In Defense of Fandom

 

In which I respond to the concerns of an anonymous gentlemen who, like myself in the past, detests the concept of a fandom.

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50 thoughts on “In Defense of Fandom

  1. To be honest i am the opposite I started of in fan fiction and after a while i wanted to make my own work. And i know about the doubt but to be honest i have a lot more of a drive to finish my own work over fan work. I still do both but at the end of the day I love my own work more since I have more control over it.

    • Bronycurious, of course we all think fandoms are good, or at least neutral. Otherwise, why would we even BE here watching these videos, unless they’re a jerk and/or a troll. Who would watch these videos if they hated the fandom, or think it was wrong.What kind of person would watch fan videos and then claim that fandom is BAD and EVIL. What kind of person wound do that? Seriously.

  2. Totally agree with you, you cant create something, make it public and if someone like it dont allow him or her to create a fanart or a fanfic or whatever, I mean ita just like you said, I dont think that almost any artist will get mad if they got fanwork, it should be the most awesome thing that an artist should feel its is “our way” to show our love and passion of what have you done.

  3. i believe your absoluely 100% right, if i put up a story on deviantArt then people make art based off of that story maybe fussing with some details to make it with their own creative spark then, they can do that. i can’t reach through their computer while their making it and stamp a censor bar over it. because i make things with my own bent so i know i wouldn’t want someone yelling at me for liking the work they did so much i had to make somethign about it.

  4. Well alot of it comes from Passion and strong positive emotion, you’ve explained yourself very well on the matter. Well the way I see it Franchise Fandom>Fan Works-fan music> expressing creativity. Also this maybe a bad example but theres a fanbase of a bullet hell game called touhou in japan and the numerous amount of fan interpretations made with characters, more or less they stay true to how a basis of certain characters act in situations. The cannon works set ground rules for characters and fans stand by that unless its shipping or pairings which is the exception. You know what it “makes people happy”. Sure you can not like fandoms, but I’ve found friends and people who like the same stuff within the fandoms and that makes me and other people happy. Look at the sonic franchise and its ups and downs, and yet theres such a strong fan dedication towards it with fan videos and fun in-jokes that fans would find funny. And these people find a common ground for friendship like in Sonic paradox,Brainscratchcomms, and sonic retro. In short if you like a subject be it sonic,touhou, or mlp if you like the subject and theres a Fandom about it,you want to be part of the fandom to enjoy what everyone else is enjoying and being happy.

  5. ….applebloom piloting an Adder (Puma) battlemech? ….. Rainbowdash in a L.A.M. Shadowhawk. Fluttershy as unit medic, Twilight riding around in a Commander model Cyclops, Rarity as a clan pilot in a power house Timberwolf (madcat) Applejack using a Nova (Black hawk) and pinkie pie riding around in a Centurian painted fucking party camo. OMG I can’t STOP!

  6. The shame is, I do see both of these clashing opinions as valid. While I adore the wonderful media a fandom can turn out, there’s always the potential for things like shock-fics and rule 34 that can utterly disturb and/or horrify me. However, that’s not to say that these more cringe-worthy aspects define the entire community or make the media it celebrates any less enjoyable. That piece of fanwork just wasn’t my cup of tea. The same goes for headcanons and fan interpretation when fans take up arms against the way main content can be interpreted by the creators. I don’t agree, but I don’t have any real problem with it either, especially since I have my own fan interpretations that I’ve become passionate about.
    As for the copyright, hasn’t anyone heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery? I’d be thrilled if someone were to enjoy my art enough to celebrate it the way a fandom does! The sad fact is that the business folks out to make money off of the main content are the ones typically having a problem over it, and for the time being, there’s not much we can do.
    Thanks for sharing your opinions on this and basically summing up my feelings toward fandoms in general 🙂

  7. Fandoms are awesome! I personally don’t get into the fandom of every show I watch or game I play or whatever, but I don’t see how a fandom could be bad for the original work. I agree with you that you give up some of your rights on your work when it goes public. People have a natural tendency to create fanworks, stuff the creator likes, and stuff they don’t, it’s just how it is. Besides, don’t people know that if they don’t like something, they don’t have to be a part of it?

