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, 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 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, 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.
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