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Copyright (c) 2011 UC Hastings College of the Law
Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal (Comm/Ent)

ARTICLE: The Better Angels of Our Fanfiction: The Need for True and Logical Precedent

Winter, 2011

Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal

33 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L.J. 159


by Stacey M. Lantagne*


I. Introduction
James Murphy is a songwriter. 1 His band, LCD Soundsystem, sells hundreds of thousands of albums and has been nominated for numerous Grammys. 2 Time magazine named one of his songs the fourth-best song of 2007. 3 When he gives interviews, he indicates, "I've always been a good imitator. I love music. But I'm just not that original." 4 Similarly, he states, "My life isn't about quoting, but I do think that's a big part of music." 5 An approving profile in The New Yorker profile described his

uncanny ability to hear sonic detail, [which] enables him to isolate the most notable parts of various songs - Robert Fripp's guitar sound on David Bowie's "Heroes," the opening sting of Gang of Four's "Not Great Men" - and then edit, enhance, and assemble those pieces into an easily felt, comprehensible new arrangement. 6
A few days before The New Yorker published this favorable profile on James Murphy, a respected musician with a career built on riffing off other people's songs, the best-selling author Diana Gabaldon posted an entry on her blog. This entry opened with, "OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear: I think it's immoral, I know it's illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I've inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters." 7

This is a tale of two creative genres. One borrows from and creates audio works; the other borrows from books, movies, and television to create literary ...
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