    And there are a lot of “original works” that are basically fan works. How many people have ripped off the story of Cinderella, Star Wars, ect. Everything is going to fall into one of the archetypes at the very least. Have you seen “Everything is a Remix”? It pretty much sums this idea of innovation (couldn’t you say that fandoms are basically innovators?) that happens naturally.

    • Keyword here is “Selling”, he fully supports the creation of such things but since it’s not like he gets a paycheck from some company for his work he can’t afford to have his potential profits cut into by people making bootleg stuff.

      Also the fact that he basically gave everyone the means to make Terezi’s plushies despite the fact that they’re in the store shows that he’s also not just in it for the money, he doesn’t want his fans to get screwed over either.

  8. “We read to know that we are not alone.”

    I think this quote expresses why I think that Fandoms should be considered a good thing and are simply an extension of a natural phenomena. Basicly my opinion is that when humans consume media they do so in order to engage in a reality that is not entirely their own; they do it to, if only for a moment, share someones creative spark. When people get together to talk about this content, it is only an extension of a process the creator put into motion of their own free will; I agree with the statement that if you want your creations to stay pure to your conceptions then you can’t in good judgment share them.

    Also I think its naive to be against the concept of a fandom because a fandom is ultimately just people coming together and sharing a group interest; thats the basic concept. So is a book club a fandom? It has people getting together and having a discourse about a shared interest so it can technically be considered so. What about TV viewing parties? Fandom. My point is that unless you think that people should NEVER share their creativity you can’t be against the concept of a fandom, though you may disagree with things they do.

    Also copyright law is broken inherently, but its necessary and hard to rewrite from an ethical standpoint.

  9. What I really like about fandoms is the theological and theory surround it, because fandoms are a great metaphor for other socialite groupings.

  10. When Fandom is bad, it’s like a cult; insular behavior, bullying, squashing dissent, immoral, unethical, or just downright illegal behavior. When Fandom is good, it is warm, and it is welcoming, and it will not tolerate bad behavior. It connects people from all over the world and it makes them friends.

    We all give our hearts to things and it’s not something we really talk about. Passion on any subject is something that is expected to be kept private. Our passions being openly discussed in the real world? That’s frightening. Weird! Nerd! Geek! Yes, how dare people want to express their christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Humanist, Socialist, Libertarian views on a subject! How dare they feel deeply about things? Don’t you know that all human beings are inherently, completely, 100% rational?

    Obviously being rude about expressing your beliefs is a bad thing. and obviously people are not going to like it if you are dismissive of their beliefs. Because we give pieces of our heart to things that we deeply care about, we identify with them. And if you diss something that they really love, it feels like you’re dissing them.

    Fandom is weird because usually outside of religion and politics, you’re not allowed to feel deeply about things, it’s just not cool. Fandom is a place where its okay to love something enough that you are moved to creativity, or you are moved to emotion. Fandom is a place where you can belong. Fandom in short, is a place where it’s safe to be a nerd (in the John Green sense). And actually, belonging to a fandom is like belonging to a religion or a political movement. You have your sacred text, your heroes of the faith, your common things that most people agree on even though they’re not actually in the text (fanon), you have your common conventions of writing, you have your deuterocanon, you have your people who like dressing up in elaborate outfits, and you have your lunatic fringe (sadly).

  11. Thaaank you for bringing up that Bioshock example. I was thinking about that before i started up the video and i couldn’t remember the game. Definitely had a loud AHA moment on that part.
    I agree with your points. I think that a lot of people still don’t quite understand the gravity of posting in the public space, let alone posting their own creative content. That being said, i think it’s fine to get a bit fanny flustered from time to time with the ways people take your works. It’s when the creator tries to call people out for it in an effort to stop them that it gets just plain silly. Plus, as i saw in comments of articles about the Bioshock dev, tons of people took that as a cue to take a crack at Elizabeth and to post more R34 of her anyway.

  12. We are social animals, and we like creating communities around commonalities, whether it be common need to survive, or a common interest. These communities develop a shared communication, a shared language, whether a literal language, or a figurative one. People in France speak French. Fans of a specific work develop shorthand references that are unique and known only to people who have shared that experience. It’s like the Star Trek: TNG (which is a fan term in and of itself) episode “Darmok”. A fan instantly knows what I’m talking about. For non-fans, look it up, but short version, there is a society that speaks only in references. If I want to convey a sense of extreme happiness or excitement, I might say “Armstrong landing on the Moon”. So it’s only natural that we are going to communicate, and create, within these fandoms using this common language, this shared experience.

