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Ariane DeVere
Audiobook of the “A Study in Pink” transcript. Hell, no. 
22nd-Jul-2016 02:22 pm
CP - surely we had two wings
Just for the record: this is an official announcement that I am in no way involved with the production of an audiobook of my transcript of A Study in Pink, nor did I give permission for it to be produced.

(I’ve deliberately posted this in Private and then unlocked it, so that hopefully it won’t go into people’s flists, because I don’t want to make it into a big deal. It was meant to be a simple declaration in case needed in the future. As always, though, I started a brief explanation and then kind of lost control of my typing fingers.)

In January 2016 somebody posted an ‘audiobook’ of my transcript of A Study in Pink. He did so without my permission, and he didn’t ask or tell me in advance what he was doing. I only found out about it when he tried to publicise it on a Sherlock fandom website to which I happen to belong.

While I have no objection in principle to an audiobook which might be useful to blind/partially sighted people who can’t watch the episode, I totally object to this person taking my transcript, running it through a computer programme and putting it onto the internet without seeking my approval/permission. When I posted an objection, he sniped that I had given permission by saying at the top of the transcript, “If you take extracts from this transcript for use elsewhere, and especially if you repost my own words, it would be kind if you would acknowledge the source and/or give a link back to this transcript.” He added that he had posted the source in his notes. I pointed out somewhat forcibly that this audiobook was not an ‘extract,’ it was the whole sodding transcript. He maintained that he couldn’t have asked me in advance because he had no way of contacting me. This is bollocks – my askbox is open on Tumblr, I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook, and most importantly anybody can post a comment on any of my Livejournal pages, although a non-registered poster’s note will be automatically screened by LJ. I checked all the pages for ASIP and in my main Index in case I had missed a screened comment, but clearly he hadn’t even tried.

What I object to most is that he made no attempt to edit the transcript before recording it. Regular readers of my transcripts will know that I throw in occasional (and sometimes frequent) snarky and/or shippy asides. These work (I hope) when read onscreen. They do not work when narrated straight-faced. Many of my asides are deliberately written in strikeout to show that I’m not being serious. The computer programme which narrated the transcript read everything which had been struck out. I will never know whether to dissolve into hysterical laughter or be utterly appalled when the flat computer voice reads out:

Hero!shot as our boys walk in slow motion towards the camera before turning and smiling at each other as they mentally plan where and how many times they’re going to roger each other senseless once they get home.

When we finally got in direct contact, he was rude and defensive from the start, and declared that my transcript was just as much a breach of copyright as his audiobook and therefore he will not delete the book until I delete the transcripts. When I told him – twice – that currently I have no intention of reporting him but that I absolutely do not give him permission to use any other of my transcripts, he replied:

I will use all of your scripts, you'll provide me better versions of it or I will try to do by myself. I can delete the credit section on video description if you don't want to be a part of it. Choise is yours.

At this point I broke off communication with him before I blew up the internet with my foul language.

If he had been more polite, I probably would have been happy to work with him on future audiobooks of the transcripts. I could have worked through each one, taking out the snark/ship that doesn’t work and adjusting some of my asides so that they flow better when heard rather than read. As it is, I am just waiting to see what happens next. I don’t particularly want to report him because if he is told to take the book down, or if all of his books are taken down as a result of a complaint, he’ll probably assume it was me who reported him and then he might go on a vengeful rampage and complain to the BBC and/or Hartswood about the transcripts.

I’ve been told by more than one member of the fandom that Messrs Moffat and Gatiss / Hartswood must be aware of the transcripts, and neither they nor the BBC have (yet) served me with a Cease & Desist order. However, if somebody puts in a formal written complaint to one of them, they may have no choice but to take action. To the best of my knowledge, the legality of transcripts of TV shows has never yet been clearly established. I do not want to be the person who causes the cyberlawyers to decide that transcripts of all TV shows should be taken down.

And no, I am absolutely not providing a link to the audiobook here! Trust me: you wouldn’t survive the awfulness, what with it calling Mycroft ‘Mick-roft,’ Lestrade ‘Less-trayde,’ Sherlock ‘Sherrrrrlock,’ and mis-reading vital sentences, e.g.

JOHN: So you’ve got a boyfriend then?

(Don’t ask. For some reason whenever someone simply says, “No.” [i.e. just the word ‘No’ followed by a full stop] the programme reads it as “Number.” I know that ‘No.’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘number’ but surely most of the time in a book or a TV show, ‘No.’ means ‘No’! The programme also, bizarrely/delightfully, reads “Mmm,” as “Em-em-em.”)

So, if you’ve read this rant declaration about my total lack of involvement in or approval of the audiobook, please don’t seek it out and then put in a complaint, thinking that you’ll be doing me a favour. I would rather take no action ... unless/until he posts another one. I’ve re-read my transcript of The Blind Banker and it would be a disaster as an audiobook, so at that point I might have to do something about it.

*sighs sadly* This is why we can’t have nice things.

