Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feeding the Golden Goose

For those who have followed the conflicts between authors and fan websites about the presentation and reappropriation of copyrighted material by readers, amateur bibliographers, and imitative would-be authors, the story in the Los Angeles Times about how "'Twilight' has a strong Internet connection" will be of interest. As Henry Jenkins describes in Convergence Culture, J.K. Rowling has been particularly litigious when it comes to fan creations that have emerged in connection with her Harry Potter series. The article describes how Stephenie Meyer not only used her website at to make personal connections with fans but also facilitated fan content-creation taking place on the websites of other parties involved in connecting their receptive and productive literacy experiences, which colleagues like Rebecca Black have argued also should be legitimated by educators because these connections between reading and writing are important to foster.

It wasn't just that Meyer's fans came to her blog, but that she went to theirs, writing posts and commenting on the things they had written.

That's what happened with Lori Joffs -- a "Twilight" fan who rewrote the book from a different character's perspective and posted her take on Not only did Meyer write a review, she left a personal e-mail address.

The two got chatting. Joffs asked for Meyer's blessing in setting up a "Twilight" dictionary that fans could reference. Meyer gave her approval and then some, providing inside information. Less than a month later, Joffs and her friend Laura Cristiano set up, a website that, last summer, broke from overuse.

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