    Creativity is by nature an additive process. Someone invented the wheel. Someone else invented the axle. Someone else had the idea to stick the wheel on a box to use it for carrying. Someone else had the idea to attach a horse to it to pull it easier. And so on. Batman was inspired by The Shadow. Superman was inspired by the Greek & Roman gods. Star Trek was inspired by Wagon Train. And on and on and on. Creativity can be sparked by anything, and it should be allowed to flourish, not be extinguished. Especially not by greed. Personally, I think copyright and patent laws are out of control, going way beyond the initial goal of giving creators a limited time to profit from their creations without competition, while still protecting creativity and allowing new creators to follow and build on what came before. But that’s another topic.

    The first rule of writing is “write what you know”. If there is a particular character that you are passionate about, you know it already. That makes it easier to create for it than to come up with something new. As for whether or not fan-fic is a bad thing, comic book writers, screen writers, anyone that has come along after the fact – they’re all fan-fic authors. None of them created these characters. Scott Lobdell is not Jerry Siegel. I’m assuming he likes Superman. Thus, anything he writes, even if it is published by DC, is technically “fan-fic”. It’s a fan-fic that is sanctioned by DC, but it’s still a fan-fic.

    Art is a collaborative process. Without an audience, art is not complete. It is a craft, not art. So audience is by nature a part of the creation of artwork. Our perceptions, our interpretations, our ideas for filling in the missing pieces – those are all a part of art. And yes, headcanon trumps canon, simply because it’s your choice. Personally, I despise the ending to Mass Effect 3. It was poorly written, disconnected, total and utter garbage, and not at all worthy of the rest of the series. So, as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t canon. My headcanon is how the game actually ends, because it’s my choice. Nothing Casey Hudson or Mac Walters or BioWare or EA can do can take that from me or convince me otherwise (unless they change the ending to one that I prefer, in which case I can choose to accept that over my own – not likely though).

    As for the “right” to change or alter creations, that’s how creativity works. Going back to copyright and patents, they stagnate creativity, not protecting it. And it’s necessary to a point, but it needs to be much more limited. Simply look at Disney. Nearly every major production it’s ever done has been taking an established story and reinterpreting it their own way. Cinderella’s step sisters chop their toes off to try and fit the slippers, and end up having their eyes pecked out by pigeons. Sleeping Beauty originally had a king force himself on her while she was asleep, and ended up waking up when she gave birth to twins. Ariel turned into sea foam when the prince married someone else. Pocahontis, Hercules, Repunzal, Belle, Tinkerbell – all of them are vastly different from the original works. Well, “what’s good for the goose”. Creativity is more often than not built off of previous creative works, and why shouldn’t someone be able to put their work out there, and make money off their creative works? Isn’t that what capitalism is about? If the market decides your version is better than the original, and purchases yours, that’s capitalism.

  13. I have a wallpaper on my computer comes with a quote that seems like a perfect fit in here:

    “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speaks directly to your soul. if you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case always remember what jean-luc godard said ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to'” – jim jarmusch

    No art is creation ex nihilo, everything we create is just a remix of what we have taken from the world. And it’s a good thing too, because otherwise we would not be able to communicate through our art, all works will be a completely alien thing speaking in a language only their creator can understand.
    In the end fanart is a comment on the original work, to frown upon fanart is akin to not wanting people to talk about your work.

  14. I can’t think of a way to properly respond but it seems like plenty of people have already.

    Reductions in scope (see: limitations inherent to doing fan work, working within canon, etc) are very useful for new artists, though.

    And while the word ‘crutch’ has a negative connotation, I don’t think using some crutches while you’re learning is a bad thing– if it can get you to a point where you feel like you can continue on your own and have a good enough idea of where to work on your stuff, then that can definitely help an artist.

