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    Servant of Gan Aaron is on a distinguished road Aaron's Avatar

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    :?: Questions

    This thread is a touch point between the members and staff to clarify issues having to do with posting fan fiction. If you have not already read the posting guidelines for this forum, please click on the sticky thread in this forum prior to posting. Over the course of time we will filter the common questions asked in this thread into a FAQ.

    No questions are dumb ones, and all are highly encouraged here. We would rather you ask than have an issue later on. So please, if you are unsure, this is the place for answers.

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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    1. No work of fan fiction may use clearly delineated characters from the original author’s work. Any character that was fleshed out in the original work cannot play a role in your story.
    So, if I am correct, you could not post a fanfic about Roland, Susannah, Eddie and Jake because they belong to SK's original work?



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

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    Salvation Comes w/ a Cost OchrisO has a spectacular aura about OchrisO has a spectacular aura about OchrisO has a spectacular aura about OchrisO's Avatar

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    That pretty much defeats the purpose of fan fiction, doesn't it?
    There's one hole in every revolution, large or small. And it's one word long.. people. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution.

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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    I was going to say that, but I was trying to be nice.

    I agree, what's the point? I'm not trying to be a PITA or anything, but honestly, what WOULD you write about?

    No one is more leery of copyright infringement than I am. But, I think (and I could be wrong) that if you post a disclaimer in the beginning that all characters are property of <insert author here>, you are okay.



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

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    Constant Reader Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts's Avatar

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    ^Thats what I understood too. To echo what Daghain said - I've done a couple of ff's at Harry Potter and Lost sites - and it seems to be the acceptable thing to use existing characters/locations and prequel or sequel existing storylines as long as your disclaimer says stuff along the lines of "These characters are the sole property of *relevant author*(sometimes people put the publisher and any affiliated movie thingers in too) this story is purely of my own invention" or words to that effect.

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    Servant of Gan Aaron is on a distinguished road Aaron's Avatar

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    Basically, you can use a fantasy world and its mythology, and you can use stock characters from the original author's work, and that is it. Anytime you use a delineated character, anything you write is considered an illegal derivation of that character. Action is being taken more and more, especially across the net. To avoid that happening here, we originally didn't allow it, but have now decided that we would allow the types that are considered "fair use". While I realize these stipulations may disappoint many, and make it seem pointless, there is no budging. Yet there is still much to be written, using either minor characters from the original work or your own characters, using any and all settings and mythology. There are countless fan fiction works of this sort written about Tolkien's Middle-Earth. There are many Star Wars and Star Trek fan fics like this, as well.

    I'm not trying to be a killjoy; I understand. I know it would be fun to use some of my favorite characters from various books in my own story, but they aren't mine to use. I didn't establish them and I cannot speak for them. If you decide that you have nothing to post here, then I am sorry. That is the policy.

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    Constant Reader Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts's Avatar

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    No worries. However......I'm not being pedantic, but I don't understand the difference - from a legal pov - between borrowing from an authors world/mythology/stock characters and the delineated characters. Do you know how or why this is so?

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    Basically, I believe the distinction made is that in the U.S one does not have to apply for a copyright to have one. The copyright is created at the time the work is. Works generally must be "original" and "fixed in a tangible form". Generally, speaking, stock characters/sidekicks are not considered clearly delineated enough to warrant a copyright. It's all rather ambiguous even in the courts.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

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    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



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    Constant Reader Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts has a spectacular aura about Darkthoughts's Avatar

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    Cool, still confusing but - thanks Brice

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    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    Even the lawyers and judges are confused by this sort of stuff here it seems. Nothing much is clear.


    Oh, and you're very welcome!
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    Basically, you can use a fantasy world and its mythology, and you can use stock characters from the original author's work, and that is it. Anytime you use a delineated character, anything you write is considered an illegal derivation of that character.
    Okay, that makes sense. I see a lot of slippery slope in this whole thing, though! Scary.



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

  12. #12
    Servant of Gan Aaron is on a distinguished road Aaron's Avatar

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    You are correct; it is a very slippery slope. That's why we weren't going to do it at all at first. DT.net doesn't allow it at all. And Brice is correct about the copyright for delineated characters. If you would like I can find a link to more information regarding the subject...

