As an author I always feel somewhat secure in the knowledge that it is illegal for someone to write a book using my characters. They are, in effect, mine and my publisher's property.
Strangely enough, given that thought, I also have to admit I applaud Fanfiction - where fans can write new stories of their favorite characters... But the one caveat for said fanfiction is this - THEY DON'T GET PAID FOR IT!
I guess we can blame what is happening now on what started a couple years ago when 50 Shades went from fanfiction to published works and was not challenged. Nobody would ever doubt that EL James made a HUGE bundle from those books. Since then, many Twilight fanfics have been published.
This does, I will freely admit, make me sick to my stomach. I absolutely refuse to pay for a book that was fanfiction at some point. It is one of the few reasons I will return an eBook -if I find out it was a former fanfic.
This 'movement' has opened the doors for Amazon's new toy. Kindle Worlds - where you can write and GET PAID FOR fanfiction. Now, it is currently configured to where you can only write stories about things they have purchased the licenses for and you have to follow their guidelines (whatever those are), but does anyone else see this as an incredibly scary slippery slope?
Today you can get paid for fanfiction you write for stories they license.
Tomorrow you can publish and get paid for fanfiction for any story by any author anywhere. Don't tell me you can't see it coming. I can see it clear as day and I can't help but wonder - what the fuck happened to my rights as an author?
So, here I ask - why aren't publishers fighting back? Why didn't Little Brown & Co fight when 50 Shades took off? Why are publishers turning a blind eye?
And what does it mean to authors who work hard to figure out these characters, put their heart and soul into each one only to have them stolen and have someone else make money from them?
If someone took something that was under patent, you can be sure there would be a lawsuit.
Why is it that the product authors come up with is shunted to the side as if it is nothing? Why do people think it is okay to steal from us? Why do they think we should turn a blind eye?
If a doctor operated on you, you can be sure he will insist on being paid. If a lawyer fought for you, you can be sure he will insist on his money. Fuck - if you go to the closest fast food joint, you have to pay before you get your food.
So why are works created by hard-working artists that you will read and re-read not getting the same respect?
This is the first thing Amazon has done that really pisses me off as far as the far-reaching consequences for authors. Google fucked up with trying to become a world library. This may be Amazon's first real stubbing of its toe.
Publishers, authors and everyone in the publishing industry should stand up and say "NO".
As of today - I refuse to have anything to do with anything fanfiction. All of my former - OLD fanfictions are deleted from The Writer's Coffee Shop Library and Fanfiction.net and will not be reposted. I will not be a part of this degradation of a writer's rights. I will not add to this slippery slope.
Labels: Amazon, authors, fanfiction, lawsuits, lies, slippery slope, stealing