  15. In my imagination, I do feel more enthusiastic for coming up with ideas of making a “better” or “unique” Star Wars Battlefront or Elder Scrolls game, or my take on Dr. “Eggman” Robotnik or the Animorphs. I guess it’s just already well established and I can build on what I love, but at the end of the day, it’s not mine. It’s like I’m worshipping it. Where as my Ace and Beaky storyline, I have a hard time making characters and a world that’s well established. It’s like being a grandmother who enjoys the grandkid she doesn’t have to raise as opposed to a parent raising the kid day by day, good, bad, & ugly.
    PS I had a similar experience with somebody doing thier own version of your work. Fanart of your idea, it’s amazing! I mean, it was just some drawings my little brother drew of my characters/mythos. I didn’t expect it and it was such a groundbreaking surprise I had to look at it. It was awesome. NOTICE: commissions don’t always have the same feeling. You have to pay them to do it. When others do it out of inspiration it is a deep emotional compliment.

  16. There are some things I would like to point out about fan fiction. One of the first things that always comes to mind is Arthurian Legends. Since most of them are fanfic cross overs, they merge a lot of classical folk heroes into one team. Making the Knights of the Round Table almost the first Superhero Team.

    The next thing is Neil Gaimen who no one would call a thief, but many characters he uses come from Comic Book History. Cain and Abel in Sandman are basically as they appeared in the Horror Comics they originally appeared in. He uses persons from Mythology often which makes his work far richer than if he had merely made the myths up himself.

    Next is Geoff Johns, One of my favourite comic book writers. He use to be a member of the Superboy fandom, he wrote in asking if Superboy could be a clone of Superman and Lex Luther. He was told no way in a letter column reply. Well guess what he became a comic writer and I don’t know if he wrote it but now that’s exactly what Superboy is and it was great.

    The concept of Fanfiction being a bad or more derivative than other works, thing is fairly new along with one click sales on a web site being patented. So many people aren’t being allowed to use properties now.

    The Wizard of Oz movie we know as the classic was the second, what if it had never happened due to copyright? What if some company in Britain owned the right to the Arthur Legends? Now Books like Sword in the Stone, no Mists of Avalon, no Merlin TV series, no First Knight. All these works are derived from early legends making them derivative.

    • Neil gaiman could be practicly described as a profetional fanart writer.
      see “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar”, “susans case” or “a study in emerald” and many many more for examples.

  17. I’m reminded of a bit in the Thursday Next series. At one point the protagonist goes to a place called “Fanfiction Island”.

    The protagonist sees hundreds of copies of herself there, but she describes them as “paper-thin” and “not having as much depth”. However the point of it is to show that fanfiction, like any fan work, is a work of love and admiration. While it’s true that it can’t possibly measure up to the original, the passion for its creation may even exceed the passion for the creation of the original.

  18. Wow, you make some terrific points, and I agree with you.
    I have had people ask why I write fan fiction, and I’ve said that I just found something compelling in the source material that I wanted to explore in my own way. I believe that just about every creative endeavor is derivative in some manner. Nothing is truly original because creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We have to be inspired, or informed in some way, and creativity always starts with an observation. If we are inspired and impassioned by the media that we consume, then why not let that be the force that drives our creativity?

    I think fan creativity is actually pretty healthy in our media-driven culture. Instead of being passive consumers, we take action and engage with what it is we are consuming. We play with it, we think critically, we enter into that process of production and consumption with is a necessary part of media culture. I think eventually this leads to people writing better stories, improving on original narratives, deconstructing tropes, analyzing character archetypes, et cetera. I do believe a culture is as smart as what they produce. Smart story telling is essential to smart media consumption.

    I think your truest statement is that YES, when someone creates something based off of your work, that is the most humbling experience as a writer/artist/creator. Someone has made fan art based on some of my fan fiction, and it’s incredibly flattering to know that I inspired someone to do that. I hope for more, and it’s a real motivation to continue to produce good work. I’m certain that the writers for MLP feel the same way, probably more so. They probably go to these cons and think, “Never in a million years did I think I could inspire people like this.” Feel like a rock star.

    And let’s not forget another important fact. Lauren Faust did not create MLP. MLP as we love it is a derivative work. But it would be wrong to say that it is “unoriginal.” That is such an untrue statement. I tell people all the time, “sure, someone may have already done it, but YOU haven’t done it.” It is your own hand, your own perception that makes it original. Because no one can tell YOUR story.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am subscribed to your videos and check in regularly.
    –Eglentyne

  19. Why would you say something bad about fan fics?
    I can see the point, but why “forbid” it? I have a lot of ideas for fan fictions myself, even though I can’t be arsed to write them down and I just can’t see why that is bad.

