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A book entitled "Russet Noon: The Tribute Sequel to The Twilight Saga" by an author called LadySybilla is allegedly set to be published in September 2009 by a website called AV Paranormal. Copies will apparently be auctioned off on eBay (at least, that's what I inferred, but the article I read says it will be sold in bookstores. Not sure if that's accurate.)

Here's the synopsis:

The Volturi are now watching the Cullens even closer, and a conspiracy is brewing deep within the catacombs of of Volterra. Aro is determined to put an end to Bella's happily ever after. He is obsessed with getting Renesmee to join his clan in Italy, while Edward and Bella refuse to make Renesmee a full vampire. Renesmee hates herself for being only a half breed, and her unhappiness turns Bella against her own daughter. Humans in Forks are starting to suspect something about the Cullens, and Renesmee's lack of self-control is to blame for it. Bella and Edward might have to leave Forks permanently to protect Nessie. Meanwhile, the spirit warriors have returned to live among the Quileutes. Taha Aki has made contact with Jacob to warn him that great danger is coming to La Push.


Sounds like a good idea for a fanfic. Unfortunately, auctioning copies on eBay means there are now infringement issues, right? AV Paranormal apparently released this statement in response to the people who have been flaming them:

"When fictional characters become such an intricate part of the popular psyche, as is the case with the Twilight Saga, legal boundaries become blurred, and copyright laws become increasingly difficult to define. This is especially the case when actual cities like Forks and Volterra are used as the novel's settings. Such settings are not copyrightable, as they are considered public domain. Similarly, the Quileute Nation is also not copyrightable, and neither are vampire or werewolf legends. Copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying. Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them. Stephenie Meyer herself borrowed a great deal from previous works dealing with these mythologies."


The original source of the report is here, this is the official site for the work, this is the e-Bay site, and this is the AV Paranormal site for everyone's reference.

I guess my main question here is: Is there any merit to AV Paranormal's statement? If Rowling can sue over a GUIDE to Harry Potter, what will stop Meyer from suing over something like this?

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
sushis
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:10 am (UTC)
"Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them."

IANAL, but one needn't be a lawyer to recognize BS of such volume and pungency.



Edited at 2009-04-02 03:32 am (UTC)
jessryn
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
I saw about this on my friends list a few days ago, and went to fandom_wank to see what I could find out. According to what I saw there AV Paranormal is registered to the author herself, which leads me to believe that this is unlikely to go very far once lawyers get involved. I could be wrong though.
lindentreeisle
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
Is there any merit to AV Paranormal's statement?

No. She's flat-out wrong about the copyrightability of characters, and that's just for starters. This is the sort of balderdash you get when a fanfic writer fancies herself both a Published Author and an Interwebs Lawyer.
admarian
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:18 am (UTC)
Copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying. Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them.

That part is so inaccurate it's actually painful to read.
nagasvoice
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Tell that to the Mouse Kingdom's lawyers on retainer, and see what happens. Not an attorney, myself, but I've been in fandom for thirty years now and have fandom friends who've been in it forever, since the era of dittoed fanfiction.
If the fan consulted folks like that who have some experience with these kinds of issues, they'd learn that it's the extended agony of the lawsuit process that proves so expensive, no matter who wins in the end. Sounds like they don't understand defending themselves can bankrupt them without the corporation even blinking at the costs of making them a big fat example. Lawyers on retainer also don't blink at things like passing along takedown notices to employers and landlords of record, either.
If they're prepared to make it that sort of fight, more power to them.
yvaine28
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. I'm not familiar with the details of copyright law, so I had to ask. But from everyone's comments so far, I can't believe she didn't research this thoroughly. She even sounds very defiant about her stand.

Do you guys think Meyer will bother to sue her? Personally, I think she should, her lawyers have sent cease and desist orders for things that are less significant than this.
oceaxe
Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Her lawyers will send a cease and desist, and most likely this person will cease and desist after a certain amount of sword-waving. Since her sword is made of styrofoam, I'd say she'll probably back down relatively easily. Unless she's delusional, which it sounds like she might be.

I got pretty upset about this when I first read it, because the last thing fandom needs is a clueless person pushing a bad case and getting us a bad precedent. But having given it a moment's thought, it's more than likely that this person would not be able to take this all the way to any court. He or she would be simply overwhelmed by the costs and time and fuss involved.
major_clanger
Apr. 2nd, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
I don't have time to post a long legal analysis right now, but the short version is AAARGH! THE STUPIDITY! IT BURNS!

