Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Can't stop the signal

A perfect storm of my favorite things: One of my favorite fantasy authors, Steven Brust, has written a Firefly novel. But it’s not an official tie-in, in part because official tie-ins got tied up in the publishing process. Instead, he released it to the world under a Creative Commons license (which, of course, can only license the rights he has, and thus does not not affect the overall rights to Firefly/Serenity.) If it contains scenes in which River Tam Beats Up Everyone, I may melt with happiness.

More generally: I have trouble understanding people who consider fan fiction to be something under than “real writing.” What do they think it is, chicken salad? Brust is a successful writer, in official/publishing terms, but he wrote this book because it was a story he had to tell. (As he said: “I couldn’t help myself.”) Sometimes – often – the stories we have to tell are stories we have to tell, and the storytelling parts of the brain don’t check with the Copyright Office first. There are reasons to give copyright owners more rights over commercialization of sequels and tie-ins, but those reasons don’t justify suppressing free distribution.

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