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New EqD Fanfanfiction Policy 4158

In the Ask an EqD Pre-reader thread (>>3742), one person asked, and was answered:

> Q. What is EqD's policy on stories written as sequels to stories other authors wrote, but without the original author's stamp of approval?

> A. We won't post unofficial sequels without permission from the original author.

This was later defined as:

> Is your story a fanfic of a fanfic? You require permission from the original author.

> Is your story a fanfic of MLP: Friendship is Magic? You do not need permission from Hasbro.
> Is your story a crossover with something else? You do not need permission from the creator.

Where the following definitions were used:

> Fanfiction - A non-canon story involving the characters and/or universe of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Generally produced by fans of the show.

> Crossover - A fanfiction which includes major elements from both MLP: FiM and some other (typically fictional) universe.

My concerns with this policy are outlined below.

(1) Hypocrisy

Equestria Daily does not require permission from the My Little Pony copyright holders, nor the copyright holders of any work that is not a My Little Pony fanfiction. To give exclusive license to control derivative works to only My Little Pony fanfiction authors is wholly hypocritical.

The distinction between "crossover" and "fanfiction" is only in what the source material is. As these distinctions change how a story is affected by this new policy, that they are such is hypocritical.

(2) Ill-defined

If an author does not label their work as derivative of another's, the degree to which some other work may be copied from another's is not at all properly explained (especially since this rule is right now unwritten).

As is explained by the video series Everything is a Remix[1], many ideas are not the invention and thus not rightfully the property of any one person. In particular, Daffodil gave one example that I'm sure most would say is poor judgement:

> [A] story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child would be a fanfic. A story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child named Nyx who happens to be the embodiment of Nightmare Moon would be a fanfic-of-a-fanfic.


Does this mean that every story where Twilight Sparkle adopts a child of some kind requires permission? To that end, I ask from whom? I do not know the author in question. If this type of generic story is what is guarded by such a policy, I fear many people (including myself) will unwillingly infringe it and thus be forced into obtaining permission from one (or even many) authors that they don't even know.

Are characters protected, and if so by how much? Are plots protected, and if so by how much? Are settings and world building protected, and if so by how much? Are names of places protected?

(3) Precedent

As it stands, Equestria Daily has hosted many stories which violate this policy. For example, Ancients Blunders[2] is a story about how Pinkie Pie adopts a baby embodiment of Discord, i.e., is a derivative of Past Sins, and did not obtain permission from Pen Stroke. Neither Fallout: Equestria nor Conversion Bureau side stories have ever required permission to be posted on the site. Considering the lack of refinement to the policy as shown in (2), there are likely many more examples that were simply ignored (for lack of proper attribution). Precedent is against this policy.

(4) Incentive against attribution

With this policy, giving credits to your inspiration for your work places a cost upon you, for you are admitting your work to be derivative of another's fanfiction. This means you are liable to asking for permission, and in some cases doing so may not be possible. Thus, a smart person would simply fail to acknowledge their work as derivative at all, not attributing the original author. The policy then harms the very people it is made to protect.

(5) No exceptions

The 1976 copyright law of the United States has sections detailing exceptions when regarding derivative works, commonly known as "Fair use". This is because courts recognised that a number of exceptions are morally reasonable, the most prudent of which are for parody and satire. EqD's policy, on the other hand, contains no such exceptions which most people would consider reasonable. People should, at the very least, be allowed to parody or satire others' works without their permission.

(6) Unwritten rule

The rule is currently not included in EqD's fanfiction submission rules[3], so most people will be unaware of the requirement but are still affected by it. (It's not unreasonable to assume that people in fanfiction communities are operating on implied permission given that, you know, they're writing fanfiction.)

Closing

I ask that, given the above, EqD's policy against unsolicited works of fanfanfiction be removed.

As good intentioned as it might be, giving exclusive rights to control derivative works to one author takes away rights from another author. Since all fanfiction is done as a labour of love, introducing such restrictions is completely ignorant of where fanfiction comes from in the first place. Ratifying into law politeness defeats the point of being polite, which is that it's not required. It's the equivalent of a child saying "please" only because their mother made them: it makes the gesture meaningless.

