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***We interrupt your regularly scheduled Comic-con Report to bring you this message regarding Strikethrough 2: Electric Boldfontaloo (TM cleolinda)***

So, I know a lot of people are upset because Six Apart's been acting like a bunch of wankers again. I've been cyber-squatting on my username in a few alternate journals for a while (and anyone who chooses to leave LJ can feel free to friend me at InsaneJournal or GreatestJournal), but for now, I'm not going anywhere. There are several reasons for this, described below.

Reason #1: I'm a permanent account holder, so I won't be denying LJ any income by leaving. Also, since I've already paid for the damn thing I intend to use it for as long as it's worth using.

Reason #2: One of the things I like about LJ is the size of the community. GJ and IJ just don't have that many users right now. And anyway, it's looking like some of the exodus is going over to GJ and some to IJ and others to JF, which means this community that I enjoy so much is splintering into pieces. Blogreaders are fine and all, but I like actually being a part of a community with you guys, not an outside observer stopping in to read your journals.

Reason #3: This one is probably the biggest reason (and why I'm not all in a tizzy over Six Apart's actions) and mskala's explained much better than I ever could: The terrible secret of Livejournal. I recommend that everyone go and read the whole page, but here's a taste:

The terrible secret of Livejournal is that a lot of fandom material is illegal. It's not just incorrectly classified as illegal. It doesn't just "appear" to be illegal to people who don't understand. It doesn't just "resemble" illegal material. It isn't just "illegal to show to minors but perfectly okay as long as you card everyone." It's not "arguably" illegal under hypothetical assumptions that haven't been tested in court. It's not just against Six Apart's terms of service. It's not just disfavoured by Barak Berkowitz's personal taste. There exists material that may be in a grey area, but a lot of it isn't. A lot of fandom material really is definitely illegal to distribute; sometimes even illegal to possess...

...In light of this terrible secret, and in light of the imperfect world in which it's all happening, Six Apart's actions actually make a whole lot of sense and aren't nearly so evil as fandom people are saying.

He's not denying that Six Apart has screwed some stuff up and neither am I. But they're scared, and they have a right to be scared. I don't agree with a lot of the laws in this area, but wishing the laws were different doesn't make it so. I'm not going to show up in someone's backyard with a shipment of illegal substances and expect them to shield me from the fuzz.

On a side note, he goes on to point out exactly how delusional those ridiculous disclaimers that we put on our fanfic really are. Seriously, ya'll, can we stop doing that now?

Reason #4: Until the larger legal issues of intellectual property and freedom of expression on the vast new frontier that is teh internets are more definitively resolved, we're destined to keep bumping up against the same problems over and over again. Sure, GJ and IJ say they're supporting fandom now, because they're small and they haven't drawn any fire from the big guns. It's easy to support fandom when you're flying under the radar. But I guarantee that these issues are going to crop up again, and when they start getting the scary threatening letters from the law firm of Shut You Down and Seize Your Assets they're going to cover their own asses instead of ours. You know why? Because of Reason #3 up there. And honestly, I won't even blame them for it.

There is nowhere safer or better to go. Nowhere where they won't be able to find us and shut us down if that's what they decide they want to do. So I don't really feel like packing up all my stuff and moving into a new neighborhood only to discover that it's built on the exact same sink hole as my last one was. It just doesn't seem worth it to me.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
kiss_me_cassie
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
There's actually a very good discussion in nnaylime's lj about the kerfluffle, too.

hannasus
Aug. 11th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
It's nice to get the perspective of someone who's actually on the abuse team. I'm always fascinated by how different people's perspectives of the same circumstances can be.
ladycat777
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. These are exactly the points that have been bothering me.

Would you mind if I linked? Not sure if I want to wade back into the discussion, but if I do, you say it a whole lot better and simpler than I ever could.
hannasus
Aug. 11th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
I don't mind at all. I don't really enjoy diving into controversial debates much, but enough people on my flist had wondered what others were planning to do that I wanted to put my own position out there.
ceslas
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope it is ok to link in a comment on another thread in the same vein. It helps to see more than the myopic view...
helygen
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
Well said
snowdrifted
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
I agree with that post as far as fandom needing to look more critically at themselves: if all people do is look for another place to post extreme or questionable content, that's not a good thing. It gives the same vibes over everyone just moving to aff.net to post their really crappy NC-17 stories when ff.net cracked down.

What bothered me about it was the tone: it made me feel like the author of the post (and any outsider who looks at fandom) thinks that the only reason people want to be in fandom is to do the kinds of things that the users were suspended for. This is not a representative sample here. So that's what bothers me about people thinking they have to censor themselves: the whole of fandom is a huge place, and now there are people who weren't even doing questionable things in the first place thinking they're going to be censured just for participating in a community where these things happen.

