer permission to use their plot or ideas for a story spin off, or a similar story, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the story is not basically copy-paste of the parent with very few changes. In the case NiRi mentioned, it's bad form mainly because the beta in question did not say, hey, would you mind if I wrote something akin to that, and because he knew she wanted to write that story herself and then had the gist to claim she stole from him, not that he got inspired by her. He knew he made it impossible for her to use her own ideas, and that is worse than just bad form. It is positively aggressive.

It's always polite to ask, especially if you know the person. In rare cases, some of my plot ideas are so unusual that if my beta were to take them and claim credit -- which he certainly would not -- I'd be a little bit miffed.

However, it would be a sad thing if we all never could write any stories that are based on other people's ideas, or that come up with tghe same ideas, ever again. First, that would mean, no fanfic, ever. Second, it would mean, no art or fiction at all, because vbasically, all plots and stories and ideas are already told by somebody in some form somewhere. There is a reason why ideas can't be copyright protected in law, and why originally copyright was limited to a short time period after release so the ideas and stories could go into the public domain afterwards

I really think that it's more 'theft of intellectual property' to simply change the names and settings of another writer's idea -- say, a whip-cracking archaologist by the name of Illinois Smith, or a wise-cracking fighter pilot by the name of *cough* Starbuck -- than to simply write in the parent universe with grateful acknowledgement.

Also, people will come up with such different versions from the same idea, usually, that it's fun to see.

A beta-reader breaking faith to beat someone to the punch by publishing their idea first is just . . . :(

4/18/2009 #7
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Surely several people can come up with an idea almost simultaneously, I believe. I can't claim a particlualr non canon character is *mine*, but I can claim the OC I invented, with his history and personality is, and so if I were to see two or three plot points which I had written, yes, I would call that plagiarism,

I've had people come that close to mine a few times, but I just decided to feel flattered that people liked my take on things -- perhaps even enough to think they were canon.

His reply when she asked him to take the story down was lengthy, but one part struck me.

If *** formally asks me to remove this story, then I will, though I think that will be unfortunate for *** (archive).

Major WTF?? moment here. Yeah, he's not lacking in self-esteem, is he?

I think I know of whom we speak. Do I know the archive as well?

4/18/2009 #8
Spiced Wine

I've had people come that close to mine a few times, but I just decided to feel flattered that people liked my take on things -- perhaps even enough to think they were canon.

You mean they're not? O_O.

Lol. No-one would think mine was close to canon.

Major WTF?? moment here. Yeah, he's not lacking in self-esteem, is he?

I think I know of whom we speak. Do I know the archive as well?

Yes, and the person, I'm sure. It was only one sentence in a reply but it's the one thing that had my eyes popping out on stalks. It was so..casually egotistical.

4/18/2009 #9
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

You mean they're not? O_O.

Lol. No-one would think mine was close to canon.

Some people actually believe that Galion was Thranduil's esquire/valet as well as his butler. LOL

Yes, and the person, I'm sure. It was only one sentence in a reply but it's the one thing that had my eyes popping out on stalks. It was so..casually egotistical.

I've been off searching and haven't found it yet. PM?

Randy promises to be good. LOL

4/18/2009 #10
Spiced Wine

I am not a member of the site, so let me just track it down and I'll message you. I was reading that on LJ.

Some people actually believe that Galion was Thranduil's esquire/valet as well as his butler. LOL

Sounds more interesting than buttling every day :)

4/18/2009 #11
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Neither am I, but I found it. Third time's a charm, as they say.

Sounds more interesting than buttling every day :)

*snerk* Very interesting. As in the old Chinese curse -- may you live in interesting times. LOL

4/18/2009 #12
Spiced Wine

Perhaps Tolkien thought a more in depth explanation of Galion's duties was not necessary and the title Butler just got thrown in there.I couldn't get an image of Jeeves and Wooster out of my head for ages, which was unfortunate.

Neither am I, but I found it. Third time's a charm, as they say.

That made my day in an odd way, as that little remark was so revealing it made me laugh. There is nothing wrong with people being pleased with their writing and happy with it, I've had enough trouble with some-one who smacks away compliments time after time. I'd rather people accept it when I say I love their story/style/characters but...lol. hahaha. *bangs head on desk* That's great.

