Friday, February 25, 2011


I said that if anyone had evidence to contradict what I wrote, to send it to me and I would take it into consideration. Strangely, no one has, though Storm did take the time and effort to write a "refutation." Apparently he discussed colored wands, and alternate colors, on in 2004. (He also says I'm a member of the Feri community there as if that makes a difference, but I didn't even join until ten months after the conversation he references happened. That's on my profile. )

What was discussed on or when it happened is actually not relevant though, and here's why:

I stated in my previous article that discussions of the colored wand system and various permutations of it were perennial; I could, if I wished, probably find evidence that alternatives to the "traditional three" had been bandied about by many people long before 2004. I'm not going to bother, because that has nothing to do with the copyright issues. You don't own an idea based on casual conversation, even Internet conversation; it's only when you sit down, develop it, and write it down as a coherent set of thoughts that it becomes yours. If you reflect a moment you will see why it has to work that way. To show that someone might have been exposed to an idea, you also can't just sit on it; you have to share it in some manner. If Storm had written up a treatment and shared it with others and Elf was aware of it, he might have an argument there...but if that were true, he should have brought it up long before now.

Elf on the other hand did both of those things. The piece of information that is most relevant to all this is that she shared her original write-up with several people, and then discussed writing an article about colored wands for WitchEye with Storm on the telephone (not in e-mail, as he disingenuously implies). Given that he is the owner and editor of WitchEye, that brings in a whole other set of professional ethics and constraints, above and beyond copyright. As an editor, if a writer pitches an article to you, you simply do not take that idea and write it up yourself. Even if you gave them the idea, you don't do that....though they are under an obligation in that case to publish it in your magazine, and you have a right to be upset with them if they publish it elsewhere.

It's also worth noting that Storm previously claimed (in his LiveJournal post) that he had never discussed his ideas about colored wands with anyone except his husband and one unnamed friend. Yet he himself presents evidence that that isn't so. To be charitable, maybe he didn't remember; I certainly don't remember everything I ever wrote on an Internet forum. But in that case he definitely should stop and ask himself if he could be mistaken about a few other things in connection with this.

What Storm should have done is ask Elf if she really wanted to pursue the article, and if she said "no," he could have written his own with a clear conscience. He should still have referenced hers in his own version, because he knew it existed and had discussed it with her. If he really didn't remember talking to her, he should have added a reference once it was called to his attention (as it was, four years ago). That's how a professional writer and editor acts.