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Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal...

Updated x1:

Ms. Manning has commented and provided an apology:

I’ve gone back and forth on how to address this for several hours. A personal blog post would not be seen by enough people. Nor would a response to Ms. Fielding’s blog. When Dear Author posted this blog, I felt it was the answer I’d been looking for. I couldn’t find a more public place than this.

To all the authors, publishers, and editors I stole from, I am sorry. There is no excuse. All distributors have been notified and those I couldn’t take down/remove myself are being removed by the third party as soon as possible.

To all the authors, publishers, and editors I’ve met and known over the years, I am sorry. I know you will never forgive me and you shouldn’t.

To anyone associated with the Kiss of Death Chapter, you can be assured that all funds relating to the chapter are well managed and controlled by a dedicated President and Board. I have not had access to any accounts where wrongdoing could have occurred without their immediate and swift action.

Finally, so there is no misunderstanding. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author.

Updated x2:

Kiss of Death is dedicated to promoting and supporting the mystery/suspense genre with romantic elements through the championship of good writing through our educational and awards programs. As such, I have accepted the resignation of our treasurer, per her request, and in the best interest of the organization.

AJ Brower, President
Kiss of Death

So an RWA member, the treasurer of the Kiss of Death RWA chapter no less, is found to be plagiarizing. Name is Kristal Singletary aka Kay Manning | K.S. Manning | Payton Bradshaw. The first signs were revealed by a fan of Liz Fielding who reported to her that “La Maison Romance” by Kay Manning, a free download on Smashwords, appeared to be a copy of Liz Fielding’s story “The Cinderella Fantasy”. Fielding’s story was available for free online. When Fielding blogged about this, Kay Manning’s purported response was as follows:

“Kay ManningFeb 24, 2012 06:17 AM
Smashwords responded to NOTHING. I took down the story because of my mistake. I know no one would believe it but it was an honest mistake. I put this story in the wrong folder on my computer and actually thought it was mine that I started a long time ago. If I really wanted to ‘steal it’ do you honestly think I would have put it up for free? What do I benefit off it?”

This was preserved by a commenter to the Liz Fielding blog post because the original comment by Manning was deleted as are nearly every sign of Kay Manning, K.S. Manning, and Payton Bradshaw, all of which appear to be her pen names according to a now deleted Linked In profile and this google search cache:

Kay Manning screenshot pennames

Because plagiarism is almost never an isolated instance (more on this later), others began using their google powers, primarily Joanna Bourne and Elizabeth Chadwick. Under Payton Bradshaw, Manning had released a book through MuseIt Up Publishing called “An Early Christmas Present”. The book sold for $2.50. According to the now deleted blog, this “debut” book by Payton Bradshaw was released in December 2011. Joanna Bourne found that this was a nearly word for word copy of Julie Kenner’s freebie “Red Hot Holiday” published by Harlequin. Here are the two excerpts side by side:

Payton Bradshaw’s Copy Julie Kenner’s Original
Karen swallowed. “There he is. Over by Santa’s Village.”Melody sucked in a breath, a warm flush enveloping her entire body just from the thought of seeing Jason again. A sudden overwhelming panic washed over her making it almost impossible to look at him, fearing she’d melt right into the floor.“Go on!” Karen gave her a little push on the shoulder.

“I don’t think I can.” At the moment, she was having trouble even forcing the words past the tightness in her chest.

Karen rolled her eyes. “Forget nerves. This is your last chance, sweetie. Jason’s the only guy I’ve ever known you to be truly hot for. You want this. You deserve this. A last fling before you escape this little hole-in-the-wall town and fly off into the sunset.” She grinned. “Go get ‘em, girl.”

Faith swallowed. “Over there. By Santa’s Village. Brent’s here.”Annie sucked in a breath, a warm flush enveloping her entire body just from the thought of seeing Brent again She was almost afraid to turn and actually look at him, for fear she’d melt right into the floor.”Go on!” Faith gave her a little push on the shoulder.

“I don’t think I can.” At the moment, she was having trouble even forcing the words past her lips.

Faith rolled her eyes. “Forget nerves. This is your last chance. Brent’s the only guy I’ve ever known you to be truly hot for. You want this, and you deserve it. A last fling before you fly off into the sunset.” She grinned. “So go get him, girl.”

 

I contacted MuseIt Up and sent them the aforementioned excerpts. My understanding is that the book was then removed from the MuseIt Up site and that third party retailers are being contacted to get the title pulled.

On a fellow Muse It author’s blog, Kay Manning publishes an excerpt of a book called “A Soldier’s Valentine”. This excerpt was originally found in Catherine Mann’s “An Evening to Remember.”

Kay Manning’s Copy Catherine Mann’s Original
“Go! Go! Go!”Captain Shawn “Iceman” Isaacs hurtled out of the military cargo plane, the crew chief’s order to jump from the C-17 echoing in his ears along with the roaring of engines. The silent sky swallowed him. Arms and legs splayed, he soared down, down, down toward Fryar Drop Zone, the part of Fort Benning Military Reservation located in Alabama.Somewhere in the soft fields below Tammy Lowe waited for him.

Of course, she didn’t know he was one of the guys parachuting this afternoon. Although regularly a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, he needed the jump to stay current on his training. But she thought he was still deployed to the Middle East.

He’d enlisted her co-workers’ aid to ensure Tammy would come for a Valentine’s surprise—even if Valentine’s Day was still a week away. Thank goodness for the help of her three pals, because no way would she have showed if she learned Shawn would be landing at her feet.

Wind battered his body, the quiet void of endless blue sky filling with thoughts of meeting Tammy the day she’d started her job as a civilian engineering contractor on post. The first time he’d laid eyes on her in the conference room, with all her mahogany hair piled up on her head, he’d burned to set it free.

To his surprise, the reserved academic had said yes to dinner. And yes again to another date.

“Go! Go! Go!”Captain Vince “Novocain” Novak hurtled out of the military cargo plane, the crew chief’s order to jump from the C-17 echoing in his ears along with the roaring of engines. Then the silent sky swallowed him. Arms and legs splayed, he soared down, down, down toward the landing zone at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.A speck of grass in Tampa where McKenzie Rowe waited for him.

Of course she didn’t know he was one of the guys parachuting this afternoon. Although regularly an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter pilot, he was also jump qualified and needed to stay current on his training. But she thought he was still deployed to the Middle East.

He’d enlisted her co-workers’ aid to ensure McKenzie would come for a Valentine’s surprise—even if Valentine’s Day was still a week away. Thank goodness for the help of her three pals, because no way would she have showed if she learned Vince would be landing at her feet.

Wind battered his body, the quiet void of endless blue sky filling with thoughts of meeting McKenzie the day she’d started her job as a civilian engineering contractor on base. The first time he’d laid eyes on her in the conference room, with all her chocolate brown hair piled up on her head, he’d burned to set it free.

To his surprise, the reserved academic had said yes to dinner. And yes again to another date.

 

“Fireworks” by Kay Manning was for sale on Amazon, Sony, iTunes, Kobo and Barnes & Noble for $.99. It appears to be lifted from Valerie Hansen’s “Fireworks.” Manning also participated in NaNoWriMo as Kristal Singletary. According to Bourne, nearly every blog post by Manning as Singletary was lifted from others:

Developing Creative Process Copy Developing Creative Process Original by George Shaw
“Your creative process is a series of steps that you repeat every time you need to create. Simple. The trick is to make the steps fluid and flexible enough to allow you the room you need to create well, while still being structured enough to help you through when you’re having a hard time. An effective process should allow for serendipity—happy accidents are responsible for lots of great writing” “Your creative process is a series of steps that you repeat every time you need to create. Simple. The trick is to make the steps fluid and flexible enough to allow you the room you need to create well, while still being structured enough to help you through when you’re having a hard time. An effective process should allow for serendipity—happy accidents are responsible for lots of great design “

 


Updated x1:

We were only made aware of the accusation about Bear Otter and Kid late last night by one of our authors. The posted comment that Dreamspinner was contacted is false. No one contacted us either by email or through the contact form on our website. While I’ve not seen Shelter, I know the story behind Bear Otter and Kid, and it is semi-autobiographical. While it may follow the general plot line of Shelter, I don’t believe it was copied in any way. We take accusations of plagiarism very seriously and have ordered the movie to make a final determination.

You are welcome to quote any of that if you wish.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth North, Executive Director
Dreamspinner Press
Where Dreams Come True

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

Update x2:  Klune repudiates any suggestions that “Beat, Otter, and the Kid” was even inspired by Shelter let alone a plagiarism.

Update x3: Dreamspinner has responded saying that it has reviewed the movie and believes that there are significant differences.  The book has been sent to the director of the movie and that the book will be removed from circulation if the director believes it to be too close to the movie.

So yeah. What’s next? M/m author T.J. Klune published “Bear, Otter, and the Kid” through Dreamspinner Press. Unfortunately, the book apparently copies the movie “Shelter” plot point by plot point and, according to this reader, uses the entire lyrics from a song (which is a copyright infringement).

I saw the movie a couple of years ago and this book has the same characters, same story development, same guy-gives-up-scholarship-to-take-care-of-small-child plot. Both the movie and this book even start with the same scene — he’s driving to the airport to pick up his wealthy best friend who is coming home from college for the summer. I watched the movie again after reading this book and there is no mistake that complete scenes, situations, etc. were copied — some almost exactly.

As one commenter noted, movie theaters would get into trouble if they produced a movie based on a book without first buying the rights, this suit notwithstanding. However, film rights are clearly a derivative right of fictional work. Why do would an author or publisher think the reverse is not true?  Apparently Klune is amused by this accusation as he deletes a reader’s request about the reported similarities:

Jaime wrote: “Hey, why was my message deleted :(“

lol, didn’t mean too. Just keeping this drama free. I think you’re funny too. =D

Dreamspinner Press gives instructions on how to turn fan fiction into published work. First step, change the names!

So what do you need to do? Let me spell it out. First, come up with a new name for all of your characters. If one of them is named Jack or Will, you can potentially leave it, but don’t leave more than one because someone will probably know that Jack and Will are from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

I wonder if Kristal Singletary followed that line of reasoning. I’m not opposed to fan fiction being sold, but let’s be up front about this. Dreamspinner wants its writers to change things just enough to fool the reader. Why not admit what these authors are doing?

We probably won’t be reviewing any more Dreamspinner Press titles. Sarah F and Sunita D, our primary M/M readers have asked to be removed from the review submission list.


Finally, Smashwords is following in the footsteps of Bookstrand and All Romance and pulling titles and putting in new policies restricting the type of content it will distribute. I received this email that was sent to Smashwords authors:

 

On Saturday, February 18, PayPal’s enforcement division contacted Smashwords with an ultimatum. As with the other ebook retailers affected by this enforcement, PayPal gave us only a few days to achieve compliance otherwise they threatened to deactivate our PayPal services. I’ve had multiple conversations with PayPal over the last several days to better understand their requirements. Their team has been helpful, forthcoming and supportive of the Smashwords mission. I appreciate their willingness to engage in dialogue. Although they have tried their best to delineate their policies, gray areas remain.

Their hot buttons are bestiality, rape-for-titillation, incest and underage erotica.

The underage erotica is not a problem for us. We already have some of the industry’s strictest policies prohibiting underage characters (we don’t even allow non-participating minors to appear in erotica), and our vetting team is always on the lookout for “barely legal” content where supposed adults are placed in underage situations.

The other three areas of bestiality, rape and incest were less well-defined in our Terms of Service (https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos) before today. I’ll tackle these one-by-one below, and I’ll provide you a summary of the changes that will go into effect immediately.

*Incest:* Until now, we didn’t have a policy prohibiting incest between consenting adults, or its non-biological variation commonly known as “Pseudo-incest.” Neither did our retailer partners. We’ve noticed a surge of PI books over the last few months, and many of them have “Daddy” in the title. I wouldn’t be surprised if the surge in “Daddy” titles prompted PayPal to pursue this purge (I don’t know). PI usually explores sexual relations between consenting adult stepchildren with their step parents, or between step-siblings. Effectively immediately, we no longer allow incest of any variety in erotica.

Like many writers, censorship of any form greatly concerns me. It is with some reluctance that I have made the decision to prohibit incest-themed erotica at Smashwords. Regardless of your opinion on incest, it’s a slippery slope when we allow others to control what we think and write. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. It unfolds in our imagination. I’ve always believed fiction writers and readers should have the freedom to explore diverse topics and situations in the privacy of their own mind. From an imagination perspective, erotica is little different from a literary novel that puts us inside the mind of farm animals (1984), or a thriller novel that puts us inside the mind of a terrorist, or a horror novel that puts us inside the mind of an axe-murderer or their victim. All fiction takes us somewhere. We read fiction to be moved, and to feel. Sometimes we want to feel touched, moved, or disturbed. A reader should have the right to feel moved however they desire to be moved.

Incest, however, carries thorny baggage. The legality of incest is murky. It creates a potential legal liability for Smashwords as our business and our books become more present in more jurisdictions around the world. Anything that threatens Smashwords directly threatens our ability to serve the greater interests of all Smashwords authors, publishers, retailers and customers who rely upon us as the world’s leading distributor of indie ebooks. The business considerations compel me to not fall on the sword for incest. I realize this is an imperfect decision. The slippery slope is dangerous, but I believe this imperfect decision is in the best interest of the community we serve.

*Bestiality:* Until now, we didn’t have a stated policy regarding bestiality. I like animals. Call me old fashioned or hypocritical (I’m not a vegetarian), but I don’t want to be a party to anyone enjoying animals for sexual gratification, for the same reason we’ve never allowed pedophilia books. I don’t want to publish it, sell it, or distribute it. The TOS is now modified to reflect this. Note this does not apply to shape-shifters common in paranormal romance provided the were-creature characters are getting it on in their human form. Sorry I need to clarify it that way, but we don’t want to see bestiality erotica masquerading as paranormal romance.

*Rape:* Although our Terms of Service prohibits books that advocate violence against others, we did not specifically identify rape. This was an oversight on our part. Now we have clarified the policy. We do not want books that contain rape for the purpose of titillation. At Smashwords, rape has no longer has a place in erotica. It has no place anywhere else if the purpose is to titillate. Non-consensual BDSM – or any other form of non-consensual violence against another person – is prohibited.

*NEXT STEPS:* If you have titles at Smashwords that are now expressly forbidden, by the end of day Monday (Feb 27), please click to your Dashboard at https://www.smashwords.com/dashboard and click UNPUBLISH then click ARCHIVE. This will also cause our automated systems to remove the titles from retail distribution.

DO NOT try to hide or obfuscate violating content by changing book titles, book descriptions and tags. If we discover such shenanigans, said authors/publishers will risk account deletion and forfeiture of any accrued earnings, per our Terms of Service.

We take violations of the TOS seriously, because such violations jeopardize the opportunities for your fellow authors.

We do not want to see PayPal clamp down further against erotica. We think our authors should be allowed to publish erotica. Erotica, despite the attacks it faces from moralists, is a category worthy of protection. Erotica allows readers to safely explore aspects of sexuality that they might never want to explore in the real world.

The moralists forget that we humans are all sexual creatures, and the biggest sex organ is the brain. If it were not the case, none of us would be here. Erotica authors are facing discrimination, plain and simple. Topics that are perfectly acceptable in mainstream fiction are verboten in erotica. That’s not fair. Our decisions today are imperfect. Please, act responsibly, don’t try to game the system or publish content that pushes the limits of legality. Help us continue to help indie authors around the world to continue to publish and distribute with freedom.

*THINGS TO AVOID:* Avoid using words such as ‘bestiality,’ ‘rape,’ ‘incest,’ ‘underage,’ or ‘barely legal’ in book titles, book descriptions or keyword tags, otherwise Smashwords may conclude you’re violating the Terms of Service, or trying to push the limits. If you’re writing non-erotic works, and any of these words are necessary, then you’re okay.

On Tuesday (Feb 28) we will begin removing content that we deem in violation. When we remove a title, you will receive an email notifying you of such, and that email will append this letter along with instructions on how to notify us if we made an error. I promise you, we will make mistakes, so please work with us, take a deep breath and honor us with your patience.

If you believe we removed something in error, please click “Comments/questions,” mention the title we removed, provide the hyperlink to said title, and provide your *calm* reasoning for why we should reconsider.

Our support team is backlogged, so it may take several days for them to respond. As we mention in the Terms of Service, we reserve the right to remove anything for any reason. That said, we will also try to make our decisions with care and prudence.

You might wonder if Smashwords should simply switch to a different payment provider. It’s not so easy. PayPal is designed into the wiring of the Smashwords platform. They run the credit card processing for our retail store, and they’re how we pay our authors and publishers. PayPal is also an extremely popular, trusted payment option for our customers. It is not feasible for us to simply switch to another provider, should such a suitable provider even exist, especially with so few days notice.

Please note our Terms of Service is subject to additional modifications as we work to bring Smashwords into compliance with PayPal requirements. Let’s hope today’s actions mark the limit of the slippery slope.

Significant gray area remain. Erotica is still permitted, though if authors try to push the limits of what’s permitted, we risk further clamping down. Please be responsible. Don’t go there. If you’re going to push the limits, push the limits of great writing, not the limits of legality.

Thank you for assisting our compliance efforts on such short notice. We know these decisions will be upsetting to some of our authors and publishers, and for that we apologize. We do believe, however, that these decisions will place us on a stronger footing to represent the best interests all indie authors and publishers from here forward.

Best wishes,

Mark Coker Founder Smashwords

P.S. Please contact our support team for inquiries regarding this change in our Terms of Service by clicking the “comments/questions” link at the top of any page at Smashwords. If your inquiry regards a specific title, please include the hyperlink to the book page of that specific title.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

628 Comments

  1. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:23:10

    @Fae: I have nothing against you taking your concerns to the publisher. It is the public “outing” and attack of an author based on limited knowledge that I disagree with. Especially when I have yet to hear from anyone has read the book, seen the movie, and knows what legally constitutes plagiarism and copyright infringement. I will not be making any determination until I feel confident in all three. And I think it would benefit everyone here to do the same.

    ReplyReply

  2. MM
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:23:38

    @Cris:

    There’s a list of things that are are similar and copied in BOatK from the movie.

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/281045972

    ReplyReply

  3. Tamara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:25:26

    “The posted comment that Dreamspinner was contacted is false. No one contacted us either by email or through the contact form on our website.”

    Maybe check your spam filter. I emailed Dreamspinner and I know at least one other author did, too.

    If a reviewer who has read the book and seen the movie states whole scenes from the movie are in the book, and the author himself has said he wrote the book from the movie, but the publisher states the book is at least in part autobiographical–well, it doesn’t clarify things. I hope someone will come forward soon to sort it out, because I share Fae’s sentiments. I’d rather not have it assumed I would condone or be a part of unethical practices just because I’ve been published by DSP.

