(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
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
*sighs sadly* This is why we can’t have nice things.
22 July 2016