June 7th, 2007

cats - snow leopard

Fanfic, ownership, and metaficcing

So I was talking with heyheyrenay about getting ideas from other people's fic, and today she posted about it, and it got me to thinking.

It seems to me entirely natural that those of us who write fanfic would get story ideas from reading other people's fic. Because isn't that the whole reason for the existence of fanfic? We look at the canon and we say "But what happened next?/But what came before?/But what if it happened this way?" And seems to me that the impulse doesn't go away just because the story we happen to be reading is written by another fan rather than by whoever produced the original.

So I don't see how anyone who writes fanfic can object when someone looks at a story she's written and says "I want to see more" or "I wonder if I could take it in this other direction?" Because that's what she did when she wrote her fic in the first place. I won't quite say it would be hypocritical to object, but I think it leans in that direction. I'm not talking about someone who copies a story word-for-word without proper attribution, of course, or someone who does a "find-replace" on names but otherwise leaves the story intact or otherwise obvious acts of plagiarism. But fic about fic, or a remix, or whatever you call it when one fic is inspired by another, should be legit, and I think that should be a basic understanding among anyone who writes fanfic.

Or am I missing some completely obvious reason that this would be a problem?

Anyway. Part of me would love to see remixing etc.just become assumed as part of fandom culture. I'm not sure the Final Fantasy fandom has a coherent enough community to spread any kind of overall social norm, though. So in the meantime, I vote for releasing fic under a Creative Commons license, which has the advantage of coming in various flavors, so everyone and label their stories with whichever level of protection they're comfortable with. Just this morning, I put up the Attribution-NoCommercial-ShareAlike notice both here and on my FF.net page, and I invite anyone who agrees to join me.