The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: August 8th, 1998

Character Theft

By: Sailor Chibi Earth

As the number of Sailormoon sites on the web grows, the search for original and creative ideas to bring to Sailormoon on the web becomes harder and harder. One creative direction to take a Sailormoon website is the not-so-infamous fanfiction.

Now althougth fanfic and fanart are not new to the Sailormoon scene, they have been however, on the increase. One area of fanfiction that has seen sudden interest is the creation of brand new, never seen before senshi, created entirely by the owner of the fanfic. These sites usually contain fanfics, profiles, sometimes even fanart, all about their "new senshi". While there are a few well established sites of this kind on the web that have been around for a while, many of these "new senshi" sites are fairly new to the web, many of which were inspired by the older established sites. So is this a problem? Not in itself. Fanfics are a great way to produce something new and fresh on the internet and it can be quite enjoyable. It's also great to see all the creative and interesting ideas that people come up with when creating their own senshi. Sometimes a new senshi is made so well that a visitor to the site often confuses them for the real thing. The problem occurs when a person starting their own site resorts to what I call "character theft".

Character theft is the taking of someone else's fanfic and/or fanart character (not necessarily a senshi) and using it for your site. Now we have all heard about images theft and page theft as they have been around for as long, if not longer, than Sailormoon has been on the web. Character theft is not much different in that either images or information is being taken. however, I feel that character theft is far worse.

The stealing of a characters profile usually occurs because the thief likes the way the character acts and the use the character for their own website. Now sometimes the theft isn't so obvious, particularly with the profile, but that doesn't mean it's not there. It isn't hard to copy over the profile of someone's new senshi, switch a name, a birthdate and some likes and dislikes and vola, you have a new senshi, but it is still theft.

With character fanart, however, it isn't hard to miss a theft. Fanart theft ranges from direct links to the orginal site to copy the image, and from altering the image to printing, tracing and re-scanning the image.

Many of the creators of new senshi spend hours, if not days, working on the information and images for their senshi, only to find out that everything they worked so hard on has been copied over to someone else's site, often without credit. Not only does this usually occurs without the permission of the original creator, but the thief usually claims the character or fanart as their own and then have the audacity to state the infamous "do not take because I made it" warning, while others claim they got permission to use the character when they never did. Some are even stupid enough to have a link to the original site they stole from in their favorite links. The worst insult the original author can get is a flame mail from a visitor claiming he copied the work that was original his to begin with. It is obvious that people who steal have absolutely no originality of their or, no consideration for the orignal creator and have completely lost the original meaning of fanfiction.

How bad is character theft? Not as bad as image or page theft, but it is increasing. With a little searching, you can probably find half a dozen sites all stealing either profiles and/or fanart from just one site. What can a author do about it? Beside the flame mails and creating a link so visitors can flame as well, not much... and that's assuming the original author even finds out about it.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Sailor Chibi Earth.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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