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About this journal
Celebrating five years of tirelessly defending and endlessly discussing all things Star Wars from a certain point of view rarely seen elsewhere! Enjoy the occasional gen and het fic! Be amazed at the coherent sentences!

July 2014
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lazypadawan [userpic]
More thoughts on Another Hope-Gate

This is sort of what I wrote a couple of days ago that was seemingly lost in cyberspace.

Everyone knows that Lori Jareo's novel was a blatant violation of copyright. It is also a violation of Lucasfilm's SW trademarks as well (many people get copyright and trademark confused but they are two separate sets of intellectual property law). Now, every single icon, fan video, fan film, fan fiction, or fan web site is on its face a violation of copyright and trademark law. Very few, if any, of us got Lucasfilm's permission to make 650 icons or post our epics online. Lucasfilm tolerates what we do to a point because it knows it's in its interest to have an active fandom. Otherwise it wouldn't be possible for a 501st Legion or a Rebelscum.com or a Force.net to exist. It has even chosen to have a yearly competition for fan-made movies. The kvetchers don't know really how good we have it. The times Lucasfilm has cracked down on fan activity of any kind has been rare and IMO most of the time they were justified in doing so. It's silly to get mad at the cop for pulling you over when you know full well you were doing 75 mph in a 30 mph zone.

I don't think this incident will result in Lucasfilm putting the smackdown on all fan fiction. It doesn't have the time and resources to do so. There were times in the 1990s they could have put the kibosh on fan fic back when it was a lot easier to stop it, but they didn't. A company like Lucasfilm is going to aim its big guns at egregious violations instead and it's hard not to argue this was pretty egregious. Why? Jareo put her book in direct competition with licensed mass market novels and comics. Let's just say a year ago, Joe Blow decided to make a fan movie. He thought this film was so good he called up a buddy of his who managed a multiplex theater and made the suggestion that the multiplex show the film the same time ROTS came out. They figured that with SW mania ablaze, people would crowd in to see a fan made movie as well. So they "released" the film the same time ROTS came out in the same theatre. Imagine the confusion that would have caused when ordinary film goers bought a ticket to see "Star Wars" but end up watching Joe Blow's knockoff instead. Well, that's what could happen to some schmoe searching Amazon for SW novels to read. Of course a lot of SW fans could tell the difference between pro fic and fan fic but the legal standard wouldn't be what the average SW fan thinks (and you could argue there are SW fans who could be confused...a fan brought the subject up after he saw the book on Amazon and wanted to know what it was), it's what the average person thinks. And "average person" in the legal world means the average idiot.

Lucasfilm will likely hand out C&Ds to Jareo, her publishing company, Ingram (the company that distributes books to sellers), Amazon, and any other seller. Then, if there are sufficient damages and if Lucasfilm feels like teaching a lesson to all involved, they will be sued. As we've seen with those who have illegally distibuted or stolen copies of the films in the past few years, these guys don't play nice. Jareo will likely lose her business and she'll be lucky if they don't press for criminal charges as well (yes, copyright violations can be criminal violations). The book retailers can sue Ingram to cover their own damages.

It's likely they will sue in federal court but they can sue in a state court as well for dilution, which means the publication and sale of a fan written novel to compete with licensed material reduces the value of the SW license and without Lucasfilm/Del Rey's quality control, could sully the SW brand among consumers.

In a nutshell, this is a more complicated case than it appears and it has implications for more than just our fandom. I think everybody with a valuable publishing property is going to be watching this.

Comments

In a nutshell, this is a more complicated case than it appears and it has implications for more than just our fandom. I think everybody with a valuable publishing property is going to be watching this.

I agree. As a fanfic writer, I'm not feeling overly worried or concerned right now (*knock on wood*). This case has less to do with fandom, more to do with these POD services, and hopefully we'll see companies like Amazon tighten up their restrictions. That a book could be sold on their site and have most of its introduction 'cut and pasted' from the ANH novelisation, amazes me.

And honestly, this is the type of thing my mother (whose currently learning how to browse the internet) would buy me accidentally, believing it was actually associated with SW. The cover photos, at least for this book and the original SW, look similar, as I feel they were intended to.

There was certainly intent to let people know it was a story set in the SW universe. A lot of people seem to think the author sort of bumbled her way into putting her book online, but I've figured this chick out...she thought she'd like to be a published SW novelist but didn't have the professional chops to get a contract with Del Rey. So she published it herself and used her business's connections with distributors to put it out. The dumb part is thinking she could get away with it.

You're right.

Well said & very informative. The author must have been deluded if she thought she could get away with this.

I think this deluded author is going to get what she deserves. I mean, writing fics and reading them online, all this is a wonderful thing because people exchange things about the fandom. Now she turned this into something that could give her money. Nothing else. Lucasfilm would be completely right in suing the girl. She was being completely dumb when she decided to put this on Amazon. Private circle? Riight.

So private you can even buy it from Amazon's affiliates in Korea, Italy, and Mexico among other places.

The bizarre thing is she had it available for free download on her site. But, why share the love for free when there's $$ to be made, right?

*snorts* I think she liked the attention too. ;) BTW, iconlove, Obi's face is priceless. :p

*popped in through Metaquotes*

I write mostly in a fandom where the original authors seem to have managed to keep fandom carefully confined to a forum, at least for the english stuff. One of the owners even visits from time to time, and helps work with us to keep it a safe space for everyone.

Seeing stuff like that twit reminds me of how lucky I am.