Recently, I’ve followed one unrelated case of a badly-run-away fan fiction, and it has made me think of the fan fiction as an overarching genre in general.
It's probably way too early to think of what I think of fan fiction of Avarthrel, because a) there's no fan fiction that I know of and b) there's also no super-enthusiastic fans of my writings that I know of to write the said fan fiction in first place. And yet...
I've always intended Avarthrel to be an open world. I'm not sure it's ready for "release" yet (whatever it may mean in the context of writing stories - I'm just a tinkering programmer), and I'm awful at creating anything release-quality... but it never hurts to be prepared.
So here goes, the official Avarthrel licence v1.0, released for the first time in a relatively fixed form!
Avarthrel is an open fictional world. Everyone is hereby permitted to create anything they want based on the world, and distribute them how they please, as long as they permit characters, locations, concepts, and other such creations to be used by everyone else under these same terms. In other words, you are permitted to control the use and distribution of your stories, but not the concepts contained therein. Please distribute these terms along with your creations. --Urpo Lankinen, January 24th, 2009
These terms also apply to my previous works, in addition to the licences I've already used.
I've been distributing my stories under Creative Commons licences, particularly the No-Derivative form of the licence, so at first glance it might seem paradoxical for me to use this sort of a licence. But one must always bear in mind that Creative Commons licences are generic licences and don't apply to the particular situation; as of yet, you grant all of your rights or revoke them in one fell swoop. Intellectual property gives people headaches for a good reason.
So, for the clarification, what I mean with CC No-Derivative is that you shouldn't rip off my exact words. I believe my stories are mine, and I want them to be like they are, with all their good parts and bad parts.
But I don't intend this clamp-down to affect your rights to create new works based on the world. I also don't want you to be stuck to using Creative Commons for your own works. So, here's a short and sweet licence that covers the Avarthrel world and its inhabitants, including whatever you add to the world's stage; you can do whatever else you want with your exact words, exact pictures, or whatever you decide to create based on the world.
But as said above, I'm really here today to post about fan fiction. I just recently thought that fan fiction is awful in one sense: It divides the world to creators and fans. By definition, the creators are put to the pedestal, and fans are just underlings. My big idea with this licence is that fans shouldn't be underlings, they should be equally valued creators.
Fan fiction creators are doing these things because they are fans. If that is all that you strive for, that's good. But there's a giant big legal quagmire surrounding most works of this nature; you can't really let your stories grow and be original. You have to make a choice: write fan fiction, or create everything yourself, which would let you do something more creative and elaborate. Why not combine the two? Why not do away with division between "canon" and "fanon" and democratise the creation process?
Speaking of which, my only definition of canon in regards to Avarthrel is "it's more or less consistent with the rest of the stuff and people seem to think it's clever enough to be remembered". If I ever get the Avarthrel Wiki opened to the public, that will also include some sort of a documentation requirement. Hopefully, I don't need to get stricter than that.