Lots of blogs I read are linking to lots of other blogs linking to this Amazon product (now no longer available) that was an unlicensed Star Wars novel which the writer brainlessly published for sale with her own publishing house. The Amazon page lasted, I gather, less than twenty-four hours. There is much discussion in these blog entries and in the comments on these blog entries how this boneheaded act could have, or possibly has, queered the institution of fanfiction with Lucasfilm or even other copyright owners of properties which inspire netfanfiction. Owners' reactions to fanfiction of their properties vary, depending on the owner's perception of danger to his/her ownership or which characters are slashed. But it's my passively, anecdotally researched observation that (at least, till now) screen properties' owners send cease-and-desist orders to fansite operators only in cases of transcripts or photos (i.e., actual property-owner owned property); and not in cases of original derivative works by the fan(s) (such as, for instance, you find on my own fanfiction site). Now, you can harp all you want - because it's true - that the law doesn't recognize any difference whether your unlicensed derivative work is distributed for free or for profit, but that was the difference in this case, and in this case the work was removed from availability.
But that's not what I want to talk about.
In these blog entries' comments sections there is never only one commenter who says of fanfiction writers, "Why can't they write their own original stories?"
Jesus Christ. I honestly expected better of people on the internet, though in retrospect I don't know why.
Would they say that to Homer or Shakespeare, I wonder? Would they say that to Nicholas Meyer, who made his career on Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek? Would they say that to Geraldine Brooks who just won a Pulitzer for a novel set in Alcott's Little Women universe?
"Why can't they write their own original stories?" Who are you to say we can't, just because we don't? In fact, how do you know we don't? Does the name Jacqueline Lichtenburg mean anything to you? How about Marion Zimmer Bradley? Frakking snobs.
The characters inspire the stories. When inspiration calls, you answer. I hope it isn't other writers making this comment, who ought to know better.
I'm so mad I can barely articulate it.
Edit More here.