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Fic from deleted journals, fair game?

 Hello, I'm new and I have an issue/question. Recently an author deleted their fic from LJ and FF.net by deleting their accounts. The author cannot be reached. I've saved said fic as a PDF and don't know if I can distribute it.

In *my* opinion, this should be fine. After all the author posted the fic to the public. I'm not saying by doing so that they gave up the rights. I'm saying by doing so, they acknowledge the risk of doing so. In addition since posting it to the public, doesn't that mean they wanted it to be seen? That they didn't care if it was to be seen? With that in mind, why wouldn't it be ok to distribute said fic? It has the old author credited. Like I said, just my opinion.

Can I or can't I? I've looked up LJ TOS and FF.NET TOS and they pretty much, to me, say, if you post on our site, we are not responsible for whatever happens.

Comments

fides
Mar. 24th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC)
It just isn't fannish practice to post it back to the web without permission of the author. It's just not done and I would expect there to be a backlash against it.

That said, I slightly disagree with the previous posters that it is never, ever acceptable because it isn't totally unknown for people to ask about a story that has been taken down and for someone to say that they have a copy... and then for a private discussion to occur in which a copy of the story may or may not change hands in the spirit of fannish friendship. However that is very different from publicly posting it - or even publicly announcing that you have a copy to share.

Sometimes authors actually explicitly state whether they are okay or not okay with that 'private' sharing rather than publicly sharing but in the even of not having that information, which you probably don't, then work on the basis the more private any transfers are the less likely you are to have a crowd of upset and metaphorically-touch wielding fans at your door wanting to see how your internal organs would suit them as lingerie :-)
cschick
Mar. 24th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
Right. There is more than one fandom out there with a "lost-and-found" type of forum which at least partly participates in this type of private distribution. The XF Lost & Found message board is obviously the one that comes immediately to my mind (being both public and extremely well organized), but I've located and used such resources in fandoms outside XF as well.

Edited at 2011-03-24 03:29 pm (UTC)
fides
Mar. 24th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I suspect it happens more in older fandoms where archives have fallen over or gone offline (incidentally taking works with them) rather than the author deliberately pulling their works. The former sadly happens all to often while the later is, thankfully, comparatively rare.
cschick
Mar. 24th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Heh. Being who I am, I know that probably 75% of the stories passed around this way in XF at least, were deliberately taken down by authors.

But, back to the OP ... maybe for your fandom, the better idea would be to create some sort of forum where people can post requests for help finding fiction within the fandom, the side effect of which might be the evolution of this type of system.
fides
Mar. 24th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Ah well - it was but a passing theory. And now it has passed ;-)
morgandawn
Mar. 24th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
storyfinder communities for the win!
I love this idea.....in The Professionals fandom they have an 'out of print' sharing circle (for 'out of print' print zines) where people will photocopy and mail a story (at cost). In most other fandoms, there are storyfinder communities. If there isn't one for your fandom, you could create one.

In The Professionals LJ community, fans list the zines (or in the case of the circuit stories that were circulated but never published in a zine) the authors, along with their contact info. People then communicate on a 1:1 basis.

Edited at 2011-03-24 07:36 pm (UTC)
morgandawn
Mar. 24th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
etiquette thoughts
Focusing on the etiquette (as opposed to the legal issues), I think that unless the author has explicitly said they do not want their story circulated you could make it available on a 1:1 basis. This fits in with most fannish practices dating back to the 1970s where fans would privately copy and circulate out of print stories.*

Reposting the story to the net or in a journal would be more like republishing the story - or to carry the zine analogy further, reprinting the zine.

I'd look to see how storyfinder communities handle requests for deleted fic. I suspect you'll see a range. On spnstoryfinders and sgastoryfinders you'll see people sharing copies 1:1 as long as the author has not expressed their circulation preferences.

*Note: Then, as now, there have always been fans who feel that any copying or sharing of out of print zines - for any reason - is not permissible. There are also fans who say you are not allowed to loan your zines ever, so keep in mind there is a wide range of opinions, some more practical than others.

Edited at 2011-03-24 07:37 pm (UTC)
rubymiene
Mar. 26th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
Ettiquette and the law
I would add that, from a legal standpoint, those who think that it's not permissible to loan or share prints zines are completely in the wrong. The right to give away or loan out a physical copy is guaranteed by statute. This is the premise all libraries are built on.
From a moral standpoint, I don't see why people shouldn't be able to share on a 1-to-1 basis. It has the same effect on the author as loaning out a book to a friend if the author had published in book form, and I don't think the author should have the moral authority to stop you. (From the legal perspective, it's murky whether emailing a copy is fair use, but the author is unlikely to protest.)
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