    Btw, Copyright also has its bright side. I’m a programmer and I had my open source work sold before… That is not nice, even though you see people like your stuff.

  20. I think a large part of why people create fanfiction is curiosity. I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered how the Character A from X-verse would react to Character B from Y-verse. There’s also the appeal of the “what-if” situation, where one little change could alter the entire storyline. I dunno, it’s just fun to watch all these changes/interactions affect the characters we know and love so much.

  21. I am in the process of writing my first novel and a collaborative book series with my best friend, and I’ve often thought about my feelings this when it comes to my work. Personally, I don’t want to know about people shipping or otherwise altering the content or characters because I view these characters like they are my children and I’m a bit protective of them. However, I wouldn’t try to stop anyone because it’s pointless, I would just prefer to be ignorant of the details! I think other kinds of fandom-expression would not bother me at all and would most likely be flattering, as you said. In fact, I would probably enjoy fan-made analysis videos/essays! That’s how I am most involved with the MLP fandom is I love to watch analysis videos.

  22. I’ve ALWAYS been appreciative of fandom for it’s ability to take the stories and characters in new and interesting directions. Thus I try to make it a point to promote examples of GOOD fanworks rather than merely riffing on the bad.

    As for a creators response to Fan Fics of his or her own work, I totally agree I would feel so flattered if that happened to me. In the case of those (Like the Bioshock Infinite example) who express distaste at the fandom, it always seems to me that they end up having a bad experience with the badfan fics, fan art ect. And assume the entire fandom is like that. Not realising that for every two hundred “Cupcakes”, a Nuptialverse shines through.

    Also…

    SWEET CRAP!! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR!!!!!

  23. I agree with you except for one point: The fact that fan art and cosplaying are technically illegal in many jurisdictions doesn’t make it wrong in any way, not even “wrong”. If you do something that is illegal, but those who the law is trying to protect are not harmed and have no problem with what you are doing, then there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. (you as in the universal you). You could even argue that if in that specific somebody were enforcing the law, he would be doing something morally wrong.Even though it is his legal right, he would be misusing the law to do harm without doing anything good.

    And even if you don’t agree with that line of thinking, there is still an implied permission if similar previous fan art or cosplay is known to the copyright holder but not acted upon. It isn’t legally useful, but neither is there a legal definition of wrong, so that’s not really the right angle to say if something is wrong. If you got implied permission beforehand and the work is not acted upon afterwards, creating it was riskier than original work, maybe dumb in some ways, but not wrong.

  24. I say that fandom is a very good thing, it helps spread awareness of something in addition to providing possible new material for the creators to springboard off of. I’m working on card game that I came up with on my own, and am asking people I know to do the presentational art for the cards because I’m not all that confident or competent in my own artistic abilities, and I know I’m probably dooming myself when I say that I have fantasized about people coming up to me dressed as one of the creatures in the game. I think that openly showing your passion for a series or anything else says that you admire the creative minds behind the affection you are openly displaying. Some creators might take offense to reinterpretations or cosplays of characters, but I think it’s mostly because those feel offended by someone’s interpretation of those characters because it conflicts with what that creator envisioned for that character.

  25. The fandom is great, all the creativity, the fandom jokes, the people in it and overall the fun. However sometimes the fandom gets annoying. Which is exactly what I have noticed is happening to the MLP fandom. And by the fandom I mean some of the people in it. To prove this I’km gonna use your Kill la kill video and the comments on it.

    Quite a few people were pissed of because it wasn’t pony. Even tho in the title it said what it was. The mature thing to do if you don’t want to see something not pony is don’t watch and if you do out of curiosity not hate on it and the creator. Lately in this fandom I’ve been seeing rising numbers of members of the fandom hate on the content creator because either they have moved on to something else or simply don’t make just pony stuff anymore.

