I get it, I really do. I understand not wanting your favorite series to end, it’s why we reread the same books a hundred times, it’s why we line up for hours in advance when the movie versions come out, no matter how bad the adaptation. I totally get it. I even get fantasizing about the character’s you crushed on while reading. But I do not get fan fiction.
I guess I could understand writing a piece of fan fiction as a writing excise; you’re stuck on coming up with your own idea so, to shake things loose, you write a quick story line with your favorite characters from someone else’s work. But the key phrase there, boys and girls, is that those characters were someone else’s work. Those characters don’t belong to you. Using them is considered plagiarism. Plagiarism is a copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is illegal. Therefore, plagiarism is a crime.
So what brings me to this topic today? Fifty Shades of Grey. I kind of hate that I’m bringing even more attention to this, but I am just baffled by it! The “author”, E. L. James, openly admits that this “story” is a piece of Twilight fan fiction, and before it was picked up for publication and a freaking movie deal (Wtf?) the publisher asked the “author” to go through the work and take out any and all references to Twilight even though James has given interviews explaining that it totally, without a doubt, is about Edward and Bella just that they are finally getting it on and going so far as to have some BDSM in it. In that same interview I was totally twitching and freaking out as the interviewer and James referred to fan fiction as a genre. Are you kidding me?
Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror, Mystery, these are genres. Fan fiction is not a genre, people! Authors are constantly fighting against pirate sites offering their work for free (and sometimes not for free) but we’re just going to sit back and watch James open the floodgates for people to steal art and make a profit off of it? Really?!
Most authors ask their fans to respect their work and not write and “publish” fan fiction, either on fan fiction sites or (what should be obvious) self-publish for profit. Laurell K. Hamilton is actually quite nice to her fans and simply asks them not to tell her about any fan fiction involving her characters, because if she knows about it, she has to tell her lawyers and they have to shut it down. Anne Rice on the other hand simply says “don’t do it” on her site.
So here’s my question: Why hasn’t Stephanie Meyer responded to all this? I mean she’s a gazillionaire now, it’s not like she doesn’t have the legal power to go after James for this copyright infringement, so why does she remain quiet? James is making quite a pretty penny using Meyer’s characters and world; you would think that would bother Meyer.
I don’t understand why Stephanie Meyer hasn’t said anything, but let me tell you, if anyone ever did this with my characters I would’ve served a Cease and Desist Order immediately and if that was ignored the suing would begin.
I just don’t get it.