After class yesterday I have been thinking about how I can apply the things that I have been reading more to myself. How I can move from consume to create. As I was thinking about these things and about the Public Domain I realized that I participate in a community that deals with the questions that the Public Domain deals with. My hobby I don't tell many people because it is a secret love of mine and I kept it a secret because then people will see how obsessive I really am. But I am sharing this and declaring my "nerdiness" proudly.
My secret obsession is Fan Fiction. For those of you who have not heard of Fan Fiction, let me explain. Fan Fiction can either refer to the actual website, fanfiction.net or a type of writing. The Fan Fiction website is dedicated to people who are unsatisfied with an ending to their favorite story or those who just don't want the story to end. Essentially, Fan Fiction is a what if scenario. Some people have actually published their Fan Fiction. Anyone can publish their story for everyone to enjoy. I am both an avid reader and writer of Fan Fiction. It is a great little community because you can then go and review stories that others have written and sometimes they check out the stories that you have written and return the favor. I have made several friends this way.
Now that my secret is out I will tell you how this relates to the Public Domain. In my last post I talked about building upon the past. The Public Domain is a discussion about what things are copy righted and what is the public domain. James Boyle's discussion is essentially about what can we say should be the public domain and what should be copy righted. In one chapter is talks about music and how artists often play off other songs and use ideas from other artists. That is essentially what is happening with the fanfiction website. People use ideas, like Harry Potter, and create their own story. For example, instead of Harry getting sorted into Gryffindor he is suddenly sorted into Slytherin. The author then explores how the story might have changed. There are a few authors who have asked not to allow their stories to be used in this manner and Fan Fiction has complied with their wishes.
Is it wrong to use someone else's ideas to create? When does it go too far?
Now the secret is out, I have realized that I participate in the very thing that James Boyle talks about.