[1]: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/
[2]: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/11/story-ancient-blunders.html
[3]: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/01/story-submission-guidelines.html
This post was edited by its author on .

4159

I've been asked to take the discussion of this topic outside of the pre-reader thread, so here we are. The above is a (slightly edited) copy of the email I sent Seth about this issue.

The main purpose of this thread is to serve as a public discussion on this policy. One pre-reader said to me, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that the real reason the rule exist is so that "people don't get mad at us". Well, if I can convince you that it is not at all as good as it makes out to be, then the rule will serve the opposite purpose. Alternatively you might convince me that the policy is a good idea.

>>4101
>My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is not the "creative property" of a single person.
As an argument to (1), this might be reasonable if you were only talking about politeness. It is easier to ask the general fanfiction author than it is a show staff. (Note: general fanfiction author. Some people may also be more difficult to contact than show writers.) However, there is a stark contrast between enforced and implied law. The latter is not the former mainly because of the number of corner cases that make a written law more trouble than it's worth.

>And if you don't respect their wishes, then what are we even talking about, you hypocrite?

I don't want to submit something only to replied with a rejection saying, "This story is similar to X. Please ask them about making a derivative." The line between when something is and is not derivative when it's not a sequel or borrowed character in name is far too blurry.

>>4103
>No[, you should not need to ask editor's for permission.]
This contradicts you saying Megan McCarthy is deserving of being asked for her role as "overseeing all the scripts", i.e., editing.

>>4114
>[A fanfiction author] is a peer in their subculture with consistently visible and public contact information
Most of the show writers have twitters or publicly available email address, contact details, etc. While most stories are posted on Fimfiction, and the site has a PM feature, contact details in the community are not all that ubiquitous. If someone does not happen to be visiting Fimfiction at the time, your hopes to contact them as a complete stranger are almost none.

This also does not explain the discrepancy between crossovers and fanfictions. I could get away with a crossover of a Harry Potter fanfiction without asking, but that author is just as likely to be contactable as an MLP fanfiction author.

>>4116
>[It benefits] fandom authors who don't want their story to have unofficial sequels/spin-offs strewn about
To reword this, I would say that it benefits people who, after having made an unofficial sequel of somebody else's work, would have the audacity to claim that they are owed permission for derivatives of that work. Whoever can in all honesty claim a moral high ground in that circumstance is not deserving of any policy to accommodate them.

>[It punishes] fandom authors without . . . common decency

This does not consider the issues of (2) or (5). People could use this policy to censor fair use of their work (e.g., criticism through parody/satire).

>Are there people who would have replied, "Yeah, sure, go ahead, do whatever," and wouldn't care if they were asked permission to post it to EQD? Sure! But why default to that when it's so easy to ask permission and avoid disappointment, butthurt, and rage?

I'm not saying people shouldn't be asked. As explained in (4), the policy even punishes some who would ask. I'm saying that making this a rule has more negative side effects than it's worth. Being against this policy does not mean I'm against asking people for permission.

Anonymous 4162

These lines are all super-blurry. I'm finding it hard to figure out why they draw such a hard line and think it's objective. I mean, it's their right to, but still.

The very idea of fanfiction is of the free creation of fan works derivative of a source work with the intent only to increase enjoyment for ones self and fellow fans.

We're already mired in Hasbro's choice to shut down certain fan works, despite the lack of monetary gain involved. I feel that limiting the creative expression of fans based on rather arbitrary lines with little to no precedent is in poor form.

Not only is it hypocritical to the very idea of fanfiction, it is hypocritical to the ideals of a show and fandom we are built on. Further, it is fails to acknowledge that all pony authors are already creating derivative, protected fair use works and have no express right to these concepts in the first place.

Anonymous 4163

>>4161

Yeah, I'm not sure how he got that from Daff's comment either. However, it does bring up the question: how much detail is necessary before a plot becomes derivative? We agree that a story about a filly NMM being raise by Twi is derivative; clearly what's at stake isn't just the name Nyx. But what, exactly (or generally, even!) does it take to make a work derivative of another fanfic?