    The even more annoying thing is that the fans of the creator say that the creator is leaving the fans i.e. “Alex S. has left fandumb bla bla bla, he abandon fandom” etc. Yet before that everyone would comment on his songs and say something like “Wow you’re much better than most mainstream DJs etc.” In a situation like this the only person abandoning anyone is the fan and not the content creator. We are the fandom, with us there would be no fandom and when half the fandom only like things that are about the fandom and don’t care for the content creator then that is really selfish of them. And this doesn’t only happen to the very popular people in the fandom.
    Another thing I have found annoying is how a lot of people are trying to do stuff just because someone got well known in the fandom for it so they will do it. I have no problem of people being inspired to do something new. But when their only purpose is getting popular and famous then that is taking advantage of the fandom and wrong.

    This is exactly what the Call of Duty community is now. Everyone and literally everyone is making vids on youtube so that they can become famous. They don’t care if they like the content themselves, it’s just about how many views they get so that they can get the chance to talk to the more famous YouTubers because they are now famous.

    Same thing is happening in the MLP community a person will see a vid then think to them self “what can I do that will make me small horse famous.”

    I love the fandom and all, I mean look at all the creations; the great art work by people like you Tommy, the amazing music, the awesome PMVs and animations and the fanfics. But sometimes we can get a bit out of hand and be stupid.

    Remember, it is a show about multi-coloured horses CALM THE FUCKK DOWN.

  26. Well done as always, Tommy. Fandoms have brought me so much happiness throughout my life and your argument defending them summarizes exactly how I feel.

  27. Internet Virginity Alert : Had to look up what “Rule 34” was. I was like “What’s wrong with man Elizabeth? Wait…that’s 63. What could- oh. I seeeeeeee o_o and can’t unsee.”

    • I think more people should have some respect for SOME internet virginity. I know it’s nobody’s business to get easily offended by stuff put up on the internet that’s people’s opinions or artwork-but the fact you miss out on the pointless stuff is more power to you. Who says they’re right? I would be sympathetic to the guy for being angry and frustrated about his artwork having this, but be like “you should be angry, not surprised.” But I would also say “that’s the world we live in. Do you feel strongly enough about it? Find some way to put things in motion that can help mitigate (fairly, reasonably) the stuff you don’t like.” It’s like people have the right to post any dumb@$$ thing they want, and maybe they should have that right…but many people make poor choices with it. I notice a lot of people who scream “grow thicker skin” on the internet go ballistic about certain areas with little provocation *cough cough religion mostly, but anything and opinions are up for grabs cough*, and then post a bunch of stuff and say “that’s how it is.” Ehh people show their true colors on the internet, cuz nobody can reach through the screen and slap them. Intelligent and creative? Sometimes. Hypocritical and narcissistic? Quite a bit. When you suddenly get a bunch of freedom and power that you weren’t used to having before, you show your true colors. I learned that after I got out of basic training.

  28. I think fandoms are great!! Thanks to fandoms I’m able to express my creativity to others. I love meeting new people who have the s sne interest and me and seeing what they have to share. Its very hard for me to make new friends( I’m just like Fluttershy ^_^) and when I meet people at artist alley or cosplaying at a convention it really helps me open up to others knowing we both have something in common. Fandoms help me express creativity, meet new people, and express who I am as a person in a way. Fandoms are wonderful and they unite others around the world to support ine thing we love!! \(^O^)/

  29. There are whole industries that operate on institutionalized fanfiction. Look at comic books, for example, or franchises like Doctor Who: the original creators have long since pass’d control over to other writers, frequently fans. Some of the best works featuring characters like Batman have been made by fans, even FiM itself was made by a fan. Past a certain threshold (of quality, hopefully) the difference between fan work and official work is just what gets the support of the publisher, and that’s a really arbitrary distinction. The distinction between illegal and wrong is important here.

    There’s precedent of sorts for wide use of characters in fiction, that of writing circles sharing stock settings and characters. As I recall that was a big part of H P Lovecraft’s writings, the idea that you can create a mythos that is open to public adaptations and use.

    I think it’s really interesting to see how Jossing can date fanfiction without diminishing it. Romance Reports by SleeplessBrony, for example, is heavily dated to the first season but still really good, and holds up in spite of our current image of Luna. Various redemption stories, ascension stories, and so on are still as good as when they were written, and fanfiction lets various authors explore details or concepts in much greater depth than in the main work.

    Sursum Ursa of ChezApocalypse.com has quite a bit to say on the topic of fandom, and is an interesting watch.

