A Penny for Your Thoughts
On 2006-01-16, Brand Robins wrote:
"The biggest piece of evidence that I can think of to support the notion that there are lots of people who don't believe creation equals ownership is all those thousands of pages of fan fiction."
Depends how you mean "own", and which segment of the (divisive) fan-fic community you're talking about.
Legally own? Certainly not, and most will put big statements of "don't sue me" up front and center.
However, in some parts of the community there is more going on than just "I want to do this thing that someone else owns." There is a degree to which many fan-fic writers do write their stories in order to feel some degree of ownership over a beloved character -- even if it is a transitory ownership that will have respect only in a limited community.
There are also, on some of the harder-core LJ narrative game and fan-fic lists, social prestige "ownerships" of characters based on the person whose fan fic is seen as being the best or most insightful by the community. Those who have shown a mastery of the material of the character can exert sway over those trying to come to the group with new material, and it can lead to fights nearly as catty as those that used to happen around my gaming table.
Then there is the other side of the equation: the TT trad ownership of chracter. Recently in a HeroQuest game I was playing one of the PCs lost a contest, and because of it got something added (by me as GM) to his backstory. One of the other players (who is new to the whole Nar thing) stopped the game to ask how and why that was okay, looking a little panicked about the issue.
In all the games he had played in the past, over at least 12 years of actual play time, the rights to character backstory were sacrosanct to the player of that character. As were the emotions and thoughts of the character. (Outside system mandated things for genre purposes: Sanity in CoC being the only specific example I know he's played.) So to him, the simple on the face of Vincent's idea would be a step towards group ownership of characters.
Now, lets take the gender-fuck that could be going on in Vincent's example (Ann and Ben sharing a lover) and push it forward. What if Ben's player is male, Ann's is female (no reason to assume this ??? just for the sake of argument here), and Ann had declared that the lover was male as well. Up to that point Ben had been thinking his character was straight, but now we know he's had at least one homosexual affair in the past ??? and was betrayed when his lover screwed a woman who is now on the ship with him. All of this is Ann's doing, and it pretty powerfully screws with what Ben (and the whole group) think of the character as being.
And what, oh what, if Ann had made the conflict be about how she and Ben's character fought the first day they were onboard the ship, with the loser having to become the pegboy?
I don't know that Vincent's example goes all the way to "full co-ownership" ??? but I think it does deliver some powerful possibilities.
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BR go "Son of a bitch."
When I previewed that damn post there were no damn question damn marks. Also, I switched the person requesting/setting scene from the intial example in my example.
SLB go "Don't use em-dashes."
Vincent decided that his blog software should turn them into ???. Not sure why.
MT go "Just like fan Mu**s..."
Many MUSHs MUCKs etc. based on established stories, like, say, Harry Potter have folks compete in pose or fic to determine who best "owns" the named characters from the fiction.
SDL go "My gut response:"
If that isn't co-ownership of the characters, then i do not know what *is*. How more entangled do the player's determination of the characters have to be?