Figuring that someone out there had probably put it better than I had, I typed
What is slash? into google, and found an instant essay for you.
For those in too much of a hurry to click, slash fiction is basically erotic fan fiction, normally TV series based, pairing off two (er or more I suppose) members of the same sex who don't normally couple for the cameras. From the "/" mark in the middle of "Kirk/Spock" or "K/S" fiction, which is where it all started. ("But Spock," said Kirk, huskily, realising, finally, irrevocably, what his true self had been trying to tell him ever since the beginning of season one, "it's so huge. And it's green." "And it would be logical for you to... touch it, Captain," said Spock. And so on. It's normally written by extremely nice ladies. I have several very sane, respected, and respectable friends who write slash fiction, and do not try to make me read it.)
(I wasn't making up the Knight Rider thing either: I remember a table selling printed fanzine slash fiction, before there was ever a world wide web, with several volumes of "Now impale yourself upon my throbbing gearshift" stories which I thumbed through with delighted and horrified amusement. But then, I was never a David Hasselhof fan.)
Related to the hot blog topic: What should one do to report a website that one suspects is in violation of copyright? I myself have come across a site that contains: a) information and images about Richard Powers' novel "The Gold Bug Variations" that readers of the book will find quite helpful; b) the whole book, every damn word. There's no way this is legit, but what can I do about it?
I'm slightly afraid of what nastiness might result if I were to contact the site's author. Some sort of discreet, one-stop online copyright-violation-reporting service seems ideal . . . does one exist?
This is a matter close to my heart. If no such service exists, surely certain publicly interested parties ought to examine the notion. Whom should I contact? (Paging Harlan Ellison . . .)
Well, I've always started out by contacting the webmaster (a quick WHOIS search will give you an e-mail address) or the person who posted it, if they have their address up on the page. (Lots of times stuff has been posted without the webmaster knowing it. And they don't want it up, putting their website at risk: I once wrote to the very cool Project Gutenberg people, who make public domain material available on the web, pointing out that Stephen King and Douglas Adams and I were not yet in the public domain, and could they take that page down, and they were mortified.) Seeing I'm the copyright holder and have every right to grumble, no-one's ever done anything more than take the book or story down, occasionally -- very occasionally -- muttering something hopeless and grumbly like "information wants to be free!" as they do, but mostly being very pleased someone let them know that it was up there.
("No, that's pizza," I want to tell them. "Pizza wants to be free. Concentrate on liberating pizza from evil pizzerias. Information, on the other hand, really hates being free, and is never happier than when manacled to a wall, like Kirk and Spock in some piece of late 70s bondage-oriented slash fiction.")
Sending an e-mail to the book's publisher is probably the easiest way to do it, if you don't fancy an exchange of e-mails with the webmaster or the person posting the stuff. (For The Gold Bug Variations it's William Morrow/HarperCollins). Check out the publisher's website, or the author's authorised website if they have one, and send an e-mail to the CONTACT person giving them the website address of the place with the unauthorised materials, and brief details. (For this web site it's Julia Bannon, Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org who would forward your e-mail to the right place.).