…along comes someone billing him or herself as “Lady Sybilla,” who has announced the publication of (we’ll extend benefit of the doubt) her own sequel to “Twilight” entitled “Russet Noon.”
It staggers the imagination that Lady Sybilla might actually be a worse writer than Stephenie Meyer. The title, however –which evokes images of a sun-baked potato–would seem to suggest that is so, as does Sybilla’s tendency to respond to controversy by using mangled cliches ( “bad publicity is better than no publicity;” “controversy is the mother of popularity.” ) Then again, if her endeavor, which purports to tell the saga from the point of view of the character of Jacob, displays a fraction of the fantasy put forward by her doubtless-soon-to-be-sued publisher, it could be pretty formidable. Her publisher, the aptly named AV Paranormal, declared:
“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.”
While this point of view might be applauded by the “everything should be free to everyone on the internet” crowd, the wrongheadedness of these sentiments is staggering. Vampires, werewolves, and the names of towns and Indian nations are public domain. Specific characters are protected by copyright. There is no blurred boundary here, no difficulty in defining it. This is theft, pure and simple. It should not be countenanced, and I have to hope a cease and desist letter is already en route if it hasn’t been delivered already.
You can read more here.