Read the article here. 

As a Star Trek fan from way back - i.e., ORIGINAL Star Trek and all of the fanzines (remember that word anybody?) were PRINTED - this is painful. I haven't seen the film although the article includes photos from it. But based on what I have seen there is no way these guys can win this. And honestly, I don't think I want them to.

It doesn't seem possible that they didn't know EXACTLY what they were doing. If that is the case, there really is no leg to stand on as far as I can see. I believe the current copyright law extends ownership of a work to 90 some odd years before the work goes into the public domain (unless of course the owner renews the copyright). The original series debuted in the 60s. We'd have to get to something like 2050, before this kind of work would be legal. And these guys are clearly using concepts from the 1980s films and the 1990s show and so on and so forth. So nowhere near enough time has passed for any of this to be legal.

Look I know fanfic gets a bad rap. But as all the really serious fanfic writers know, fanfic is hovering right on the edge of the mainstream right now. Like it or not, Fifty Shades of Grey made that happen. I can't help but think that fanfic has become the unofficial farm team for publishers scouting new authors. Self-publishers are the official minor league. But fanfic is right behind it. Mainstream content creators are taking it VERY seriously now. So now more than ever we have to watch our p's and q's.

I know it's not easy. In fact I think it's frankly ridiculous to have to add the disclaimer to every single piece of fanfic we create when to me it's quite obvious that no money is being made. I mean, if I'm printing copies to sell (and even THAT was overlooked as long as no one made a profit), or placing a download link conditional upon dropping some money into PayPal account, that's a different story. The vast majority of us are clearly not out here trying to score a buck on fanfic.

But it IS hard to ply your blood, sweat, tears and creativity into generating quality writing while knowing that you can never profit from that labor. I know I feel that way. Which is why I've turned toward focusing more on my own original fic. Fanfic is what I use to sharpen my skills as both a writer and a reader. But I don't expect to make a dime off it because it is illegal to make money off of someone else's work.

If I can figure that out, these guys certainly can. Let's just hope they don't ruin it for the rest of us.



April 2016

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