Posts Tagged ‘cousinjean’

Can LadySybilla and Russet Noon hang on long enough to change fandom?

April 20th, 2009

I’ve been following the Russet Noon situation with a lot of interest; it’s like the Star Wars book situation meets RDR that’s been crossed with a Harry Potter Lexicon with a bit of CounsinJean mixed in.

I’m really curious how this will turn out. The author of Russet Noon, LadySybilla, has done herself no favors in some regards by using Wikipedia for self promotion, engaging in alleged socketpuppeting and allegedĀ  trying to sell the books behind the scenes to bloggers. This falls pretty much into the realms of what happened to CousinJean and the Star Wars writer. Their actions might have fallen into a legal “gray zone”, but fandom pressure came to bear and both were punished so much by fandom that they largely left the fandom field of battle before they could get sued.

So far in this case, it doesn’t look like LadySybilla has been threatened with legal action. Why? I’m not certain. She might have been and we might not have heard about it. Or the intellectual property owners could be hoping that fandom makes the situation go away, like they did with the CousinJean and the Star Wars book. Or, the intellectual property holders could be scared of LadySybilla having lawyers, like Steve Van der Ark and RDR had at the Harry Potter Lexicon. The last one is the big worry potentially because if LadySybilla has lawyers and is willing to go to court, she could win and then things could become really difficult for the entertainment industry.

If LadySybilla isn’t pushed to take her book off the market by fandom and if she isn’t sue, she could open fandom’s pandora box. The conventional wisdom is that the Twilight fandom is feral where people aren’t grounded in media fandom’s historical traditions. If they see that some one can get away with this, they might be willing to try to do similar. The flood gates might swing wide open with this and fandom could very well change in unexpected ways.

So I’m taking the wait and see approach because this is all fascinating to watch play out and think of what might be if LadySybilla can deal with fandom pressure long enough to get her story published.

Don’t do that! TPTB might find out!

November 13th, 2008

I used to read a lot of posts about how certain actions should not be taken lest the powers that be crack down on that fan, and as a consequence, all fans. (And these types of posts still exist.) There was frequently a Chicken Little “The sky is falling!” type pile on when some people were perceived as crossing lines that others felt that would bring down the wrath of others. CousinJean, the Star Wars self published novel, FanLib are three of the more visible examples to parts of the meta community over on LiveJournal.

And guess what Chicken Littles? The sky never fell. TPTB never unleashed that backlash. That whole exercise appeared to be more about social cohesion in a narrow community of fandom than it was ever about a real potential backlash. None ever happened. For all the talk of OTW creating a legal group because FanLib‘s existence was going to lead to a crack down and fans would need protection? No crackdown. TPTB weren’t going to do it. There was too much of a risk that they would lose in court.

When I see that argument these days, I really just roll my eyes. “Don’t do that! The Powers That Be MIGHT FIND OUT AND BRING PERIL TO OUR HOBBY!” Yeah. Right. These days, companies and individuals either actively seek to find out what is going on in fandom or hire out to have some one monitor what is going on for them. Your Harry Potter is 10 and doing Snape who is in his 30s fan art that you’ve posted publicly on a social networking site like DeviantART or LiveJournal or InsaneJournal? They know about it. That people are selling their works at conventions, on eBay, auctioning them off for donations to their favorite charities, that people are raising funds and making money in some form off those works? They know all about that too. And they haven’t done anything major about it in a long time.

So go screaming about how that’s the way things are, that by selling your fanart, the person is going to bring down the wrath of the intellectual property holders down on innocent, non-profiting fans. All you’re doing with that is demonstrating that you’re not cognizant of the existing business climate and its models, of what businesses are doing and affording yourself more privacy than you actually have: TPTB already know.

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