    ReplyReply

  4. Edward
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:25:45

    @Aileen: The reviewer from here ( http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/281045972 ) has revised her review and listed point after point AFTER point how BOatK has copied Shelter. For the record, the people who presented the allegation against TJ Klune has seen both Shelter and read BOatK.

    ReplyReply

  5. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:26:55

    @Aileen: Problematically, Klune is deleting questions about this claim and deleting his own comments. What are we to take from that? Why not come forward and say this is all my work?

    ReplyReply

  6. Cara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:28:27

    Well, without joining the big, up-in-arms hoo-ha about it all, I still think the PayPal situation is very troublesome. We can point fingers all we want, and all sides have their valid points. But the problem is still that vendors have been complacent about the fact that PayPal pretty much monopolizes the market. There isn’t really a good, competitive option in this scenario. And, if we’re to believe PayPal’s stance, that it’s because of the credit card chargebacks, then we have to believe that any other payment gateway system would run into the same problem. So, what’s the solution? Obviously there isn’t a quick, short-term answer. But what about something like those photo stock companies that sell credits instead of specific merchandise? For that matter, why couldn’t ARe, for example, make better use of their e-books-bucks option in that manner? Just throwing some ideas around. I might not care for the “skankiness” on the front page of some of my ebook vendors, but I’m really not thrilled about where this payment-blockade situation is headed.

    Also, I wanted to add my voice to the dub-con topic. “Dubious consent” does NOT always equal rape. I take major issue with that, both as a read and a writer. Ugh.

    ReplyReply

  7. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:34:19

    @Taylor V. Donovan: You and Anne Tenino have both brought up plagiarism. Again, I don’t think anyone has said that the post was condoning plagiarism. I can’t speak for others, but you are misunderstanding what I found so uncomfortable about that post and about what DSP has chosen to accept for publication. Speaking just on the re-worked fanfic issue (rather than on badly edited works), I will say, again, that I am NOT comfortable with DSP knowingly selling re-worked fanfic, no matter how loosely the fanfic is based on the original material.

    I would be more comfortable if the works were sold with some sort of note in their descriptions that they are fanfic. Then at least buyers would know that they’re paying for something that isn’t 100% original. If this isn’t done because it poses legal or ethical problems, then, well, I’m having problems wrapping my brain around why there wouldn’t be legal or ethical issues with selling those same works with the fandom-specific bits re-worked or changed and no mention made of the work’s fanfic origins.

    That you have an editor telling potential DSP authors how to go about hiding their fanfic’s fanfic origins seems outrageous to me. Either it’s okay to publish and sell the fanfic work, or it isn’t. If it’s okay, then the fanfic aspects don’t need to be erased. If it isn’t, DSP shouldn’t knowingly be selling it and telling potential authors it’s okay to submit it. Ms. Bentley may not officially be speaking for DSP in that post, but it sure comes across that way, especially when DSP is still selling known fanfic, as indicated by some of Ms. Bentley’s closing comments. I still have DSP books in my TBR pile that I do plan on reading and reviewing, but I’m uncomfortable at the thought that I cannot trust that the books put out by DSP are not re-worked fanfic. I hope you realize are doing a disservice to those DSP authors whose works are 100% original.

    ReplyReply

  8. Estara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:34:55

    @Moriah Jovan: That’s fascinating – because in Europe they explicitly incorporated as a bank in Luxembourg about two years ago – and sent out e-mails to explain the change in status and everything.

    ReplyReply

  9. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:35:04

    @Cara, presumably thereis a solution, because porn is being sold and folks are clearly making a profit off it. Do they have their own payment processors? Would they be willing to deal with these categories PP won’t process? Presumably, prices would have to be increased to account for the fraud issues. And there are, or at least were other payment processors out there. Back about five or so years ago there was a Ponzi scheme called daily pays. PP wouldn’t touch it, but other processors did. Eventually the fed shut them down, but I don’t know where those processors went.

    ReplyReply

  10. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:38:28

    Wow. Just when I thought the news were dull with the economy no longer in freefall.

    ReplyReply

  11. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:47:05

    Yesterday, while Googling text from the Julie Kenner book “Wrapped and Ready,” Google brought me to this story on a Fan Fiction site by a user named mimikitty:

    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2723655/1/

    This user also had a story titled “Seduction by the Book”
    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2520556/1/

    I Googled some of the text and it brought me to a book published in 2003 by Nancy Warren called “By the Book”
    http://www.amazon.com/Book-Harlequin-Blaze-No-85/dp/0373790899/

    I’m not too familiar with the rules of Fan Fiction, as I tend to find more enjoyment creating my own worlds and characters, but this doesn’t seem right either. Does this happen a lot in the Fan Fiction world, and is there any way for us as authors to be protected by this?

    I mean it’s one thing to write about Will and Jack as fan fiction, but to copy someone’s published novel and change the names to Will and Jack? These stories, aside from the change of names read almost, if not identical, to the actual books.

    ReplyReply

  12. Taylor V. Donovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:51:10

    @LG:

    This all comes down to individual understanding of what fanfiction is. Whether it iss okay to contract and eventually publish it or not is up to publishing houses based on their own understanding, definition and/or policies. I am not a publisher. I’m an author. I only have control over what I write and submit. Nothing else.

    Thanks.

    ReplyReply

  13. Matthew Wright
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:51:52

    The issue of e-plagiarism is significant, as is e-piracy; but with the latter, at least the original author’s name remains on the book and it might be looked at as a form of advertising. Plagiarism is not: it is theft. I posted yesterday on my own blog about the experiences I’ve had with my work being stolen that way – and the person ultimately responsible for the most egregious theft did not even have the integrity to reply to me. To see somebody not only owning up to this kind of behaviour, but also apologising for it, is a great step.

    Matthew Wright
    http://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com
    http://www.matthewwright.net

    ReplyReply

  14. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:52:06

    Jane, you keep making claims about Tj Klune admitting fault and deleting comments. However, you obviously didn’t witness these comments as I did. Let me give a run down of them.

    Someone named Dan wrote that he loved BOATK and couldn’t wait for the sequel which is what Mr. Klune’s blog post was about. Then he wrote I wonder what the sequel will be about since there isn’t a Shelter 2 movie for people to claim you wrote about. ;-D

    *obviously this man was making a sarcastic comment about all the random rants on TWO reviews*

    Mr. Klune responded: ahahahah haters gonna hate. I just rewrote the exact same book as BOATK and made a it into a sequel. ;-D

    *again this is a sarcastic remark. No where does this admit fault. No where. To claim otherwise is ridiculous*

    Jaime then responded with: LOL Tj I love your humour.

    Then a reader made a comment about Tj making a joke and he deleted it all. I think he was precisely trying to avoid all this drama because in reality its TWO reviews so who would think it would get out of hand like this.

    I’d like to note as well that the link you provided about the reviewer claiming he admitted it SEVERAL people remark that it was actually sarcasm, not admittance. Also, one reviewer claims he made screen caps on his comments. Why hasn’t he posted said screen cap to prove his point? Could it be that he’s lying?

    You should always be very careful what you present as fact, Jane. Its very easy to put out claims and rumors and them to spread. If you can’t provide the information to back it up, you probably shouldn’t mention it all.

    ReplyReply

  15. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:52:29

    @LG: APPLAUSE. Everything you said. Yes. No one is saying Dream Spinner is plagiarizing other authors. But taking fan fic which was available for free and reworking to hide those origins just isn’t ethical and condoning and encouraging it is a big problem. Taking the plot/characters/worlds of others is highly distasteful even if it falls within legal parameters. And trying to disguise that taking is just wrong.

    ReplyReply

  16. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 15:58:07

    @L.K. Rigel:

    Some would define making children fight each other to the death while an audience looks on for the sheer enjoyment of it all as porn.

    It definitely qualifies as “obscene” IMHO. However, just because I view it as obscene and lacking genuine artistic merit doesn’t mean I think interested readers should be deprived of it.

    In fact, I’ve noticed a disturbing overall trend where scenes of excessive violence appear to be replacing love scenes and/or sex scenes in several genres. I’m flummoxed by how these books have gained favor with readers praising them for the absence of gratuitous sexuality. No one seems to see that gratuitous violence isn’t an improvement, it’s just a change.

    Also disturbing to me me are the types of erotica and/or erotic romance being dismissed as porn. I love May/December romance. When did society become so ageist?

    I don’t mind “barely legal” heroines if they are good, well-drawn and well-developed characters. I actually identify quite well with “barely legal” characters. I’m petite in height and I have a round, dimpled “baby face” and I still get carded at the cinema even though I’m well past young adulthood. I like reading about little, girlish looking characters who turn the “sugar and spice and everything nice” cliche on its head.

    Anne Rice’s “Belinda” is quite possibly her most underrated novel due to the controversial elements. Despite the underage heroine and May/December erotic romance, the book offers stark insight into the dysfunction alcoholism and mental illness can work into parent/child relationships and a credible narrative into how such children find themselves forced to “grow up too fast.” I’m not saying this novel is for everyone, but it hardly qualifies as obscenity lacking artistic merit.

    Although I personally am not that attracted to “dubious consent” and “non consent” type erotic fiction, it’s well-known these tropes enjoy a wide audience and traditional bodice-ripper romance has long been an industry standard in romance. I appreciate dubcon/noncon if it’s well-written and if the “fiction makes sense.”

    I’m not going to go blow-by-blow as to every questionnable trope I find distasteful. Like everyone else, I have my favorites, I’m neutral about some, and others I just won’t touch.

    The point is that people interested in these types of books should be able to purchase them if they wish. Preferably through a reputable, dependable bookseller.

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  17. LG
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:01:17

    @Taylor V. Donovan: I’m sorry, I misread your comment and saw Elizabeth North’s signature as applying to your comments. You’re right, several of my statements should not have been directed at you.

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  18. Cleon
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:01:57

    From what I read from Ms Bentley’s post is not to hide the origin of the story, but to create an entire new setting so that readers can understand the story without knowing about the fandom. That is what I think she means when she wrote about “filing off serial numbers”

    I challenge you to find a work that is 100% original and is not inspired by anything previously written in any way (except, maybe Greek tragedy). If you are uncomfortable with any derivative works, then you probably would be very uncomfortable with Xena, Hercules, Beauty and the Beast, Bridget Jones’ Diary, and many others adaptation and derivative works from classical stories. I also would like you to consider most books and games in fantasy genre. One cannot refute that many fantasy authors adapt elements from Lord of the Rings into their stories. Take elf for an example, how many books have extremely beautiful, long lived, magical, elves in their stories. I see none of them credit Tolkien for giving them ideas about elves.

    For me, the difference between these derivative works and fanfiction that has been rewritten into an original work is that fanfiction is available to public prior to the publication. If that is an issue, then you think if an author decides to pull a previously free stories and sell them, do you think they also behave in an unethical manner?

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  19. Melissa Blue
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:12:29

    @ a sometime online adult worker
    “And whether there’s prudery mixed in there, I can’t say. But the origin of them being so picky about sexual content versus violent/otherwise objectionable content is an epidemic of buyer’s remorse from post-orgasmic men stretching back to the beginning of internet porn (and probably before).”

    I’ll be honest and say I didn’t understand WTH a chargeback was. Now the image that springs up when I think of it can never be erased. lol

    @Jackie Barbosa
    “And it’s never abuse until they’re coming for you… ”

    I think in this case it’s a wait and see game. Who will be the first author to get screwed over? Will Pay Pal be in the right?

    And still I can’t blame them for not wanting bite off way more than they can chew with chargebacks. Because if truth be told if they have to the buck will be passed to authors and anyone else who uses their services.

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  20. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:13:56

    @Sidney Ayers: By my understanding that’s not fan fic–if all that’s been changed is Nancy Warren’s characters names, she should be alerted and so should HQN. This recently happened to Inez Kelley, I believe, and Carina was very proactive about getting the fan fic removed. That’s plagiarism–keeping the original author’s words and changing names or other minor details is still plagiarism and my understand is that most fan fic sites police hard against it.

    I don’t read fan fic so I’m not sure of the “rules” but I went to the good reads post with the point-by-point comparision of how the book is identical to the plot, characters, and location of the movie. Is that fan fic? I thought fan fic took the characters/world and put them in NEW stories i.e. Harry & Ron after dark, Jack & Will having a relationship–adding a new plot or chapter or episode or whatever. Or crafting a new ending as wish fulfillment or something else original. Not just writing a version of the movie with the exact same plot/characters and everything. Fan Fic readers help me out here? If it’s point-by-point the same as the movie plot is that even legitimate fan fic?

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  21. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:14:12

    I’ve read the point by point supposed similarities between the two. If this argument is to be taken seriously, which I highly suspect anyone who consumes enough media to recognize common plot devices would not, then Shelter is plagiarism of Party of Five and perhaps Point Break. Because doesn’t shelter feature multiple scenes on a beach with good looking men surfing? Don’t they also hang out in a kitchen? And is every teenage movie featuring a drunk first kiss and out of town parents, which inevitably leads to a raging kegger, and then a girl who threatens to leave the sweet but misguided MC – well our media is rife with plagiarism. No. The point by point post proves nothing besides common thematics.

    Again I will repeat. Plagiarism is a serious allegation. Be educated on what constitutes it before leveling charges that cannot be retracted.

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  22. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:15:13

    @Aileen:

    It was not based on limited knowledge. We had plenty of proof and information from various sites, and the so called ‘author’ herself admitted it.

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  23. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:09

    @Annabeth Albert:
    I emailed Nancy about the plagiarism and she just emailed me back to say she’s taking care of it.
    And people have told me that this is a huge no-no in the Fan Fiction community, pointing out another instance in the Harry Potter world, where a very well known author lifted pieces of published text.

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  24. Lasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:09

    I am another reviewer who has taken off DSP off their review list (not because of the TJ Klune issue), but because in the past year I have seen a steady downhill slide in their editing. Does this mean I will never review another DSP book? No.

    In the beginning when Silver Publishing was new, I reviewed a few of their books and they had the same issue, so I removed them from my review list. However, in the past few months, I am slowly but surely reviewing more and more of their titles because in my estimation they have made a concerted effort to address their editing issues and hire new proofreaders, editors and the like. And I have seen improvement (e.g. Marie Sexton’s Blind Space comes to mind – loved it).

    So can DSP come back to what they once were? Certainly, and I hope they do so…because if so many readers (and reviewers) are seeing this problem, it is something they need to address.

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  25. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:19:47

    @Cleon:

    I couldn’t have said this any better. I can think of at least 5 books published (across different publishing houses) in the last 30 days or so that are obviously inspired from some previous work. Word for word, I do not agree with but an idea or theme?? Seems a bit over board. There are only so many original ways to say something or come up with new scenarios.

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  26. Monique Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:23:50

    @Sidney Ayers:

    Wow, that’s pretty blatant. Shameful. I recently witnessed the opposite happening. An author published a book that was actually someone else’s HP fanfic.

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  27. Kat
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:26:34

    Oops, I mistook a post to be aimed at me and replied, but then saw that it was for someone else – that’s what happens when we discuss various issues within one thread! I can’t comment on anything here except the plagiarism by Kay Manning or whatever her name is, and that’s what I have been posting about.

    But, I agree with what others have said – plagiarism is serious. It is theft, no matter how or why it is done, and the offender should be legally prosecuted.

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  28. Liz
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:27:41

    I honestly do not think that the apology is enough and i do not think that this apology no matter how sincere it sounds is not in fact sincere. She is not sorry that she did it; if she was she never would have done it in the first place, imho. If she is sorry at all it is only that she was caught and can no longer pass off others’ work as her own.

    Unfortunately, she can still come up with another name (maybe she’ll use baseball players’ names instead of those of football players–May I suggest Babe DiMaggio? It’s kind of old school, but it has a romance-esque ring to it.) We really need tougher punishments for people who plagiarize. Why is it wrong to steal a book from a store but not words from a book? How come you can be punished for the former but not the latter? It doesn’t make sense to me. She has taken all of “her” books down, but this to me is not a punishment. Maybe I am more sensitive to this than others because my cousin recently found out that she was plagiarized by a city official who liked her proposal so much that he decided to present it to the mayor as his own.

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  29. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:30:02

    @Weirdmage:

    See the wiki page

    In contrast, in Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co.,the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction sought by the copyright holders of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind against Alice Randall’s The Wind Done Gone. In determining whether Randall’s work rose to the level of transformative, Circuit Judge Birch used the guidelines for transformative works laid out in the Supreme Court’s Campbell v. Acuff Rose Music.[12] Birch found Randall’s work to be transformative because it “[provided] social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.”[12][13] Campbell had already established that the greater the transformative value a work held, the less important the other factors in the fair use test became.[12] Despite Randall and Houghton Mifflin having released The Wind Done Gone as a commercial work, and Randall having used a substantial portion of Mitchell’s work in her own, Birch found that the highly transformative nature of Randall’s book overcame the other prongs of the fair use test.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_issues_with_fan_fiction

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  30. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:30:22

    @Aileen:

    Be educated on what constitutes it before leveling charges that cannot be retracted.

    Oh, go concern troll elsewhere.

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  31. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:31:46

    Every time I read about this issue (the Paypal/Smashwords thing), I’m amazed at the people who don’t realized there’s a giant canyon of a difference between private companies deciding what kind of business they would like to do, and real, government censorship.

    Every business is allowed to choose what they want to sell, distribute, etc. and who they choose to do business with. Those of you who think this is so, so wrong, would you like to be forced to do business with a terrorist, or someone who published actual child porn? It doesn’t matter what the reason or wrong is, because ultimately it’s not about whether something is illegal or not, or right or not, it’s about the freedom of a business owner. Paypal’s owners, Smashwords’ owners, the nebulous banks that Paypal uses, all have their own choices of who and what they do business with.

    Their rules don’t preclude anyone from writing or reading these types of stories if they choose, they only stop them from making money through Paypal, Smashwords, etc. So don’t talk like the sky is falling and no one will be allowed to write or read erotica anymore. You just don’t get to make money with Paypal while you write stories they don’t allow.

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  32. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:35:03

    @Moira Reid:

    I’ve made mistakes. Horrible mistakes and I think these mistakes are the reason I am the way I am. That and having a kick ass forgiving mother who taught me the true meaning of love. Forgiveness and empathy don’t negate personal responsibility. As I told Ms. Manning, she owes a pound of flesh. She f*cked up and there’s going to be consequences. That doesn’t mean someone can’t be there for her, lend her support so she’ll see that there is such a thing as redemption. As far as I know this is Ms. Manning’s first offense, now if we are here next year, same story, same person, I probably won’t be as quick to offer a shoulder. We all make mistakes. We all f*ck up and we all deserve a second chance (unless children or animals are involved, there are no second chance then in my opinion.) but learning from a mistake is the biggest part of redemption. If a third, fourth or fifth chance is needed in my opinion that means something has gone wrong. A person can apologize but an apology is only as valid as what comes after it.