My own decision to move to GJ was for a lot of little reasons. The LJ/6A stuff now just feels like bad customer service. I've been using GJ for a few years now on roleplaying accounts, and I've gotten comfortable with it with a few friends there. On the side, RL being what it is, I just wanted a fresh start. I'd never assume my entire friendslist would make the same decision. I'm not abandoning my LJ account full stop, but it's more comfortable for me to do my journaling now in places that aren't LJ. I want to still keep in touch with LJ friends. I won't friends-lock my GJ because I don't want to make it harder for them to keep in touch with me if the want.

I didn't mean this to come out sounding ranty, I'm sorry if it has. This is just a very weird scenario. Everyone is part of this larger community, but for very different reasons and purposes and it feels like that's what's getting fleshed out as things start fracturing.
hannasus
Aug. 11th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
You don't sound ranty. At least, not any rantier than you've got a right to be. And I wasn't picking on you specifically when I was talking about people leaving LJ--quite a few peeps on my flist have talked about leaving and several of them have inquired what others are thinking, so I just wanted to let everyone know where I stand on the whole thing.

I didn't interpret the article in quite the same way you did. It seemed to me that he was reminding us that it's not just the creepy fringes of fandom that are breaking the law, it's all of us. Most of our LJ icons, mood themes, banners, headers, and all of our fanfic, even the gen het stuff, is a violation of intellectual property laws and when push comes to shove we can't reasonably expect Six Apart to protect us.

That being said, I think they've done a poor job of communicating with their users on these issues and they appear to be cracking down in a random and unpredictable way that is both irresponsible and alarming. But I'm also enough of a cynic that I don't think they've reacted worse to the situation than anyone else would. I've seen more than my share of fandom pogroms over the years and it doesn't seem like there's any end in sight.
zandras_court
Aug. 10th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
All of your points are exactly why I didn't create a GJ out of "protest" but rather in case Live Journal ceased to be able to function. I'm not going anywhere either.

But that article (which *totally* freaked me out when my user name popped up) highlights a bigger issue to me.

Namely the idea of do we obey the law because it's the law or because we figure we won't get caught. And this is a murkey moral area for all of society. And one we don't like to admit. Speeding is illegal, not just when you get caught. Keeping the incorrect change you are given is still stealing, even if the clerk was sloppy. And I've had some arugements with the hubby over my refusal to borrow CDs and make copies rather than purchas them. And while I have gotten some DVD's from friends, I buy them when I can.

I loved the bit about user pics because people's hoityness about credit has always confused me. I don't ask for credit. And if I was JK Rowling, I would likely be super-pissed at some of the things that people have done with my characters. I can imagine that she would feel protective of them and these things must just make her crazy.

I have decided to take down the few fanfic's I have written though. Not because I'm afraid of getting banned but because I have to accept that my moral code doesn't allow for it.

Thanks for the link!
hannasus
Aug. 11th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
I think everyone has to find where their own comfort zone is as far as intellectual property goes. If you're going to follow the letter of the law, most of our icons, headers, mood themes and friends only banners are just as illegal as fanfiction, and it's hard to know where to draw the line.

I tend to take the view that most of these fan activities, including fanfic, serve to promote the show and actually benefit the copyright holder, so I can live with myself. And as long as they're not actively out there protecting their copyright by cracking down on this stuff, I'm going to keep doing it.

I know Joss Whedon has come right out and said he's fully in favor of fanfiction, but legally I don't think he's the actual copyright holder so that's not exactly valid permission.
zandras_court
Aug. 11th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
I think everyone has to find where their own comfort zone is as far as intellectual property goes.

For sure and I wasn't implying that people who continue to write fic are bad or that people should follow me.

I was more talking about the trend on the part of fandom to feel entitled to do whatever they want with what really is someone else's creation. It's one thing (in my mind) to play around with ideas and plots that still hold true to what the originator intended, but another entirely feel they are yours to do whatever you want and then to also act like your "original" tangent is somehow sacred. That's what I meant about the user pics or people who get upset that someone writes a fic that dovetails or re-writes thier own. It wasn't really your own to begin with.

When you think about how attached we get as fans to particular characters, the people who created them are much more so. Jasper Fford is very open about his distain for fanfic of his books. And I feel that is his total right. It's great that Joss has a different view, but when it comes down to it, as a fan, you should respect the wishes of the author/creator.

I remember reading somewhere about how Bill Waterson was so sad over all the homemade graphics made of Calvin pissing on various things. He felt it destroyed an essential aspect of Calvin's character for him and was part of why he stopped doing the strip. And when I think of it that way, it seems much less innocuous.

I think it has to be said that the nature of the fandoms isn't equal either. I think JK Rowling has much more reason to be ticked at fandom than Joss does. Though to be truthful, I don't know how she feels at all. I'm just projecting how I'd feel if I were her. The stuff being done to her characters seems so much less respectful than how Joss' characters have been treated by the fandom.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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