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Old May 02, 2003, 12:24 PM   #1
HMVNipper
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Okay, we've discussed this a few times around here.

From what I have been able to find out, fanfic about REAL PEOPLE is LEGAL. As celebrities, they have given up a certain amount of their privacy, and you can write "speculative" stories abou them, as long as they aren't defamatory or otherwise insulting, because THEN you get into the realm of defamation of character. It's when you write about CHARACTERS that belong to other people that you can get into trouble and be shut down. In other words, fanfic about William Shatner is legal, fanfic about Captain Kirk can get you sued, because Captain Kirk belongs to someone else. Fanfic about The Beatles is okay, fanfic about the Beatles "characters" in Yellow Submarine or set in Pepperland is NOT, because those characters and settings are copyrighted.

This is why Rooftop Sessions will not accept slash, defamatory fanfic, or crossovers involving other people's copyrighted characters. If you wrote a story in which Paul was a mass murderer, or Ringo beat his girlfriend or something, that starts to get into the realm of defamation and could get you in trouble. If you wrote a fanfic involving, say, the Beatles and the Monkees (but not the Monkees "characters" from the TV show -- I am talking about Peter, Mike, Micky and Davy FOR REAL) it would be okay. If you wrote a fanfic about the Beatles interacting with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, that's a no-no...because Harry, Ron and Hermione belong to J.K. Rowling.

If you do have a website and ever get a C&D (cease and desist letter), usually it just means you have to take the offending content down and that's it. It's if you leave it there and disregard the C&D that you can get into trouble.

Hope this explains and sets your mind at ease. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

[size="1"][ May 02, 2003, 01:26 PM: Message Edited By: HMVNipper ][/size]
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Old May 02, 2003, 12:39 PM   #2
paul:coolerthanyou
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Thank you HMV, yes that explains it very well. I just have one more question, if you know the answer. Who decides what is "defamatory"? The person being written about, the law, or a lawyer?
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Old May 02, 2003, 12:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: general fan fic question

I don't actually know...I think there are legal precedents that discuss what would be considered defamatory, but I guess the person being "defamed" would be the one to decide whether he or she thinks it's defamatory or not, and then consult a lawyer.

I'm not a legal professional, so I am hesitant to say that for sure, though...
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Old May 02, 2003, 12:45 PM   #4
paul:coolerthanyou
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Thanks so much HMV. I appreciate your answers. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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Old May 02, 2003, 12:47 PM   #5
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Oh thank goodness! I jus joined the forum when I read that question. I'm just starting to write Beatles fanfiction, and sorry to say I hadn't thought of that. Now I don't have too much to worry about when I post them on the internet. Thanks for bringing my attention to that!
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Old May 02, 2003, 01:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Quote:
Originally Posted By MaccaOnTheRun:
Oh thank goodness! I jus joined the forum when I read that question. I'm just starting to write Beatles fanfiction, and sorry to say I hadn't thought of that. Now I don't have too much to worry about when I post them on the internet. Thanks for bringing my attention to that!
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I'm glad my posts were helpful to you guys - and welcome to Beatlelinks, MaccaOnTheRun! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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Old May 02, 2003, 01:06 PM   #7
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Thanks! ^-^ I'd say welcome to you too, but you've obviously been around.
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Old May 02, 2003, 01:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Welcome to Beatlelinks, MaccaOnTheRun! [img]graemlins/wave2.gif[/img] You'll find quite a few accomplished Beatle fanfic writers here. I also write fanfic (the link to my site is in my sig), but I'll let someone else decide if I'm accomplished or not. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

If you're just starting to write fanfic, there are several excellent "how-to" articles on HMVNipper's/Susan's site, www.rooftopsessions.com.
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Old May 02, 2003, 01:53 PM   #9
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Ok, thanks for the help! I hope I can actually finish a fanfic soon.. But it doesn't help when you can't keep your mind on one. Oh well, I'm still getting somewhere.

I'll check out your site! Then we'll see who's accomplished.
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Old May 02, 2003, 02:09 PM   #10
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Wow! Thanks, your site is really helpful. It has now joined my favorites list.

You guys have been so helpful and friendly, I have to thank you there too. Seems I do alot of thanking.. But, ta and I'm glad I joined! [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]
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Old May 02, 2003, 02:10 PM   #11
lennon4
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Quote:
Originally Posted By SF4-EVER:
I also write fanfic (the link to my site is in my sig), but I'll let someone else decide if I'm accomplished or not. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] [/url]
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">You don't give yourself enough credit sometimes, Sandra. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

One of Sandra's series of stories, 'Lennon's Line' is FABULOUS!!! I recommend it to all Beatle-maniacs. It's a must for all Lennon fans, though. [img]graemlins/thumbsup1.gif[/img]

-lennon4

[size="1"][ May 02, 2003, 03:11 PM: Message Edited By: lennon4 ][/size]
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Old May 02, 2003, 02:12 PM   #12
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Man, it looks like I have some fanfiction reading to catch up on. And to think I've barely scratched the surface on reading Rooftop Sessions. Oh well, I wished for fanfiction to read and write, and now I've got it!
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Old May 02, 2003, 02:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Just to add... Susan (HMVNipper), Sandra (SF-4Ever), and I have been posting fanfic for many years (I've had mine up in one form or another since 1997) and have never once been asked to cease & desist, though the Fabs and their people must know about our stuff. We're way too penny ante for them to bother with.

