What It’s Like to Be Delusional

Lori Jareo has finally been unseated as the dumbest fanficcer ever. Some idiot has sent out a press release touting the fall release of her self-published, fanfiction sequel to Stephenie Meyer's TWILIGHT:

This September 2009, a new controversial book hits stores. It is called Russet Noon and it is a tribute sequel to the Twilight Saga. Written by Gothic webmistress and author LadySybilla, Russet Noon is an unofficial continuation to the last book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn. Russet Noon is told from Jacob Black's perspective and it explores the questions left unanswered at the end of the last installment in the Twilight Saga.

This delusional fanficcer doesn't care that she is violating Stephenie Meyer's copyright because she doesn't think Meyer has one. Honest.

We'd like to thank all the buyers who pre-ordered Russet Noon. The promotional offer to purchase the novel early is now over and will resume in August 2009. Please contact our sales department to find out more about the release of Russet Noon this September 2009. Beware of half-truth accusations and find out about the actual facts on copyright laws.

She elaborated on her view on copyright law in a second press release.

When fictional characters become such an intricate part of the popular psyche, as is the case with the Twilight Saga, legal boundaries become blurred, and copyright laws become increasingly difficult to define. This is especially the case when actual cities like Forks and Volterra are used as the novel's settings. Such settings are not copyrightable, as they are considered public domain. Similarly, the Quileute Nation is also not copyrightable, and neither are vampire or werewolf legends. Copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying. Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them. Stephenie Meyer herself borrowed a great deal from previous works dealing with these mythologies.
Russet Noon is an original story inspired not only by the Twilight Saga, but also by many classic Gothic novels from the Romantic and Victorian Periods of Literature. If anything, the publication of Russet Noon will only strengthen the popularity of the Twilight franchise, since it will serve to further establish its already legendary status.

This dimwit's rationale for violating Stephenie Meyer's copyright is so inane that I bet even  the Organization for Transformational Works won't defend her… 

UPDATE 3-26-09:  Ebay has pulled Russet Noon off their site, prompting the author to issue another press release:

Author Lady Sybilla met with her publishing partners at AV Paranormal today to discuss the fate of her upcoming novel Russet Noon. One of the main issues discussed at the meeting was the hate campaign that some message boards and forums have instigated […]As for the September release of Russet Noon, the AV Paranormal team is considering one of two options. Either the novel will be published in weekly installments on the website for free, or the plug will be pulled on the project altogether. The final decision will be announced in early or mid April. Only one thing is for sure at this point: No more Russet Noon on eBay. Let the detractors have their victory on this one.
But, regardless of what the final outcome may be, everyone who preordered a copy of Russet Noon will receive a full refund.

It should be noted that the "AV Paranormal team" behind Russet Noon is the author, Ms. Potato Head herself.

26 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Be Delusional”

  1. This is my favorite part:
    “Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them.”
    So, logically, if Stephanie Meyer had written a *graphic* novel, this chick would be shit out of luck. Too bad for Ms. Meyer that she didn’t have the foresight to scrawl some stick figures on the back flap.
    Forget Meyer’s lawyers. Forget the publishing companies’ lawyers. I want to see what Summit’s attorneys do to this woman.
    I happen to think copyright is a little out of control in this country (95 years? Really?), but this is ridiculous.

  2. I have a certain begrudging respect for someone who gives the finger to the law and just does what they want.
    But someone who argues that ‘copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying’ seems to be more delusional.
    Does she really believe it?

  3. I hope you know every fan fic writer thinks this woman is a moron. The whole point of fan fic is that you don’t make any money off it.
    Although how SMeyer managed to sell Twilight to a publisher still has me scratching my head.

  4. But I’m a bit confused. Stephanie Meyer said she based the first book on “Pride and Prejudice.” So the two lead characters and their story has been borrowed and retold. Jane Austin based her characters on actual people she knew, infused with her wit, intelligence and humor. So who owns what?
    Similarly, Shakespeare based every one of his plays except “Love’s Labor’s Lost” on a story or stories he borrowed. Was he breaking the law?
    Agatha Christie used plot device after plot device that she culled from reading mystery books, and so do many other mystery writers, but she used the devices at a genius level. Was this stealing?
    Sherlock Holmes was based on a real person who used ‘Holmes’s’ methods. Was Conan Doyle stealing from a real person in some sense?
    If material is not copied word for word, how can ownership be proved? Is there any such a thing as “original stories and characters” or are there just original author voices and textures and styles?

  5. It occurs to me that if, once in a while, instead of just mocking the fanficcers (and not that LadySybilla doesn’t deserve it), it would be helpful if you actually rebut them.
    Perhaps not everyone knows the details of U.S. copyright law as it relates to derivative works, distinctive characters, etc. You could even occasionally cite a crucial court ruling like Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates, for example.
    I realize that you may have laid out your case in detail at some point in the past, but a blog like this is really more of an ongoing dialog than a static document. So what would be so terrible about, every so often, explaining instead of JUST deriding. Not that you should STOP deriding. That’s the fun stuff.

  6. I hate the Twilight saga with every fiber of my being … and yet even I can’t wait to see Stephenie Meyer smack a lawsuit down on this moron. This is _horrible_.
    LadyWhatever must love the series a good deal to spend all that time writing about it — so I don’t understand how she could go on to steal it like that without feeling any sort of guilt for _stealing_. And then claiming she’s _right_ to steal! What kind of a fan does something like that to the writer they’re supposed to be so fond of??

