Okay, there’s been a lot of FAIL on the interwebs lately, and the most recent one is the hubbub about the Rowling and Vander Ark case. A lot of people think Rowling’s being a big meanie. What I want to say about that I’ll keep under wraps, because I think there’s been more misleading articles than not in the media.
Right now I’ll just say: it’s a shame that, while Stanford Law seems unable to read court documents, especially the ones from the history of the case—you know, why read what’s been going on when you pass judgment in public or something [/sarcasm]—fandom_wank, as a collective entity, can. ((For those who don’t remember Orson Scott Card’s opinion: he thought Rowling was wrong. These days, being on the same side as OSC tends to be a strong indicator of being on the wrong side.))
For people who may be wondering about the “Pie Chart of Doom”, it’s a breakdown, in graphical form, of the amount of text that’s been plagiarized by Vander Ark’s book from the Harry Potter books versus other kinds of text. It’s also available in bar graph form. For larger images, clicky to embiggen:
pics extracted from documents by B.K. DeLong
It may be a surprise to some, but it’s not only professional writers who live on LiveJournal; there are professional lawyers as well. Thankfully they’re less obtuse on LJ, and tend to break down testimonies and documents into easily digestible forms for the layman:
- praetorianguard covers the circus that the case became, and also highlights from the trial.
- praetorianguard explains why settling is good and why the defendant’s attorneys are awful; if only RDR had a dream team I suppose. ((Another point for those just coming in: Vander Ark is not the defendant. His publisher, RDR Books, is.))
- Not on LJ, but Dan Slater covers the following: RDR refuses to settle. And of course, Steven Vander Ark, no matter what he wishes he could do, is along for the ride.
- foresthouse breaks down the ruling, starting with Part I: Findings of Fact.
- foresthouse continues ruling breakdown: Part II: Conclusions of Law, Copyright Infringement.
- Update: foresthouse continues with: Part III: Conclusions of Law, Derivative Work. (Also lists more links to ruminations, past and present, on the case.)
- Update: foresthouse continues with: Part IV: Conclusions of Law, Fair Use; Part V, Damages and Conclusion
- Update: praetorianguard breaks down the ruling as well.
- And Scrivener’s Error, not on LJ but on Blogger, weighs in.
- Update: At Harvard’s Info/Law blog, Derek Bambauer speaks.
And finally, Nora Roberts, who tends to be a clueful and reader/fandom-with-it author (along with Diane Duane) comments curtly here.
For those who wonder what would have happened if RDR won: it would have been the worst thing possible for fandom. The ruling would prod studios, lawyers for authors, and other copyright holders to crack down on fan fiction and other fan creations; while they’ve always been looked at with a wary and willingly ignoring eye before, now they would actually pose a legal threat due to precedent set by Rowling vs. RDR Books. We’d start seeing fanfiction sites get shut down left and right, in other words.
So digest before you judge and shout.
(By the way, for folks who might wonder where I was yesterday, since the 8th (sob!) is without a blog post: on Twitter, mostly, since I was traveling to and from a doctor’s appointment and then to and from the pharmacy, which took its sweet time in preparing some of the stuff.)