    And please Moira, don’t keep your opinions to yourself. You have a right to express them the same as everyone else does. *hugs* I heart you Moira because you say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said and while it may not be something I can or would say that doesn’t make me respect it any less.

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  33. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:37:02

    @Ridley: If there are other sites you could recommend where I can help keep internet witch hunts from starting, I would be happy to go elsewhere. Thank you for your suggestion.

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  34. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:37:12

    @Michelle McCleod:
    “Your reading selection is now dictated by corporate interests, why is that a cause for celebration? ”

    My reading selection has always been dictated by ‘corporate interests’ – that’s what the publishing industry is. For everything else, there is fanfic :)

    I’ve already explained that (a) I believe people should be allowed to write what they like but (b) the domination of Smashword’s storefront by wank material is not helping authors of other material. I will fight for the right of adult stores to exist and have storefronts that reflect their content, but I don’t want my readers to have to go into one to buy my books. There are certainly ways SW could remove them from the front of the site and yet keep them on sale, but since Paypal are forcing them to remove them altogether, the effect on the store front is the same. I do NOT approve of the books being forced off sale at all.

    The legality of the act involved doesn’t have the slightest relevance to this issue. It’s what the work is being used for – and as has been explained before, it’s stroke fic that’s the big concern. Pseudo incest may be legal, but it’s almost exclusive to porn and erotic fiction. The SM bit of BDSM is *illegal* in many places (contrary to John’s fevered statement above) but is not exclusive to erotica (though it’s largely used in erotic fic. I’ve read BDSM books – and written them – which are no more erotic than Pride and Prejudice.)

    I repeat – I am not happy about Paypal’s actions, but I understand the financial reasoning. You can flay me if you like for seeing a little benefit to me as a salesperson out of a situation I have zero control over. I would much rather PI books and their ilk were still allowed at Smashwords, just not listed on the front. Readers raised the exact same concerns over ARe recently, right here on DA.

    As for the dubcon issue, a question on Twitter brought me this link:

    http://www.stormmoonpress.com/blog/?p=334

    Reading through this, I would still have to say that ‘dubcon’ and BDSM have nothing to do with each other, and that ‘Fuck or die’ in any variant is a form of rape as we would see it in the real world. I have no problem at all with rape fantasies, or anything else described in that excellent post, but I still maintain that ‘dubcon’ BDSM is an oxymoron, and that ‘dubcon’ is a term which mostly covers things which in the *real* world, would be rape. So if rape is banned, calling it ‘dubcon’ is a fudge (and frankly an insult to real rape victims.)

    Note – it’s not me who is going to have to thread the needle on this one, but Mark Coker and Paypal. I’ve written and read books that would have me burning in hell, let alone banned off Smashwords, so if you want me to play Mrs Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, you’re looking at the wrong person.

    Paypal are going to have a hell of a time banning rape in books, though, considering I’ve read it in every genre I’ve ever tried, and it’s in mainstream books.

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  35. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:38:22

    @Jane:
    Yes. I didn’t read every word, but I did read much of it, and I did read the last pharagraph.
    It is marked as page 686. It seems to say that money is the issue=paid fan-fiction is illegal. It says that if anyone earns money off it is illegal. And this is just a California opinion. -Not a US supreme court decision. Or a Berne Copyright Convention international law.
    -As I have said I don’t read fan-fiction. But this comment thread has shown me that the ones that do read fan-fiction , and especially write it, is as delusional as the person who did the plagiarism that caused this article originally. -If you are fans, you wouldn’t use your idols’s work to show that you can write. And if you use your idol’s work to earn money you are no better than internet pirates.

    I am not the only one who has said fan-fiction is illegal in this comment thread., but I have claimed to know what I talk about. -I do that because I have read every article I have seen about the publishing industry for over five years. I do not care about being right, I care about the truth. -I have asked a lot of questions in my earlier comments. -I have not got answers. But the avoindance that people who do write/read iabout fan-fictionhere shows me that fan-fiction fans either are ignorant or trying to deny their disregard for the copyright that should be respect for the persons they write fan-fiction about.

    If you don’t think I undrstand being a fan who wants to tell a story.I had to wait 2 years to see “Return of the Jedi” on VHS: (-No there was no way to se it illegaly except bad video-cam in cinema, and it took 3 years before I heard of that.)

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  36. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:41:33

    @Callie:
    “Then a reader made a comment about Tj making a joke and he deleted it all. ”

    Why is Klune deleting comments on this issue at all? It raises suspicion when according to you, there should be none, and the author is innocent?

    This is a situation where exposing rumours to the light of honesty and openness could make them disappear if there’s no truth to them, and yet DSP – a press I absolutely despise and have said so many many times – and Klune are saying absolutely nothing in public. It stinks of dishonesty.

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  37. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:44:08

    @Ridley:

    Is that constructive? Really? If you disagree why not make your point and have a mature conversation. Of all the issues raised here, THAT’S the only comment you want to make.

    I guess you subscribe to the logic: “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your wits, baffle them with bulls%^&.”

    @Aileen- I agree. Plagerism is a harsh label to give someone based on what I’ve seen so far. Especially considering for most people we are talking about their livliehood. Its really easy to throw labels about without worrying over the consequences when it doesn’t effect you.

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  38. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:46:48

    @Kat:

    I’m confused Kat. Can you explain to me what this, “Maybe the thieving plagiariser ought to know how us real writers feel about her and what’s she’s done!” means? “Us real writers?” Le sigh. Anger is a valid emotion. It’s a healthy emotion but in my opinion healthy isn’t about making something about Us vs Them. We’re all in this together, whether our opinions and reactions differ or not.

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  39. Tasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:08

    @Sidney Ayers: And is now a NYT bestselling author. Sigh.

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  40. Aileen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:12

    @Kat: Apparently you are not as well-informed as you would like to believe since the author you are accusing is a man.

    I would be happy to review your sources. As I said, I am open to learning more. I just don’t believe in making uninformed decisions.

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  41. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:50:55

    @Emma Petersen: “As far as I know this is Ms. Manning’s first offense”

    I’m not sure what you consider first offense? If you look at the comparisons above and the wicked awesome google sleuthing on the Smart Bitches thread, this is multiple works using multiple pen names, and extends to blog posts and different genres. To me first offense = single instance. To me this more like a dude being found out that he cheated with five women asking people to go easy on him because this is is first time being caught. Or if I steal from five stores before being caught, can I really claim it’s my first offense?

    I do think your support of her is admirable as is your belief that people change. And I really, really, hope she does that.

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  42. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:51:13

    @Weirdmage:
    I think the problem your having is seperating out the fact that IDEAS cannot be copyrighted, only the expression of ideas can be (Harper & Row, 471 U.S. at 547, 105 S. Ct. at 2224 )
    Your not seeing a lot of new cases, because copyright law is very very old and as the Supreme Court has already determined that the decision going to be a case by case basis, they will review very few cases. Thus, the vast majority of case law is going to be at the Appeals court levels.

    Thus fan fiction, even though it can share the same ideas as the original authors, may not violate copyright so long as the way those ideas are expressed are substantially different from the original.

    With that being the basis, you can understand why it is a case by case comparison with no set rule.

    What you can easily see is if you take the same book, change names and locations, your going to lose the copyright because there is no substaintal difference in the original authors expression.

    But, and I’ll use HP here, you write a fan fiction set in Hogwarts 2 years after the end of the series with a new character, telling that character’s story, you are more likely to fall into the fair use catagory as your work is substantially different then the HP novels, despite the same location and even presence of similiar characters. In other words, the new writer as added their own touch of expression and flair to the same idea, thus, transforming it into a new work.

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  43. Cara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:53:55

    @Beverly:

    While I agree that it’s annoying to see the two ideas of censorship used so interchangeably, I think the concern here is that, because credit card companies and PayPal pretty much have a near-monopoly over internet transactions, while it’s not “government” censorship, the end result is that authors of erotica are in danger of being silenced through commerce control.

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  44. Tasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:55:37

    @Emma Petersen: If her first offense were a single offense, I might agree with you. But it’s clearly an ongoing pattern of behavior. Her second chance came the second time she published someone else’s work and called it her own. She had every opportunity to do the right thing–not download someone else’s story, not change names and locations, not put her own name on it, not publish it as her own, not join RWA (was she PAN or PRO? if so, was that based on her work or someone else’s?), not run for the board of KOD, the list goes on and on. Put me in the No Sympathy for her column.

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  45. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 16:56:49

    @Cara: And readers of erotic content are being denied convenient, affordable access to the books they enjoy. I think this is as much a burden on readers as writers.

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  46. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:02:31

    @Cara: Ultimately, even if these are the big players in the game, even if a writer couldn’t make money off their incest erotica, not being able to make money off of something is not the same as not being able to write or read something. And yes, there are people conflating those issues in this thread.

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  47. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:02:56

    @Aileen: Neither do I, that is why I am not throwing around the “plagiarism” accusation yet, but I hardly see how anything would be able to convince you, if point by point comparison of the scenes did not convince you. And you really do not see the difference between using similar ideas and making them your own by transforming them into something if not unique, then at least with fresh twist, and copying the *exact* plot line of the story, every single plot twist? But IF and it is a big IF after I will read the book I will agree that it is a plagiarism, I will say so knowing exactly what plagiarism is. You think scene by scene lifting from another work is not plagiarism?

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  48. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:05:01

    @Cara: Ultimately, even if these are the big players in the game and because of that these authors can no longer make money off of certain types of erotica through them, that doesn’t equal to an end to access. Certain writers may not make money, or as much money, but that doesn’t mean writers can’t write and readers can’t read these things if they choose to. They just won’t make as much money. And yes, there are people conflating these two issues in this thread.

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  49. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:05:21

    @Aileen I’m pretty comfortable, particularly after reading the blow by blow comparison, with what I’ve stated in the post. You may view it differently.

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  50. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:06:40

    @Jackie Barbosa: No, they are being denied convenient, affordable access through Paypal. They are free to pursue other avenues if they so choose.

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  51. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:12:35

    @Beverly: Generally speaking, authors write books to make money. If they cannot make money by selling their books, they either 1) stop writing books or 2) modify their content and themes so that they can sell those books. Neither of these outcomes results in readers having more access to “certain types of erotica.” Clearly, it results in less access, because fewer of these types of books will be produced if there are fewer avenues for authors to sell them.

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  52. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:13:57

    @Kat: FYI, Kat… I am a real writer. And I’m a real writer who has also been plagiarized.

    Not by Ms. Manning, but by somebody who didn’t have the decency or the courage to offer a simple apology. I was given excuses, shoddy rational, and then guilt trips. And I can honestly say that a simple, sincere apology would have mattered to me a great deal more.

    This is the first time I’ve seen anybody have the guts to step up and offer a actual apology. And an apology can be real, and sincere, even if it offered after a person was caught.

    None of us are perfect. All of us have wronged another. Perhaps we haven’t stolen from somebody, but as I know I have done things that are hurtful, I’m not going to be the one to hold a person back when they’ve offered an honest apology.

    It doesn’t mean she has earned my trust. It just means I’m willing to believe she’ll try to change.

    That’s what this real writer feels.

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  53. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:16:27

    @AvidReader: 1. that was my second post in this thread.

    2. People keep telling her, over and over, that they’re going on a reader review that documented striking resemblances between the two sources, as well as the author’s own comments. That hardly seems like a witch hunt. Especially since no one said a peep during the Susan Napier In Bed With the Boss – Ellen Wolf Working Arrangements plagiarism story, which was based on a similar set of evidence. Aileen’s repeated efforts to silence the discussion of what is or isn’t infringing smacks of concern trolling. Far from appearing earnest, she comes off as someone with a personal stake in the controversy who wants it all to go away, and so she’s invoking the specter of “this conversation is dangerous for you,” which is classic concern trolling.

    I’m just calling it as I see it.

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  54. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:19:04

    @Beverly: Yes, authors can choose other avenues. Which will likely be a) more expensive and b) less accessible. Moreover, there is no guarantee that those avenues will remain open/available. Either way, both producers and consumers both have less freedom. Not, IMO, a desirable outcome. Your mileage may vary.

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  55. Emma Petersen
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:20:22

    @Author on Vacation:

    I honestly don’t know why people chose to plagiarize. I’m too arrogant to plagiarize. My work may not be in the ranks of Morrison or Walker but it’s pretty damn good so why do I need to steal someone else’s?
    I am sorry that person who pretended to be your friend hurt you. You didn’t deserve that and as a firm believer of karma, I believe she hasn’t gotten away with anything. All of that will come back to her, if it hasn’t already.

    p.s. I hope you’re having an awesome vacation!

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  56. Chrissy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:20:51

    If I missed it, my apologies in advance, I was scrolling through the comments.

    Do we know for certain that apology really came from the author?

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  57. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:21:18

    @Jackie Barbosa: I see this as an opportunity for someone to come in and find an innovative way in which to meet the market. Clearly there is a market and I’ve heard of authors writing this type of fiction making several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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  58. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:22:21

    @Chrissy: Yes, I’m convinced it came from the real author. She emailed me. She also posted at the Liz Fielding blog although it wasn’t a copy and paste, but a link to here. I wished she had reposted the apology in full, but yes, I believe the apology came from the author.

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  59. bignosemoose
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:22:39

    @Aileen (191)

    It’s libel. Not slander. If you’re going to wave your big law-dick in everyone’s face, at least get the terms right.

    DSP needs to address this and put it to bed once and for all. That will go tremendously far in stemming the tide of “the witch hunt”. With everything else shining a negative light on them, the sooner they do this, the better off they will be at the very least.

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  60. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:23:16

    @Jane: This link just came through Twitter, so I guess people are on that: http://noboundariespressstore.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=28.

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  61. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:28:19

    @Ridley: I’m constantly disheartened to see how successful Wolf is. Her current book (which I’m sure is some sort of Harlequin-esque story) is like in the top 60 of paid Kindle books.

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  62. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:30:56

    @Jackie Barbosa: I wonder if Paypal will go after them next. It does say they are PayPal verified…

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  63. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:31:09

    @Jane: You’ve got to admit that casual romance readers aren’t a discerning bunch. If you only read a dozen books a year, why would you notice or care about blatantly recycled stories?

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  64. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:33:13

    @Weirdmage: If your definition of fan fiction is using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes then I would agree with you. I think fan fiction is much broader and I would stake my law degree and my 14 years of practice as a lawyer on my interpretation of copyright which is fan fiction is measured on a case by case basis and that there is no bright line test such as all fan fiction is illegal to distribute.

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  65. Jane
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:34:49

    @Ridley: I guess not but let’s face it, plagiarism doesn’t adversely affect all careers. AKA Janet Dailey, Cassandra Clare, Ellen Wolf, et al. Heck even Cassie Edwards books still sell (although that might end with the cratering of Dorchester)

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  66. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:47:45

    @Michelle McCleod:

    My reply to you is stuck in the spam filter I think.

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  67. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:51:44

    @Ann

    Please don’t put words into my mouth. I never addressed the book or the similarities or that he is completely innocent. What I may or may not feel on that matter isn’t what I addressed.

    What I did state is the original blogger and several authors etc on here have made statements that he admitted it. That is straight their words. What I was trying to say was that without any proof of this, individuals shouldn’t be throwing out that claim. People’s interpretations of the book is one thing. Making claims as to statements he’s issued is a whole other factor.

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  68. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:02

    @Jackie Barbosa, of course it will cost more, and be less convenient, but that still doesn’t rise to the level of censorship. It’s simply the cost of doing business. Someone who is selling diamonds and gold will have a higher overhead than someone selling tinfoil and rhinestones. They’ll have to pay more for security, and that’s simply built into the business model. The fraud is there, it was there when I worked at a credit card call center 20 years ago. Post 171 explained it in detail. Paypal chooses not to do so. That’s not censorship, that’s a company who doesn’t want to lose money.

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  69. J.S. Wayne
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:05

    @Beverly: With all due respect, Beverly, I have made the argument more than once before that PayPal refusing to process payments for certain adult material is like my wallet refusing to open when I go to the 7-11 for condoms. Whether it is “legally” censorship or not, in every way that matters, it IS and to say otherwise is to pursue a semantically flawed argument. For your perusal:
    Censor
    1.
    an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
    2.
    any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
    from dictionary.com
    QED, by this definition, PayPal is acting as a censoring authority. Whether it is legally sanctioned or not, whether it is “technically” within their rights or not, they are exercising their right as a limited group with widespread and damaging effects to a much larger group. In doing so, they are effectively stifling free speech and free commerce because they find the topics at issue objectionable. That’s for the reader and the author to decide, even the publisher and the bookseller. It IS NOT for the bank to decide.
    If the issue is being conflated, that is as it should be. PayPal is telling customers they cannot use THEIR money as they see fit. It’s not PayPal’s money. If they don’t want their funds used for it, that’s one thing and an internal matter. But when they start telling customers “You can only spend your money on approved items,” I can’t help but hear the Horst Wessel Song and wonder where this will end.

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  70. Chrissy
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 17:56:55

    Thanks for answering, Jane.

    I felt a bit awkward asking, to be honest, but my “other” business is hired gun/word nerd and sometimes I can’t turn it off.

    That said… there is a sad and tangled irony in the fact that those few words had to be the hardest to write in her life.

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  71. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:01:25

    @Callie:
    “I never addressed the book or the similarities or that he is completely innocent. ”

    You are talking out of so many sides of your mouth on this, I can’t keep it straight, I have to admit. On one hand, Klune is being sarcastic, on the other then he never said anything, and those who said he did are likely lying.

    You’re way too invested in Klune’s reputation to be a disinterested party, methinks. In any event, Klune is behaving suspiciously, there are accusations which have been backed up with observations, and your stance of libelling those going ‘what’s up’ isn’t exactly making Klune look good.

    Absent a statement from Klune and/or DSP which credibly addresses these issues, I’m going to remain skeptical that the similarities between Klune’s book and Shelter are pure coincidence.

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  72. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:06:54

    I’ve been offline most of the day, occasionally able to read but not able to post. I think most of my points have been covered, so I won’t repeat them.

    I’m well aware DSP is not the only press that accepts repurposed fanfic and sells it as original fiction without letting readers know what they’re buying. When I first started reviewing, I barely knew what fanfic was. I’m better educated about it now. I have nothing against fanfic as an expressive form; many authors whose work I enjoy have written or still write fanfic in addition to their original work. What I object to is the lack of transparency when it is published as “original fiction”. I’m not unilaterally opposed to reading fanfic, I just want to know the provenance (for a variety of reasons, only some of which have to do with *possible* infringement). I don’t read m/m from most of the other presses that seem to have similar (non)policies.

    I find bizarre the idea that it is just fine for a publisher’s employee to write a “how to” column on repurposing fanfic when that publisher hasn’t even owned up to publishing the repurposed stuff or made clear what their own policies are beyond trying to avoid copyright infringement suits.

