Cold dead hand of Frank Herbert reaches up from grave, stabs Dune Second Life megafans in the back

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77 Responses to “Cold dead hand of Frank Herbert reaches up from grave, stabs Dune Second Life megafans in the back”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I could never understand why a dead author’s estate gets a copyright at all. After all the purpose of copyright in the USA is to promote the creation of new work. Frank Herbert isn’t going create any new work.

  2. Cardinal Biggles says:

    what a joke!! maybe the literary agents for the writers of the Old Testament/ Pentateuch should be sending Trident Media a letter regarding Herbert’s extensive drawing on characters concepts and other material from the Old Testament.

  3. cubey says:

    That’s a crying shame for the Dune roleplayers in SL. They’ve put an enormous amount of work creating not only costume but objects and environment. What the copyright holders should have done is support these fans in their efforts and maybe boost book/dvd sales. But I guess rabid attack lawyers aren’t interested in creative solutions.

    I wonder how long it will be until George Lucas notices the number of stormtroopers inhabiting SL?

  4. Snig says:

    The Bene Gesserit actually have been manipulating the breeding of the Herberts, and a few generations from now, you’ll find the books of Frank’s great great great granddaughter will be worth reading, so don’t give up hope.

  5. MichaelC says:

    I hope we all realize that Trident is acting on behalf of whichever heir of Frank Herbert’s now controls the relevant parts of his estate, which I’m guessing means Brian Herbert. How about more blame for him and less for the messengers?

  6. Allen Kerensky says:

    @Halloween Jack
    Actually, I am not convinced Frank Herbert was a technophobe, since he went as far as writing WITHOUT ME YOU ARE NOTHING with Max Barnard, subtitled “The Essential Guide to Home Computers”.

    In it, Frank Herbert and Max Barnard created (and later patented) a new (for 1980) form of program flowcharting called PROGRAMAP.

    The purpose of the book was a project to design a “writer’s computer” and contains several utility programs, documented in the PROGRAMAP flowchart style, with BASIC code.

    After reading that book, I seriously doubted that Frank Herbert was as anti-computer as his famous books would lead someone to believe. Pick up a used copy and give it a read. It makes all of the new books not written by Frank himself look sort of suspect as well.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I am not convinced Frank Herbert was a technophobe

      SPOILER

      At the very end of the absolutely last book, humans and computers are reconciled.

  7. jjasper says:

    Frank W beat me to it – anyone signing KJ Anderson to write prequels doesn’t care about anything other than money.

  8. Phikus says:

    Tell me of your homeworld Usul…

    *looks over at team of lawyers*

    I can’t…

    _________

    Ok, that does it. We were gonna wait another century, but now we’re awakening the clone of Frank Herbert and reviving his memories. Let them tremble before the Ghola of Frank Herbert!

    Brian Herbert: “Oh shit!”

  9. Brett Burton says:

    Sure the books that Brian Herbert did are horrible, no argument there, but to say only the first Dune book is any good is ridiculous. #5 Heretics of Dune is my favorite. The first book is actually kinda weak compared to some of the later ones that Frank Herbert wrote.

  10. Oshkosh John says:

    I read the books a long time ago, and enjoyed them thoroughly. I subsequently saw the movie on cable television, and I enjoyed that, too. That was the end of it for me. Now LotR, on the other hand, THAT’S different!

  11. wolfwitch says:

    @cubey – Actually Lucas has become pretty famous for supporting/encouraging fan-produced media/productions of his work. He realized a long time ago that it generates new interest (and amounts to a lot of free advertising), especially among younger people. Robot Chicken and Family Guy’s “Star Wars” spoofs are perfect examples. Unlike many artists today- he decided NOT to alienate his fans through heavy-handed legal BS.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Second Life, Dune…

    SandWorm yiffing…

    *shudder*

  13. denkbert says:

    Man, I seriously hope Second Life goes down for good one day. The idea behind it is good, but the execution is terrible and, frankly, I am especially pissed of by the furries you see EVERYwhere.

