Ethics of creating a fanfic archive

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Ethics of creating a fanfic archive

Postby juandelacruz » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:41 am

When it was announced a few months back at anifics.com that the Ranma and Nabiki website was going under, I thought that I'd make a website to archive/preserve the fanfics found there (and elsewhere) for easy access for everyone. Now, the website code has come to the point where I can start adding fanfics, and for users to start searching and reading them. Before proceeding further and giving the web address of the site, I'd like to ask how ethical it is for me to simply add the fanfics without asking the author's permission first. I know some authors are sensitive about where their fanfics are posted. Any feedback will be highly appreciated.

If this topic is in the wrong forum, I apologize in advance, and request that it be moved to the proper forum.
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Postby Dumbledork » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:46 am

Well, you could always ask the authors for permission. And anyway, you can always link to their stories. That shouldn't be a problem.
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Postby juandelacruz » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:52 am

Dumbledork wrote:Well, you could always ask the authors for permission. And anyway, you can always link to their stories. That shouldn't be a problem.


Yes, of course, I will do so as much as possible, but in cases where the author can no longer be reached, or there is no live link to the fanfic, what then?
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Postby mondu_the_fat » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:56 am

Tough.

Authors aren't around to ask for permission, wait a few decades until their copyright expires.

Some won't mind. But the fact that some will, and you can't tell which one will/won't without asking, automatically means you can't use the fics. Lost fic is lost.
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:29 am

mondu_the_fat wrote:Tough.

Authors aren't around to ask for permission, wait a few decades until their copyright expires.

Some won't mind. But the fact that some will, and you can't tell which one will/won't without asking, automatically means you can't use the fics. Lost fic is lost.

Well, yes and no. My fics are the only ones I'm putting on the web, but I have very nearly everything I've read on my home computer. I simply won't let myself be at the mercy of link rot.
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Postby juandelacruz » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:29 am

Ellen Kuhfeld wrote:Well, yes and no. My fics are the only ones I'm putting on the web, but I have very nearly everything I've read on my home computer. I simply won't let myself be at the mercy of link rot.


I also save the fanfics I like locally, but as everyone knows, computers break down, and depending on your luck and how often you back up, you might lose all your data. But that's beside the point. I just think it's a big shame when fanfics put on the Internet simply disappear, thus my current efforts to archive them for everyone's enjoyment.

Anyway, for a peek of what I'm making, here's the search page for fanfics for an FF.Net-like site I'm making.

http://www.alextomas.net/fanfiction/search_fanfics.php

You can search by title, summary, author, category, series, whether it's a crossover, which series it's crossed over with, match-up, etc. I've tested the SQL queries it makes and it seems to work in phpMyAdmin with the fanfics I've entered (mine), but I still have to test it with more data.
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Postby Yrael » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:31 am

mondu_the_fat wrote:Tough.

Authors aren't around to ask for permission, wait a few decades until their copyright expires.

Some won't mind. But the fact that some will, and you can't tell which one will/won't without asking, automatically means you can't use the fics. Lost fic is lost.


Except for the fact that fanfiction authors have NO copyright claim at all, unless they are introducing new characters into the story (and even that is debatable depending on how broad the copyright is). Fanfiction is a derivative work based upon an existing copyright, not an original, copyrightable work on its own.

See here and here for more information.
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:32 am

juandelacruz wrote:I also save the fanfics I like locally, but as everyone knows, computers break down, and depending on your luck and how often you back up, you might lose all your data. But that's beside the point. I just think it's a big shame when fanfics put on the Internet simply disappear, thus my current efforts to archive them for everyone's enjoyment.

I do an automatic backup on an external drive. It won't save me if the place burns down, but it's belt and suspenders. I guess I should maybe put the fanfic folder onto it.
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Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:39 am

Yrael wrote:Except for the fact that fanfiction authors have NO copyright claim at all, unless they are introducing new characters into the story (and even that is debatable depending on how broad the copyright is). Fanfiction is a derivative work based upon an existing copyright, not an original, copyrightable work on its own.

I think, sitting here discussing fanfiction, that we aren't a bunch of copyright absolutists.

At the same time, this is a social endeavour. I might be annoyed if somebody put my fanfics in with a bunch of other fanfics I don't especially like.

This is a situation best covered by the negative formulation of the Golden Rule: Do not do unto others that which you would find distasteful done to you.
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Postby PCHeintz72 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:48 am

I also save the stuff I read that I even remotely find interest in. Placed on two separate computers and synchronized almost daily. I also have a DVD backup I on rare occasions burn to.

I also have my linking system, which roughly 95% of the stories I've read over the years have links to if not to a direct copy, an author page for it.

As for Nabiki and Ranma, I downloaded the site before it went down. I ran some statistics on it at the time. the great bulk of the site was merely links to elsewhere, mostly FanFiction.NET Personal Profile pages, and story chapter pages. However... a number of stories over the years were archived to the site... some of those existed nowhere else.

Here is a partial quote from my post on Anifics on it:
Hmmm... not really correct. I was asked something similar on the TFF site.