Ariane DeVere
22 July 2016

22nd-Jul-2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
Actually, I was going to ask if the audiobook possibly took your additions:

Hero!shot as our boys walk in slow motion towards the camera before turning and smiling at each other as they mentally plan where and how many times they’re going to roger each other senseless once they get home.

and then read the extra part, adding something like ...smiling at each other parens as they mentally... OR ...smiling at each other author joking as they mentally...

I've heard very few audiobooks so I wouldn't know how I would go about it. But clearly that was not the case. OTOH, considering technology today, it's bizarre that this guy would have chosen to do an audiobook with a computer voice -- there are so many other options. My step-dad had Parkinson's and while he was still capable of doing so, he used the software involved such that he 'talked' with the computer, and the computer did NOT sound like the one from War Games circa 1984-ish? In the 30+ years since that came out, the technology has improved dramatically, and it's incomprehensible why that is how he is doing this audiobook, especially since he's not even having a person read it, so that your extras would be crystal clear. (Which, obviously, is not your point.)

He's a dick. Beyond a doubt. No one with any ethics whatsoever would think it was appropriate (or even legal) to just take the entire transcript to A Study in Pink which actually includes your own thoughts and additions to the BBC Sherlock show. He clearly knew he was wrong at the time in which he stole the transcript. You should stop communicating, not bc your blood pressure is about to cause an aneurism but bc this is the type of person who will never but never accept that he is in the wrong. You'd be wasting your time and he's not worth it.

Furthermore, if anyone who's read your transcripts comes across this audiobook, they would know (without your having to tell them) that this was not a project of yours bc it sounds shoddy and poorly executed. That's the exact opposite of your work.

I'm sorry this happened, tho, bc it just feels like everything in America is going to Hell. (Or so we've been told for the past week by a man I do not like. It's a personal opinion so if you feel differently -- altho I'm under the impression you live in England -- but nonetheless, if you feel differently, I DO understand that my feelings are subjective.)

I have one thing that might make you feel a bit happier, but I'll PM that part to you.

Sorry again!!
25th-Jul-2016 03:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, whoops, so this did go to Flists after all? Either that or you're stalking me ... ;-)

Unfortunately, whatever programme this dickhead has got, it's not smart enough to add in alerts that the following comments are meant jokingly. Its bland robotic voice is incapable of even making real humorous speech or asides sound humorous!

Actually, if it had sounded like the computer in War Games I wouldn't have minded so much. I liked Joshua's voice!

Interesting that you talk about how he 'stole the transcript,' because he actually cheerfully admitted in his first reply to me that he was a "stealer" and then followed it with a smiley face. I wasn't smiling ...

Oh, it's not just America which is going to hell. The best comment I've seen on the internet recently went along the lines of:

Regarding 2016: have you tried turning it off, waiting ten seconds, and turning it back on again?
22nd-Jul-2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
25th-Jul-2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
*Hands you a tissue*

I did a lot more than just splutter! With the amount of swear words and venom that I spat, it's amazing I've got any tissues left to offer you!

Edited at 2016-07-25 03:07 pm (UTC)
22nd-Jul-2016 06:51 pm (UTC)
"*sighs sadly* This is why we can’t have nice things."

And it's a dirty rotten shame when someone spoils our nice things.

I'm so very, very sorry that it's come to this - your transcripts are an absolute boon to the hard of hearing; I have hearing aids, but when people speak quickly or there's music in the background, things do get lost - and your transcripts plus the wonderful witty comments and asides really made the series for me! (I don't like using subtitles on screen because they detract from watching people's expressions, I find).

I can't see that Hartswood, et al would want to take action against you for the transcripts, for they're just a reproduction of what's on screen, and as that's in the public domain, there's no reason why you can't provide a re-telling; although, of course, I'm no lawyer!

It always astonishes me when I see how unscrupulous some people can be, profiting from others' hard work and I shall watch with interest to see what happens.

I do hope, so much, though, that it won't dissuade you from making transcripts in the future, even if they're in locked posts? You work so hard at it (and so quickly!!) it would be a crying shame to lose it all.

I'm hoping you will have a good (and just) outcome to all this.

25th-Jul-2016 03:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're very sweet, thank you. It doesn't put me off writing the transcripts, because I know they're helpful to so many people, and I do enjoy writing them despite the lack of sleep and the sore fingers and aching back.

Yeah, I like to hope - constantly - that Hartswood don't mind the transcripts. I just worry that if anybody puts in a 'formal' complaint, their cyberlawyers might feel obliged to do something about it.

Putting the transcripts behind locked posts is something I hope I never have to do. There wouldn't be much point writing them if only the favoured few were allowed to see them. I'd much rather they were available to anyone, and it's only the very occasional dickhead who abuses their availability.

Someone brilliantly suggested that if/when I do Season 4, I should use some very big complicated words in the middle of a paragraph which basically say, "If you're listening to this as an audiobook, it was done without my permission and the person who made it is a lousy scum-sucking thief"!!
25th-Jul-2016 04:06 pm (UTC)
I rather like that last idea!
25th-Jul-2016 06:55 pm (UTC)
*grin* Sounds like a plan!!

Or get Douglas Richardson to do "something brilliant"!!

Hope it all works out well.
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