Over at Making Light, Theresa Nielsen Hayden brings to light one of those fleeting internet phenomena, a piece of self published Star Wars Fanfic. For sale on Amazon. Another Hope, is being sold by it’s frighteningly clueless author, Lori Jareo. In her “Author Interview” (which I suspect is her asking herself questions) we find this little gem:
Q: Having set Another Hope in an already existing universe, I find myself wondering if there was any concern on your part regarding copyrights?
No, because I wrote this book for myself. This is a self-published story and is not a commercial book. Yes, it is for sale on Amazon, but only my family, friends and acquaintances know it’s there.
My jaw has gone all slack at the gaping stupidity. Luckily, John Scalzi has all the salient criticism about how some one, especially someone purportedly an editor for their very own poetry publishing house should know better than to think this is just peachy and won’t George Lucas just get a kick out of it:
This would be bad enough if this woman were just some clueless person letting off some Mary Sue steam and then getting the idea that, gosh, this could be a real live book, but in fact Ms. Jareo purports to be a professional editor — which is to say she really has no excuse. In her interview Ms. Jareo mentions something along the line of “George Lucas says as long as no one is making a profit, tributes are wonderful,” but I think she rather seriously misapprehends what Lucas almost certainly means here. Leaving aside the fact that even if Lucas tolerates a little geekery on the down-low, he’s still fully invested in his copyrights and can enforce them at will and at whim, there’s the issue of scale. Geeking out with little stories of Yoda and Chewbacca on the Wookiee Planet on a personal Web site that’s visited by your friends is one thing. Publishing an unauthorized Star Wars novel via your publishing company and putting it up for sale on Amazon (not to mention Barnesandnoble.com and Powells.com) is really quite another.
I’ve said before I think fanfic is generally a positive thing for any science fiction universe, but I don’t think being a fan means you suddenly have a license to be stupid. Publishing your fanfic novel and selling it online is just plain stupid, and publishing your fanfic novel and selling it online when you’re theoretically a professional editor is just about as stupid as you can get without actually receiving head trauma from a tauntaun. If Ms. Jareo is lucky, she’ll only get smacked with a Cease and Desist order from Lucas. If she’s not lucky — say, Lucas wants to provide a cautionary example to ambitious-to-the-point-of-oblivious fanficcers everywhere — she and her company are going to get their asses sued, and given the blatant and obvious and self-incriminating copyright violations here, she should be thankful if she gets out of it without all of her assets, and the assets of her publishing company, encased in carbonite.
As it stands I think it’s worth it to start a pool on how long it takes for Ms. Jareo’s book to get pulled from Amazon. I’ll say this next Monday by 3pm Pacific. Any one else want to bet?