    Maybe if SE ceases to be, its place will be taken by something better …

  14. bbonyx says:

    @ #23 – Yes, but I would be surprised if Lucasfilm was not paid for licensing when said homages were created.

    Having gone through a licensing issue recently myself I can state without a doubt that the only time the lawyers let something propagate is when the license holder is getting their cut.

  15. Jamie Sue says:

    Believe it or not I was actually thinking to myself the other day… “Self, you’re a huge Sci-Fi fan and yet somehow you’ve never read any Dune books. What’s up with that?”

    Now I’m thinking “Self, scratch that idea about buying Dune books. Those guys are dicks.”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Makes me wonder if they didn’t just sell the rights to a Dune MMO. Fan-stuff seems to get shut down when a new product begins to take shape. There was a fan-made Halo RTS that got shut down, and a couple months later, Halo Wars was announced. They don’t like competition, even if it’s not-for-profit fan made stuff.

    If there was a Dune MMO, I’d probably give it a try, but I’d get to level 10, get bored and confused, and wander off to the Iain M. Banks Culture MMO.

  17. Ratdog says:

    The title of this post sounds like something The Onion would do.

  18. oxrs says:

    @25 – Yes, but money making parody doesn’t quite show how smart Lucasfilm is about this stuff. You need to have a look at the fan film community. I can’t actually say that many, if any, are actually good, but they can be technically proficient and they get made on a regular basis by genuine fans. Their main venue of showing their projects is through the Star Wars official message boards. Lucasfilm all but endorse that kind of endeavor, so long as you don’t make any money of it.

    So… Maybe you should add some doubt to your absolute certainty that seems to be based on one incident.

  19. mgfarrelly says:

    Destroying free advertising when publishing is in dire straits? Silliness.

    What about reaching out to those fans, perhaps even working with them to promote the books with events?

    Nah, lets just make some money for lawyers.

  20. Anonymous says:

    original scifi universes within SL DO exist.

    http://www.starbasec3.com

    http://www.starbasec3.com/faq.html 1996

    c3

  21. Ceronomus says:

    And that is what lawyers do…simply make money for lawyers. With the US producing more lawyers than the rest of the world combined, is it any wonder why we have frivolous crap like this? The field has become so bloated that it cannot sustain itself.

    Let’s NOT bail out the lawyers ehh?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Catbeller here: your forum won’t let me post. Getting an error. So anonymously:

    1. Herbert is dead. There should be no copyrights. This is a corporation sucking blood out of what should be our culture, effectively forever.

    2. The situation is analogous to a campground owner renting RV space to a bunch of Dune reenactors. The campground is the only party making money. The Doonies are not making a profit.

    3. You can’t own an idea.

    4. Sadly, Steve Jobs is right. No one reads books anymore. So it is especially stupid to destroy the fun of *twenty* roleplayers that actually have given enough of a damn to have read the books. Way to go, building up the fan base.

    5. They might want to look into what George Lucas did with that sandworm skeleton on Tatooine. Have fun storming that castle.

    6. Herbert himself wrecked the series by writing endless dreck at the end. Sorry.

  23. Anonymous says:

    @24 I’m surprised it took so long for someone to make a furry comment in a SL post. Congratulations. The phenomenon of furries is amusing, and you are a clever, poignant, and insightful person for pointing out that this subculture exists in sl, as most people understand sl but never hear about furries there.

  24. nehpetsE says:

    If more people had read (and understood) the original Dune books, we might not be in the mess in the middle east that we are. I actually ain’t joking.

    I have no idea what i’d think of the books now, but reading them in highschool, they did fundamentally alter my thinking on a variety of topics.

    For those who have not yet been exposed,
    The theatrical edit of David Lynche’s Dune is an extremely enjoyable movie.