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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    I believe you. But it will be interesting to see what the lawyers do with this as time goes on - you KNOW eventually they will be all "Oh, ANYTHING created by the author belongs to him/her."

    Which, now that I think of it, is what I would want if I was an author.



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

  14. #14
    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    Well, that's the thing there. These type of laws (actually most laws here) seem to be worded in an intentionally ambiguous manner so they are subject to multiple interpretations easily. With Dt the whole story arc is delineated to a degree where they almost could do that. Now SK's lawyers in the past have seemed somewhat relaxed about these things even though his own website doesn't allow fanfic if I remember correctly. He would certainly have the right to pursue protection of his copyrights as much as anyone else. There is really no telling what kind of position someone will take on this sort of thing. There have been major companies that have encouraged fanfic such as Paramount; looking at it as free advertisement and there have been companies that pursue every possible claim vigilantly with regards to copyright infringement in any way. Fox Television and Viacom tend to fall into this group.They do things like cease and desist letters to your ISP because in order for a cease and desist order to hold they must prove financial damage, so they pressure ISPs to pressure the fanfic authors or site owners to remove the fanfic.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  15. #15
    Roont Matt will become famous soon enough Matt's Avatar

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    I believe the fact that dt.net doesn't allow it is more of a personal choice than a professional one. Not to mention, I do not think using their practices as a guideline for anything we do here would be a good idea.

    That's not a slight on anyone who is a member, I just wanted a different feel. My part is being here everyday because as the owner of the site, I think that is necessary (although sometimes I think I talk too much )

    That being said, I really appreciate the effort that is being made by everyone involved to come up with a compromise. Aaron is Director of Operations on this site so if its going to happen at all, we can trust him to do it in a way that is going to protect the site and us as best he can.

    Which I love him for Thanks for coming up with this Aaron

    Again, with that being said. Is it too much trouble and is there any reason to have it at all?

    The only reason I ask is because (imo), fan fic being here or not being here is not going to have a large effect on the overall success of the site. So for me, while its fun to play with, it's certainly not something I would insist on being here.

    So that is the question. Under the established rules for fan fic is there going to be a need for it at all? What do you guys think?
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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    Personally, I think, under the circumstances, it's asking for trouble. And I do a fine job of finding enough trouble of my own.

    I pity the person who has to mod this sucker.



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

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    Roont Matt will become famous soon enough Matt's Avatar

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    Thanks for the input Daghain, hopefully others will express their opinions too.
    The kindness of close friends is like a warm blanket

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    The Tenant Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean has much to be proud of Jean's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daghain View Post
    I pity the person who has to mod this sucker.
    As that person, I am afraid I haven't formed any definite opinion yet. Having this section might be asking for trouble, although I don't think we're going to have a lot of fanfiction; also, however vague, the guidelines can be followed. We already have a beautiful poem here, and it deserves to be posted for everyone to see (it is now, but has no legal status whatsoever).

    Do poems have to comply with the same rules? CRinVA does use the main characters, but he doesn't develop them in any other way, he just puts into verse what was originally in prose, emphasizing some aspects.

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    I don't think it will be problematic, but if I ever feel the need to fanfic I goto FF.net which is a free for all So I whether or not a particular fan site has a fan fic section is not really something I base my decision to join on.

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    Roont Matt will become famous soon enough Matt's Avatar

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    That's very true, already an entire site filled with everything a person could imagine there.
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    You know it!!

  22. #22
    Otter of the Prim cozener will become famous soon enough cozener will become famous soon enough cozener's Avatar

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    I would love to post a fanfic and I understand the "1. No work of fan fiction may use clearly delineated characters from the original author’s work. Any character that was fleshed out in the original work cannot play a role in your story" but I do have a question about it.

    While these main characters cannot be "used" can they be mentioned? I was writing a story about a gunslinger that isn't Roland but he knew Roland. Can Roland be mentioned by name or do I have to find some other way to say that this character had interractions with Roland without actually naming him? In this story the main character thinks of Roland a few times but Roland has no dialogue and is not an actor in the story. While Roland isn't integral to the story's functionality the memory of him is integral to the development of my main character and the way this character is developed will be, I think, integral to the feel of the story.

