[MUD-Dev] Fanfic (Or: Why we can't all get along)

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Mon Nov 20 01:54:31 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


>From: "Brian 'Psychochild' Green" <brian at psychochild.org>
>Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 19:56:06 -0800

>Unfortunately, there has been little deep discussion of the impact on
>the players at large.  Let's visit my earlier defense of IP.  If you
>create an interesting character, give it the spark of life and have
>chronicle its adventures, should you not be rewarded for your effort
>into making that character?  Shouldn't I be allowed to create derivative
>works with that character and be able to describe him or her within the
>world he or she inhabits?  While many companies think this applies to
>their works, they do not extend the same courtesy to the characters
>lovingly crafted and given life by their players.  Where would online
>games be without the IP provided by the players?
>
>Seems a bit contradictory, does it not?

In this fan fiction, do they make mention of places and events in the world
as defined by the publisher?  I would assume so.  As a result, they are
leveraging the original content and they may be producing a perception of
that original content that is not in line with the publisher's goals for
their product.  If I were a publisher, I would be concerned about that.

Another post brought up the issue of players being the best marketeers of a
game (consumers of a product, whatever).  Well, that's only true if they
market your product in a way that you like.  If they say that it stinks, you
obviously can't rely on that as your marketing ploy.  If they say that it's
apples when you want to market it as oranges, you again can't rely on your
customers.

As I see it, this boils down to the same question as 'open source' and
anarchistic practices in general: can an ad hoc organization, or even mob
rule, provide as good or even a better result than a closed, structured
organization?  The open source arena only remains effective so long as all
players are well-versed in the end goal of the exercise.  Applying this to a
fictional realm, the only way that everyone will fit the mold of the fition
is if they all agree on what the fiction is.  What are the odds of that?
Those who manufacture fiction are always trying to branch out in ever more
unique directions.  That seems to define 'creativity' for many people.  The
fiction would invariably grow more and more radical.  Personally, I can
understand the publisher's aversion to letting the fans cut loose.

If fans want to write fiction, let them make up their own genre.

JB


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