    But stay away from the four hour “Alan Smithee”
    re-edit which includes mind numbingly dull narration drawling over roughly doodled story boards.(if you are a completist it i has MAYBE 5 minutes of extra worthwhile footage, not found in the theatre edit.

    And do not even THINK about thinking about any of the pastel-cgi ridden adaptations of dune that were made for cable.

  25. the Other michael says:

    Is this really the “cold dead hand of Frank Herbert” or the “cold live hand of Kevin J Anderson” and the many “prequels” that are so ghastly to read?

    OTOH, it has been so many years said I read an original, they might be as ghastly. But I doubt it.

  26. nehpetsE says:

    I imagine an alternate time-line where copyright mania began a bit earlier, and Gutenberg was burned at the stake by the church.

    It’s hard to trace what all the repercussions of that one might be.

  27. Dizbuster says:

    Read Dune because it’s awesome, but make sure you buy a used copy.

  28. Flying_Monkey says:

    An amusing but rather inaccurate title, Cory. I am pretty sure Frank Herbert would have minded rather less about these hobbyists than the lawyers and accountants who police his estate on behalf of his son and other officially designated Dune prequalists.

    Second Life is also crap though, that sees undeniable. I am still waiting for computing power to catch up with the idea of a true virtual world. We are long way yet. I just hope the hilarious awfulness of SL hasn’t permanently crippled demand…

  29. Xopher says:

    Lanval, the reprehensible movie made my Dune-fan friends get up and walk out. The SciFi Channel miniseries is better, which should appall you, but the book is best of all.

    In my youth, I knew nothing of Arab culture (typical of a midwestern US teen in the 1970s), and thought Herbert had created a marvelous fictional society in the Fremen of Dune. Now I daresay people just say “Arabs In Space.”

    I gave up after Children of Dune, which I read serialized in Analog (IIRC), left me cold, bored, and depressed. I did read every other Herbert book I could get my hands on, until I realized that he had exactly one good book in him, and one half-good book (Dune Messiah), and other than that was a pretty terrible writer.

    He’s also a sexist homophobe, which isn’t too surprising given his times, but some of his books are irritating in that respect as well. In fact even Dune itself has a villain who’s homosexual apparently just to make him seem more evil; he’s also grotesquely obese, to make him ickier (no, I don’t think fat people are icky, but Herbert did, and he’s using cheap prejudicial tricks instead of good writing to make you hate his villain).

    If you must read Dune, borrow a copy. The other books, don’t bother.

    And this is why copyright should lapse at the death of the author.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      In fact even Dune itself has a villain who’s homosexual apparently just to make him seem more evil

      Baron Harkonnen is absolutely the guy I would chat up at a cocktail party. He’s smarter and more interesting than any of the other characters. The Atreides are total stiffs.

  30. buddy66 says:

    “Now I want to reread Dune…”

    Don’t. It’s just a bunch of guys standing around giving each other new names, while the action takes place off stage and is commented on later in other insufferable naming sessions. I just try to remember it as a brilliant idea. It’s not a book you’re supposed to read; it’s a book you’re supposed to hear about and say “Wow!”

    My partner and I interviewed him on radio, and I remember asking if he had made the “Snows of Kilimanjaro” mistake of giving away too many stories in Dune that he could later use. He laughed and said there would be “more where they came from.”

    He was wrong.

  31. bbonyx says:

    @ #28 – Sorry, we’re in agreement. I should have specified that I meant when the homage is done for commercial gain (mine was).
    There was mention here that the guy overseeing Dune in SL is seeing revenue (even if it is more than offset by expenses, it’s still currency changing hands under the auspices of someone else’s copyrighted works)

  32. Ultan says:

    I have read all the original and prequel books and reread Dune itself and the Dune Encyclopedia repeatedly. Children of Dune was the low point of the series for me, the others were mostly decent; Heretics of Dune was the best aside from the original book.

