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14 April 2008 @ 03:27 pm
Comments to two recent news stories  
One: Senator Obama's remarks about how people cling to God and guns and race hatred to sustain them during times of frustration like the country as a whole and especially as small rural towns are facing, those remarks are not "elitist" as Senators McCain and Clinton would like to tell you. They are correct, absolutely on-target, and they will indeed end up hurting Senator Obama for having spoken them. The truth usually hurts, but that makes it no less true. Meanwhile, take a close look at Senator McCain's response. He, too, says that people in "mainstream" America cling to God and guns, but he raises this exact same response to the level of nationalism and culture identity. Really, note: he isn't arguing that rural people don't hold fast to God, guns, and in a lot of cases racial identity. He's praising them for it. Coming from a Beltline insider, that is elitist and condescending, but he and Senator Hillary "Joe Lieberman really knew what he was doing" Clinton have spun it masterfully, so it's going to hurt Senator Obama. Frankly, with the other choices being McCain and Clinton, hurting Obama hurts us all, like it or not.

Second: Yes, indeed, Ms. Rowling is indeed saying that she has the absolute right to authorize or not authorize publication of third-party references about her fiction work. Hopefully, the judge in this case will see the common sense position: she has the right to do so. It's her work. She created it. You can create unauthorized biographies about people, certainly, because people aren't as protected as the rights a creator has over his or her intellectual property. Harry Potter, though? Only his creator gets to say who can write commercially about Harry and those in that alternate vision of the world. It's her vision, no one else's.

I swear, that either of these things are news proves to me that I live in a world as a minority; the idiots rule the world by sheer population.
Current Mood: disgusted
Noah Singman: Noah and Conniensingman on April 14th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC)
Of course those remarks were elitist. That doesn't make them false, however. It is a foolish, ostentatious faux populism that makes politicians run from anything that smacks of elitism. I wish that in certain cases (such as their firm belief that they know how to run our lives better than we do, and their consequent willingness to coerce us as they see fit) they weren't quite so elitist, but the fact remains that they are.
ravenskye8ravenskye8 on April 14th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
Well put... yet sad that the obvious must actually be stated...
Wolfteddywolf on April 15th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
On point the second, there's a big difference between writing a book with somebody else's copyrighted characters and writing a reference to somebody else's work. There are reference books out there for lots of authors; some of the authors were even still alive when the references were published. It's been an accepted point of fair use for centuries.

If the guy were writing a new Potter story and trying to publish it, I'd definitely think he was in the wrong. A reference book, though? Sorry, Ms. Rowling.

Oh, on point the first? Well said.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on April 15th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
When the author herself is planning to publish the same thing, a reference guide to the work? No, I'm siding with creator control on this one. Work with the author or don't do the work, period.
Wolfteddywolf on April 16th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
This is where we get into sticky territory. The book itself had already been published - on the Web. JK Rowling used the site herself when she was out writing and wanted to refer to something without buying one of her own books from a shop. She's copped to it. She never had a problem with it there. She never sent a cease-and-desist letter.

What he is doing is taking all that data published there and putting it into book form. This is not uncommon in modern publishing. Only when he mentioned he'd be publishing it as a book did she cry foul. If it's about the money, well, she's reused other writers' plots and not given them a dime or in fact any credit for inspiration.

Now, leaving all of that aside, there is a completely separate point to make: there is absolutely no law saying that there can only be one reference guide to an author's body of work, and there is *also* no legal basis for creative control of scholarly work based on a body of work, at least not in any ruling to date that I know of.

If Ms. Rowling is smart about it - and while she's generally smart I think she's being a bit thick on this - she could publish her reference book *as* a Potter story, and include some extra story bits in it.

I'm still reading her books and will still pay her good money for hardcovers. I just think she needs to re-examine her stance here.
craigers01 on April 15th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
As Jon Stewart said, I want a president that is elite. Elite means good, doesn't it?

As to the second point, Someone shouldn't be able to create new fiction without the consent of the originating author. However, I believe that it's perfectly within someone right to do Cliff's notes without their approval. As long as nothing new is introduced. Its like publishing an opinion piece. I mean really, this guy is just compliling a bunch of people thoughts from a website. She didn't care about it when it was a website, only when someone got the bright idea to pull it all together and put it into an unofficial guide to her work. It's almost like she's trying to squash free thought. The next step is saying that people can't express opinions or ideas about her work without her consent. If people can talk about it, by god, they can write about it.