it saddens me to inform you all, that due to several recent incidents which AGAIN involved theft and massive infringements of my copyright and authorship rights, I will not make my transformative stories (meaning, stories like Leather and Lace and If Only that have barely anything to do with the original material) publicly available anymore.
I have thought long and hard about this step because in a way it undermines a lot of what I’ve worked for over the past couple of years. However, this seems to be the only way to protect my work and intellectual property.
I tried playing it nice, and it didn’t work. I gave you a number of warnings, and apparently they went unheard. So I’m done with ‘nice’, at least for those who have no regard for authorship and people’s hard work.
I am tired of fighting content scrapers and plagiarists who think it is okay to profit from other people’s hard work just because it’s ‘fanfiction’ and the current legal situation is still unresolved enough to offer protection to people who would otherwise be considered plagiarists, thiefs and pirates. People who are obviously unable to produce even one shred of content themselves, and therefore have to steal other people’s hard work.
I’m tired of a legal system that protects these content thefts, and that throws copyright in the same bin as authorship rights. A system that makes it possible for someone to steal an author’s days, weeks, months, sometimes even years of work with no repercussions whatsoever.
Why, I ask you, should I even put the work in, then, only to watch it being taken and torn to shreds by others? I am not a masochist to put myself through that ordeal over and over again. So enough is enough.
As I learned these past weeks, it’s all a matter of procedure. Simply said: I can’t do anything against the thieves and plagiarists as long as I make the stories publicly available as fanfiction first and thereby deprived myself of legal protection. First and public being the operative words here.
So from now on I will tackle the issue differently. Here’s how it’ll work:
I’ll publish all original stories (starting with “The Slave’s Secret”—which is the official title of “If Only”) on amazon and iTunes as official Kimberley Jackson Originals first. Some time after—a week or maybe a month, depending on how long it takes to transform the story into a fanfic—I will provide a special private copy of that story and possible future select stories to people who request it via the request form.
In essence: No more making transformative stories public. But you can request a private, courtesy copy—which is the legal equivalent of me lending a private book to you. I reserve the right to deny any request I receive for undisclosed reasons, though. Especially if I have the feeling that you’re being dishonest in your request form, OR if you are on my list of known plagiarists or copyright offenders.
Once I reviewed the request and stored it with my records, I will send you a free, registered PRIVATE courtesy copy of the special derivative version starring Sam and Jack instead of the original characters that you’ll find in the commercial version.
If you distribute that version publicly (meaning: offer it as a public download or similar), I will sue the living daylights out of you, since the original story will be fully copyrighted and on sale, and the derivative version was never disclosed to the public. Therefore any unauthorized distribution of the story would be considered plagiarism or piracy in front of any legal court.
Again: This only concerns stories which are original enough to be considered transformative (if at all–I was told that “The Slave’s Secret” isn’t even a transformative anymore since there’s virtually no Stargate reference, and I don’t use copyrighted names or trademarked terms. Just the names “Jack” or “Sam” cannot be copyrighted. “Jack O’Neill” or “Sam Carter” could, but that’s not what my characters are called.)
So what does this mean?
Question: Does this mean, you will take your other stories offline?
No. For those stories already published the harm’s done. There’s no use in taking them down now, on the contrary. The stories will keep floating around the net, and by taking them down I remove their original source–which would even be bad for me.
So no need to worry, my stories won’t disappear. :)
Question: What about unfinished stories like “Leather & Lace”, or sequels to already existing stories like “End of Days” or “Stargate Aschen”?
Probably not. I’m still looking into methods to prevent content scraping in the future, but generally, no, those stories won’t be affected.
So does that mean I will have to pay for your fanfiction stories in the future?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. Derivative versions of original stories can be requested free of charge, and don’t even depend on purchases of the original versions on amazon or iTunes. You don’t have to pay anything at all, but you will have to fill out the request form truthfully so that I can register the copy to your name in my records.
That may seem stupid from a monetary perspective, but my goal in this method is not to make a quick buck, but to ensure that my stories remain my intellectual property.
Even password-related methods would only require you to request registration and agree to non-copy, non-publish terms. You will never have to pay any money to receive any Sam/Jack stories from me! Promise!
So once I fill out the request form, I will get the story?
That depends. I reserve the right to deny any request I receive, especially if I have the feeling that the person is being dishonest about their identity or their assurance not to make the story publicly available.
I will also refuse to send any story to those ‘lucky’ ones (there’s some sarcasm for you) who made it onto my known plagiarists/authorship rights/copyrights offenders blacklist.
As the author, it’s my right to refuse handing private copies of my unpublished stories over to anyone I don’t trust, or where I feel they will betray my trust.
So that means I have to give you my personal information?
Unfortunately, yes. That’s the one major drag in all this for you as the readers. I realize that’s a huge deal in this day and age. But rest assured that I will handle all data with utmost care and confidentiality.