    Everybody rags on the prequels, but they are well above the quality of the last Harry Potter book, most of such overrated fixtures as Frederik Pohl, Ben Bova, Isaac Asimov, A.E. van Vogt and Greg Bear, virtually all of Stephen King, Piers Anthony or Orson Scott Card and absolutely all of Elron Hubbard, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, or Terry Brooks. The movie and video adaptations of Dune were absolute garbage, worse than Clash of the Titans, worse than Ishtar, as bad as than Battlefield Earth, right down there with that three-hour Soviet movie The Zone which consisted mostly of anonymous characters crawling through dark storm sewers muttering cryptically about “the porcupine”. (But still a little better than Manos: Hands of Fate.) Anyway, I loathe the film Dune and I despise anyone who does not hate it. Lynch Lynch! But the prequel books are no worse than, say Anne McCaffery.

  33. Brainspore says:

    Maybe Herbert’s estate has plans in the works for their own MMORPG a-la “Star Wars Galaxies” and don’t want anybody cutting into their market share.

    Though I wonder… is it still considered “Massively Multiplayer” if there are only a couple of dozen people involved?

  34. Anonymous says:

    “Anon” (#72) claims to have spent many hours on China Miéville’s “The Scar” and yet can’t get his name right? Hmmm.
    Frank was not a technophobe. I knew him well enough to know that. Nor was he a misogynist; his wife, Bev, would have testified to that.
    And as far as I know, despite being “old-school,” he was not particularly anti-gay. Sometimes characterizing a subgroup member can get one in trouble as a writer, but then just about everyone is a member of some subgroup or another. Without identifying anyone from any subgroup, fiction could be unbearably bland.

    Sweeping statements about how one author is better than another author (yes, YOU, Ultan), are counterproductive and usually end up making one look really stupid. I hate a number of people’s fiction, but wouldn’t make a value judgment for their work, as everyone has different tastes. Stephen King, for example, desperately needs editing (and apparently won’t let an editor touch his work), but he’s a good writer nonetheless. You’re outvoted on that. But of course, with your head up your own fundament, you probably won’t believe or understand that. And, by the way, it’s Anne McCaffrey (a very nice lady, btw), not “McCaffery.”
    All that is beside the point. Copyright shouldn’t be prolonged 75 years past the author’s death as is now the case. It’s stifling further development. And copyright should DEFINITELY be taken away from corporations or legal entities. Copyright should ONLY (IMO) attach to living persons or persons recently dead (in order to give a helping hand to their heirs, not to support their heirs in palatial style all the days of their lives)–say, 10 years.
    So let’s take copyright out of the hands of corporations, non-real persons, and those who have been dead more that ten years and let creativity flourish once again!
    (If we were enforcing copyright on the Greeks, the Romans and Elizabethan writers, among others, today’s literature would be a feeble thing indeed.)

  35. Halloween Jack says:

    You know, not to be a contrarian, but you could argue that Herbert wouldn’t have wanted his work to be used in Second Life because he was something of a technophobe, not just in terms of the Butlerian Jihad in the Dune books. He wrote a non-fiction book, Without Me You’re Nothing, which IIRC was a computer book for people who hated and/or feared computers. Not that that necessarily paints Herbert in a better light, mind you.

  36. Anonymous says:

    @33: Lucasfilm does endorse Star Wars fan films, but its motives aren’t entirely pure. During the initial fan film fad of the late ’90s, it sent out cease and desist letters to a few productions, including a high-profile one from Australia called “The Dark Redemption.”

    Two years later, as the stream of fan films showed no sign of letting up, Lucasfilm decided to initiate the annual Star Wars Fan Film Awards (now called the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge for some reason). The initial rules were that you could only make a documentary or a parody–two forms that are protected by law anyway, so legally, Lucasfilm couldn’t have stopped them if it wanted to. Nonetheless, the company framed the move as Lucas supporting fan films, and folks jumped at it.