For example, if I wrote a story where Trixie gets injured, is nursed back to health by Fluttershy, and then the two fall in love, is that automatically considered a derivative of Avery Strange's Kindness's Reward? Because that seems like a fairly generic plot.

Or to give another example, I know that of the many "Dash loses her wings" spells which I've read, a number have had striking similarities, sometimes really specific things like Dash getting injured because she hit a flock of geese while trying to perform a trick. Obviously all "Dash loses her wings" stories aren't treated as being derived from whatever the first fanfic to use that premise was, but what about stories which, in this example, have basically the exact same scene in them at one point?

Or what about the (many) stories where Dinky gets taken away from Derpy by the CPS, or its equestrian equivalent? I know for a fact I've read at least six stories that are, in essence, carbon-copies of Chopper's Top Hat's Today, Tomorrow, and Forever. At least a couple of them were cribbing his scenario, but I'm pretty sure some of the others were a simple case of independent invention. Would these all be banned from EqD, or only the ones where the the influence of the "original" (assuming Chopper's story was the original user of this storyline) was acknowledged? Or would the PRs use their discretion to try and figure out which stories were a case of innocent plot overlap, and which were inspired by another writer's work?

Leaving aside any other issues for or against, I'm currently very confused about how this policy would be (or is being) applied.

Alexstrazsa!!2GgTwJwF1D 4164

>>4163
I was under the impression that it counts as a "sequel" if things in the original fic are directly referred to or are based on. Using Past Sins as the example, if I wanted to write a fic about Nyx's teenage life after the ending of Past Sins, I would need Pen Strokes permission, as I'm directly basing it on his piece.

Now if I just wanted to write a fic where Twilight just happens to adopt a baby Alicorn, I would not need Pen Stroke's permission, because he does not own such a general idea.

Anonymous 4165

>>4164

In Vim's (since-deleted) comment which I replied to, he specifically used the example that a story about Twilight raising a filly who's really Nightmare Moon would be a fanfic-of-a-fanfic, so I assumed that was an accurate representation PR policy on the matter. What you've just laid out seems at odds with that.

Don't get me wrong, though, I like your way. Much less ambiguous, if we say that you need to be using the same (original) characters and explicitly using the setting and events of another story for the policy to apply. Thanks for clarifying!

Anonymous 4166

>>4165
Definitely something we can benefit from this improved understanding, I think.

Casca!blANCA/Sq2 4168

File: 1360994906588.jpg (198.04 KB, 700x1200, ran_bad_style.jpg)

>>4158
I'm pretty sure the ask-the-author-before-you-fanfic-of-his-fanfic policy is simple courtesy. Reinforced courtesy, admittedly, but I'll hazard that there's nothing depeer than that when the rule was conceived.

So digging into it, while possibly an interesting exercise, doesn't strike me as particularly helpful.

Anonymous 4170

It seems to me like you may be taking this way too seriously. I am not affiliated with Equestria Daily in any way as such my views should hold no real ground, and I do not mean for what I will say to be a personal attack or offend you in any way. If you are to feel offense by my opinions—as I'm sure others, especially those affiliated with Equestria Daily could take offense to your concerns—then I am truly sorry as causing grief unto others as it was never my intention.

Nonetheless, I can't help but feel as though you're taking things way too out of proportion and it needs addressing. I will not point fingers. What's here is purely my honest opinion on the matter, as what you've provided, while directed at Equestria Daily, do not take much to analyze. Excuse me if I ramble or butcher what I'm trying to convey. I warn you, I like analogies.