    I find it troubling that a request (for clarification about the similarities) to Dreamspinner’s Goodreads group went unanswered for four days. The question was posted on the DSP thread for BOATK on February 20. I would think a question about potential infringement issues would get noticed and kicked up the food chain (right now the post is 7th in the list of “new releases,” a board that I would expect to be monitored at least sometimes).

    Finally, there is more than one review. There are three separate reviews pointing to the similarities between Shelter and BOATK, plus the review that talks about the unattributed use of song lyrics, and the comment threads of at least two of those reviews have comments from additional readers who went back and watched the movie and were troubled by the similarities.

    The reviewer who made the most detailed set of criticisms has augmented the review with additional evidence since I read the review yesterday and blogged about it. I’m not sure when it was updated but it’s a lot more detailed than it was at first, and I found the original version pretty convincing.

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  73. Linda Hilton
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:09:03

    @Jackie Barbosa: If someone writes books to make money and that’s their primary objective, then what difference does it make what kind of books they write? I mean, isn’t it then just a job, like laying bricks or transcribing accounts of traffic accidents for an insurance claim? If it’s only and all about the money, then the writers will write what sells, so if they lose the easy money in the erotica market, they’ll write something else, as long as it sells.

    If, on the other hand, it’s all about the art, all about writing what they want to write, writing to please a particular audience, whether that audience is twincest fans or lovers of animal snuff stories, then the money shouldn’t matter, as long as they can write and get the works out to their fans. Put it on a website for free, since it’s about the content not the money.

    But what I’m hearing is that the writers of the suddenly banned items are upset because they can’t make money at it. Well, like everything else in the marketplace, they have to make the choice — art or money.

    And yes, I know that the high chargeback costs and so on may end up keeping some fans of “banned” themes from being able to afford their preferred literature. Well, that’s life. There are a lot of things I’d like to buy but can’t afford, and I’m not telling the merchants who won’t lower their prices that they’re wrong.

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  74. Ann Somerville
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:10:01

    @J.S. Wayne:
    “PayPal is telling customers they cannot use THEIR money as they see fit. ”

    No they are not. They are saying to customers, if you want to buy this product, you may not use as your payment gateway. It’s like stores who won’t take Amex because of the cost.

    Yes, it means that a lot of businesses will choose to keep paypal and ditch the products. Paypal is *not* preventing the goods being bought another way.

    ‘Horst Wessel’? I think that kind of hyperbole would be better reserved for the kind of crazy we’ve seen in America lately with forced rape of women of seeking abortions, Rick Santorum claiming sending kids to college is a liberal conspiracy, and the widespread belief that President Obama is (a) a Muslim and thus (b) in league with Satan and unfit to be President.

    Paypal is the victim of credit card companies and their policies. Those policies result from dishonest customers. Do you start screaming about Nazis when your insurance premiums go up because of insurance fraud? Or when your pre-existing medical condition is denied coverage?

    Censorship would be if Paypal make incest and rape fic *illegal*. They don’t have that power, and I don’t think they want it. After all, they’re losing money by having to avoid adult material. It’s a lucrative business.

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  75. Callie
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:28:28

    @Ann

    I never said you couldn’t think one way or the other. You seem to keep twisting my words. I’m not making any claims as to your intepretations or anyone else’s. I didn’t realize that having a different opinion or comment on these post wasn’t welcome? I’m saying that without proof of the original comments that claims as to what those comments said is perhaps not the wisest decision. I’m not “libeling” as you said to anyone’s reviews or interpretations. That is absolutely their decision and opinion. You or anyone else can make opinionated statements about what was presented to them. Absolutely. What isn’t there though in my opinion shouldn’t be put out there as what he supposedly didn’t or did say. Those are two separate issues.

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  76. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:30:38

    @ J.S. Wayne your condom/wallet analogy is only applicable if the wallet you put your money in is in fact yours. In this case it’s not. You’ve chosen to put YOUR money into PAYPAL’s wallet. Of course they have the right to regulate the opening and closing of said wallet. Again, they’re not telling you how to spend your money. They’re telling you that you can’t use their wallet to do so. Simple solution? Go buy another wallet. It might cost more and be less convenient, but many things do.

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  77. R. Renee Vickers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:39:14

    @Ann Somerville: All respect intended, I have to disagree. In fact they are not telling the consumer what they are allowed to buy or not at all. They have issued ultimatums to publishers and booksellers stating that if the material contains any of the items they list that the sellers accounts will be closed. All sellers that are willing to kowtow to this ultimatum are removing the content PayPal deems as illegitimate. Paypal is acting as a censor whether it’s their original objective to or not.

    Whether they work to make these items illegal is irrelevant. They’re pushing their moral agenda on companies who utilize their services.

    I’ve read that they’re doing this because other financial institutions are back charging them for items deemed risky to identity theft. This poses a problem for PayPal which has yet to configure a way to pass these charges onto their consumers. So, rather than revising their own methods they’re pressuring the sellers of said risky materials to desist. This is my conjecture for information I’ve seen in the last few days. BUT if this is the cause, they’re trying to take the easier route than to solve the problem for themselves, even at the cause of suppressing the ability of an individual to create and distribute works of FICTION.

    The problem isn’t with WHAT they’re trying to suppress but that they’re trying to suppress at all. If the financial institutions tell PayPal next that GBLTQ is risky, is PayPal then going to suppress all works relating to that? What about if they deem materials perpetuating women’s rights…would you then support that move should PayPal choose to pressure Publication Houses and Book Retailers with equal veracity?

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again that the problem with censoring FICTION is that not only does it prohibit the discussion about the topic in question, it also prohibits the discussion AGAINST the topic in question.

    Should I write a story of survival, the main character being one who survived some horrible childhood incident, and leave out details about that incident which causes her to combat her oppressor for the sake of the general public’s morality police??? NO. Should I make my antagonist have a weak back story simply because it might offend someone? NO. Censorship is as simple as how J.S. Wayne defined and it does indeed apply to what PayPal is doing, in my own humble opinion.

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  78. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:51:56

    But R. Renee Vickers, but those are the terms Paypal had from the beginning. It’s not like they suddenly pulled this out of their butt. This has been a part of their TOS for years. Somehow the epubs have managed just fine without them. In fact, as far as Oi know none of them deal in those categories either. Do you then accuse them of censorship for not publishing it? Of course not. They have the right to do business as they see fit. If Paypal decides tomortow that erotica isn’t profitable, period, it’s their right to do so. Presumably people can still sell it, just less conveniently. Censorship doesn’t mean making something less convenient. Those companies chose to violate PP’s TOS. it’s not like they didn’t know the rules.

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  79. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 18:57:03

    @Linda Hilton: I’m reminded of the famous Virginia Woolf quote: “Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” I don’t know why this needs to be an either/or proposition. I think it’s possible to write for money and art, and I’m rather stunned by the implication that it must be one or the other.

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  80. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:07:46

    I’d just like to point towards the original BOATK review with the point by point analysis: The reviewer has today edited his review in response to the accusations that it’s all superficial similarities. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/281045972 It’s a very interesting list.

    Just in case anyone wanted more details on the similarities.

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  81. R. Renee Vickers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:10:02

    @Roslyn Holcomb: I don’t disagree with you there in the aspect of they have the right run their business as they see fit and these companies have equal right to find other payment methods. My hang up is that they’re amending the specifics to their TOS and issuing demands upon the companies who use their services. To me, it smacks of censorship.

    As far as what I’ve seen, their TOS never defined what they’re pursuing now. They cover it as being under the “obscene” clause but where do you draw that line? If tomorrow, their list of “obscene” items grows, at what point are people allowed to say enough? Do they say they’ve gone to far when this starts (now) or do they say they’ve gone so far that they prevent people from paying their doctors for contraceptives because someone there thinks that birth control is obscene?

    I do feel the best way to combat this is with public awareness and to utilize other methods of payment. I do feel PayPal has the right to conduct their business as they see fit. I do not feel that PayPal has the right to issue demands of change in policies against other companies…and in the same breath, I don’t feel these companies should pass these demands on their authors.

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  82. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:19:29

    @Fae: I linked to that in my comment #272. It’s quite something, isn’t it?

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  83. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:21:33

    @Sunita: Oops, my apologies, Sunita, I didn’t see that. It’s been hard to keep up with the influx of ‘new comment’ emails!

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  84. Author on Vacation
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:27:27

    @Linda Hilton:

    If someone writes books to make money and that’s their primary objective, then what difference does it make what kind of books they write? I mean, isn’t it then just a job, like laying bricks or transcribing accounts of traffic accidents for an insurance claim? If it’s only and all about the money, then the writers will write what sells, so if they lose the easy money in the erotica market, they’ll write something else, as long as it sells.

    Why exactly do you object to any author receiving appropirate compensation for his/her work?

    Writing and storytelling are, indeed, an art form. There are, of course, many writers who write regularly without ever intending to seek professional publication or even share their work with the public at no charge. However, crafting fiction is a time-consuming job. The post-writing process (editing, rewriting, polishing, and promotional efforts) is also time-consuming.

    I don’t understand why a skilled author should be denied compensation because particular themes in the author’s work are objectionable to some folks.

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  85. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:27:45

    @Jackie Barbosa: Are you trying to say that authors only write when there’s a monetary advantage? I think that’s pretty sad. But it still has no bearing on whether there actually is the opportunity and allowance to write or to read erotica. Only the ability to make good money at it.

    Edited to add: I’m not saying this is the most “desirable outcome”, only that no one’s rights or abilities to write or to read are being infringed on, which is what many people have implied here. People can still write and read these things if they choose to do so, they just can’t do it through Paypal.

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  86. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:31:51

    @Fae: Not at all. It bears repeating/relinking. :)

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  87. Roslyn Holcomb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:35:49

    R. Renee Vickers, I don’t think that’s accurate. This has been in their TOS for a while now. I remember well when the epubs parted ways with PP and it was over these same issues. I used PP quite a lot to shop at epubs at the time and remember the back and forth with them over the issues. And as far as I know none of the epubs dealt in the categories that are being proscribed now. At least I don’t recall seeing those type books that I’ve seen on the front page at ARe of late. If anything, it seems that PP is trying to be as flexible as possible while preserving a profit.

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  88. Beverly
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 19:35:57

    @J.S. Wayne: I’m sorry, but your understanding of censorship and rights is completely wrong. Yes, individual people and companies make censorious decisions. However, that does not equate to government censorship levels. Were we to follow your logic, the local mom and pop store down the road would be required to sell bestiality erotica, even if they really, really didn’t want to. Do you think you should have the right to tell other people what they have to sell? There’s no difference between your neighbor and Paypal when it comes to the freedom to make their own business decisions.

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  89. Stephanie Dray
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:00:52

    I’m distressed to learn that Paypal has apparently pressured Smashwords into devising a policy that seems entirely arbitrary, capricious and almost certain to result in disparities in enforcement that will serve to widen the gulf between traditionally published authors and self-published authors.

    As Jane correctly notes, “lines are drawn in the law all the time. Obscenity, pornography and the like” have been subject to judicial definition. And during the ten minutes that I practiced law, these lines were my area of expertise.

    The problem was, then as now, these lines are so subjective as to create havoc within communities–frustrating the purpose of law in carving out commonly understood standards of behavior.

    It’s generally a disaster when jurists try to define acceptable modes of expression. I have a difficult time believing that the mysterious “banking partners” and the folks at Paypal and now, Smashwords will do a better job of it.

    None of these entities strikes me as particularly qualified, nor equipped, to fashion a policy that does not have a chilling effect on the expression of artists in a rapidly changing publishing world. Now, as none of these entities are governmental in nature, nothing in the law forces them to offer their services to include of expression they don’t like.

    They aren’t curbing free speech.

    They are, however, engaging in a form of censorship that has serious implications due to their size and the relatively monopolistic nature of the emerging digital fiction industry. Because it is extremely unlikely that Smashwords is going to hire employees to read through thousands of books and decide if the rape scenes are meant to arouse, we can assume that the enforcement of this policy will be spotty or over-inclusive.

    Why do I say that the decision is likely to widen the gulf between traditionally published and self-published authors? Like mainstream novels Game of Thrones, Mists of Avalon and Flowers in the Attic, my most recent historical fantasy novel contains both a rape scene and incest. While Song of the Nile is neither romance nor erotic fiction and does not offer up rape for prurient purposes, both these scenes can and do cause reader discomfort.

    Nonetheless, my book is published by Berkley Books and enjoys shelf space in major bookstores online and offline. I note that where it is sold online it is sometimes tagged with an incest tag. I believe this is for purposes of warning readers who may be triggered by such content.

    If I had wished to sell this novel myself on Smashwords, this new policy would have given me pause even though my work almost assuredly falls outside the guidelines. I would not have confidence that my work would be taken on its individual merit.

    Combined with the outright refusal to sell works that are disapproved of by bankers, some of whom are probably working out of highly ethical cities like Dubai, the upshot may be that mainstream publishers continue to dictate the boundaries of appropriate fiction while self-published authors will find their ability to find and build an audience sharply circumscribed.

    That is not an outcome I would wish to see in the book-reading, book-writing, book-publishing community. I also believe that several of the criteria used to form these policies have the potential to be discriminatory and I object to them on those grounds as well.

    I’m happy to be persuaded that I’m mistaken, but with all due respect to Mark Corker, I think this is a mistake that will have lasting consequences.

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  90. Stephanie Dray
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:09:51

    @Beverly: I worry that you and Jackie are talking past one another. You write, “People can still write and read these things if they choose to do so, they just can’t do it through Paypal.”

    True enough. However, if Paypal were to say that they no longer would facilitate transactions for fiction involving homosexuality, would that not strike you as discriminatory? Would it not tempt you to call them out for this practice? Might it cause a boycott?

    Given the place of market dominance Paypal has achieved in the online retail world, they would rightly pay a heavy price for such an action, even though there is, to my knowledge, no law preventing them from doing so.

    I think what Jackie Barbosa is trying to say–though I am loathe to put words in her mouth–is that our righteous indignation might stand to be stretched a little. Some of us would prefer it if public opprobrium fell upon those who make it difficult for erotic fiction authors to engage in their craft with the same freedom and opportunity as other authors.

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  91. Fae
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:14:43

    Am I the only one bothered by people drawing a comparison between true racism/bigotry towards minority groups and Daddy’s Anal Slut? Really? Comparing true oppression of human beings and their inalienable civil rights to exist and be seen as equal, with the ‘plight’ of someone’s right to sell bestiality and Incest stories through Paypal? That’s just…well, it’s more disgusting than some of those awful covers, is what it is.

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  92. Linda Hilton
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:31:31

    @Jackie Barbosa: Oh, please don’t misunderstand me, Jackie, because I’m not saying it has to be one or the other. But if, as you wrote, writers write to make money, then they have to adjust to the marketplace. If they want to write for the joy of writing without concern whether it makes money or not, then they can do so. Sometimes, happily, the two coincide, but sometimes they don’t. I think it’s unfair to think that just because someone has written something, someone else is necessarily obligated to publish it. Works fail to achieve publication for a variety of reasons, and sometimes those are financial, sometimes they’re ideological, and sometimes both. And sometimes when they are published, they don’t sell. We can’t make readers buy, and we can’t make sellers sell either.

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  93. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:45:11

    @Sunita: So here I am, spent an evening rewatching Shelter and reading IMO painful and not very well written book. No, I have not finished yet, I am only on 30% of the story, the level of angst is so high (and I can handle a lot of angst) that it is giving me a headache, I want to take a red pen and take out half of what I read because I *got the point already”. Having said it, I want to offer an opinion anyway as to whether I think it is a plagiarism. General outline of the plot is similar for sure, disturbingly similar even, yes with couple of similar scenes, but having read the reviewer’s point by point comparison, I most certainly disagree with one point that I consider extremely important.I would not agree that main characters’ personalities are similar to rise to level of plagiarism, I mean their mother’s abandoment plays such significant impact on Bear’s personality that besides the fact that he and Zach are both attached to the child, I do not see any close similarities between them. Neither do I see any close similarities between Shawn and Otter, or at the very least not yet. Besides him being attached to the child and Bear/Zach of course. I will continue to suffer for as long as I can, but so far I would I guess say partial plagiarism – plot, but not characters. I certainly do not feel that differences in the plot are enough to say not plagiarism, although their mother’s leaving for me was enough to significantly make main character different. So different that I cant wait for him to shut up, narrator that is :(

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  94. Tom Webb
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 20:57:24

    I saw this about Dreamspinner and TJ KLune, and, unlike some others, decided to go right to the source, and read it on your website from your very own lips, so to speak.

    You call this news? The fact that you use the word “apparently” in your accusations makes it somehow okay to pass off as something credible? A reader says?

    I call bullshit on this whole issue. That fact that “someone says” makes it okay to print is ridiculous. I’ve seen “Shelter”, and I’ve read “BOATK”. Three times. One can see slight similarities in plot, but to try to pass this off as some kind of huge scandal which Dreamspinner has some hand in, according to your stellar reporting? Give. Me. A. Break.

    West Side Story echoes Romeo and Juliet. Will you refuse to listen to “Somewhere” now? That makes about as much sense as anything else this muckracking piece purports to do. And then, then to actually publish an accusation, again wrapped up under the auspices of “the reader reports” that somehow Mr. Klune admitted to plagiarism then deleted it?

    You should be so very proud of yourselves. Because I have to tell you, you have about as much credibility to me, a serious reader, as…I don’t even have words for it.

    Then, to say that Dreamspinner encourages AND tells writers how to steal stories and cheat? Did YOU check any sources? Did you maybe misunderstand, misconstrue, mislead? Oh. I’m sorry, a reader told me you did. So it must be so…

    Ever heard of fanfic? As a starting point and jump off for taking a story into one step more?

    You owe all parties involved an apology. Thank God I don’t have to put up with your self righteous crap – all I am is a reader.

    For Christ’s Sake, you people – get a frikkin life!

    Tom

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  95. L.K. Rigel
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:00:34

    @Tom Webb:

    The word “clueless” comes to mind.

    And no, I don’t mean as in the retelling of Emma, a work that is out of copyright.

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  96. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:05:20

    @Tom Webb:

    Tom,

    In regards to the Dreamspinner/Fan-Fiction issue, it came from their own editor’s blog post. I don’t see any words being put into anyone’s proverbial mouth.

    http://chicksndicks.blogspot.com/2012/01/ethics-of-reworking-fanfiction-editors.html?zx=a81a16966a2d13b

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  97. Ros
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:11:40

    @Jane: Well, at least that would be a silver lining.

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  98. azteclady
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:22:31

    @Tom Webb: Serious reader, of course.

    Because no one here at DA ever reads anything.

    Jane, you ignorant slut!

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  99. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:29:18

    @Tom Webb: You must be new here.

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  100. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:31:33

    @azteclady:

    Apparently Tom only reads comments and didn’t bother to check the documented link regarding Dreamspinner’s instructional blog post regarding changing fan-fiction.