  7. According to the latest press release on the web site, “the hate campaign that some message boards and forums have instigated” has led to the book being pulled from eBay. “Either the novel will be published in weekly installments on the website for free, or the plug will be pulled on the project altogether. The final decision will be announced in early or mid April. Only one thing is for sure at this point: No more Russet Noon on eBay. Let the detractors have their victory on this one.”

  8. I will note that the Twilight books have covers, and covers have illustrations that (usually) depict characters, and this would a-priori satisfy the (inane and inaccurate) claim that characters can be copyrighted only if they exist in images. Plus also, y’know, movie, even if the books have no character depictions anywhere.
    It really is sad when people decide to make up copyright law out of their own head instead of actually consulting the actual law.

  9. I will second that comment that the fan fiction community thinks she’s a moron.
    Most fan fiction writers are fully aware they are violating copyright law. They are aware their bubble is fragile and exists on the fact most of the copyright holders choose to ignore them. You’ll hear about a few cranks, of course. Every sub-culture has ’em.
    Lady Sybilla broke the big rule, which is “Don’t get noticed by the copyright holder.”
    She better hope she can retain her anonymity or publishing lawyers will be the least of her worries. I would hate having a hoard of displeased Twilight fans showing up with torches and pitchforks on my lanai!

  10. Hahaha, this is awesome. I like how the author blames the eBay cancellation on haters, when it’s a pretty obvious violation of eBay policy.
    Fun stuff, but I have a feeling that this whole thing is going to disappear really abruptly.

  11. @Tim Williams-
    Walt Disney Productions v. Air Pirates is not the case I would cite– for one, the decision was controversial even at the time it was handed down for being anti-free speech; secondly, subsequent cases have since effectively nullified that decision; third, and most importantly, The Air Pirates were producing works of a satirical nature that were meant to criticize the entire Disney corporation; LadySybilla is criticizing the fact that her ship was sunk.

  12. There are so many copyright mythologies advanced by this woman, that it’s hard to know where to begin the debunking. One of the myths of interest is the notion that absence of profit equals non-infringement (“published in weekly installments on the website for free”). Evidently she is also a fanficcer of copyright law, because she has recast it in the likeness of her delusions.

  13. Since she’s informed me that copyright only extends to characters that are drawn, I am going to write Monk books and not give Andy Breckman a dime. He didn’t draw Monk, he only created the character. So screw him! And how can Universal say they own a character that they didn’t draw either? Screw them, too! Monk is mine, all mine! Mwa-ha-ha!

  14. Well, I’m going to show both of you up, Mr. Goldberg, because I’m going to start a “Monk” comic book. Therefore, the copyright will belong to me and I WIN. So, neener.
    Actually, the oft-mentioned eBay auction wasn’t pulled. It ran from Mar. 10 to Mar. 17, and had a winner which means if she’s actually a copy, there’s more fodder in the cannon against her.

  15. P.N. Elrod wrote: “She better hope she can retain her anonymity or publishing lawyers will be the least of her worries.”
    She hasn’t tried to hide her real name or contact details. I don’t think she believes that someone might visit anymore than she believes she’ll get a letter from lawyers.

  16. Putting aside some of the crazy comments about copyright by the author of Russet Noon (which sounds like the name of a giant-sized potato dish at McCallister’s…)…
    How does what’s happening with Russet Noon differ from the books being published today that extend Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Or what about Scarlett, the not-so-great sequel to Gone with the Wind?
    These use the same characters featured in other books, so how is it it is OK to do those, but not the Twilight series? Is it because they have been around long enough to be considered public domain? Or is it just that the fans are OK with novels, but not with the Twilight ones?
    I will feel really stupid if I’m missing something obvious.

  17. Jane Austen’s books are in the public domain. “Gone with the Wind” is not in the public domain — “Scarlett” was a sequel authorized and commissioned by Margaret Mitchell’s estate.
    Stephenie Meyer owns the rights to “Twilight.” Her characters won’t slip into the public domain in Ms. Potato Head’s lifetime. So until then, any use of Meyer’s characters in any medium requires her authorization or it is a violation of her copyright.

  18. According to US law works created after January 1, 1978, are automatically protected from the moment of their creation and are given a term lasting for the author’s life, plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death.
    So basically, no one you know will be able to profit from the Twilight Series without SM’s permission… but if you write something good, maybe your great-great-grandkids could publish it. 😛 haha

  19. My oh my. This news item just reminds me of the kinds of crazy to expect in the literary world. This woman’s nonsense is the kind of stuff I’d expect from cults in Montana … not an author or even a wannabe author.

  20. What’s really a hoot is that in cases like this, if someone then did a rif-off of RUSSET NOON called, say, SIENNA MIDAFTERNOON, the author of RN would be the first person to scream bloody blazes about how her precious vision had been violated.
    And I’m SOOO glad I wasn’t drinking my Diet Pepsi when I got to the bit about unless the author has drawn her characters they aren’t copyrightable. I would have been covered in DP from head to foot.

  21. dude, c’mon, isn’t it like totally obvious? that’s exactly what the sybs wants. she wants to get sued because she’s probably dirt-poor and has got absolutely nothing to lose anyway, so if Meyer’s lawyers do decide to sue, all that’s going to happen is the syb’s novel will be on major media outlet news, and all the reverse-psychology publicity (“taboo” factor as she calls it) will result in millions of hits to her site. if it is, in fact, true that the sybs is secretly taking orders on her site for her as-of-yet unpublished, craptastic epic fail, then i’m sure the number of pre-orders will only increase, enough even to help cover the lawsuit fees, plus maybe even securing her a movie deal. rumor has it a production company has already optioned her book anyway:


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