    The key qualification, however, was that you couldn’t enter a dramatic flick, nor one with bad language or sex. In other words, it ensured that fan efforts wouldn’t turn up with with better or similar plots than the series and/or spin-off books, comics, etc. Given the time, money and effort required to make a fan film, most amateur Star Wars filmmakers altered their flicks to be acceptable under these guidelines–after all (and quite understandably), if you’re going to make a movie, why NOT make it eligible for the contest?

    As a result, while not laying down the law, Lucasfilm cannily exerted far-reaching control over the content in Star Wars fan films that are being created, and the result is that the Awards/Challenge is a double-edge sword. While recognition of fan films as an emerging art is great, it’s also a sad turn of events, stunting the growth of a special venacular culture.

    Clive at fancinematoday.com (the fan film news blog)

  37. rmstallman says:

    When I read about how the heirs of the Dune fortune attacked Second
    Life users, my first thought was about how nasty and foolish they were
    being. My second thought was that the article serves its readers
    poorly, when it uses the vague term “intellectual property” to
    describe the legal issue at stake here.

    The term “intellectual property” is an incoherent muddle: it lumps
    together various unrelated laws that do different things. (See
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.) A few of those that use
    the term know this, and use it to to spread confusion. The rest think
    the term has a concrete meaning, and are just passing along their own
    confusion.

    The lawyers for Frank Herbert’s greedy and foolish heirs are using the
    term for malicious effect. Which law do they claim these users are
    violating? What does that law actually allow? Which of the users’
    practices really violate that law, and which are lawful? The lawyers
    hope these questions will never be asked, so they use the term
    “intellectual property” to mask them.

    When Vooper Werribee and other roleplayers use the term, however, they
    put themselves at a disadvantage. It looks like they never demanded
    answers to those questions, but rather took for granted that they were
    violating some unidentified law. People who believe — mistakenly –
    that there is a law of “intellectual property”, which prohibits all
    sorts of imitation in a broad sense, are likely to be intimidated out
    of their legal rights. I wish I had been in time to urge them to
    break out of the harmful mode of thinking which “intellectual
    property” encourages.

    When Linden Lab uses the term “intellectual property”, it is a
    cop-out. The requirements of copyright law and trademark law are
    totally different, and both are totally different from patent law –
    to name three out of at least a dozen. To treat them the same makes
    no sense. Linden should discard its one-shape-fits-all policy about
    “intellectual property”, and replace it with thoughtfully design
    policies appropriate to these various laws.

    When the article uses the term, it becomes uninformative. Good
    journalism should answer the question “what”, as well as “who, when,
    where and why”. if all you “know” about some issue is that it
    concerns some “intellectual property” law, you don’t really know
    what’s going on. The first step in writing about the issue is to find
    out what.

  38. angusm says:

    Once literary copyright falls into the hands of an “estate” represented by lawyers, you’re pretty much done.

    When I was young and naive and not thinking too much about copyright, I posted a handful of poems by dead-but-still-in-copyright authors to a personal web page. I received two messages pointing out my mistake and requesting me to take the poems down.

    One was from the grandson of one of the poets. It was exquisitely polite, thanking me for my enthusiasm but gently pointing out that the material was still in copyright and that I needed to apply for permission before posting it. It remains in my mind as one of the most courteous and respectful letters I have ever read.

    The other was from the firm representing the estate of a famous and much-loved American poet. This message went above and beyond the usual law-firm boilerplate and was actually personally abusive. I don’t think the author went quite so far as to call me a “little shit”, but that was pretty much the tone.

    I don’t question that the copyright holders were in the right and I was in the wrong (as in the Frank Herbert/Second Life case). But there’s more than one way to protect your rights, and perhaps the representatives of literary estates should remember that goodwill is a non-negligible part of the artistic legacy they’ve been hired to manage.

  39. Church says:

    Herbert was actually pissed at Lucas b/c of the Sandpeople and moisture farming. This sounds like something he’d approve of.