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  101. Sirius
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:35:00

    @Aleksandr Voinov: Hi Aleks, I thought I would not be able to find your comment :). This may be off topic for this thread, but I will say it anyway, please nobody kill me :). Since “Blacker than Black” was published by Riptide, I wanted to thank you for putting the product of such caliber on the market. Two reasons why I find this kind of relevant – I only finished the book yesterday (definitely needed to be in the mood for it) and was blown away by editing, writing, characters, everything, but the most important reason is that this book to me demonstrates very well that it is possible to take a very familiar trope and make it so brilliantly unique as this book did. I guess the contrast is too fresh in my mind if that makes sense. Thank you and thank you to the writer of course. Yeah, am done gushing now and forgive me for off topic interruption, as I said – contrast is too fresh in my mind and my reading now causes me too much pain.

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  102. YT
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:44:16

    As a completely unbiased, objective person who has no connection whatsoever to TJ Klune, I have to say–shame on you! shame on you all! I have read his books many times, and every time I read them I am struck by what an honest, hard-working individual TJ Klune is. There is NO WAY that he could have plagiarized all of that. Those things you list are mere coincidence, and an individual as virile, strong, and good-looking as TJ Klune would never have engaged in such low behavior.

    Anyone could have written a book that had similarities to a movie. I cannot believe you are citing as evidence a post in which someone lists a mere 93 similarities between the book and the movie. I could understand some suspicion if there were 100 similarities, but 93 is too few. You are all getting set up for a lawsuit for defamation. I will laugh when you are found guilty of libel, barratry, trademark dilution, and intentional interference with contract.

    Nine out of ten sock puppets agree that TJ Klune is INNOCENT.

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  103. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 21:49:35

    @Moriah Jovan: This made me snort.

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  104. Debra Holland
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:00:45

    I hope Kay Manning’s apology is sincere, and not coached by someone else.

    Kay, if you are reading this, I hope you take a long hard look at your life. I hope you seek psychotherapy. I hope you make direct written and financial amends to the authors you harmed directly.

    As to the greater community of authors and readers… I don’t know what you can do to help them heal from your actions. The apology is a good start. Knowing you’re seeking help is another step. Maybe someday, you can write an original piece that takes people through your recovery process.

    I wish this blog hadn’t put the paypal/Smashwords discussion in the same one as the Kay Manning. Two serious, but different, issues to discuss.

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  105. Ros
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:01:05

    @YT: *happy grin*

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  106. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:09:57

    #300 wins at the internets.

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  107. Sara
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:19:19

    I’ve seen Shelter a couple of times & while there may be some similarities between Bear, Otter & the Kid, there’s no way it’s the same book. There’s no character like the kid, who is a genius, a vegetarian & very funny in the book, in the movie & he takes up the majority of the book. There’s no school scenes, parent teacher conferences any of the funny poems etc. in the movie. In the movie, the boy is an average 5 year old, not a genius, who is sad. There’s no disabled dad in the book as in the film. In the movie The young man did not raise a little boy on his own, instead he lives with his sister who likes to go out on dates. The sister does not abandon her child. I could go on, but it’s unbelievable that you base accusation on some bitter people commenting on GoodReads.

    I will also add, there was no Admission of stealing a story on the author’s blog as I happened to look at it at the time the accusation was made. What was said, was a reader on goodreads said in a comment in a sarcastic, joking way, how can you have a sequel as there’s no movie after Shelter. It was a joke. And the writer made a funny comment about staying above the fray in response. The person writing her review took this comment as an admission which it was not. I really think this blog should not take idle gossip & put a column about it. And yes, I’m absolutely no relation to TJ , not even a goodread fan or friend. I’m just very irritated by the environment over there & people with vendettas going after a writer.

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  108. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:21:40

    @YT: /slow clap

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  109. Lasha
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:31:49

    @Tasha: Who is having a movie made of said book in which I found lifted dialogue from The Terminator 2. Excuse me, it was an HOMAGE.

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  110. Moira Reid
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 22:37:25

    @Emma Petersen: “And please Moira, don’t keep your opinions to yourself. You have a right to express them the same as everyone else does. *hugs* I heart you Moira because you say what needs to be said, when it needs to be said and while it may not be something I can or would say that doesn’t make me respect it any less.”

    That might be the nicest thing anyone’s ever told me. Many hearts and hugs your way, too.

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  111. Sunita
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:06:54

    @YT: Yep, Moriah is absolutely right.

    And then Comment #305 hands you the QED.

    *deep bow*

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  112. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:09:57

    @Deerhart:

    No, you are confusing patent law with copyright. Apple and Samsung are suing eachother at the moment because they are in a dispute on what an idea is. (Apple is suing Samsung because they see “swipe to open” as a patent. Samsung is suing because Apple is using their patent of touchscreens. -At least that is what reports are telling me. Both companies has been banned from selling their product in some countries because of it.)

    As for your example, using Hogwarts is definitely against the law. J.K. Rowling created Hogwarts, and using her creation is against copyright law. It wouldn’t matter if you use different characters. The Hogwarts setting is copyrighted . -A whole other discussion is that you would be sued by Warner Brothers, who Rowling for some reason has sold the Harry potter copyright to. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ditched her old agent because he advised her to do that. Copyright 101 is never sell/give away the right to your creations. (look at “…and the Deathly Hollows,” and you’ll see that the characters are copyright Warner Bros.)

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  113. AvidReader
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:22:36

    @YT:

    Wow.

    Smartass thy name is…. but whats with the sock puppets?

    @Debra- I agree about seperating the two seperate issues, apparently there is alot to be said on both topics and having everything together makes it hard to follow the different talking points being floated about.

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  114. Deerhart
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:35:19

    @Weirdmage:
    No I am NOT confusing patent law and copyright law. I actually went and LOOKED IT UP. I even gave you the court cases that state that the United States Supreme Court has decided that COPYRIGHT violations of fan fiction are on a case by case basis. I also linked the case that specifically stated that copyright protects EXPRESSION not IDEAS.

    Let me quote you langauge directly from these cases

    In view of the First Amendment’s protections embodied in the Act’s distinction between copyrightable expression and uncopyrightable facts and ideas

    he majority noted that copyright attaches to expression, not facts or ideas. It concluded that, to avoid granting a copyright monopoly over the facts underlying history and news, “`expression’ [in such works must be confined] to its barest elements – the ordering and choice of the words themselves.”

    And yes, actaully under the case law I saw, so long as the work was a derivative and transformative, you can set it in Hogwarts and it would not be a copyright violation. Again, I gave you court cases in which a substantial part of Gone With the Wind was used, but the work was found to be transformative and thus not a copyright violation.

    A copyright stops direct copying of the expression, but it does not stop someone spinning off the ideas and transforming the work into a derivitative, parody etc. But, when you do that you run the risk of being sued and the court making the decision on whether or not it’s transformative enough.

    You have to stop thinking of copyright as an ABSOLUTE right that covers everything. It’s not. Plenty of holes to walk through (fair use, satire, Parody, derivative work -expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work)

    Wiki has a good description of derivative works, which is what fan fiction is
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

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  115. Weirdmage
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:43:39

    @Jane:
    As I said, I don’t understand how it is fan-fiction if you don’t use the same characters and world. But as I also said, I am not at all familiar with fan-fiction. So our definitions of fan-fiction makes us disagree. In my definition of fan-fiction you have to use the original creation to make it fan-fiction. I am aware that you can remove the work so much from the original that it is not seen as derivative. (And I think that is why there’s porn “parodies” of almost every famous movie franchise there is.)

    In general, as a lawyer, wouldn’t you agree that prescedence counts a lot in court? I.e. that the verdict of a higher court often decides what a judge’s verdict is, or at least a previous judgement can decide a case. -In the verdicts I have read, the judge always references other cases, and the verdicts thereof.
    That is why I say fan-fiction that is distributed is illegal. I’m pretty sure that an author can get a temporary injunction against it being distributed until the case is decided. -I do think fan-fiction wil end up in supreme court one day. I do think it hasn’t because verdicts in lower courts concerning authors that have sued is so unambigious that there hasn’t been an appeal. I don’t think that a supreme court will ever declare (my definition of) fan-fiction legal. As I think that basically negates copyright.

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  116. Ridley
    Feb 25, 2012 @ 23:56:11

    @Beverly: Look, it *is* censorship. Censorship they have every right to participate in, but censorship nonetheless. They’re making a value judgment on the content. It’s not like a corner store not selling sex toys, it’s like a pharmacy not stocking Plan B.

    It’s worrisome to me as a reader because I’m loath to see my book buying options limited by retailers’/payment processors’ judgment of what is and isn’t obscene material. What happens when no one sells this arbitrarily labeled “taboo” erotica? It may not be government censorship, but it’s still a limitation on speech.

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  117. Courtney Milan
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:00:18

    @Weirdmage: There are so many things wrong with everything you are saying. I don’t even know where to start.

    But let me just ask you this: If using Hogwarts is categorically against the law, and this is not decided on a case by case basis, why is it that the initial version of the unauthorized Harry Potter Lexicon was found to infringe on J.K. Rowling’s copyright in 2008, but that a latter modified stripped down version was found not to infringe in 2009?

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  118. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:13:13

    @Weirdmage: Except I gave you a case where the fan fiction was distributed and sold and the copyright holder LOST the temporary injunction and the case. That case WAS decided by the US Supreme Court

    Fan Fiction are stories that are based on the characters or locations of an original work. It is a pretty broad description and there are lots of them out there that have been sold, though not always when a copy right is in place (ie Jane Austin).

    While precedence is important. it is not the only factor and again, when it is a case by case basis, precedence becomes LESS important. WHy? Because in a case by cases standard, no 2 cases are the same which leaves the judge(s) decided the matter a lot of wiggle room to easily distinguish this case from any other. Further, here the law has been pretty clear for over over a decade that fan fiction CAN be a derivative and thus fair use. But again, it is a proceed at your own risk because it can end up in court and because it is a case by case issue, it is much harder to predict how the court will rule unless it is clearly a violation (as it would be in the example that spawned this blog post) or clearly is not a violation (because copyright is gone like with Jane Austin or that there are clearly substantial changes as in Gone With the Wind example). Technically, both the book Scarlett and Rhett Butler’s People are fan fiction. As Margeret Mitchell died in 1949, the copy right on gone with the wind did not expire until 1999. Scarlett was released in 1991 and thus is either a derivative work (or they were granted permission by the copyright holder which is what I beleive happened) or even both. But instead of taking the risk of a court battle they simply got permission. The other book came after the copyright expired and thus is not a violation.

    Further, a copy right violation is a violation REGARDLESS of whether or not you make any money off of it. The copyright laws allow for statutory damages of $750-$30,000 per violation and if the violation is found to be willful, the damages increase to up to over $100,000. If the court deems the violation wasn’t willful and the offending party truly beleived they had a fair use they can lower the violation to $200. Further, the statute is a loser pays situation where the losing party can be ordered to pay all costs and attorney fees. Thus your assertion that it’s not a copyright violation unless they make money off it is completely wrong. Go back to the tatoo copyright suit from the Hangover 2, it was a copyright violation even though the studio had not yet made a dime off the movie (hence the injuction filed by the copyright holder) nor had it distributed it yet. Also there are novels upon novels of fan fic star wars and star trek books out there.
    Many times the copyright holder ultimately gives permission because 1) by giving permission it can give them some say in the process and what the people write 2) the book is a derivative and they recognize that they would lose the court battle and end up paying the other side

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  119. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:28:03

    And this is why I always avoided writing Fan Fiction. So much gray area…

    Don’t most of these Fanfiction websites have rules about using the content on the website, anyhow?

    Is the Dreamspinner editor giving instructions on how to change your own fan fiction, or use someone else’s? Because if it’s the latter, then I could see some issues arising from that.

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  120. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:31:47

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_Done_Gone

    Here is the wiki article on the GWTW fan fiction where there was found to be no copyright violation.

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  121. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:33:09

    @Deerhart:
    If you had read my comments, you’d see that I cover both parody and fair use in them. I am sure that using Hogwarts in anything you write will get you not only sued, but that you will lose in a court. Hogwarts is a specific thing. However a “school of magic”, that is hidden but exists in our world, predates Rowling. And an orphan “chosen one” is a SFF cliché, that is so overused that you’ll get laughed at by SFF fans for using it. (I’ll ad that I liked the Harry Potter books, but felt they went downhill from “Order of the Phoenix” that I see as the best book. The last book is the weakest in my opinion.)

    “Fair use”, is not absolute. That you can be sued, and not having it thrown out as a frivious lawsuit, shows that it is may be illegal according to law. Not that it is likely legal. I have yet to se any evidence, or reasoned argument, that my definition ( that I have stated in this tread) of fan-fiction is legal. I see the “it is decided by a case by case basis” argument as being equal to “I know I am doing something illegal, but you have to go to court to prove it”.
    -And I still fail to see how anyone earning money from someone else’s creation has any right to call themselves a fan. They are just using the popularity of something to get a buck. -And for the record: I think fan-fiction is OK as long as money don’t change hands. And that is what I have seen authors state too.

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  122. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:44:39

    @Weirdmage: How many lawyers need to tell you you’re mistaken before it trumps your “gut feeling?”

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  123. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:47:20

    @Deerhart:
    Firstly, copyright is life of author +75 years, not 50. Secondly “Scarlett” was an authorised sequel.

    And I don’t understand why you disagree with me when your last paragraph/block of text agrees with my earlier assertion here where I explicitly said that no oney had to be involved, it just a fact that you wont get sued if no money is involved. That last paragraph of yours only serves to prove that my assertion that distributing fan-fiction is illegal in principle. -That an author does not sue doesn’t make it legal.

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  124. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 00:56:39

    @Weirdmage:
    Again an IDEA cannot be copyrighted. The only thing that was copyrighted was the way JK ROwlings expressed herself. So yes you can use Hogwarts. For example, a person could rewrite the entire HP novels from Nevil’s point of view and it may have a good chance of being deemed a derivative.

    I have repeatedly stated that writing fan fiction is a do at your own risk. This is because copyright holders are generally overzealous in protecting their copyrights and will drag someone into court to have the court decide.

    A case by case basis is not an argument equal to I know I am doing something illegal but you have to go to court to prove it, especially since all the plaintiff has to do is prove they hold the copyright and that your book is close to it. It is the DEFENDANT (aka the fan fic writer) who has the burden of PROVING the defense of deriviative/fair use. Further, it HAS to be on a case by case basis because frankly, each expression WILL be unique. You are never going to see case law regarding what this woman has done because it is clearly, blatantly, and willfully a violation of copyright law. SO your going to see the cases regarding trivia books, lexicons, rewrites from another character’s perspective, prequels, sequals, wrtten from a brand new characters point of view (which the example I gave above on writing about a new class at hogwarts would have an excellent chance of being deemed a deriviative)

    I also never said fair use was an absolute. Very very few, if any, copyright cases are going to be tossed as friviolous, espeically since the definition of frivolous for legal matters is that their is absolutely NO GROUNDS for the suit. Almost always in a copyright case there will at least be grounds for dispute in determining whether or not the work is deriviative ENOUGH. See that is the key word here, ENOUGH. Is this work different enough from the original work.

    Most people embroiled in copyright lawsuits do not beleive they are doing something illegal. They beleive that what they are doing falls under one of the exceptions (fair use, derivative etc). The copyright holder disagrees and beleives it is not derivative enough, hence the court decides.

    I find it interesting that you think it’s okay for people to write fan fiction, even if it violates copyright law, so long as they don’t make money off it. Unfortunately, if I decided tomorrow to violate the copyright of the book next to me and give it away (aka like the lady did in the post spawning this discussion) it is STILL a copyright violation.

    The real question that comes down to in copyright law is whether or not the risk is worth the reward. I can write that HP book from Nevil’s point of view and regardless of whether or not I would win a court battle (and I would say that it is entirely possible to win that battle based on case law I have seen) I still wouldn’t write the book because I know 100% that the copyright holder would aggressively pursue the copyright. While I may ultimately be the winner in oh 4-5 years, I certainly don’t have the bankroll to pay out the attorney fees to fight the case (even if they would be paid back if I were to win).

    Just because something MAY be illegal according to the law doesn’t mean it IS illegal according to the law. That is why we have a legal system to decide those things. These copyright cases are a difference of opinion, one side it’s different enough, the other side it isn’t. The judge, ultimately, dets to decide (unless the 2 sides work it out which 95% of all civil cases settle)

    As for the earning money from someone else’s creation, well we all earn money from someone else’s creation. Ideas that spawn stories have been around for centuries and as you so plainly pointed out, the same IDEAS are used over and over again. The idea was created and expressed by one person and someone else saw it/read it etc and was inspired to use those ideas to create their OWN unique work. Sometimes those unique works are in the same context of the original creation (aka derivitative) and sometimes they aren’t.

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  125. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:04:11

    @Deerhart:
    I’m surprised they didn’t try and sue Missy D’Urberville for her GWTW parody, “Today Is Another Tomorrow” http://amzn.com/0312065655

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  126. Dusk Peterson
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:05:01

    Quite honestly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the boom to fall upon e-booksellers carrying adult content. PayPal instituted its policy against adult-oriented products back in 2003 (purportedly because of the high amount of money it was having to pay on fraud investigations of adult materials).

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-09-13-paypal-fines_x.htm

    Back then, I witnessed PayPal crack down on a number of indie authors who had been using PayPal as a way to sell books from their websites.

    So my question isn’t: Why is PayPal preventing e-bookstores from using their services to sell certain categories of erotica? Rather, my question is: Why is PayPal continuing to let e-bookstores use their services to sell *any* type of erotica?

    That’s why I think this particular situation is a very dangerous case of slippery slope. First PayPal moved against indie authors of adult materials, and now they’re moving against certain categories of adult material carried by big e-bookstores. There’s nothing in PayPal’s terms of service that would prevent them from going further.

    By the way, a number of commentators on this recent situation have said, “Don’t worry; alternatives to PayPal will arise.” I heard those same words nine years ago, when PayPal instituted its policy.

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  127. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:08:05

    @Weirdmage:

    Actually, no copyright is not the creators life +75 years. For works created prior to January 1, 1978 it is the authors life +50 years. For works created after that date it is the author’s life +75 years. Hence the copyright on GWTW, as it was created prior to 1978, is only 50 years after her death. I also stated that I beleived that Scarlett was authorized.

    I did not prove that it is illegal in principle because well there really is no such thing. By saying it is illegal in principle is saying that copyright doesn’t have recognized catagories where the copyrights cease which it does. You cannot violate copyright law in principle when what you have done is NOT a violation of copyright law. The difference is that you see all fan fiction as always being a violation of copyright law and that position is simply not support by either the legislated law nor the case law.