I actually took the list html file posted on NabikiandRanma.COM, and took a look at the raw coding, I think I came up with some 208 files stored locally to the site, and 1486 links going elsewhere, which I broke down into a list on TFF (only took a few minutes).

You are correct a lot of them can befound elsewhere, but not all.

I have some 15 stories I have stores on my HD that I currently have linked to on your site that were local there, a check of them yielded:

- 'A Plan Gone Askew' by Targhan
-- web site does not have, nor does fanfiction.net, no other copies found
- 'Behind Blue Eyes' by James Bell
-- no other locations found
- 'Conflagration of Talents' by Silverdancer
-- fanfiction.net account has ranma stories removed, no other location found
- 'Kaze No Mai' by Antonio Flores
-- no other locations found
- 'Nabiki 12' by Roy Brooks
-- no other locations found
- 'Ranko 12' by Roy Brooks
-- no other locations found
- 'Self Study' by Paradox
-- per Rakhal's site ( The Penultimate Ranma Fanfic Index ), it should be on fanfic.net, but link is broke and a manual search did not find it.
- 'Shared Life SS Don't Give Up' by Wolff
-- found his fanfiction.net and his ficwad.com profile pages, neither have the sidestory posted
- 'The Flow of Life' by Aurous
-- no other locations found
- 'The Power of the Neko-ken' by William G Schiemenz
-- no other locations found
- 'Valentine's Trip' by Targhan
-- fanfiction.net and home page do not have it, no other locations found
- R-MULTI 'Phoenix Legacy' by An An
-- no other locations found
- R-XCOM 'Dead Man Walking SS ONBtS' by Ar-Kaos
-- he noted it was on Nabiki and Ranma, and a dead yahoo group site ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kokoro_yuushi ), no other locations found
- R-SM 'Uncles' by Deric Wilson
-- alternate link found
- 'Nabiki's Night' by Allison
-- alternate link found
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Postby Spokavriel » Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:05 pm

Another thing that can be done is reading the Authors notes. It isn't often but in quite a few fics the author does state terms for reposting in the beginning or end notes. When that happens respect their wishes. IF it doesn't have it. At least you looked there.
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Postby juandelacruz » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:31 pm

Ellen Kuhfeld wrote:I think, sitting here discussing fanfiction, that we aren't a bunch of copyright absolutists.

At the same time, this is a social endeavour. I might be annoyed if somebody put my fanfics in with a bunch of other fanfics I don't especially like.

This is a situation best covered by the negative formulation of the Golden Rule: Do not do unto others that which you would find distasteful done to you.


Well, if I go by the Golden Rule and since I personally don't mind people spreading my fanfics around all over the Internet or even making fics based on it (I might even take those as a compliment), I guess I could archive anyone's fics without asking permission first. The downside is the risk of having authors annoyed at me from the outset.

Thinking more on it, asking permission for each and every fanfic, while ideal, would be a lot of work, especially for one person only, so I suppose I'll simply start by asking permission from the authors whose stories I like and see from there.
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Postby PCHeintz72 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:54 pm

juandelacruz wrote:Thinking more on it, asking permission for each and every fanfic, while ideal, would be a lot of work, especially for one person only, so I suppose I'll simply start by asking permission from the authors whose stories I like and see from there.

It need not be near that bad if you can merely link to the ones that are elsewhere... As my prior post indicates, far and away the bulk of them do in fact still exist on fanfiction.net... he only had overall a small percentage of them libraried or hosted locally to his site.

However, not all those authors are able to be contacted... a few even he did not have emails for them... and some have disappeared from the net.
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Postby lwf58 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:25 pm

As an archiver myself, and someone who's been involved with anime fan fiction for a long time, my take is this:

It's never okay to post another person's stories on the internet without permission. Not even if they cannot be contacted. The fact that some of them might not mind makes no difference; you have no way of knowing which would care and which would not.

There is the fact that their stories are somewhat protected by copyright law to consider, depending on country of origin. The mere fact that they made it public in print automatically gives them legal rights regarding their work, which are only superseded by the rights of the creator of the work they set their story in. Just as you cannot legally display entire chapters or stories written by pro authors, displaying an amateur's work without permission is also unlawful.

So don't. There will be plenty of people who will give you permission or approach you to display their fiction. You don't have to violate the rights of others to have a good web site with lots of stories to show, and doing so will just make you look bad and potentially anger the authors. Heaven knows I get steamed when I see the few stories I've written show up elsewhere without my knowledge.
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Postby Ran » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:34 pm

juandelacruz wrote:Well, if I go by the Golden Rule and since I personally don't mind people spreading my fanfics around all over the Internet or even making fics based on it (I might even take those as a compliment), I guess I could archive anyone's fics without asking permission first. The downside is the risk of having authors annoyed at me from the outset.


It always amazes me that some fanfic authors and fans get annoyed at fanfic that are based upon other fanfics without permission. Since essentially that is what they did with the original series/work the fic was based upon.
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