The sites that I've heard about being forced off the net or told to take stuff down had been violating copyright in some fashion, like posting pictures that they didn't own, or venturing into territory that the Fabs wanted to cover themselves.

Aviva
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Old May 02, 2003, 04:06 PM   #14
beatlegirl9977
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Same here--I started posting my stories online in 1997 and I never got any C&D notices from anyone. (I did have to SEND one, though, when someone completely plagiarized my story...but that's another issue...). I'd assume that my new publisher would have said something to me or turned down my manuscript for my story if using the Beatles as fictional characters WAS an issue, additionally.

I always compare fan fiction to "A Hard Day's Night." That movie itself was about as close to fan fiction as the Beatles themselves ever came--it was THEM on screen, but it was a FICTIONAL "them." They must be OK with some fictionalization of their lives as long as it's not way off-base.

[size="1"][ May 02, 2003, 05:07 PM: Message Edited By: beatlegirl9977 ][/size]
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Old May 02, 2003, 06:17 PM   #15
MaccaOnTheRun
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Yea, I never thought of it that way. And, the Beatles all did have a great sense of humor.. So hopefully we would have one thing on our side!

But honestly, if writing fanfics about people like the Beatles wasn't allowed.. Then I'm sure you wouldn't be able to find so many active fab fiction sites.
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Old May 02, 2003, 07:32 PM   #16
SF4-EVER
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Quote:
Originally Posted By lennon4:
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Originally Posted By SF4-EVER:
I also write fanfic (the link to my site is in my sig), but I'll let someone else decide if I'm accomplished or not. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] [/url]
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">You don't give yourself enough credit sometimes, Sandra. [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

One of Sandra's series of stories, 'Lennon's Line' is FABULOUS!!! I recommend it to all Beatle-maniacs. It's a must for all Lennon fans, though. [img]graemlins/thumbsup1.gif[/img]

-lennon4
</font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Thanks, Kristin! [img]graemlins/blush1.gif[/img] I think you're my number one fan.
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Old May 02, 2003, 07:49 PM   #17
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Default Re: general fan fic question

Not only do I write Beatles fan fiction, but I also write All in the Family fan fiction. I've shown my episodes (and my longer story I'm working on) to a few people. One of my friends suggested that I put my episodes and story on my website. I wasn't going to in the first place, because I'm a little self-concious about this kind of writing and now I'm glad I read this post. I do not want to be sued from using characters from a television show. But I'll still write AITF fan fiction for fun and show it to my friends (or other people who are interested in reading that sort of thing). And of course, I'll still write Beatles fan fiction as well. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
-Kristi
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Old May 02, 2003, 08:20 PM   #18
Maggie Mae
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Default Re: general fan fic question

My question is -- if writing about real people is legal (to a certain extent) why did FanFiction.net ban the writing of RPS? I can see them putting a ban on slash or perhaps setting up a system where people would routinely check the archives for stories that were defamatory, and then remove said stories. But for them to cut off all of the RPS fan fiction authors was, in my opinion, quite harsh, and even more so now that I know what I was writing wasn't illegal (for this was the reason ff.net decided to ban us.)
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Old May 02, 2003, 08:52 PM   #19
beatlegirl9977
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Default Re: general fan fic question

I thought ff.net banned all fan fics that involved real people, not just the RPS ones...at least that's what I recall the huge uproar being about months ago. The RPS fics would be banned under that blanket rule, then.

I'm not damning nor defending them, but ff.net can choose to ban or allow stories according to whatever guidelines it sets up, period. The RPS writing and other real-people fan fics aren't 'illegal,' but they didn't adhere to the revisions to the ff.net guidelines, so they got the boot. That's how I see it. It's like any other hosting site for fan fic--the person who runs it can run it any way they choose according to their guidelines.

[size="1"][ May 02, 2003, 09:57 PM: Message Edited By: beatlegirl9977 ][/size]
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Old May 02, 2003, 08:55 PM   #20
HMVNipper
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Default Re: general fan fic question

I don't know why fanfiction.net banned real people fic, but I do remember the uproar. They are mistaken, though, about how THAT can get them in more trouble than fic about OTHER PEOPLE'S copyrighted characters...I know that. I've done as much research as possible to determine whether what we do is illegal, and as far as I can find out, it's NOT.

BTW, I should also point out that "fan fictions" about the Beatles have been big business -- the film "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is nothing more than a glorified fanfic created by Robert Zemeckis. The TV movie "Two of Us" is also a fanfic...as is "Backbeat" (albeit based on fact, the script is really just historical fiction!) and "The Hours and Times" and any number of other stories about the Beatles that have made it to the screen or into print that are not truly non-fiction. We've discussed a book here that is coming out this month called "Liverpool Fantasy" by Larry Kirwan -- it's a fanfic, pure and simple, and it's being published by a REAL PUBLISHING HOUSE. If it was illegal and defamatory, I doubt that would be happening. So I don't know what's up with ff.net, but I can tell you that none of these projects have been stopped and no one has been sued, as far as I know...
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