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RIPOSTES 2006-01 (Jan)

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Anonymous writes...

I read in a previous response that you don't read fanfics because of "frivolous lawsuits". Wouldn't the 1st Amendment protect you from such lawsuits? Even if it didn't, aren't you the least bit curious to read what some of your fans have done with your creation(s)?

Greg responds...

The first ammendment doesn't protect me from lawsuits at all. Not of this kind. Not at all actually.

(Not to be snide, but did you read the example at the head of ASK GREG?)

If someone believes that I've read something in THEIR work that I used later in MY work in some form, they can sue me. In fact, ANYONE can sue me. There's no law against sueing. (And fighting even a frivolous lawsuit is extremely expensive and time consuming.) And of course if they can prove that I stole from them they can win. And win HUGE.

But if I have a blanket NO EXCEPTION policy against reading fanfiction, then it's much harder to win a lawsuit, which of course makes people much less likely to sue.

As to my curiosity... if you've read the FAQ, you'll know that I have very mixed feelings about fanfiction. It is tremendously flattering. But as I'm quite territorial about GARGOYLES, it's also tremendously disconcerting. So the truth is, I don't want to read the fanfiction. I am certain there are indivdual fanfics that I'd enjoy. (I'm particularly sorry that I haven't been able to read any of the more erotic stories based on the series.) But even in the best fanfic there's bound to be something that annoys me -- because in my vision of the series it's bound to be off the mark.

So when you combine that ambivalence with the legal risk issues, you can see I have very little incentive to change policy.

Response recorded on February 03, 2006

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