  40. Champs says:

    SL’s interests have insisted that everything in their world is as significant as what’s on the other side of the screen, but here they seem to be losing that tune. Out in the real world, I need a license to build a theme park based on Dune, Middle Earth, Azeroth, etc. You can’t have it both ways.

  41. Allen Kerensky says:

    As one of the Splintered Rock building and scripting volunteers who spent the weekend renaming things after these DMCA takedowns came in, this pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole affair:

    http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/70829/

    clown bomb (noun): a DMCA takedown notice stupidly sent from by a movie, tv, media, or book lawyer to their own soon-to-be-ex fans

    It’s my feeling the whole mess was sent to lay the groundwork for a themed sim to be opened by the movie company, since I believe the executive producer has the video game rights to the material now? What does it matter to bulldoze a handful of fans to make room for their hype-machine driven ad-infested own region in SecondLife?

  42. Snig says:

    I hope they instead start adventuring in the Star Wars inspired Tattoine roleplaying community (T’oine for short), which takes place way in the past, when families were warring for influence on the council, while interacting with cults of Tusken Raiders who wore suprisingly high tech desert survival suits. The wiki for Tattoine even says there’s a place called the Dune Sea…

  43. Anonymous says:

    Dune prequels > Asimov = high comedy.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I went to the library the other day and got Prelude to Foundation. When I opened it up, I landed on the publishing info page and read, “Asimov, Isaac: 1920 – ” and I thought, “Oh, this was published while he was still alive.” After a moment, I realized what an incredibly bizarre thing that was to think. Until I thought about the Herbert and Tolkien estates. Or Sublime and Tupac having more posthumous albums than prehumous ones. Or Heath Ledger still having movies coming out. Dead men tell no tales? Yeah, right. You can’t shut them up any more.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm… I only know the movie. This little stunt is reason #2, then, not to ever, EVER give these dirt bags a penny.

    Many, many other novels to read.

    Lanval

  45. buddy66 says:

    Yeah, but they’re pretty. The Baron’s got all those boils and stuff.

  46. nerak says:

    While I am baffled at the amount of crap that Brian and Kevin have pumped out, I actually enjoyed the Legends of Dune triology. I liked the explanations and history so forth, but the end of The Battle of Corrin and the reason why the Harkonnens hate the Atreides was complete horseshit.

    Now I want to reread Dune…

  47. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Well it would be horrible for any fan activities to undermine the dignity of the Dune legacy. Isn’t Vacuum Cleaner Lint of Dune coming out next year?

  48. Anonymous says:

    As a Second Life resident who runs a location based on another set of books (Chine Mievilles and his “The Scar” in particular) i can assure you we put in a LOT of hours (and over a thousand dollars so far) and pretty much any money made either pays us back the outlay or goes back into the community. We know for sure of 10 books (within a month of opening) already sold to people unaware of his work and they are now HUGE fans. I have no doubt those folk will pass on their love to others.

    So, free advertising and strengthening fanbase. I do this for other companies and they pay us well for this kind of build. i think the best way to sum up Tridents rection is “ARG! the intermanet is stealings our stuff! Bring me mys lawyers!”

    Of course WOTC just got the rights to make an RPG so we are expecting to be closed down pretty soon… :D

  49. LeavingHalfway says:

    Although, to be honest, everything after the first kind of took care of that already…

  50. Brainspore says:

    @ Champs #42:

    But you don’t need a license to don a homemade Wookiee costume and have nerf lightsaber matches in the park with your friends.

  51. Xopher says:

    One thing I liked about the SciFi miniseries was that all the scenes among the bad guys ended with rhymed couplets. I thought that was a nice touch.

  52. Anonymous says:

    manymanymany other novels to read, but not manymanymany that are as half as good.

    Not reading an amazing book because of a company is not resonable, at least borrow it.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Second Life, for further alienating and abusing the very same user base who makes SL appealing in favor of instead keeping your pockets fat.

