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Fan Fiction Policies >> Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro!
Policy: Note when this was first written, I thought any fiction in her universe needed release but a year ago, her rep contacted me to let me know she tolerates none.

According to the Ask Misty, Mercedes Lackey FAQ, Chelsea Quinn Yarbo sued a fan fiction writer who violated her copyright.  This information is substantiated by several posts to Fanthropology (a mailing list for the discussion of fan culture on topica).   These posts stated that Chelsea Quinn Yarbo sued a fan fiction writer who published a story based on Chelsea Quinn Yarbo's vampire characters in a fanzine.  These zines were seized and destroyed.  From what I have been able to understand, the case never made it to court but was settled out of court.

Dennis L. McKiernan's personal website clears up some information regarding the Chelsea Quinn Yarbo incident. According to his page, a fan published a story in a fanzine using Chelsea Quinn Yarbo's copyrighted and trademarked character, St. Germaine.  The fan was on the loosing end of this and both the fan author and the fanzine were forced to print a number of retractions in Publishers Weekly.

In a post to SIMEGEN-L Discussion List  in the first week of July in 1998, some one gives more details into an incident involving Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and fan fiction. The poster, whose name I can't find, said the following:

And in the case of a single-author "print" universe, if the author says No, then of course readers must respect the refusal.  Not like the fan who asked Chelsea Quinn Yarbro for permission to publish a story about Saint-Germain, was refused, and went ahead and DID IT ANYWAY -- with the nerve to append a note to the story admitting that it was printed against Yarbro's express prohibition!
In "The Globe and Mail" on Thursday, April 26, 2001, there was an article titled "Stranger than fiction" by Mike Doherty that mentioned Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.  The following is a an extract from that article that mentions her:
American fantasy writer Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, for instance, has been embroiled in legal battles surrounding her St. Germain series of historical vampire novels. "I have absolutely no sense of humour about copyright infringement," she writes. Yarbro has dealt with four instances of infringement during her career, including one where a fan story was printed in a magazine against her express wishes and the writer even mentioned as much in an introduction. Although Yarbro has managed to settle these issues out of court, she points out that in the U.S., "willful infringement, meaning you know the writer has said no and you do it anyway, carries with it a maximum federal fine of 0,000 and a maximum of five years in a federal penitentiary."

When asked whether non-profit on-line fan fiction constitutes at least a grey area, she responds: "I think it is nonsense -- and that is a mild word for the one I would prefer to use -- and that fans who do it show a profound disrespect for the writer and the work they misappropriate in such cases. If fans want to write, they should make up their own stories with their own characters. That's what fiction is all about."

Judge Elmo, in a post to rec.arts.comics.misc dated June 19, 1995 with a subject of "re: Sandman Crreative Group",  adds some new tid bits to this case with:
Both Marion Zimmer Bradley and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro have incurred substantial legal fees in the course of combatting fanfic;
Dan Goodman says in a post to rec.arts.sf.composition on July 28, 1998 with a subject of "Re: [pbem open] Asimov's Foundation " that even if you asked Chelsea Quinn Yarbro for permission to write in her univere, you wouldn't recieve permission.  This meshes with the rest of the infromation that is being circulated.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's penchant for sending out Cease & Desists letters to fan fiction writers is again confirmed in a post to alt.comics.fan-fiction on December 16, 1996 by Aleph Press with a subject of "Re: Question about FanFiction " which states:

[...]fanfic based on Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count St. Germain series is underground, because she has sent people cease and desist letters; etc.

Wilson Heydt said on rec.arts.sf.written in a post with the subject "Re: Marion Zimmer Bradley" on February 23, 1993:

|What is it that Quinn Yarbro is going thru? I missed anything
|earlier about this. Thanks in advance for filling me in.

1. A fan wrote a story using one of Quinn's characters.

2. The fan wrote to Quinn askeing permission to publish said story.

3. Quinn wrote back denying permission.

4. Fan published the story and the editor of the fanzine prefaced the work with a statement that Quinn had been asked and had *not* granted permission, but "the story was too good not to be published".

5. The publication came to Quinn's attention.

6. Quinn wrote to the fan and the editor pointing out that the publicacation of the work constituted willful violation of copyright and demanding redress in the form of removing the offending issue from circulation and publication is appropriate venues of suitable apologies and admission of guilt, plus a few other minor odds and ends.

7. The editor insisted for *months* increasingly sterner notifications (and advice that she consult an attorney before she got herself and deeper into the mess) that she hadn't done anything wrong.

I understand that the notifications *have* been published, but not in all cases in ways that are to Quinn's satisfaction. Quinn is out time (irreplacable) and money (irrecoverable--the culprits don't have enough resources to cover Quinn's legal fees, let alone enough to be worth actually getting anything). The editor still (apparently) doesn't understand what she did wrong and seems to consider herself the victim in all this and can't understand what all the fuss is about.

It's all been written up in the SFWA Bulletin and a publication of the MWA.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro does not, according to my interpretation of her web page found at http://www.chelseaquinnyarbro.com/copy.html, tolerate any infringement of her work and will sue you if you do.  She states that any infringment is forbidden.

The text on her page which states her policy is done in white because I'm scared of being sued for infringing on it. :o(  Use for this page though is claimed as academic so fair use should hold me over.

All the works listed in this bibliography are protected by copyright. Granted upon publication, copyright of a work lasts for the life of the author plus seventy years, whether or not the work is in print. Any use of the essays, stories, novels, or characters in them in any form whatsoever without the prior written consent of the author is herewith expressly forbidden. Failure to heed this notice is a violation of federal copyright law and can carry a maximum fine of 0,000.00 and a maximum sentence of five years in a federal prison. 

Have you got more information to add to what is already here? Do you have history on the origins of this policy? Send all Questions, Comments, Suggestions to Fan Fiction Policy Support.

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