4/18/2009 #13
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Perhaps Tolkien thought a more in depth explanation of Galion's duties was not necessary and the title Butler just got thrown in there.I couldn't get an image of Jeeves and Wooster out of my head for ages, which was unfortunate.

Poor Galion's job was simply to get drunk, let some dwarves out, and then never be heard from again. However, since he was the very first Mirkwood elf to have a name, and i wasn't good at naming elves in the beginning, I used him as the valet in one story and said he had retired to buttling. And then my Galion muse refused to go away and never be heard from again like a good elf.

That made my day in an odd way, as that little remark was so revealing it made me laugh. There is nothing wrong with people being pleased with their writing and happy with it, I've had enough trouble with some-one who smacks away compliments time after time. I'd rather people accept it when I say I love their story/style/characters but...lol. hahaha. *bangs head on desk* That's great.

Um -- you might hear the same remark from me concerning what would happen if someone were to report one of my stories for TOS. It would be FFN's loss, and I hope that doesn't make me seem too arrogant.

In a way, I feel for that guy. He may simply be remembering the exchange differently, and now he has a multi-chapter story planned from that bunny. There also seems to have been a subsequent falling out, which complicates things.

However, being someone's beta imposes an extra level of responsibility not to steal ideas and use them before their originator has a chance at them.

That brings to mind another question -- what if you get an inspiration from a story whose author would never in a million years grant you permission to use if you asked? And, let's say, you wanted to take a scenario and do a much better job with it? What do you do then?

4/18/2009 #14
Spiced Wine

It would be FFN's loss, and I hope that doesn't make me seem too arrogant.

Yes, but I think yours would be, I don't think his would. One author does not carry a whole archive. A few good ones do give an archive a good reputation, however. I did beg one to come back to ff.com as I really considered her a loss, and thankfully, she did return.

what if you get an inspiration from a story whose author would never in a million years grant you permission to use if you asked?

Lol, like Tolkien, were he alive?

I felt exactly like that about writing fanfic for years, even though Tolkien was dead.

And, let's say, you wanted to take a scenario and do a much better job with it? What do you do then?

I'd write it for myself, in private and put it away, lol. I have so much old stuff in files which no-one ever saw. I can't imagine thinking I would do a 'better' job, as the ideas and plots I love are written by authors I admire. I have not seen an idea I love in a poorly written story, not yet anyway. It is usually a case of wishing I could use the idea, and usually it is a custom or something like that. I have not read anything so far that I would like to 'rewrite'. But if so and it was impossible, and the nagging would never leave, I would write it, but not show any-one. Usually, though I am a 'Oh wow, I wish I'd thought of that, I wish I could use it!'

4/18/2009 #15
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I'd write it for myself, in private and put it away, lol. I have so much old stuff in files which no-one ever saw. I can't imagine thinking I would do a 'better' job, as the ideas and plots I love are written by authors I admire. I have not seen an idea I love in a poorly written story, not yet anyway. It is usually a case of wishing I could use the idea, and usually it is a custom or something like that. I have not read anything so far that I would like to 'rewrite'. But if so and it was impossible, and the nagging would never leave, I would write it, but not show any-one. Usually, though I am a 'Oh wow, I wish I'd thought of that, I wish I could use it!'

Erm, well, I have two stories, written in response to one I took strenuous objection to. And because they were close enough to the original, they remain on my Live Journal, friends-locked. The third, because the story was so different from the original, I felt justified in posting publicly.

Anti-flamers will often say, "If you don't like a story, don't flame it -- write a better one."

4/18/2009 #16
Aislynn Crowdaughter

Poor Galion's job was simply to get drunk, let some dwarves out, and then never be heard from again. However, since he was the very first Mirkwood elf to have a name, and i wasn't good at naming elves in the beginning, I used him as the valet in one story and said he had retired to buttling. And then my Galion muse refused to go away and never be heard from again like a good elf.

Hm. And by now, the way you have developed him, I cannot think of Galion in a different way than your version of a close friend/ manservant/ butler of the Elvenking, anymore. Which also means that the canon character Galion has, in my mind, very much become an OC of yours, and I would never dream to use him in one of my stories the way you have him without asking permission.