This should go without saying, but let me clarify nonetheless: I will never ever use it for spam or give/sell it to third parties. I have created a system where all data will be transmitted directly to me, without the use of third party services. It will go directly to my email inbox. It will not be visible on any part of the website, nor will anybody receive a copy.
I will solely use your data to keep a record of whom I shared particular private, exclusive story-versions with, so that I have a means to track those who act against agreed upon conditions.
Required information will include:
Full Name (real, no online pseudonym)
Email and Postal Address–alternatively, for very select people whom I know from platforms like Twitter, facebook, etc, you can provide a link to your profile. There are many people, esp. in the Stargate fandom, whom I know well enough to trust they understand the meaning of copyrights.
Lastly, I’ll require a statement that by signing up you ensure that you will not make the private ebook copy I’ll send you publicly available in any way, shape or form. (This is basically all the stuff that should be common sense if you’re a decent human being. Though apparently some need it drilled into their skulls, pardon again my sarcasm.)
Your right to making private copies and lending it to friends will never be touched by this agreement (as guaranteed by German copyright law—a right which the U.S. copyright law doesn’t grant since private copies of ebooks to lend to friends are usually also considered piracy there; so lucky you that I’m German :P).
That means: you may pass the file on to close friends, as long as that happens in a non-public context (meaning, you don’t upload it to a website/file sharing network/public cloud drive or similar and offer it for download to the public).
One word of advice: make sure you trust these friends not to upload it anywhere! Your ebook copy will have a unique, identifying marker registered to you, so that I’ll know exactly whose copy got leaked. If you wanna be on the safe side, refer friends to my website to request their own free copy, registered to their own name.
There might also be a couple of fandom-related test questions to make sure you actually are a fan, and not a content scraper trying to sneak his/her way in. Sadly, as I have learned recently, that’s a very real danger.
I will save your information along with an info on what ebooks I sent to you. That will make it much easier to track copyright infringements, and also discourage scrapers. Criminals and thieves are usually hesitant to give their personal info out.
But I have never abused your trust or re-published one of your stories. Still I feel like you’re punishing me…
I understand your disappointment or even hurt at my new way of doing things. You have every right to feel that way. I’d even understand if you were so angry that you’d stop reading my stories all together. It makes me sad, but I can’t change that.
I still truly believe the majority of you are decent and honest people, and it saddens me too that I have to take such drastic steps. Unfortunately, as with every community, there’s the 5% assholes (probably too optimistic a number, but you get the idea) who ruin it for everybody. :( I humbly ask that you direct your anger towards them, and not me.
I don’t mean this as a punishment of anybody, but rather as a security filter that will allow me to protect myself and my future stories.
In a legal system that offers me no protection and that enables jerks to run rampant with content theft, I HAVE TO FIND MY OWN WAYS OF PROTECTING MY STORIES. My ideas. My hours and hours of work. As long as the laws don’t change so that authors of transformative works enjoy basic authorship rights even under the terms of fair use, I will have to change procedure.
I still want to make my stories available for you to read—even those semi-originals where only the character names are retained from their original source materials. And I DO NOT want you, those readers who have stuck with me for months or even years, to have to pay for it on amazon, hence the option to request free, private copies.
I hope you understand.
If you decide it’s too complicated for you and that you do not wish to give up your personal information, I understand that, of course.
I know by implementing this method I will lose some of my fans—however, at the end of the day I will get to keep my stories, and therefore the fruit of my hard work. And at this point and with all the disappointments and tears over content theft of the past months, that’s all that matters to me.
If Only will be the first story where I’ll apply that method. That means, I won’t publish the fanfic version of this story as I originally planned, but make it available per personal request as a full ebook after publication of “The Slave’s Secret” as an actual book on amazon and iTunes. (You can already request a copy of “If Only”, and I will send it to you once the book is done.)
At the moment, my betas and I are working frantically at its completion. I already finished the cover image this week. An announcement and preview will follow during the next few days, but a publication date cannot be given yet.
The first (and maybe the second) chapter of the original story will be provided as a sample. To read the rest, you will either have to buy a copy from amazon/iTunes, or send me a request for the Sam/Jack version using the request form. In this particular case the stories will be almost identical, with the sole difference that the characters in “If Only” will be called Sam and Jack—no last names, just first names, which aren’t copyrighted; other character semblances weren’t much there due to the different setting, different time and background, etc—and their looks/speech will differ.
Against Regulations will only be available as an original work on amazon and iTunes, because in a way, it is a rework of Leather and Lace. So I will not go through the hassle of transforming Against Regulations back into a Sam/Jack story after working so hard to make it an original and remove all traces of those two. :P Due to the massive changes in plot and characterization, it’ll be possible for me to keep L&L online as it is, because the similarities are mainly sex-scene related. So no worries that I will take L&L offline. :)