  30. I agree on the fact that fanfics are easier to make a story on than OC stories. I know full well about the feeling you get from trying to make a story and hope that the public loves it. You get all worried and sometimes question is it’s a good idea. At least with fanfics you already have established characters so you don’t have to worry too much about how the character arc for each character is going since its already done.

    And in terms of characters that barley show in a story, how about Anti Sora from KH2. I heard Anti Sora was made for the sole purpose of not allowing the player to spam form changes all the time — and by form changes I mean Valor, Wisdom and Master Form. When you use these forms too often you are more likely to transform into Anti Sora, who is fast, but weak on strength, defense and to top it off, can’t pick up health items. But despite that people have turn this form into either a mindless, rampaging beast or just Sora’s darker half.

    I personally go back to the saying, “Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery”. People love expressing themselves. If they really love your[artist’s] work, then they will make fanart or fanfics of it. It’s a given. And that would make anyone feel honored that their works are getting so much attention.

  31. The legal problem derives from the fact that copyright law was originally written to prevent piracy — where a publisher reprints an author’s work for profit without the author’s permission. The test of whether the action violated the author’s intention was whether the author legally complained about it. If the author was aware of but did not complain about it, not only did the author lose the right to complain in future, but might be held to be ABANDONING copyright.

    So the owner of the intellectual property was given a strong incentive to complain about derivative works. And back when these laws were formulated, derivative works were difficult enough to produce that the only reason this was usually done was intellectual piracy.

    Then the growth of small presses and studios due to the Internet and other electronic technologies created a situation where many people made derivative works for sheer love of the original. And the existence of such fanfiction was now of positive economic advantage to the owners of the work, since a fiction series supported by extensive fanfiction enjoys a large potential market for authorized sequels.

    That’s why the practice grew of fanfic authors including a disclaimer along various lines (frex FicCo and Author hold copyright to DerivChar1, DerivChar2, and the world of SecondaryCreatia). By doing so, the fanfic author serves notice that he is not claiming copyright to the original work and is indeed affirming the original copyright. This gives the owners far less incentive to prosecute for plagiarism, allowing them to instead bask in the admiration of the fans.

    Probably, copyright and trademark laws do need to be revised, to reflect the increasing ease of fanfic creations. And this is only going to get worse (or better, from a fannish point of view) as electronic means of creation grow increasingly sophisticated. I’ve already seen fanmade animations which rival professional animation in quality, and equally well-done voiceovers for them.

    I very much agree with the importance of intellectual property, and hope that happy media can be reached so that we can have more happiness in media 😉

  32. Hey.
    Intressting points, but… could you try and address that buzzing noise? :S
    It overshadows your own voice and makes it difficult to focus at what you are saying – because it feels like I have a bug in my ear, and someone is whispering behind that! 😛

  33. Pretty solid counterpoints, and I agree on many counts. I also liked how you played the devil’s advocate a bit with the “fanart is stealing” point, which is something I’m up to addressing.

    By the books, yes, fanart and stuff is, perhaps, illegal and therefore wrong. However, legally wrong and morally wrong are two different things that are trying to be one and the same. Now, I’m trying to become a district attorney, so I’ll put this in the best way that I can using my personal understanding of the law.

    My mindset is that it’s always better to be good rather than lawful, because the law, however unlikely it may look at times, is actually trying to be based on what the general populace believes to be good. This is precisely why the law is always changing and evolving, through trials and errors. Humanity is not perfect. In fact, I could argue that “perfection” is a paradox; simply put, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. There is no such thing as absolute perfection because there will always be flaws somewhere, and in some cases, the perceived lack of flaws can, in itself, be that one critical and/or fatal flaw. (Why do you think Mary Sues are so disliked?)

    Creators, I’m sure, recognize this more than anyone, because of all the feedback they tend to get, positive AND negative. Copyright laws are no exception: Of course they need to be updated, even now. After that, perhaps after any amount of time, they may need to be updated once again. It may wind up being (if it isn’t already) an endless cycle of change, for better or worse, but it’s there.

    Everything said thus far, I absolutely love fandoms! The people in them, my opinions vary, but the fandoms themselves I find to be wonderful. Legally, they’d be criminal, which is why I think we need an update.

