What’s Yours Is Mine

This full-page "apology" from a fanficcer appeared in the most recent issue of the SFWA magazine:

Zimmer fic
Let's see if I have this straight. Mary Battle writes a novel using Marion Zimmer Bradley's copyrighted material and sells it on Amazon, B&N etc. It wasn't until the Bradley estate discovered the infringement, and ordered the sites to remove her book, that it occurred to Mary that maybe she should have asked for permission to use material she didn't create or own. So she did. And the estate denied her request and ordered her to pull all of the books from sale or face a lawsuit.

Naturally, she ignored them… and did it again.

So they sued her. And judging by Mary Mary Quite Contrary's "apology," she still doesn't get what she did wrong.

What Mary apologizes for is any "harm" she might have done…not for repeatedly, and intentionally, and despite multiple warnings, infringing on copyrighted material for personal gain.

That's because Mary Battle is arrogant, stupid, and like so many fanficcers, has a ridiculous sense of entitlement. She thinks that just because she read Marion Zimmer Bradley's books, and liked them, they belong to her in every conceivable way. She seems stunned that anybody would question that…or that the author, or in this case the author's estate, might actually enforce their creative and legal rights. 

I'm sure Mary feels that she's been horribly wronged in all of this…and that the bad guys are Marion Zimmer Bradley's heirs. That's because Mary is a sad, pathetic woman who doesn't live in the real world.



8 thoughts on “What’s Yours Is Mine”

  1. I have heard of a fanficcer who invented an original sister for a canon character and put a note on her fanfic that that sister was her character, and no one else was to use her. . . .
    The principles do not seem to be strongly grasped in the fanfic community.

  2. That is just…crazy. The internet with all it’s “free content”–not to mention mash-ups of Public Domain literature–leads people to believe that can just use, and sell, ANYTHING. Ack.

  3. I always enjoy your little hypocritical tantrums over things you have no absolute right to talk about.
    It’s like an unlicensed house cleaner getting upset over someone who decides to clean their own house for free.
    Better than writing TV licensed Monk novels, I take it?
    Because it’s only okay to write derivative work if you’re paid for it, right? If it’s in the public domain? Or just change the names like E. L. James did?

  4. I don’t understand why I have “absolutely no right to talk about” someone stealing, and trying to profit from, another writer’s work. How do you figure that?
    I suppose your metaphor is supposed to explain that, but I can’t make any sense out of it or how it applies to this situation.
    I also don’t understand your MONK reference. Unlike the delusional moron who ripped off Marion Zimmer Bradley, I haven’t violated anyone’s copyright. I was *hired* by the creator of MONK, Andy Breckman, to write books based upon *his* character.
    The Bradley estate didn’t hire or in any other way authorize Mary Battle to write books and attempt to profit from characters and situations she didn’t create. In fact, the moron did it even though she was specifically *denied* the right by the Bradley estate.
    In answer to your question, no, being *paid* to write about characters is not what makes what I do with MONK different from what Mary Battle did. I didn’t go off, write MONK books, and attempt to sell them. I would never have contemplated such a thing…because I don’t own MONK nor did I create it. I also have common sense, respect the creative rights of others, and I am not a complete idiot.
    The difference is that my MONK books were written with the authorization and full creative approval of the copyright holder.
    The difference is that the creator of the character is profiting from the sales of the books with me…as he should, since it’s his character and not mine.
    The bottom line here is ownership and permission. She didn’t own the character and didn’t ask for permission to use them. Asking is the right thing to do legally, morally and ethically. But Mary Battle didn’t understand that. Because she’s arrogant and an idiot. What Mary Battle did is akin to stealing someone’s car and selling it for parts…and being stunned with the police arrest her for it.
    And in the case of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, it may have begun as fanfic, but it has evolved far beyond that. Have you come across any vampires in the book?
    If anything, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY should prove how much more lucrative, and creatively enriching, it is to create something original than try to steal the work of others. James would never have enjoyed the success she has now if she’d continued writing TWILIGHT fanfic. At least she had the good sense to completely rewrite her tale and not try to sell it as a TWILIGHT novel. But I suspect that James, unlike Mary Battle, is a rational human being living in the real world.
    PS – Next time you want to comment on my blog, I suggest you wait until you’ve evolved into a creature that possesses a backbone and post under your own name.

  5. Serious question: Do you protest fan or pro fiction written for characters in the public domain, such as Sherlock Holmes (like the two shows on now, Sherlock and Elementary), Wuthering Heights (Wide Sargasso Sea) and the mas ups such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
    Conan Doyle, the Brontes and Austen, nor their estates have authorised these nor receive any profit.
    Further to this, what is your view on fanart?
    I can tell you right now that the overwhelming majority of people who write fan fiction would never dream of selling it. For them, the very idea of profiting off fan fiction would be appalled by the idea.

  6. If a character is in the public domain, I have no problem at all. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s books and characters are not.
    I don’t have any opinion on fanart because I don’t know anything about it.

  7. How do you know that fanficcers have a “ridiculous sense of entitlement ” ? Most stories I’ve read contain a disclaimer at the beginning , like “this all belongs to so-and- so and not me , thanks to them for letting me play with their characters” etc. I seriously doubt you know any personally. You also seem to make assumptions about Mary that are merely conjecture.


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