    Finally, people chose not to sue for many different reasons. One of which is the ability to recover damages. Let me tell you there are plenty of people who will sue someone, when there is no hope of EVER recovering any money in the suit, just to have the ruling against the person (in fact I was an attorney in one such suit). Some people sue for spit, some to set an example, and some people sue and appeal simply to get a better clarification of where the boundries in the law may be (which is helpful in an area like copyright law in finding where the courts are drawing the lines and how closely a work can push the boundaries and still be deriviative – like in the cited HP lexicon case)

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  128. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:15:51

    @Ridley:

    No lawyers have said I am wrong yet. Jane said she agreed that my definition of fan-fiction is illegal (in comment 264):

    “If your definition of fan fiction is using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes then I would agree with you.”

    I have said several times that I don’t understand how something is fan-fiction if it doesn’t adhere to that definition. And Jane continued:

    “I think fan fiction is much broader and I would stake my law degree and my 14 years of practice as a lawyer on my interpretation of copyright which is fan fiction is measured on a case by case basis and that there is no bright line test such as all fan fiction is illegal to distribute. ”

    Jane is absolutely right in that it is decided on a case by case basis, if you only look at the law. I disagree with her in that I think if it is even a question if it is illegal I think it is wrong to do it. And putting law aside, I don’t see how making money on someone else’s creation in any way makes you a fan. -I think Jane and I agree except in our definition of fan-fiction. And I think she strongly disagrees with my definition of fan-fiction, but I am very fine with that. But I have seen authors agree with my opinion that making money off fan-fiction is wrong, and I’ll stick with that. -And agin, just because someone allows you to do something it is not necessarily legal if you follow the letter of the law.

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  129. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:18:28

    @Sidney Ayers:
    The parady exception to copyright law is pretty well settled for a very long time (4 prong test). Think about how long SNL has been around or artists like Weird Al.

    People keep suing South Park over copyright violations on their paradies and keep losing. In fact, the courts find the parady fair use law so well settled (especially with South Park) that the judge who decided the case in December 2011 said that the plaintiffs cause of action was objectively unreasonable (and ordered the plaintiff to pay $30k in attorney fees). In fact, this case got tossed on a Motion to Dismiss

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/south-park-what-what-butt-lawsuit-270863

    There have been enough South Park lawsuits that they are being used to teach copyright classes

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  130. Ann Somerville
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:27:39

    @Weirdmage:
    “But I have seen authors agree with my opinion that making money off fan-fiction is wrong, and I’ll stick with that.”

    I’ve seen authors compare fanfiction to being raped and burgled, so…no, I wouldn’t use what authors think about fanfiction as my legal authority, because most of us are as ignorant on the actual law as you are. I can assure you that the original creators take very diverse views on the subject – some even write it, and others like Diana Gabaldon are virulently against it (ahem, even though her Outlander series started as fanfic itself!) – but very few of them have legal training or have taken legal action which can act as any kind of precedent. Deerhart is stating the situation as I understand it to be, as the Organisation for Transformative Works understands it to be, and since she’s a lawyer and you’re not, I guess she’s more likely to know than you are. Most authors who are foolish enough to opine on fanfic in public talk utter crap about fanfiction and the law.

    “And agin, just because someone allows you to do something it is not necessarily legal if you follow the letter of the law. ”

    Wow, you have no idea what copyright involves, do you? Every time I sign a contract with a publisher, or allow Smashwords to distribute my books, I am explicitly allowing to do things that *without* my permission, would indeed be violations of copyright.

    Permission to reproduce, sell and market is what copyright is all about. You really, truly have no flipping idea what you are talking about.

    Fanfiction, by the way, is not just “using the same world, characters, and plot and rewriting scenes”. It encompasses Alternative Universes, new characters in known universes, continuations well past what the original creator has come up with, and different takes on plots. Your definition is so incredibly narrow, I wonder that you can have any familiarity with fanfiction at all. I *do* have considerable familiarity – I wrote it (never sold it and never will, because that’s a breach of trust) and read it, and still keep in touch with people in fandoms of wildly different types.

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  131. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:38:22

    @Weirdmage: Gotcha.

    You saying, “Here’s how I think copyright works.” > three different lawyers saying, “Um, no it doesn’t.”

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  132. Deerhart
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:42:03

    @Weirdmage:
    your definition of fan fiction is not fan fiction. It is plagarism. Plagarism of a copyrighted item is always a violation. You have limited your definition to basically taking the exact same story and changing a few things. I have yet to see fan fiction that does that with one exception, the fan fiction that comes from a different characters point of view, which in my understanding of the law is a deriviative work.

    By limiting your definition of fan fiction so narrowly, your basically saying derivatives aren’t fan fiction only plagarism is, which has never been an accepted definition of fan fiction that I have seen anywhere.

    I am not sure why you can’t understand that something is fan fiction when the original work spawned the idea for the story they are telling. The star wars books that tell the stories of what happened between the movies and after the moives are fan fiction. They were not written by the orginal creator George Lucas. This is the whole point behind the limitations to the copyright laws and why you cannot copyright ideas only expressions.

    Sorry, just because a copyright holder or anyone else THINKS it’s wrong, doesn’t MAKE it wrong or illegal. Hence why copyright holders don’t get an auto win the minute they file suit.

    But you HAVE stated several times that a person cannot use the word Hogwarts and if they did they would be sued for a copyright violation (just to point out the fact that by using the term I am NOT in violation of any copyright as my use of the term falls within the fair use doctrine) and you have been told with a specific example that there in fact has been a copyright case WON by a person, not holding the copyright, yet using the term

    And oh BTW straight from wiki (I so love it to start reasearch)
    In November 2007, The Scotsman reported that Rowling had threatened legal action against American computer programmer G. Norman Lippert for allegedly violating her intellectual property rights by producing and publishing the online novel, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, an unofficial and unauthorised continuation of the Harry Potter series. Written as a fan fiction project for Lippert’s wife and sons, the novel is set eighteen years after the end of the last official installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and describes the adventures of Harry Potter’s son, James Potter, during his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[62] A specialist in intellectual property law at Strathclyde University commented that, “If an insubstantial character from a novel is taken and built up by another author in a new story, that can be a defence against copyright infringements.”[62] However, after Lippert offered Rowling an advance copy of the novel, Rowling dismissed her threat[63] and said she supported the novel and any others like it.[63] Lippert subsequently produced a sequel, James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper.[63] After the novel first appeared online in early November 2007, some Harry Potter fans on the Internet initially speculated that the site might be part of an elaborate viral marketing campaign for an official continuation or spinoff of Harry Potter, one either written or at least approved by Rowling herself.[64] On November 9, 2007, Rowling’s agent Neil Blair denied that Rowling was in any way involved with the purported project,[65] and Warner Bros., the studio which owns the rights to the Harry Potter film series, denied that the novel was in any way connected to the official Harry Potter franchise.[66]

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  133. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:50:49

    @K. Z. Snow:

    K.Z., I’m with you. Whatever comes of the T.J. Klune accusations, so be it. If he copied a source, something needs to be done. But I dispute the editing accusations. Dreamspinner does edit the work. We do receive three to four editorial passes. Calling them a book mill is unfair.

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  134. Weirdmage
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 01:57:02

    @Deerhart:
    The 1978 date, is as far as I know US only. And as far as I know, prior to the Berne Copyright Convention (I think that is what it is called) the US had one of the strongest copyright protections. -I might be wrong on that. I have not studied the history of copyright, and go by what I have read from several sources.

    I didn’t say you were wrong about “Scarlett”, just supplemented what you said. Sorry if it came off as contradicting you, that was not my intention.

    By “illegal in principle” I basically mean it IS illegal, but you will not get punished if you don’t get caught/taken to court. I have seen that the internet has made copyright more “fluid” than it was before. And I think there will be cases in the future that decides where the limit is.

    When it comes to the HP lexicon, I think that apart from using too long quotes it was legal. I don’t think a lesser known author/franchise would even be allowed to take that case to court. -But that is a sifferent discussion of how money and law are tied.

    Morally, I don’t see any reasoning as to how making money off someone else’s creation is right. For instance I would not dream of writing a book based on the vague description of society that Stephen King gives in “The Long Walk” (, that he wrote as Richard Bachman,) but don’t think he would have a case if I did and he decided to sue me. If I used the narrative in “The Long Walk” as central to a novel’s premise, I would however expect to be sued and lose. -But that is part to explaining why I don’t understand how something can be fan-fiction without infringing on someone else’s creation.

    I also have to add that I am Norwegian. There are lots of cases where cases most Europeans see US lawsuits as insane, and I know lawsuits here never go to court because the person suing has learned law by watching US TV/movies, and think they have a case based on that. When in reality it is not something that is even possible to sue someone for in Norway.

    I think the internet has made copyright law more diffuse. But I don’t see the principle difference between printing fan-fiction stories 25 years ago (, free or not,) and putting them online now. The internet has just made copyright harder to enforce, the law hasn’t changed.

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  135. S.A. Garcia
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 02:27:48

    The original reader indicated that Klune admitted to rewriting “Shelter” but then subsequently deleting the comment. Dreamspinner Press gives instructions on how to turn fan fiction into published work. First step, change the names!

    So what do you need to do? Let me spell it out. First, come up with a new name for all of your characters. If one of them is named Jack or Will, you can potentially leave it, but don’t leave more than one because someone will probably know that Jack and Will are from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

    I just asked the editor in chief why a DSP editor posted these words. This recommendation is NOT on the DSP website, it is from a post by editor Julianne Bentley on the Chicks and Dicks site.

    This is really hard for me since DSP is my first publisher. My stories with them are original, not FF. Also I hate seeing them slammed over editing. Really, if you have issues with a certain book’s editing, make it public. It might correct future editing issues.

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  136. Sara
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 03:32:13

    The reviewer for BOATK was incorrect. The author did not admit to stealing anything. The reviewer took a joking comment about the sequel where someone asked about the sequel & he joked back. They were both being sarcastic. As I’ve stated, I saw the original comments first & then read this reviewer & was shocked at her interpretation.

    I should also add, if the first part of someone’s review is wrong, not sure if anyone, especially a publication should trust the rest. The reviewer everyone is using for this plagiarism charge says about BOATK: “Both the movie and this book even start with the same scene — he’s driving to pick up his wealthy best friend and take him somewhere.” That is not how Shelter starts at all.

    Firstly the movie Shelter starts with the young man Zach skateboarding around town taking pictures, painting etc. He gets home and gives his dad his pill, talks to his nephew. Sister comes home, asks him to babysit. He takes his nephew out. The sister has a big party scene with boyfriend.

    There’s no scene of picking up anyone from the airport in the movie at the start. There’s no scene of taking anyone somewhere. Instead Zach goes over to his Best friends house and is checking out his surfer board which he had left there in the back . Then all of a sudden, his friends older brother, Shaun, comes outside. They say hi, & the guy says, how ya doing man? They haven’t seen each other since high School. Zach asks why he’s in town and Shaun says he missed the Ocean. Then they decide to go surfing.

    Now this scene, is nothing as the reviewer states even though she states: she watched the movie again after reading the book. Really, because there’s no way to miss this scene. So I suggest, you need to look at the rest of her review with some skepticism. Just because someone writes a wordy review to validate her point of view, her review is still just an opinion and not proof of anything.

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  137. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 04:11:38

    @Sirius: Hi Sirius – thank you for your kind words. To be honest, I loved Blacker than Black and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it – it was one of our very first acquisitions at Riptide Publishing, and it’s getting some very good reviews/responses. :)

    To be more on topic (he said, turning the steering wheel so hard the tires screech) – Riptide was mine (and Rachel’s) response to the “author mills” and “book mills” out there.

    I’ve published with enough publishers myself to see that the editing in the m/m space is simply not the same calibre as the editing I’ve received during my “German print career”, and I was sick and tired of being left alone as a writer in terms of developmental edits. I can mostly find my own typos, but an editor who actually helps me become better as a writer is a rare thing. Personally, the best editors I’ve worked with in the business were Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press, and Sasha Knight of Samhain, and those are publishers I’ll continue working with as a writer. I’ve learned so much from working with Deborah I can’t even list my debt.

    Rachel Haimowitz, the Managing Editor at Riptide Publishing, who edited both Dark Soul 1-5 and Blacker than Black, is hands down the strictest, most challenging editor (challenging in the sense of: “Aleks, I know you can do better than this.” And she’s usually right, and she’s improving my writing with every story we do together) I’ve ever worked with.

    And I think that’s part of the problem – if the m/m genre (and the wider romance genre, I’m not excluding the heterosexual sisters and brothers) ever wants to be taken seriously, we’ll have to lift those standards. On the acquisitions side, we can’t accept clear rip-offs of Currently On TV, and once we get the books, we need to edit them on the developmental level, and on the line level. For most of my tenure in the m/m genre (and since my spelling is pretty good overall), pretty much the only edits I’ve encountered were edits for typos and commas. That’s the THIRD stage of the editing process – proofing. Developmental editing and line editing are the real clinchers. And the lack of those at most houses means I’ll only ever publish with Carina, Samhain, and Riptide Publishing. I don’t want to make a quick buck, I want to grow as a writer.

    But this is now off topic again. I’m just thinking we need to up our game as a genre, and I shudder to think that the plagiarism and “file the serial numbers off any movie/show/fanfic out there” is going to tarnish the whole genre (like it tarnishes the “innocent” authors at Dreamspinner, of which I’m one, and many of my friends are). I just wish that people try harder, work harder, polish harder, because we’re asking for money for what we do, and even if I were flipping burgers, I have enough pride in my work to make sure that I’d be flipping the most awesome burger my customer/reader can expect. It’s a matter of honour, in my view, and personal integrity.

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  138. Teddypig
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 06:02:44

    @Ridley: You are right it is censorship.

    But ARe and Bookstrand and Smashwords and Paypal and everyone else on the freaking planet has the right to say no to what they will buy and sell.

    Keep in mind we are talking rape fic and incest fic and all sorts of hard core porn stuff that does not fit next to say your Judy Blume in a Young Adult category or a Nora Roberts in Romance.

    People have the right to their limits. They have the right to say no to these publishers and authors and I think by the way they have acted out on these vendors websites uploading stuff that does not fit and is plainly hard core porn they should say no to these guys.

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  139. Susan A.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 07:19:22

    I’m a different Susan from the other who has been commenting, just to be clear. :)

    I just wanted to mention something about Paypal. Technically there is Google Checkout and there is supposed to be an Amazon version of the same thing. Now, they will probably be under the same pressure that Paypal was due to the higher charges due to “high risk content”. But there are other alternatives that have the chance to be competitive.

    Let me digress for a second… “high risk content” is a legitimate concern for chargebacks, however it is extremely uncommon in erotica. Probably because erotica mainly targets women, who… turned on or not, don’t tend to have to do some quick lying to their husbands if they find out. (And how many husbands are looking through a woman’s e-reader anyway?) While some women will get extremely upset about their husband buying some porn or having fun with a web cam girl… I doubt many husbands care one whit if their wife is reading erotica. In fact, it’s probably a benefit for him as she’ll be all charged up and ready to go. Why complain about that?

    I think the problem is… these middlemen companies have such varied clients (merchants) that they can’t define “everybody else’s business”. Whereas if you have a personal merchant agreement with a credit card company as a business you can get lesser fees over time as it proves that your business is “not” so high-risk after all. The problem is… Smashwords, ARe, Bookstrand, etc. are NOT Paypal’s business. Paypal is in the business of moving funds around. Period. That’s where their business ends. However any adult-related chargebacks that DO happen get sent up the funnel to Visa/MC. So then a big panic starts to keep good relations with the credit card companies. (and possibly a little bit of moralizing is going on, too.)

    Back off the digression… another option is coming along with Visa that will work somewhat like Paypal for people. It’s not out yet so it is unclear how it will play out, but it is an international and viable competitor to Paypal. Since those with Real Merchant accounts will have their agreements with those accounts, this service from Visa might raise the “trust” profile for consumers dealing with credit card payment with unknown companies. Because that’s how Paypal really got so popular among regular average Joe internet consumers to begin with.

    They trust Amazon with their credit card but not Billy Bob’s Tackle and Bait on the Interwebz since 1999.

    Don’t underestimate how many people Paypal has screwed over and pissed off. Now they are starting to overreach with small businesses. It’s possible that Barnes and Noble could be Paypal’s next target since B&N offers a paypal option. Someone will bite back. Class action lawsuits have already happened with Paypal. Paypalsucks.com and other sites like it show the big issues with this company. As someone said upthread… Paypal operates like a bank but isn’t subject to the same regulations and laws that offer consumer protection. The more little hands they bite, the bigger the anti-paypal mob becomes.

    Ebay’s (parent company to Paypal) profits and stocks have been stagnant/dropping since 2008. More and more people are becoming disgruntled with both ebay and paypal and are looking for alternatives, which are slowly cropping up.

    I would be very surprised if Paypal (or Preypal as some like to call it) will be doing business with anybody in 5 years time.

    Another thing I’d like to point out… those who are against all of that “dirty erotica stuff that nobody wants to defend anyway”, let’s not forget that sex practically built the internet. Erotica was one of the first genres to offer ebooks way before anybody else jumped on the bandwagon or it was feasible for any other genre.

    Now Erotica publishers and authors are going to seek and utilize Paypal alternatives, that, along with this new Visa thing, will help pave the way for more and newer options.

    Will this be a slippery slope with Paypal? Maybe, definitely certain subsets of romance could be affected if cooler heads don’t prevail. Most likely nothing else is in danger outside of erotica/romance (which doesn’t make it okay at ALL). But if THAT happens, I expect the fur to fly, because while women have practically had drilled into their heads by romance publishers and some romance readers (and even skirting into erotica now) that “noncon/rape/dubious consent” fantasies are “not okay” and somehow “shameful/dirty/wrong/glorifying rape/etc”… nobody wants to lose their menage, shifter romance, vampire romance, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    Many may not yet be willing to stand up and fight, but when the next purge happens, they will. This is already a bigger noise than last year’s censorship tear. Next time it will be even louder… and coincidentally right around the time Visa has just gotten their new service started and going. At that point… my prediction is that Paypal will fall.

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  140. Kristie Leigh Maguire
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 07:35:49

    Truly shocking news about Kay Manning! While I respect her apology for what she did, I fail to understand why she would do it in the first place. What on earth could she have been thinking? Or not thinking?

    On another note, I wish this post had been divided into 2 separate posts: one about Kay Manning and the other about Smashwords and PayPal.

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  141. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:08:46

    Must get back to work, hate to post and split, but. . .

    As a small business owner, I had a charge back, once in the past 25 years. For the poster who didn’t know what a charge back is, the owner of a credit card disputes the charges on the card (and it can be for whatever reason the card owner wants). The credit card dispute team then researches the complaint. Mostly they seem to side with the card owner, not the business person who swiped the card.