A parody may be legal, and a sequel that is sufficiently different in style and approach may just squeeze into the US legal definition of parody (Suntrust v Houghton Mifflin, but note that that case ended with a hefty out-of-court financial settlement). But to assert that copyright protects only literal copying is, to use a technical term of the English IP bar, utter tosh.*

*Words I heard from the mouth of Lord Justice Jacob only last week, albeit when he was judging an inter-university Mooting competition.

Edited at 2009-04-02 06:51 am (UTC)
norton_gale
Apr. 2nd, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)
Nothing will stop SMeyer's publishing company from suing. JKR borrowed a ton from mythology too to write the Harry Potter series. It's just not true that if a book becomes popular it becomes public domain.
_leareth
Apr. 2nd, 2009 11:50 am (UTC)
I guess my main question here is: Is there any merit to AV Paranormal's statement? If Rowling can sue over a GUIDE to Harry Potter, what will stop Meyer from suing over something like this?

No. The statement "Characters are only copyrightable if their creator draws them or hires an artist to draw them" is full of so much fail it's not funny. As for "Copyright laws protect writers from unauthorized reproductions of their work, but such reproductions only include verbatim copying", I'd think the substantiality element of fair use and taking the "heart" of a work would be very relevant here.

Edited at 2009-04-02 11:50 am (UTC)
dv8nation
Apr. 2nd, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
Dear god the stupid burns. IANAL but even I know that the actual characters and setting of the Twilight books fall under copyright just fine. The use of real cities and drawing from real world myths means nothing because the *characters* are original creations.

I'm not even going to dignify the bit about the original creator having to draw the characters.
bigscary
Apr. 2nd, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)
To jump back earlier than your stated question, your premise is flawed. "Unfortunately, auctioning copies on eBay means there are now infringement issues, right?" implies that there were not issues beforehand.

I wish people would stop making this assumption.
valentinemichel
Apr. 2nd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
The work's already gone. As in "This Site Has Been Banned." Hmm, wonder how that happened.
stmarc
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
WHOIS is messed up, too. Hmm, imagine that.
yvaine28
Apr. 3rd, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
It is?

Ooh, it is! Maybe they were already reported or something, since the Buzznet article came out a few days ago.
stmarc
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
IAAL, BIANYL, ATINLA.

I would bet even odds this is some kind of publicity stunt for the AV Paranormal site, which looks like a garden variety paranormal-truther-wackjob sort of thing.

Interestingly, the WHOIS for the russet-noon site is messed up and I couldn't, at the time of posting, determine who owns it. Anybody see?

Anyway, yes, as other posters have said, if this *is* real and she does try it, she's about to learn a very expensive lesson regarding that the world is as it is, not as we wish it to be, and saying something doesn't make it so.
judith_s
Apr. 2nd, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Now I want to know the meaning of all those fun letters next to your name. IAAL I can figure out, but ATINLA?

I will add my voice to the people who say this lady needs a clue stick. Litigation clue sticks are expensive.

Side note about the Guidebook litigation: The issue was verbatim content copying from the book, not the concept of a guide.
(Anonymous)
Apr. 2nd, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
"I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice."

At least, that's my guess!
stmarc
Apr. 2nd, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Got it in one!

M
stmarc
Apr. 2nd, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
Nony got it. :)

M
rubymiene
Apr. 3rd, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Characters are copyrightable if they're sufficiently unique enough (e.g., James Bond), but I wouldn't say that all characters are copyrightable. Having never read Twilight, nor this "sequel" I don't know how much of these character is stock vampire and how much is unique, but I would venture to say the name in of itself is not copyrightable, though a large disclaimer would be necessary for trademark purposes.
As to the HP case, Rowling only one because the guide quoted too much and paraphrased too little, which is a very different set of issues than a sequel which is going to have no literal copying, but is not going to be nonfiction/academic in nature.
yvaine28
Apr. 4th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
I think the Twilight characters qualify as unique. For people who like the books, one point of attraction is that Meyer's vampires are the opposite of the stock vampire. :)
e_transitions
Sep. 23rd, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
LOL to ur icon! Do you mind if I do a recreation of that for myself?
e_transitions
Sep. 24th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
The site's still up unfortunately, but look: http://www.russet-noon.com/tribute-sequel-to-the-twilight-saga/ -there is a handy dandy comment section.

I found it interesting that on the left-hand side she has links for Meyers' books as well (2 that link to Amazon + 2 that post the full text of Meyers' books!). She also has a cover art picture for Meyers' book Midnight Sun, which hasn't been published yet. I wonder if that pic is legit... What's one more leak after all the other legal violations, though, right?
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
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