1: Hypocrisy
Right out the get-go I fail to see a foundation to this argument. Are you saying that a fanfiction author has to ask Hasbro permission to write a fanfiction? That be the case, then would the little girl who drew Rainbow Dash on a napkin in a restaurant have to call Hasbro and ask permission as well? Does a fan require permission to make a remix of the Smile song? It's fan work either way, you ca't ignore one medium and spotlight another as they are all part of the same deal. If you are saying that Equestria Daily needs permission to host My Little Pony related items, who's saying they don't? And Equestria Daily isn't so much a host as it is a directory. Either way my point still stands; for lack of better term, it's too big to restrain. And what's this of an "exclusive license to control derivative works to only My Little Pony fanfiction authors?" Are you talking about the guidelines to get a fanfiction featured? Aside from the fact that this is a debate we could spend hours arguing, the short story is that it's their damn website. They should get a say in what gets on it, and if you don't meet their guidelines then that is your problem and not theirs.

Not to mention I think you're getting your copyrights and trademarks mixed up.

Crossovers are simply a crossing of two universes. Fanfiction, almost universally, is comprised of one work. In this case, My Little Pony. If you wanted to set ponies in the Halo universe, it would be a crossover between My Little Pony and Halo. Likewise, if a Halo fanfiction takes place in the My Little Pony universe, it would be a Halo and My Little Pony crossover. All that matters is which universe treads in the other. A crossover is just a branch of the tree that is fanfiction.


2: Ill-defined
Let's talk about planets. I built myself this big old world with cool oceans and lava pits and stuff, and it orbits seven suns. It's awesome. I love it. Now let's say Bob wanders by and sees my world, and since I tried to make my world as awesome as possible, he falls in love with it. Yes, that's cool. Building that world suddenly has meaning because some guy found it interesting.

But now Bob wants his own world. If he asked nicely, I could let him colonize mine or reject him politely. If he doesn't ask, I could be cool with it though that is unlikely, because if someone I hardly knew if at all started coming to my planet, I would see it as a hostile invasion.

Now Bob could go build his own planet. I'd see nothing wrong with that, especially if it's original. Hell, he could have cool oceans and lava pits too for all I care. But nothing is stopping him from making a mirror image of my world. Heck, that's like a planet of a planet! Would you like that, to see someone basically copy all your hard work and try to take credit off it? No, I don't think so. I sure wouldn't. But what could I do? None of it would be effective, I assure you.

But the cool thing about planets is they live in a solar system. Everyone's a neighbor, everyone's a friend. We're a pretty cool place even though some of us might not get along. But damn, did you see what Bob's doing? He's copying Anon's planet! That's not cool. We should go tell him how uncool that is. If all goes well, Bob packs up and creates a new world of his own. If not, well, then we just deal with it.

But hey, Bob didn't have a license to build a planet in the first place! Hell, none of us do? Who are we going to ask? The god damned universe? That's not how the universe works. It's everything, we just live inside it. It gives us the dust to build our worlds from. No way in hell are we putting prices tags on all that stardust, am I right? Heck, gravity does as gravity does. No way around it.

So, what I'm saying here is that while permission of another author, regardless of the content said author produced, is not required, it is a good and respectful thing to do. And if you're asking for permission to essentially copy someone else's material, what does that say about you? There's nothing wrong with a reference to another planet, but please go be original. We got enough Jupiter's as it is.

There's no need to ask the universe either. I mean, we live in it.


3: Precedent
Fallout: Equestria built a universe for other people to build their planets in. It's like a universe inside a universe. Should people ask Khatt-whoever to make a story in the Fo:E universe? Yes. That's common courtesy. But did Khatt-whoever make it public that he/she wanted no one to copy it, or set out to stop those who did without permission? No, I don't think so.

Again, it's all about the author. If the author is fine with it, cool beans. Let there spawn a sub-universe. There's nothing wrong with this, and I fail to see any standing argument against it.

And with the Twilight thing. No, no one needs permission to write a fic where Twilight adopts a child. But yes, they should ask permission to make the child Nyx who is the embodiment of Nightmare Moon. There's a difference between an idea and a name.

4: Incentive Against Attribution
I… what? If I ask someone for permission, and they say yes, I better credit them. If I don't, then that's a bit of a dick move and I'd only be hurting the both of us. If I don't ask permission but credit the original anyway? Then I'm hurting both of us still. Did I not ask permission nor credit? I'm still hurting us both. Again, the planet analogy.