    I wound up paying the card owner four times the amount charged to his card. Four times. Then, when the card owner (gleeful I’m sure at his largess) wanted to come back in again, he was wounded when I told him absolutely not. By the way, the charge card swipe was entirely legitimate, I didn’t do anything wrong. But he kept pushing the issue for the entire year that he could fight the charge and the company kept giving him the money. Fortunately, at the end of a year, he couldn’t keep complaining.

    Oh, and saying, hey you already took this money back three times means nothing to the charge back team, let me tell you.

    I’m with Paypal, not worth it.

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  142. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:10:21

    Oh, shoot, two threads in one. As a reader, I would prefer that writers think up their own worlds, their own characters, their own scenes and plots and as a bare minimum, their own words. For crying in the beer.

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  143. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:20:25

    @Sara: It is frightening that one review can potentially do a large amount of damage to an author. Thank you for taking the time to post. It’s too easy to give into the rush to judgement when it is not your life and livelihood at stake.

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  144. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:38:30

    @Tom Webb: Well said. It is completely irresponsible to publish this information when the blog writer herself has not investigated the claim, but is instead relying on other’s information to “point out” this issue. (See her previous post where she states that the point by point review is enough proof for her. Perhaps she should watch the movie and read the book herself before making these serious allegations.) This is a man’s life and career we are talking about. That cannot be taken seriously enough. And yet many here seem to have forgotten that in this rush to judgement.

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  145. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:43:39

    @Sirius: No better way to go about this then checking it out for yourself – regardless of how you feel about the book :)

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  146. Kat
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:50:52

    @Aileen: Eileen, I got my wires crossed and thought you were commenting to me but you weren’t, so I apologise. I’m only talking about the Kay Manning incident, nothing else.

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  147. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:53:50

    @bignosemoose: Lol. You have exactly made my point. I do not know the law and will reserve judgment until I feel comfortable doing so. It would be wise for others to do the same. And I actually agree with you on a statement from DSP and Mr. Klune. I would like to hear what they have to say.

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  148. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 08:54:20

    @Kat: No worries, Kat.

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  149. Aileen
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:01:06

    @Jane: I believe you have a responsibility to view it differently. As a blogger, “pointing” out a serious allegation against Mr. Klune, I tend to think it would be prudent to do your own investigation first. But if you are relying on the point by point review on GR then you have obviously not seen the movie, not the read the book, or a combination of the two.

    I’m sorry, Jane, but an accusation like this, especially when plagiarism is front of mind in the publishing community, is damning for an author – especially if it turns out to not be true. We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write. TJ Klune is a real person. And we all must be more responsible about rushing to any kind of judgement when it hold the possibility of destroying a life.

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  150. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:16:06

    @Aileen: I do not need your approval, really. But here we go from somebody who most certainly saw the movie and is in the middle of what I think as poorly written badly edited mess of the book (how many times the idiot of the narrator can repeat the same thing I am not sure, and since I am only half way through the book I bet I am still to find out). I think that the argument that plot is plagiarised is very valid and very spot on. And “heavily influenced” for me goes without saying, definitely goes way beyond “inspired” by the movie. We can argue whether all the differences arise to “not plagiarism” or not, I can see the arguing, but I can absolutely see where people who say that it is plagiarism coming from, I am close enough myself to saying it.

    At the same time I still maintain that characters he made his own. I hate those characters but I do not think their personalities is nowhere close to being plagiarized.

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  151. Sunita
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:20:04

    @Sirius: Thanks for reporting back on this! I wonder if similarities in movie-to-book adaptations, whether licensed or not, are more difficult to pin down than similarities across books in part because so much of the mood is communicated visually and through the actors.

    Even if the characterizations are sufficiently different, the number of things that are similar makes coincidence seem quite unlikely. Which still brings back to the appropriation without attribution problem. And if it’s not a coincidence, to take so much of a small-budget movie that is beloved by so many without ever acknowledging the source seems skeevy to me.

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I was skeptical that Riptide would/could be that different from other presses, but you are doing a good job of proving me wrong. I’ve gone from saying “too expensive, not sure it’s worth it” to “what are they publishing this month?” I don’t always find stuff, but that’s a taste rather than a quality issue.

    @S.A. Garcia: I *have* commented on editing issues for Dreamspinner in my reviews, in comments to posts, on twitter. It doesn’t seem to change anything; the most recent book I read had the same problems that earlier books had. I’ve talked to authors and editors about the process there, and it confirms what the critics have said. I’m not going to argue with your personal experience and I haven’t read your books. But I’ve read too many good books from them that could have been excellent with serious developmental and content editing. That, to me, is more of a problem than the plethora of mediocre or bad books that come out of that shop. Every genre has bad books. But if one of the top presses won’t do its job to improve content and develop its best authors, it doesn’t deserve my money or my time. I’ve stuck with DSP a long time in spite of its shortcomings. Enough is enough. I don’t like hurting the good authors who publish there. But DSP doesn’t listen. Ever. Why should I give them my money and my time? (And yes, I checked and I’ve paid money for far more books from them than I’ve received as ARCs).

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  152. Jami Gold
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:31:29

    @Annabeth Albert:

    apologies are often another tool in their arsenal, another way to deflect attention. Action is where real apologies lie–returning funds, getting mental health help and committing to counseling, etc.

    Yes, exactly. I’ve seen plagiarists say they’re sorry and think that’s the end of it too. But without action, apologies are just empty words–and they’re more likely to repeat their crime. Well put!

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  153. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:44:50

    @Sunita: Thanks! When starting Riptide, we knew we’d charge a little more (in the higher wordcounts) than some competitors, but frankly, I hold it with the old corporate saying “pay peanuts, get monkeys” – we are paying our editors two or three times the money they’d receive at competitors, but we expect our editors to do more than coralling commas and running a typo check. Essentially, a good editor can demand real money, and some competitors don’t pay enough money to attract (or hold) top editing talent. The idea behind Riptide is to pay editors fairly, and treat everybody else fairly, too (cover artists, authors, proofers, layouters). That, simply, costs money, so we really cannot sell fully dev. edited, fully line-edited, fully proofed, cleanly laid-out full novels with attractive covers for $0.99. The economics don’t work. I know what the going rate is at our “competitors”, and frankly, a really good editor doesn’t get out of bed for that money.

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  154. Sunita
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 09:45:09

    @Sirius: Plagiarism doesn’t require that the two works are identical, just that there is clear appropriation from one to the other without attribution. It’s more straightforward to show across written passages.

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  155. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author. | The Passive Voice
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:00:17

    [...] so there is no misunderstanding. I am a thief, a plagiarist. I am not an author.Link to the rest at Dear Author Click to Tweet/Email/Share This Post wpa2a.script_load(); PlagiarismNo Comments to “I [...]

  156. published writer
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:07:44

    She’s a sociopath. What she did will never make sense to most of us. Sociopaths are wired differently.

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  157. K. Z. Snow
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:07:58

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I absolutely agree that improvement in quality has to begin at the acquisitions level, but it must go beyond winnowing out submissions that aren’t entirely original. Far too many publishers are far too indiscriminate in the material they accept — material that clearly isn’t ready for publication. Even if an editorial staff is strong in all areas (and they rarely are), trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse is at best a monumental, time-consuming challenge or at worst an exercise in futility. I’ve worked as an editor in RL, so I’m not entirely unfamiliar with the process.

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  158. I’ve been plagiarized, and yeah, it sucks | JULIE KENNER/J.K. BECK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:09:31

    [...] it wasn’t my *stuff* she stole, but the product of my mind. I first heard about the theft on Dear Author, but it’s now my understanding that the story first broke, I believe, on Liz Fielding‘s [...]

  159. rae
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:14:16

    @Throwmearope: So you’re not a fan of the comics or tv/movie tie-in books then? Or even tv shows come to think of it.

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  160. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:20:13

    @K. Z. Snow: Actually, we just had such a case. For the record, Riptide has an absolutely draconian “no fanfiction” clause written into the contract. So we offered an author a contract a short while ago, and she came back and was a bit shocked, as her submission was very loosely based on faction published ten years ago in a magazine (back in the days…). We discussed it at length and put the author on hold during that time, but basically, the fanfiction part is so diluted (and none of us spotted it) as to be homeopathic. The author has made it entirely her own, the characters or set-up are not recognizable at all, and the writing is extremely strong, so we went with it after some discussion. But we are taking the fanfiction angle extremely seriously and we are winnowing out a lot of submissions.

    In terms of acquisitions, I keep turning stuff down. Of the last submission call, I acquired one in ten submissions, roughly. If I find two stories in ten that I like, I consider that extremely strong takings. From my perspective, out of ten stories, three are simply awful (I mean, really, really brain-mushingly awful), one is good, one has potential, and the rest is so desperately mediocre that I keep thinking “good enough for the competition, but not Riptide material.” I don’t want “meh” stories at Riptide. I want people I’d pay to hear sing, because at the end of the day, we’re all investing hundreds of man- and womanhours into a novel, and we need to love the author’s voice to do that. That makes us very elitist, but it’s the only way I want to run that business. A lot of authors in the genre need to grow a little more, and pretty much everybody (myself included) is in desperate need of a good editor. I’ve found mine, and I’d pay her out of my own pocket if I went and published elsewhere, because she’s worth every penny.

    (This is getting really, really off-topic, and I apologize. If you can think of a good place to have this discussion so we’re not getting in the way, please let me know. I feel skeevy “hijacking” a thread here…)

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  161. Tom Webb
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:23:56

    @L.K. Rigel:

    Typical remark. Snarky. Please, if you are going to have something to say, please make it a little more original.

    Marginalize me all you want. At the end of the day, I am EXACTLY what you are – a reader with an opinion. The fact that you “Ladies” choose to drink your own Kool-Aid, well, more power to you.

    To “azteclady” – you just made my point for me. Because nobody here at DA ever reads anything? Like you have a monopoly on critique and POV? What a load of hooey.

    My mother raised me to think highly of women, but damn if some of you aren’t just a bunch of harpies. And yes, I have read enough classical mythology to know exactly what I refer to.

    I won’t be coming back to your site for reviews, “news” (and isn’t that a frickin’ joke) or anything else. You and your tactless lemmings have proven you are a tempest in a teapot.

    You would rather post baseless accusations (especially one of you, who has NOT EVEN FINISHED THE BOOK) about an author who has done nothing to any of you than verify your own facts. I still say, shame on you all.

    Have a wonderful Sunday, “ladies”. You know, the Lord’s day – all that “think nice about your neighbor” and such.

    Tom. Out.

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  162. CK
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:30:18

    *inspired by azteclady* Jane, you ignorant slut!

    You and you alone have the power to make or break a writer’s career! For the love of Queen, country and the Terran Federation use your power wisely young Padawan (or is it Sith Mistress since you’re arbitrarily using your power for the Dark Side?) My protection money, errr, tithe..tribute? is mail.

    edited to add… @Tom: I take offense to harpy and lemming. I prefer to being likened to a Fury and/or sloth, but that’s just me.

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  163. Lasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:35:40

    @Sara: Actually, you are wrong too.

    Firstly the movie Shelter starts with the young man Zach skateboarding around town taking pictures, painting etc. He gets home and gives his dad his pill, talks to his nephew. Sister comes home, asks him to babysit. He takes his nephew out. The sister has a big party scene with boyfriend. There’s no scene of picking up anyone from the airport in the movie at the start.

    Yes, Shelter does start with the opening credits of Zach skateboarding around. I believe the director stated he added that later because he wanted to show the audience San Pedro. (I watched a lot of the commentaries on the movie). Then Zach goes home, takes the nephew to work and then PICKS up his best friend and drops him off to so Gabe can go back to college. So there is a picking up/dropping off scene where in the car there Gabe and Zach rag on each other while Cody pretends to sleep in the back as Gabe gets high.

    So yes the movie doesn’t start with an airport picking up/dropping off scene, but in the movie Zach certainly picks up Gabe – you skipped over that whole scene in your comment.

    Currently, I am reading BOATK, and since I own Shelter, I will report back like Sirius if I think they have any similarities. I am reserving judgment until then.

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  164. Cherie Noel
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:37:58

    While I don’t speak for either Chicks and Dicks, or for Dreamspinner, I do take exception to the crass lumping together of a clear cut case of ACKNOWLEDGED plagiarism, a suspected case of plagiarism, a blog post on how authors who started in fan-fic can re-work their fac-fic pieces in their entirety (having read that whole post I found it clearly talking about the author doing far more than “filing off the serial numbers”)…the post, in whole, discusses how the author must do far, far more than simply change names and eye colour…in fact, in the end, what is recommended is so extensive, the finished piece can not even properly be called fan-fic any longer. Right. If I see a movie, and the subject matter, or trope causes a flash of inspiration for me, and I go off and create characters that are different from those in the movie, or book, or real life happening, who have differing motivations and traits, who are set in a universe entirely of my own making, and whose journey follows an entirely different plot…I’m really not understanding how the finished product I’ve created can in any way shape or form be called fan-fic even if the first step of my creating this story was a bit of fan-fic.
    I personally never heard of fan-fic until months after I was a published author. Then I wrote a piece based on the Top Gun characters for the Chicks and Dicks Slash month. It is true that many of the authors in the M/M genre got their start there (in writing fan-fic). I got my start writing poetry and music lyrics. I’m not sure what relevance that could possibly have on what I write now. If I’m lazy in my writing, then my stuff shouldn’t get accepted for publication. That piece of the puzzle is all down to the acquisitions department at the individual publishing houses. But more to the point, I find it interesting to say the least that a blogger purporting to be raising questions of integrity would, in essence, lay a bonfire (i.e. dump all the aforementioned topics along with the question of the PayPal censorship brou-ha-ha into one post) pour on the clearly incendiary accelerant of a clear cut case of plagiarism, leave a few handy stakes, ropes, and oh, yes, a box of matches, and then turn an innocent face to the large group of folk gathered up and say…”Oh! Now, I’m not saying you should burn these other questionable people at the stake…but you know, as a group *coughmobcough* you could just decide what to do.”
    I could probably find a quote to prove the moon is made of cheese, or at least to imply that scientists have found irrefutable evidence of that, if I were willing to take it entirely out of context. Or, say, be careless about who got caught up in my drive to garner hits on my website without actually worrying about a little thing like personal ethics, or who my rampant seeking of…I dunno what. What are you seeking here? Justice by mob mentality and misinformation? Uh, perhaps…no, I can’t come up with a valid why for your lumping all these things together. Maybe it made sense to you. I’m sure it must have. In that case though, perhaps you should have titled the post “Several things that piss me off” and not tried to imply that all the things were related. Just my opinion of course. The first part of your blog made sense to me. Lumping everything in that you did after you finished discussing the Kay Manning debacle did not, and frankly, the out of context quote from Chicks and Dicks made me question the whole rest of your blog.

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  165. Sarah Tanner
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:38:31

    @Tom Webb: Stated like a true “gentleman”.

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  166. Maili
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:40:23

    @Aileen:

    I’m sorry, Jane, but an accusation like this, especially when plagiarism is front of mind in the publishing community, is damning for an author – especially if it turns out to not be true. We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write. TJ Klune is a real person. And we all must be more responsible about rushing to any kind of judgement when it hold the possibility of destroying a life.

    A bit melodramatic, eh? I was working for a publisher when its collaborative publisher dealt with charges of copyright violations against comic creator Youka Nitta roughly four years ago. She denied the charges which her two publishers accepted and supported, but then it was found that charges actually had grounds – she had copied over 200 images which appeared in at least 143 works (mostly in an art book) made during her career.

    She then issued a claim that, in spite of being in the business for 13 years, she wasn’t aware copying images for her works would be an act of copyright violation. She thought tracing images was acceptable (tracing own photos is fine, but tracing copyrighted works isn’t). For that, she apologised and blah blah.

    Meanwhile her current publisher – Shinshokan, I think – issued a public statement of apology and that they would be suspending the production of her current works for the time being. Nitta then entered a self-imposed exile to ‘reflect on her actions’. Copyright holders were notified and such, but no lawsuit was brought (thankfully!) and some accepted Nitta’s formal apology. Now, she’s working on four new titles. I don’t see her career and life in tatters as a result of her actions. At worst, it was an embarrassment for all round. No more, no less.

    TJ Klune may be innocent to some and may not be to others, but I promise you this: his career and life won’t be a wreck as a result of all this speculation. We see it with those who were guilty and those who weren’t over last twenty years. Klune shouldn’t have anything to worry about if he’s innocent.

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  167. LVLMLeah
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:42:06

    @ Aileen

    We are talking about ruining a man’s reputation and possibly his one passion in life – to write.

    Oh. My. God.

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  168. Beverly
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:43:25

    @Ridley: What I am trying to point is that the type of censorship that companies have the right to exercise is not the type of censorship that is actually limiting. It does not limit speech in any way, it simply limits a particular venue authors have to make money from that speech. No one is being told they can’t write what they want when they want, which is what actual limitation would equate to. It does no one any favors in these discussions to employ the whole “slippery slope” fallacy in order to further their cause.

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  169. LVLMLeah
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 10:54:57

    @Tom Webb

    Thank you for my Sunday morning entertainment. :D

    Harpy Out

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  170. Ridley
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:15:28

    @Beverly: You’re arguing that, true, but others are arguing that it still constitutes a limit on speech, however legal, by making certain content harder to find. I don’t think vendors should be blocked from doing it, but it still makes me uneasy. My libertarian-fu isn’t strong enough to just trust that the market will provide an alternative to Paypal, especially since this all is likely a market-based decision in the first place.

    You may find the “slippery slope” a fallacy, but I find the idea that authors would just put their objectionable erotica out there for free if no one will sell it to be fallacious. If no one sells it, then what?

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  171. Throwmearope
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:52:47

    @rae: Largely not, I’m afraid. F’rinstance, haven’t read a comic book, since I was, like, a little kid. Archie.

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  172. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:55:03

    @Fae said

    Am I the only one bothered by people drawing a comparison between true racism/bigotry towards minority groups and Daddy’s Anal Slut? Really?

    I’m not bothered, exactly, because it’s too pathetic to bother me. It’s almost laughable.

    But I do see it your point. The talk about oppression is ridiculous because nobody is stopping them from doing what they want-their chosen avenue has been limited, ie: paypal/smashwords.

    However, I do believe a number of other avenues still exist. They can sell from their own sites. Form their own publishing house, and unless I’m mistaken, Amazon is still a viable option.

    True oppression would be if they were not allowed to sell their works. At all. If they tried to sell it via their website and their sites were shut down. If they were arrested for attempting to write their works. That would be oppression. If they were beaten for writing Daddy’s Anal Whore or thrown in jailed for trying to talk about it.

    Nothing is stopping any of authors who sell such works from setting up their own storefront and it could be very profitable. Nobody is stopping them from selling it via their websites. More work? Yes. But it’s still a viable option.

    True minorities, truly oppressed peoples have been jailed, beaten, killed, stoned, raped, assaulted, abused, etc, etc, etc.