Regardless, I would not say that every person who ever wrote galion as an important person in Thranduil's household and a close member of the "family" (aka, in the way a manservant or butler becomes familiar with the family he serves), would need to ask your permission first, or would be stealing from you; it is possible to use that idea - which is close enough to Tolkiens original set-up - and give it a completely different drive. However, if their Galion turned out to have the same backstory, character traits and dialog as yours, that would be a different story.

That brings to mind another question -- what if you get an inspiration from a story whose author would never in a million years grant you permission to use if you asked? And, let's say, you wanted to take a scenario and do a much better job with it? What do you do then?

Simple - give credit and make sure tzhat your story is different enough from theirs to not be stolen. Fanfiction is about taking other people's ideas and run with them - the original authors; as long as we give credit and make sure that it is clear what is ours and what isn't, we are within tzhe codex of conduct. Why wouold another fanfic author be a differet story than the original authors?

The difference is, while we cannot ask the original writers for permiossion since tzhey are not allowed (for legal reasons) to say yes, we *can* ask fellow fanfic writers, so if possible, we should do so. BUT - as long as we give credit to them, I don't think asking permission is an absolute.

4/18/2009 #17
Spiced Wine

have two stories, written in response to one I took strenuous objection to. And because they were close enough to the original, they remain on my Live Journal, friends-locked

What were the original ones about?

4/18/2009 #18
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

What were the original ones about?

The original scenario involved Thranduil tricking Legolas into sexual servitude. Becoming a 'courtesan'.

I wrote a wicked parody of the story. I wrote a very serious piece based on what I thought might be the outcome of such a thing. And then, i wrote what I thought would be a more reasonable scenario for Legolas agreeing to pose as a prostitute -- one in which he kept his dignity.

One story -- three stories of mine that it inspired. LOL

4/18/2009 #19
Nieriel Raina

Damn. Firefox wouldn't let me login all day and now I'm way behind. Not even going to TRY to respond to all this as I have a bazillion things I have to do today OFF the computer, including mowing 1 1/2 acres of grass.

concerning the plot theft I mentioned, and the person involved (Randy, I'm assuming you found the review board in question?): the thief claims he thought she said she wished he'd write it while she says no, she never said that. Knowing what I know about the person in question and his lying to me, and stealing an idea of mine and then all but accusing ME of stealing HIS idea, I think it's safe to say he wasn't confused. (this was over a year ago when I started writing a story and showed him the first chapter and the next day he sent me something so similar I was furious. When I confronted him, he denied stealing my idea and even had the audacity to claim he didnt' remember READING mine!)

Another example:

Carving Stone by Nieriel Raina

and compare it to his: Carved in Stone - http://www.storiesofarda.com/chapterview.asp?sid=5793&cid=25972

O.o Coincidence? I think not.

4/18/2009 . Edited 4/18/2009 #20
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Simple - give credit and make sure tzhat your story is different enough from theirs to not be stolen. Fanfiction is about taking other people's ideas and run with them - the original authors; as long as we give credit and make sure that it is clear what is ours and what isn't, we are within tzhe codex of conduct. Why wouold another fanfic author be a differet story than the original authors?

In the case of, 'this story was so crappy I just had to write it better' it might be more polite to give no credit at all.

This, of course, would never ever possibly happen with anyone for whom I beta.

4/18/2009 #21
Aislynn Crowdaughter

I felt exactly like that about writing fanfic for years, even though Tolkien was dead.

Yes - that is what I mean. the author is dead, even when he or she isn't. That is how fanfic works.

I'd write it for myself, in private and put it away, lol. I have so much old stuff in files which no-one ever saw. I can't imagine thinking I would do a 'better' job, as the ideas and plots I love are written by authors I admire.

I was prepared to do that with my main story, had the person who wrote the story that inspired it had not given me permission tom write a story based on the same plot-bunny she used. If she would recant her permission now, though, I think I would not take my story down, anymore. I can prove that it is different enough from hers that my vision is a completely other story than hers, even though we have some similar plot points, so I can prove I did not really steal anything from her; both stories can stand side by side and you will not find them similar. Also, I always gave credit to her fic. And I still have her e-mail with her original permission saved. -_-

4/18/2009 #22
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Another example:

Carving Stone by Nieriel Raina

and compare it to his: Carved in Stone - http://www.storiesofarda.com/chapterview.asp?sid=5793&cid=25972

O.o Coincidence? I think not.