5: No Exceptions
Yeah, you definitely got your copyrights and trademarks confused. Trademarks are far more lenient then copyrights, as you're not profiting from the work but rather promoting it. If anything, use of a trademark is a good thing. Don't companies usually pay money for billboards to display their trademark? I guess that means what we're doing is free, right? Who would complain against that? It's free advertisement!

6: Unwritten Rule
I fail to see the argument, or even this "unwritten rule" you speak of. Are you saying that it's implied that since we're writing fanfiction, we don't have to ask for permission? Didn't we cover that already?

Anonymous 4171

EQD's current policy is basically, "Don't be a dick to other fanfic authors." If an author doesn't want his/her work used, he/she gets final say. In an online community, it's really not that difficult* to track someone down and ask for their permission.

The argument that "CUZ U DON HAEV 2 GET HASBR0'S PERMISSIONS!" is retarded. Hasbro owns the My Little Pony trademark. Fanfiction is illegal. If you asked them for permission, they would have to go through an extensive licensing process in order to give you permission. Given their current bearing, they're much more likely to give a Cease & Desist than a MLP license.

*This excludes individuals who have left the fandom, but that isn't being discussed here. That is a legitimate point, but in the spirit of Internet-warmongering, this wasn't stated in this thread's OP.

As for the remaining points in the OP:
1) This is retarded (see above).

2) You're making it more complicated than it is (OCs and their specific stories? Protected. General scenarios? Not protected.)

3) Kkat gave permission for all FO:E stories (as if they own the Fallout license), so that point is moot. Since there's a huge fucking community around TCB, I doubt the author of the original didn't give permission, either. Both FO:E and TCB are special cases, though, as they just go into their compilation posts.

And precedence is stupid anyway. EQD has porn on it, and Cupcakes. They don't allow that anymore.

4)People are going to attempt to ignore/circumvent the rules regardless of how few or many there are. In this case, the rule is "Don't be a dick."

5)Weird Al asks for permission before he does parodies of a song. Therefore, by EQD standards, Weird Al is not a dick.

Or, why aren't stories about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon that don't include ponies allowed in your write-offs? Is it because sometimes, when dealing with privately-ran enterprises (such as, submitting your story to their approval process for what they want to post) you give up some of your legal rights?

6)This is the second legitimate point this thread has to offer.

Basically, the only two things left to discuss are "is permission needed if an author leaves the fandom" and "can the 'DBAD' rule be posted verbosely?" Which, if you'd stop trying to stir up shit and litigate to the prereaders in as condescending a manner as humanly possible, I'm sure something could be arranged.

Until then, stop being a dick.

Ion-Sturm 4173

File: 1361001432020.gif (990.36 KB, 320x237, kMLWJ.gif)

>>4158
My position would be:
Ask for permission, provide evidence of such.
Was it given?
Yes: Great, no problems. If it's good enough to be posted, post it.
No: If it's not a hate fic and/or wholesale plagiarism, and it's good enough, post it. All credits for original ideas should be present and obvious, of course.

Good feels shouldn't stop good writing, full stop. Being considerate of others' work is expected.

>>4171
>Stop being a dick
>Acts like a bigger one
This seems to be a case of the flaccid cock calling the penis limp.
So many synonyms!

Note:
>>4159
>Alternatively you might convince me that the policy is a good idea.
It is not as if he's being an obstinate wall to the opposing opinion. Save the vitriol for if and/or when he acts like a lout.

>In an online community, it's really not that difficult*

Contacting someone is not often difficult. Getting their attention, on the other hand…

Anonymous 4174

>> [A] story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child would be a fanfic. A story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child named Nyx who happens to be the embodiment of Nightmare Moon would be a fanfic-of-a-fanfic.

>Does this mean that every story where Twilight Sparkle adopts a child of some kind requires permission?


Clearly by your own quoted example from Daffodil this is not the case. A story that is a direct sequel to another author's story needs permission before it is put up. Given the relatively small nature of the fandom, that is common courtesy. It's not rocket science.

I have no idea how this is even an issue unless you've completely misread the original statement which seems to have set you off on a gigantic and needless essay.