    LL, you lost the plot and now it seems like you’re trying to aggressively further that fact.

  54. eustace says:

    No joke, LeavingHalfWay! I pity the poor souls who tried to wade through the whole corpus. What are these lawyers trying to preserve that hasn’t already been rolled through the muck?

  55. sehlat says:

    More to the point, this sort of behavior only encourages those who want “unauthorized” copies of anything Frank Herbert wrote to justify such things because they’re not ripping off a living author, but the lawyer/accountant zombies who took his place.

    Nobody likes to reward bullies for being bullies, and this bunch are only hurting themselves.

  56. Takuan says:

    yet, Brain, yet.

  57. Middlerun says:

    Stuff like this makes my head explode. What benefit could they possibly see in screwing over a handful of fans?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      What benefit could they possibly see in screwing over a handful of fans?

      Clearly the attorney’s mother changed the water of life while she was pregnant.

  58. Frank W says:

    It’s nothing like the damage Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson did to Frank Herbert’s legacy with their gollyawful sequels and prequels and whatnot.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Wait, Second Life still exists?

  60. Anonymous says:

    This is infuriating. So is the first comment

  61. Anonymous says:

    Disney lawyers in the sandbox. Miss, you are not Princess Jasmine. Please cease and desist from this unscrupulous infringement.

  62. Lauren O says:

    Hey, those folks deserve all the…money that these Second Life players would have somehow made? Because they…did none of the creative work involved in the book/movie?

    I guess I don’t really “get” copyright laws.

  63. maturin says:

    Although the author tries to cover this up by indicating that Werribee spends more than he makes…….the fact is that Werribee has money come in thru charging rent for land usage. He gets money in…..copyright violation and shouldn’t be defended.

  64. Lloydville says:

    There’s another aspect to this issue that needs to be taken into account. Courts have ruled that holders of copyrights and trademarks need to exercise due diligence in enforcing them. A pattern of indifference to violations can be construed as a surrender of copyright and trademark claims. This is why Coca-Cola and Xerox have conducted costly campaigns to stop businesses from using “coke” and “xerox” as generic names for “cola” and “photocopying”, lest their indifference become a legal basis for denying their rights to these trademarks.

    The Herbert estate lawyers are thus in a delicate position — forced to take action against benign violations in order to preserve the right to take action against malign ones.

    The question is, could they exercise due diligence by some means short of a take-down notice against benign violations? If not, the law may need amendment.

  65. jphilby says:

    Why is they are so thick=headed? They can see (? hmm?) what’s happening to music, to newspapers … to education … and yet they persist. It’s like some kind of death wish, mass suicide phenom.

    There’s a new river running through your country, folks. You can either try to stand in the middle of the river waving your hands yelling “No! Stop!” … or make yourself a boat & get bizzy.

  66. snakedart says:

    Frank was a remarkably nice guy.

    His son, on the other hand, is a talentless douche making bank off dead dad’s legacy. So, no surprises here.

  67. Takuan says:

    nope, all they have to do is write a specific permission to these fans.

  68. PixelFish says:

    One of my favourite Penny Arcades sums up how I feel about the non-Frank prequels:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2003/10/15/

    (And yes, I pretty much don’t read past Children of Dune. God Emperor and Chapterhouse and Heretics were all meh for me. But the prequels are in a whole ‘nother land o’ bad.)

  69. Malgwyn says:

    In related news, the National Lampoon parody of Dune; DOON, which has all of about a dozen fans, has taken up the gauntlet (and spatula).

  70. Daemon says:

    Yet one more reason to never actually cave in and read Dune.

  71. Anonymous says:

    I dunno. I think Frank himself managed to run the series into the ground. It all got very “dirty old man” toward the end, when every guild seemed to start specialising in developing hyper-heightened sex skills.

  72. Stephen says:

    Trident has raised the bar on stupid.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think that Trident do any more damage to the memory of the works of Frank Herbert than his son already has done.

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