  34. So here is my opinion. I am a creator as well. I write and roleplay and all that stuff. I would absolutely love to see people look at my work and if they decided to tweak it, I find that just fine. The reason? I do it too. I have my own fan fic roleplay about my character coming to Equestria and me and my friend have created a bunch of different things. We have added and tweaked and probably broke so many canon rules that the only pony who may see order in our chaos is Pinkie Pie herself. But that is the way we interact with the world. I love seeing how people mess with my story and world in my roleplays. It actually inspires me to make changes here and there. I know I am babbling but this is just me.

  35. In my opinion fandom is a double edged sword, There are people out there who do great things creativity wise. They create their own original ideas and let the characters be characters or re-imagine the characters to have a little fun or to make fun of them or whatever.

    Then there are the people who are so engrossed in their own ideas about the characters that they, as you mention, freak out over the creator’s decision to go a different way. As a person who wishes to get novels published, I would be pretty flattered to see what others come up with. does that mean I’d have to comply with their ideas? no. As you also say, I own my work and I can do as I see fit. Personally I’d rather not have people have fits if I do something different.

    There are very good things about fandom. They could lead to inspiration in the canon for new characters or they could even lead to completely new works. A good example of fan made characters turning into canon characters are the outer senshi in Sailor Moon. Before later seasons of the show, when Mercury-Jupiter were around, fans of the show were creating Sailor Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and Saturn. Naoko Takeuchi ran with it and created the outer senshi. An example in My Little Pony could be the character they called Derpy Hooves (or Ditzy Doo whatever.) At first she was a background character with no lines or anything. Then the creators of the show saw that she had a following and started giving her bigger parts. As for original works coming out of fandom the most famous example has to be Twilight fanfiction turned original novel 50 Shades of Grey (or so the story goes.)

    When I create things in my novels that are sort of based (or are sort of homages) in some way off of someone else’s ideas, I like to stick with the canon and make as much changes as possible to it so that it would be indistinguishable from the original. The canon can be acknowledged as well but I prefer to do only a nod or allude to it. (By the way, from the look of things, novelists seem to be able to get away with a tiny bit more when it comes to creativity.)

    For making their own merchandise based off of something of mine and profiting from it, I can see how that could be wrong. What I wouldn’t have a problem with is if they created their own original things (characters/places/things/what have you) and profited from that. I found a person selling things with the logo of a fictional company they created in a fan fiction. (the fanfiction Rainbow Factory became so popular among people that she wrote a sequel to it and is selling merchandise based off of the company she made up.) Maybe by copyright law it might be wrong or something but I don’t see any harm as long as they aren’t ripping off something that was in the show or part of an already existing toy line that the original creators have copyrights over.

    The part that really bugs me about the fans is how much they want to see Celestia or some other really good character as evil or some kind of villain. I’ve seen it in different places and not only just for My Little Pony. I also don’t completely understand what is with fans who like to see other characters tortured or killed in some gruesome way. I personally think its stupid. However those are my opinions. If I find something like that, I pretend its taking place in some other sadistic universe or something I’m not going to, nor do I want to stifle someone else’s creativity.

    Anyway, that’s my opinion.

  36. I agree on a lot of it, and won’t go into every discrepancy because I can’t be arsed, but I have to say one thing.

    Just because you can’t stop somebody from doing something doesn’t mean it’s right or okay to do. It can certainly act as a strong incentive to accept it, and maybe you will have to accept it, but that doesn’t make it right. Examples of this are not difficult to come up with, I’m sure you can do it effortlessly as well: Person A holds person B so he can’t move, while person C punches him. He may be helpless to do anything about it, but that really only makes it worse, not better. If you’re at a grocery store, you can’t stop people from throwing bananas or coconuts at you, but it’s still not very nice of them.

    Maybe you could get some authorities involved and have them take some form of action against it. That would sort of be what copyright laws allow for. I do think they’re quite broken and I’m not sure whether I agree with their existence in general yet (it’s still all very vague to me), but they are there to afford certain protections, to make it so you CAN stop certain things, rather than just accept them.

    I’m not arguing that something is right or wrong here, indeed I forgot what the thing in question was even about, this is just a gripe about this particular bit of logic or implication (which may not have technically been in play, but I know some will interpret it this way).

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