Yours is better, so he made himself look like a jackass. That's always the danger of stealing other people's stuff.

4/18/2009 #23
Aislynn Crowdaughter

In the case of, 'this story was so crappy I just had to write it better' it might be more polite to give no credit at all.

Hm. But "this story had a vision I really could not live with, so I decided to take a different look at the plot - I hope you will enjoy my vision, too" might work.

This, of course, would never ever possibly happen with anyone for whom I beta.

A person you beta for is a person you can ask if you can use their ideas, and they will likely say yes, or negotiate with you on which terms they would do so. And know you would keep to those terms. :)

4/18/2009 #24
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I think I would not take my story down, anymore. I can prove that it is different enough from hers that my vision is a completely other story than hers, even though we have some similar plot points, so I can prove I did not really steal anything from her;

At this point, other than the basic premise of Mirkwood elves being used as sex-slaves for the Noldor, the difference is like night and day.

4/18/2009 #25
Nieriel Raina

Yours is better, so he made himself look like a jackass. That's always the danger of stealing other people's stuff.

Thanks. However, because he is so popular (thanks a lot to ME promoting him *headdesk*) I have been accused of STEALING his idea though mine was posted MONTHS before his. It's very very irritating.

4/18/2009 #26
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

Thanks. However, because he is so popular (thanks a lot to ME promoting him *headdesk*)

I'm sorry, but all that 'ellith/ellon/elfling' stuff screams "fannish!!!!" at me. And he used a Homeric epithet. *shudder*

I have been accused of STEALING his idea though mine was posted MONTHS before his. It's very very irritating.

By him or someone else?

4/18/2009 #27
Aislynn Crowdaughter

Thanks. However, because he is so popular (thanks a lot to ME promoting him *headdesk*)

O_O I have not checked out both stories, but I think I can put a name to it, now... *runs to look*

4/18/2009 #28
Nieriel Raina

I'm sorry, but all that 'ellith/ellon/elfling' stuff screams "fannish!!!!" at me.

I do use the term elfling and always have. It's a term I like. But I have stopped using elleth/ellon because it tends to associate authors with his Valar Universe which I no longer have any desire to be associated with. I am in the process of going back and removing it from all my stories.

By him or someone else?

someone else. It was cleared up when I explained that *I* had written mine first and had mine posted LONG before his was up but still, this is the kind of thing that happens when someone steals another's ideas (and I'm not talking general but very specific ideas. I know there is nothing new under the sun but how it's all arranged is something else and borders on plagiarism)

4/18/2009 #29
Thranduil Oropherion Redux

I do use the term elfling and always have. It's a term I like. But I have stopped using elleth/ellon because it tends to associate authors with his Valar Universe which I no longer have any desire to be associated with. I am in the process of going back and removing it from all my stories.

I used to like elfling and still use it under some limited circumstances. But it kind of grew off of me as time passed. When I started out, there were some people who would mock you for calling an elf-child a child or a baby. Or an elf-adult a man or woman.

someone else. It was cleared up when I explained that *I* had written mine first and had mine posted LONG before his was up but still, this is the kind of thing that happens when someone steals another's ideas (and I'm not talking general but very specific ideas. I know there is nothing new under the sun but how it's all arranged is something else and borders on plagiarism)

*snort* Well, don't be shocked if and when I get around to posting an Indiana Jones fic that involves eating spiders. Believe it or not, I wrote that on back in 1982. The very idea gave me the willies. LOL

4/18/2009 #30
Page 1 2 3 4 11 .. Last Next »
Forum Moderators: Thranduil Oropherion Redux militaryhistory
Rules:
  • Forums are not to be used to post stories.
  • All forum posts must be suitable for teens.
  • The owner and moderators of this forum are solely responsible for the content posted within this area.
  • All forum abuse must be reported to the moderators.
Membership Length: 2+ years 1 year 6+ months 1 month 2+ weeks new member