    I'm also leary about this "stock" character thing. Is Cort a "stock" character? Cuthbert? Is Eldred? Or do they have to be even less important? Brown? Mayor Thorin? Vannay? Actually, I wasn't thinking of using any of these but I'm curious.

  23. #23
    Roont Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice has much to be proud of Brice's Avatar

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    This is just my opinion and a descision would have to be made by the directors on this, but I would think Brown, Mayor Thorin, and Vannay are adequately underdeveloped to be considered "stock characters" while Cort, Cuthbert, and Eldred could be considered developed enough to be considered more than that meaning that if King were so inclined to challenge use of them in a legal situation he could show that the characters were developed enough to have his rights to them protected.

    Again, this is only my own opinion, but casual mention of a character is entirely different than them being a character in a story. I think such minimal use say in homage to a writer or in the basic development of a character might be allowable without weakening the original writer's protection of their copyrighted work. Of course ultimately this will have to be the director's decision, so please wait for a response from them before doing anything with it here.
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    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  24. #24
    Roont Matt will become famous soon enough Matt's Avatar

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    Thanks Brice--that's a great answer and I am going to talk with Aaron about this a bit more because some good questions are raised.

    The intention here is obviously to make sure we aren't doing anything that could be considered "taking away" from Kings work. He is an amazing guy and the point of the site is to always respect him and his body of work. I think we do that by not messing with any of his existing characters or story lines. Because using any one of them in any way (say...a story of Cort's childhood) would be potentially "taking away" from something he created in a very broad sense.

    But remember, this site doesn't even want to give the illusion that we are trying to do that. So my opinion is we stay away from them. Artists are very serious about protecting their work and they certainly have a right to be.

    People writing fan fic based on the world of the Dark Tower should try to find ways to tap things that are not spoken of in the main stream story. There is huge potential in the history of Rolands world for instance, we know next to nothing about it.

    I don't think that mentioning Gilead or Roland is out of bounds but only as a passing--as in legend or folk history to provide a basis, other than that...we should stick to the "feel" of Rolands world but not the actual story of the Gunslingers. Even using that phrase "Gunslinger" to describe a person or what they do can be considered a breech of Kings work (reaching, I know, but its there)

    I plan to ask my contact I have established how Stephen King really feels about the issue but I'm not there yet I don't think. In the meantime Cozner, please feel free to send that story to me and Aaron and we'll have a look at it if you want.

    I'm torn here because I want people to be able to use Rolands world as a framework to represent themselves but I really don't want to create any situation where we might be "taking away" from Kings body of work.

    I saw him on Nightline last night and he's just a cool dude. I knew that, but it was reaffirmed.
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  25. #25
    Servant of Gan Aaron is on a distinguished road Aaron's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cozener View Post
    I would love to post a fanfic and I understand the "1. No work of fan fiction may use clearly delineated characters from the original authorís work. Any character that was fleshed out in the original work cannot play a role in your story" but I do have a question about it.

    While these main characters cannot be "used" can they be mentioned? I was writing a story about a gunslinger that isn't Roland but he knew Roland. Can Roland be mentioned by name or do I have to find some other way to say that this character had interractions with Roland without actually naming him? In this story the main character thinks of Roland a few times but Roland has no dialogue and is not an actor in the story. While Roland isn't integral to the story's functionality the memory of him is integral to the development of my main character and the way this character is developed will be, I think, integral to the feel of the story.

    I'm also leary about this "stock" character thing. Is Cort a "stock" character? Cuthbert? Is Eldred? Or do they have to be even less important? Brown? Mayor Thorin? Vannay? Actually, I wasn't thinking of using any of these but I'm curious.

    Mentioning Roland is perfectly all right. As long as you are not altering any major storylines concerning him, you can mention him all you want. As far as stock characters go, it would be any character that wasn't delineated. Cort, I would say, was very delineated, although his delineation was made over the course of all of the books through Roland's memories and flashbacks. Vannay, however, should be fine. Cuthbert and Jonas were both major players in W&G and The Gunslinger Born, so they are clearly delineated. The others are fine for use, since their characters weren't absolutely integral to the overall story.

    It's a fine line. I really appreciate your asking for clarification. As long as all members posting here do as you have, we should have no problems at all.

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