>"[A] story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child would be a fanfic."

This means thart a story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child would be a fanfic based on My Little Pony. That is as generic as you can get. It is fine to go on EQD without checking with anyone. Fanfics about the show are fine.


>"A story about Twilight Sparkle adopting a child named Nyx who happens to be the embodiment of Nightmare Moon would be a fanfic-of-a-fanfic"

This means that if you write a story about Twilight adopting Nyx specifically, ie you are writing a fanfic about Past Sins, then you need to ask permission from Pen Stroke becuase you are writing a sequel to his story.

The difference is a courtesy thing. Hasbro is a gigantic faceless entity, who does not want to know or care about your fics. Pen Stroke is a chap sitting over there.

Anonymous 4175

Quoted from KotOR 2

HK-47: "Theory: Imagine, if you will, that you are unique. The pinnacle of an exiled, cast-out Jedi who can't even use the Force. Imagine that no one has sunk lower than you. That you are truly the most miserable example of a Jedi ever."

Exile: "I get it, already."

HK-47: "Continuation: Now that you have that image, imagine this – someone clones you. Badly, I might add. They make the clones talk differently, rob you of any shred of personality, and take your Jedi Code and adjust it so that it is not really the Jedi Code anymore. They even change your pigmentation to a rather poor shade of durasteel, rather than the proper rusty red that inspires fear in targets. And of course, they refer to meatbags as 'organics.' Unacceptable."

Bleeding Rain!DROPScczL2 4176

File: 1361025528970.gif (1006.22 KB, 400x360, 135016212721.gif)

At first I was like
>That post gave me cancer
Then I was like
>That's a decent point
Then I was like
>This is pointless.
It's simple. Don't plaigarize.
Fanfiction of a fanfiction? Okay
Recreation/rewrite of a fanfiction? Probably not okay.

Anonymous 4181

>>4176
Except that, according to these guidelines, a recreation/rewrite of an actual episode would be a-okay, but not one of a fanfic - when the episode is actually protected in some much measure by law and by precedent, and no fanfiction is or will ever be afforded such protection. The author of a fanfiction has almost no rights whatsoever to their work, since they are already on thin ice concerning their right to even make fanfiction, under Fair Use, and never obtain the 'permission' of the original content creators before making their work.

It's like the silly line people use of "original character do not steal" either seriously or as a joke; they have not the protection to even make such a demand, nor any ability to enforce it. They're already taking what wasn't theirs in the first place, and then having the gall to call it 'original' and insisting others don't 'steal' from them when the entire conceptualization of what they've done is 'stolen' in the first place. It would be like a mediocre tribute band that alters some of the songs they play to sound slightly different, then getting pissy and trying to sue a subsequent tribute band that uses some of the same changes - to songs that don't belong to either band in the first place, and both of them are just derivative fanwank in the first place.

Just sayin'

Bleeding Rain!DROPScczL2 4183

File: 1361038318532.png (166.46 KB, 1024x1132, go on.png)

>>4181
Oh, do go on.

Croswynd 4184

File: 1361044976148.jpg (103.9 KB, 960x768, image.jpg)

>>4181

Except EqD does enforce it. That's their policy. It doesn't matter if they're hypocritical or not; that's their opinion on the matter.

I don't see the problem here.

Anonymous 4189

>>4183
To what end?

>>4184
The authors themselves have no authority to do so, and EqD acts arbitrarily to enforce this arbitrary, precedent-less 'rule' that doesn't actually do anything to either:
A) increase the quality of fandom works it hosts and features
B) improve the experience of fans and or authors who either enjoy fan created works or create them

What is the point?

Anonymous 4193

>>4189
>improve the experience of… authors who… create them.

Uh, I'm fairly certain that's entirely the point. That seems pretty clear to me.

Anonymous 4194

>>4193
But clearly only half the authors for whom this guideline actually effects, and one would presume only negatively for the majority of readers.

Bleeding Rain!DROPScczL2 4196

File: 1361061579160.png (294.98 KB, 960x960, 600058_363791057019694_1692359…)

>>4189
Precisely. To what end indeed?


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