    They just had their chosen venues removed and will have to work harder to come with something that will work for them.

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  173. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 11:59:03

    @Cherie Noel: You said “If I see a movie, and the subject matter, or trope causes a flash of inspiration for me, and I go off and create characters that are different from those in the movie, or book, or real life happening, who have differing motivations and traits, who are set in a universe entirely of my own making, and whose journey follows an entirely different plot…I’m really not understanding how the finished product I’ve created can in any way shape or form be called fan-fic even if the first step of my creating this story was a bit of fan-fic.”

    I would agree with you, but there is a world of difference between asking yourself, “Hmm. What would happen if Star Wars was set in the Old West?” or “What if a dude like Daniel Craig as James Bond got a HEA with an XYZ type woman in Regency England?” That’s inspiration. Writers wouldn’t be writers without asking those kinds of questions and digging deeper. Clueless works as a derivative of Austen because the writers did indeed change the universe, change the characters, and make it their own. Can we see hints of the original? Sure. But a) it was a work in the public domain and b)they changed A LOT, recasting the classic in a whole new way.

    That’s not what we’re talking about here. If you look at the Goodreads posts (plural–not just the one reviewer. There are at least 3 reviews mentioning the movie and more in the comments), this isn’t “What would X be like set in ABC universe with these Y and Z characters with this twist?” This is the same time period, very, very similar settings, many of the same scene settings, many of the same plot twists, and a whole huge laundry list of other similarities. This is more like “What if I did Downton Abby with different character names and on-screen sex?” Fan fiction. And I suppose it might fall within derivative works exceptions for some courts, but it’s still highly, highly distasteful and should be strongly discouraged as that’s not inspiration–it’s out and out lifting. I’m not going to pay for Klune’s books right now, but I did download the samples. What’s really sad is this is someone who *can*write (someone in need of more serious editing, but there’s rough talent there). Many writers do indeed use Fan Fiction to hone their chops before moving onto to completely original stories. And then they leave those MS under the bed or languishing on fan fiction sites where they belong.

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  174. Nithu
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:05:41

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I’ll put my hand up as someone who raised an eyebrow at the slightly higher prices at Riptide, but it didn’t take me long to realise that I’m getting what I pay for. I’d rather pay a little more for a damn good story that doesn’t have me clenching my teeth at the typos and other errors. I’ve been delighted with my purchases from Riptide and will certainly be back for more.

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  175. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:08:46

    @Tom Webb: Dear Tom… since you decided to mention Sunday and the Lord’s day, I have a bit for you.

    Luke 6:31

    31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    You come into a blog that you are obviously not familiar with and act…well, like a fool and treated those here as fools. You spoke condescendingly, although you won’t see that, because those who condescend never really see that, for some reason.

    Since you did so, you’re pretty much treated as a fool and you were treated condescendingly.

    Had you come here and acted with respect, even if you disagreed, you might have been surprised.

    Next piece…

    Judge not. Now I can’t really say for anybody else here, but since you’re tossing out the Lord’s day, I’m hazarding a guess that means something to you?

    Matthew 7

    1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    Going by the tone of your comment, I wonder how you’ve judged those of us here.

    Now, I can say this… you have a nice day, and I actually mean that.

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  176. Dani Alexander
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:13:24

    @Aleksandr Voinov: I think editorial issues are very on-topic Imo. As well as the responsibility of a publishing house. Very on-topic indeed.

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  177. Robin/Janet
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:23:41

    @Kat: How many people do you know who will spontaneously confess to intentional, harm-inducing wrongdoing without some exposure? I have several friends whose husbands have been unfaithful, and in no case did the husband confess before he was caught. One even went so far as to say he planned on taking the secret to his grave without question, and he had previously and consistently rebuffed unproven questions about his fidelity to the point where I would NEVER have believed he was unfaithful.

    Now these are, in many other ways, decent, honest, law-abiding, responsible men. All of whom did a harmful, betraying, disloyal thing. Sometimes more than once. And I can tell you that an apology similar to the one Manning delivered would have been very, very healing for the wives. And rightly so, IMO, because blunt, unqualified acknowledgement wrongdoing and harm caused is something I don’t think we see enough of these days. So while I agree that what she did was wrong, I also feel that if straight up apologizing is such an easy thing, why haven’t the myriad other writers caught out in the same situation done it? Maybe because it isn’t? Maybe because the self-preservation instincts people have kick in and they defend, excuse, and qualify? Maybe because they know that once they’ve admitted straight out what they did, consequences would flow from that unqualified admission, and the protective veneer of denial would be gone forever. So what you see as easy, I see as against what the vast majority of people see as in line with their best interests and deeply embedded survival instincts (whether these are socially conditioned or not).

    One other thing occurs to me, and I’m not directing these next comments to you, just thinking out loud after reflecting and reading this thread and other comments. But I remember when the Cassie Edwards situation was in full swing. Authors and readers alike were appalled not at Edwards’s actions (or her total lack of acknowledgement or apology), but at their exposure by readers online. On the surface, one might argue that there is more concerted awareness and opposition to tolerating plagiarism now. However, I am afraid that’s not what we’re seeing here. For one thing, just look at the differences in how Manning and Klune are being treated in this thread. Manning erases comments and she’s trying to cover up her guilt. Klune erases comments and is trying to maintain clarity and discourage misunderstanding. Manning acknowledges her plagiarism and it’s not enough for many people. Klune says nothing (and I’m NOT saying Klune’s situation is plagiarism, just that there is a question about it in regard to Shelter and BOATK) and is defended and the questioners attacked. Why is that?

    I’m not sure, but I do wonder whether some of the people who defended Edwards would be excoriating Manning. Ditto the people who defended Janet Dailey and lashed out at Nora Roberts for legally defending her copyright. How much of the community’s response to plagiarism reflects the perceived power and popularity (and even gender) of the alleged plagiarist? Is it easier to demand a pound of flesh from Manning because she is not so popular and powerful? I don’t know, but I do wonder if Manning was a much bigger name if the reactions would be the same.

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  178. S.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:36:22

    Finally someone notices the issues with Dreamspinner… I’m sorry – but taking fanfiction and turning them into ‘sellable’ fiction is absolutely dishonest – especially if most of the m/m readers started off with fanfiction. If it’s an original story, I can give you leeway, but the characters, the plot, the side-characters were originally from whatever fandom you created, you should not be selling derivative works and pretending they’re your creation.

    Sometimes I will read a story and wonder if it’s missing something – then I go online, read the reviews and comments, and then realize the book I just bought was a fanfic – hence the disconnect with the characters and the jarring read.

    I’ve since read some truly amazing fanfiction along with some that shouldn’t see the light of day. Unfortunately, the ones that get turned into ‘pro-fic’ are the latter, not the former.

    In any case, I feel DSP is cheating the readers, and I am making a conscious move to stop supporting them. To be honest, I was absolutely saddened to see ‘Infected’ being published with them. Oh well, such is life.

    @Sunita and @Sarah
    Thanks for taking a firm stance – totally support your decision – you’re definitely not alone.

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  179. Robin/Janet
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:44:12

    Morally, I don’t see any reasoning as to how making money off someone else’s creation is right.

    This comment, for me, exemplifies a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright law and its underlying principles.

    Virtually all creative expression is built “off someone else’s creation.” Shakespeare is, of course, one of the most popular and well-loved plagiarists, but even when there is no deliberate influence from one artist to another, creativity is, generally speaking, a resource that increases through exchange and borrowing. Which is why the Constitutional prescription for copyright is articulated in these terms: “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” NOT to promote scientISTS and artISTS, but to promote the general fields. Which is why scientists and artists have an “exclusive right” to their work for only “limited times.” Because there must always be a balance between the rights of the creator and the rights of the public to use the work. And part of the public’s right is to be inspired, influenced, and otherwise incentivized to create more.

    One of the thing that most aggravates me about authors who try to bully their readers into believing that things like fan fiction are illegal is that often those folks have created work that is itself not astonishingly original. Which is understandable, since art is virtually always a conversation between the creator and myriad other creators and their work. And that is one of the reasons that copyright infringement claims MUST be on a case by case basis. And it’s also why the attempts of corporations like Disney to extend their “exclusive rights” are so antithetical to incenvitizing creativity. They aren’t securing these rights to promote creativity – they’re doing it to monopolize profits (i.e to make more money) and benefits that would flow more diffusely if the balance between public and private control of creativity remained intact.

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  180. Laura Hunsaker
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:44:56

    @Annabeth Albert:
    I love your explanation.

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  181. S.
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:53:26

    @AvidReader:

    Sorry, as a reader, I’ve been burnt a few too many times by DSP, and even though I do feel bad for the authors in that publishing house, I’m only able to express my disapproval by not purchasing from them. Frankly, as a consumer, I can’t actually do much to show how much I don’t support their methodology of business.

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  182. Sara
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:57:54

    @Robin/ Janet I can comment on the erasure of the text for TJ Klune. I was on GoodReads & a review of BOATK alleging plagiarism showed up on my feed. So I went to TJ Klune’s blog to see his response. On that thread there was no admission of anything. The thread was about the sequel to the book. One of his fans was joking because the allegations of similarity to Shelter have been talked about for days online, so he said how can you write a sequel when there’s just one Shelter. TJ joked back with something like It’s all good. Then a third person commented TJ, you’re so funny.

    It’s from those exact 3 posts that made the reviewer allege TJ even admitted he stole from Shelter. She either misunderstood that it was all joking or deliberately posted something volatile. After she posted this, another goodread person wrote on TJ’s blog something like how can you joke about something like this when you’ve plagiarized etc. The person who made the original sarcastic remark about Shelter, chimed back in, defending TJ. An argument between the two ensued & then the comments were erased by TJ.

    I followed all the comments in real time & at no time was there a statement by TJ Klune saying he admitted to anything about Shelter. That’s the reason I defend him in this respect because what she wrote was a lie. It has bothered me for some time that I never wrote something on her review, but GoodReads gets crazy & I don’t like to negatively comment on someone’s review. But since it’s now gotten to other sites, I feel obligated to say something. (Just in case you’re still wondering about double standards between the two authors)

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  183. Cleon
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 12:58:58

    @Robin/Janet. WORD.

    Fact is, if you write about angels, demons, (Bible & Paradise Lost, anyone?), mythical beings, & elves, you HAVE make profit from someone else’ works. In these cases, authors, game creators, movie makers, blatantly use the characters, settings, and plots, without “filing off the serial number” or so to speak. They might not be illegal because these works are in public domain, but if you object it on the moral ground, then you must object to almost everything that has been published in modern times.

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  184. Jane
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:24:44

    @Sara I’m happy to remove that portion of the blog post, but the remainder stands. This so clearly parallels my findings of the Ellen Wolf book Working Arrangements which mimicked the originally published Susan Napier book. And no, my review which I posted here, at Goodreads, and at Amazon has not impacted her success in any fashion. Her latest release is in the top 60 of paid Kindle books so I highly doubt all this handwringing over Klune’s book will come to pass. The posting of the Goodreads reviewers and Sirius’ own assessment makes me comfortable in what I’ve written here.

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  185. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:28:39

    @Robin/Janet: I just want to say that to me the situation with Klune is a little bit more ambigious now,thats all. However, the fact that he is not saying anything most certainly not helping me. And I am not even talking about apologies , just about explanation. If you feel you did not do anything wrong, why not come out and say it? As to Manning’s situation, I was just silent because I dont care if that makes sense? I mean I care about plagiarism and do not want it to happen to anybody in any genre, but I read so few het romances that I never heard of any of the names she stole from before and I do not have an energy to go and check for myself. I am already angry at myself that I am reading the book i hate for the sole reason of god forbid I will malign an author, who is already very guilty in my eyes at the very least of not crediting a *very* obvious source he used extensively. But I am doing it because I am an avid reader and reviewer of mm genre and I want to have my own informed opinion, you know? Maning’s apology is indeed very rare and appreciated IMO.

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  186. Annabeth Albert
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:37:15

    @Cleon: No. There are shades of grey here and there is a giant, Atlantic ocean sized difference from a writer asking herself “What would happen if a Vampire met a snarky Angel” or “What would happen if a female Demon Hunter took orders from an overbearing Arch Angel” and Hmm, “What if I change these character names in the Anne Rice Vampire universe and keep these secondary characters and this situation and that situation?” My first two examples are inspiration. Inspiration is usually freely admitted by authors–they often mention that a particular actor was in their heads as they wrote or that a news story inspired them to dig deeper and create a whole universe around a similar occurrence. The second is fan fiction, and its for the courts to decide at which point the legal line has been crossed. And it’s for the court of public opinion to say at which point the line of fairness has been crossed. And for consumers to decide where they personally draw the line. I draw the line at point-by-point similarities. If I can describe a work to a friend as “It’s like Emma meets the Firefly universe with shades of Swiss Family Robinson” that’s inspiration. If I can describe it as “It’s like they added on-screen sex and a HEA to Castle, right down to the bumbling Junior Detectives and wacky mother,” that’s fan fic. And to me, it doesn’t feel right to pay for that. And particularly doesn’t sit well knowing that a particular story may have been free for a long time as that type of fan fiction and is now being packaged as something original. And it really doesn’t sit well in these types of situations when the author in question is all “Oh noes! I never saw/read XYZ! It’s all a big coincidence.” If it’s truly just inspiration–a Vampire roaming Middle America with Angels–then an author has no problem saying “Thanks to all the Vampire writers who came before me” or “Thanks to Jane Austen for giving us the original meddling matchmaker.”

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  187. Erotica Book Banning Roundup – Part 2, and Smashwords Bows Under Pressure | S. V. Rowle
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:39:10

    [...] Smashwords Authors, Publishers, and Literary Authors Who Publish Erotica at Smashwords (Smashwords) Saturday News: No Deals Just Stupidity and Smashwords Concedes to Paypal Terms (Dear Author) *** An Open Letter to PayPal (Lauren Gallagher / L. A. Witt) In Defense of Erotica [...]

  188. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:48:05

    What would happen if Star Wars was set in the Old West?

    You mean, like the John Wayne movie that inspired Star Wars? That would be awesome ;)

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  189. Cleon
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 13:53:18

    @Annabeth,
    If I can describe it as “It’s like they added on-screen sex and a HEA to Castle, right down to the bumbling Junior Detectives and wacky mother,” that’s fan fic. Yes, it is, but fanfic doesn’t stop there. There are a lot range of fanfiction out there, including AU (Alternate Universe). People who are very familiar with the diversity of fanfiction and fandom understand how sometimes the derivative work is so far removed from the original work. People might wonder why it is called a fanfic then, but that’s the nature of the beast. Sometimes this happens because in fandom, certain tropes, pairings, or situation become so widely accepted but actually they don’t appear in the text itself.

    By the way, I’m not arguing about plot by plot similarities, but that it’s not realistic to demand authors to produce 100% original work.

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  190. Tasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:10:21

    @Annabeth Albert, @Wahoo Suze: Isn’t that Firefly?

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  191. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:38:38

    @Cherie Noel: I wonder if you have ever read this blog before today. I at least skim it every day or every other day and they do news round up every day and yes, put several news in the same post *every day*. I have no idea how the blog owners choose the news, but I am pretty confident in assuming that there was no specific purpose in putting several items together on this particular day in order to argue some message, which is how I understand one of your points.

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  192. Wahoo Suze
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:43:31

    @Tasha: I was referring to The Searchers, but Lucas drew from a lot of source material. His work was INSPIRED by other work, Star Wars isn’t a direct copy of anything that existed before.

    That’s pretty much the point @Cleon. There are only so many basic plots in existence. Everything written ever (in English, anyway) follows one of 4 or 7 (can’t remember exactly) basic story trajectories. It’s the execution that’s unique, or should be unique.

    I once wrote a (horribly bad) romance inspired solely by observing a man at a table in a Japanese restaurant (the kind where you sit around a grill and the chef does some acrobatic moves while grilling up your meal). He was there alone, where most people were in groups. I started the “What if” thing, wondering why he came alone, and came up with a whole (terrible) HP-style romance. It was 100% original, but it was still clearly an HP-style romance (HP being Harlequin Presents in this case, as Harry Potter was still 20 years away from being created).

    I really don’t think there’s any point is splitting hairs about what percent of a story is original, and what are the historical origins of Trope X. There can sometimes be a fine line between fan fic and an original story inspired by someone else’s story, but MOST OF THE TIME, it’s pretty obvious. IMHO.

    If completely uninterested parties can read a story and say, “Hey, this is Book Title by Author, with different names” or “Wow, this is an almost scene-by-scene copy of Movie Title” then it’s insufficiently original to meet MY standards of original work.

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  193. Sirius
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:44:33

    @Sunita: Oh absolutely, I just do not think that the characters were appropriated, you know? But at the very least Shelter is used very heavily in my opinion and much more than just an inspiration source for the plot and credit is very very over due IMO.

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  194. Tasha
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 14:54:23

    @Wahoo Suze: Um, okay. My point was that one possible intersection of Star Wars and the Old West is Firefly. I never claimed anything was a copy of anything, and I’m not entirely sure why I’m getting the lecture here.

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  195. Aleksandr Voinov
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:15:23

    @Nithu: Thank you, and believe me when I say that our authors and staff very much appreciate your support. We’re happy to have won you over to our model on that count. And we have extremely exciting things lined up in the next months, too.

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  196. MM
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:45:12

    @Sirius: I think the characters were pretty much the same as far as who they are. Same age/ social class/traits/where they lived, etc.

    Maybe their characterizations were somewhat changed. Like the kid in the movie did have anxiety issues just like the kid in the book, but in BOatK, the anxiety was exaggerated and he was like a little genius.

    And Zack in the movie wasn’t as whiny as Bear, but he seemed pretty introspective like Bear even though we couldn’t hear what was in his head, but we heard inside of Bear’s head too freakin’ much.

    I don’t know. The characters seemed alike to me, maybe embellished in the book. Just my thoughts.

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  197. Joy
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 15:46:28

    Has anyone here ever read Candace Camp’s _Suddenly_ and also read Heyer’s _A Convenient Marriage_? They’re pretty much identical up to a point, and then they diverge a bit.

    ReplyReply

  198. Theo Fenraven
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:21:46

    @Aileen:

    Thank you. Exactly what I wanted to say!

    ReplyReply

  199. Sidney Ayers
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:27:17

    I just had a thought regarding the Smashwords caving to PayPal news…

    I write fantasy erotic romance. The heroine in the 2nd book is a human, but the hero is a faerie (wings and everything). Since faeries aren’t human, wouldn’t this classify as “bestiality?”

    The same could be said about aliens. Aliens aren’t human either. I guess Sci-Fi erotica is gone too…

    ReplyReply

  200. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 26, 2012 @ 16:41:29

    Can we invent a new version of Godwin’s Law to shut down a thread when the sockpuppets start complimenting each other?

    ReplyReply

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