Hey, Thanks For Your World!

Someone left a message on my LK Rigel page here at Fair Maison the other day that has freaked me out.

Eric Says:
August 1, 2010 at 6:43 pm edit
Nice work i have to say, even inspired me to do a short story off of that idea. Thanks!

Whoa, there pardner! That’s my world you’re helping yourself to. I’m not even established yet, and someone’s fanficking me?

Now, of course ideas are not intellectual property, but world’s are. I found Eric’s page at Smashword’s, and what do you know? He’s published an entire book over there — has it for sale for $5.99 based on “David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers Universe.”

He downloaded my free first chapter and left a 5 star review. It’s all too weird.

I wrote this letter:

Hi Eric,

I saw your comment on Fair Maison and checked out your page at Smashwords. Thanks so much for the 5-star review of my first chapter of Space Junque. I hope to have the whole thing out in about a month.

You mentioned writing a short story off the world of Space Junque, and I hope you won’t do that. This is my world I am creating for my work.

It looks like you’re a good writer. I hope you’ll put your efforts into creating a world that is yours.

I appreciate your enjoyment of my work, but I explicitly do not give you permission to use it in yours.

I wish you much success in creating worlds that your readers will enjoy — and I hope to be one of them,

Most sincerely,
LK Rigel

Any thoughts? Ideas?


4 Responses to “Hey, Thanks For Your World!”

  1. Cara Wallace Says:

    I hope that just means he likes the idea of writing something with an outer space setting, or something more or less apocalyptic. You know, “idea” in the broad sense, not your actual world.

    But there was a NYT article the other day about plagiarism, and it said that students who have grown up in the digital age (where so much information is readily available online, and “sampling” is standard practice) have very different concepts of authorship and ownership, and don’t even realize that using someone else’s words in their paper is a “serious academic misdeed,” as the article put it.

    So it wouldn’t be altogether surprising if the same lack of understanding applied to creative works generally. Upsetting, but not surprising.

  2. RG Hart Says:

    This is a violation of copyright and authors of the fanfic trying to sell their work can be sued and the owner of the copyright will win. I’d suggest the author cease selling these works immediately. If he’s a good writer then I’d agree he should create his own original work and sell that instead.

  3. Devon Monk Says:

    I can’t say what Eric’s intentions are in regard to your work, but I heard back from David Drake.

    He thanked me for my concern but said he gave Eric permission and that Eric was on active duty in Afghanistan.

    So with permission from the author, Eric’s in the clear–no copyright violation with the book he wrote based on David Drake’s world.

    All best,
    Devon Monk

  4. likari Says:

    I’ve exchanged a few emails with Eric about this. He is sincere, in my opinion, and quite upfront about what he’s doing. I think his challenge is staying on the right side of the line separating inspiration and appropriation.

    He told me Drake gave him permission to use Drake’s world but had to set boundaries a few times about not using characters or scenes from Drake’s own work.

    Eric is careful to give credit where he gets his ideas and doesn’t try to hide anything.

    I think Cara makes a good point that there is an entire generation now that doesn’t have a sense of ownership boundaries where creative content is concerned.

    Thanks for contacting Drake! That’s great that he gave permission, I guess, but I wonder if it doesn’t make more problems than it solves.

    Bottom line, Eric is a good guy, and he’s going to take his story in a different direction and “make it his own” as I like to say.

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