September 20th, 2005

marvel - purple barton

Everybody STFU: Inspired by events of late on fandom_wank and i_wank (and now, b_r_s)

Agrh.

For the last time people: fanfiction is not plagiarism, except when it is.

Hell yeah, there are fanfics out there that are out and out plagiarism, but there are history texts and short stories and essays that are too. Being fanfiction does not make something plagiarised. Being copied (or badly paraphrased, under certain definitions) from somewhere else does. This includes copying someone else's plot; that crap!fic about Marciawen Sparkletoes going along with the Fellowship that's just the movies retold is plagiarised.

Using another person's characters/settings is not plagiarism. You cannot plagiarise these things. Using another person's characters/settings is a copyright violation*. You can plagiarise Harry Potter, but writing about Harry Potter is not plagiarism.

However, copying someone else's fanfic and reposting it as your own is plagiarism. Granted, complaining about it is like calling the police because somebody stole your weed, but that doesn't stop it being plagiarism.

Fanfiction based on copyrighted source material without express consent of the author is illegal. However, it's illegal like jaywalking is illegal. It's not in the interest of 99% of authors to go hunting down fanfic authors. It's free publicity, and it keeps fans interested. To go after fic writers and fan artists who don't charge is to alienate your most rabid fanbase, and nobody wants that.

Except Anne Rice.

So, in conclusion:
Stealing other people's plots, taking passages from any work and presenting them as your own: Plagiarism.
Using someone else's characters/settings, plagarising copyrighted material: Copyright violation.

*Excluding works in the public domain, blah blah blah.
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