I feel sick to my stomach…
I have been a devoted fan of the Backstreet Boys for over a decade. I started reading fan fiction stories about them, my favorite group, nearly that long ago. I have maintained this website, home to my own such stories and host to many others, for close to that, as well; it’ll be nine years in less than a month. In that time, it has never been my intention to harm or otherwise degrade any of the Boys in any way through my stories or this website. For me, fan fiction is a labor of love; I write about the Boys because I love them, simple as that.
So you can imagine my shock, humiliation, and devastation when I opened my mail and found the following “cease and desist” letter:
The full text reads:
Dear Ms. Lewis:
This firm represents Nick Carter in litigation matters. It has recently come to our attention that your Internet website, “Dreamer’s Sanctuary,” at http://dreamers-sanctuary.com, has published numerous works of “fan fiction” about Mr. Carter and his band, the Backstreet Boys. These stories are replete with false statements about our client.
A review of the aforementioned stories reveals that the false statements about Mr. Carter and his bandmates were made with knowledge of their falsity or with a reckless disregard for the truth. In one specific instance, under the “Stories” category and the “My Stories” subcategory, appears a one-hundred-fifty-chapter novel entitled “Broken.” In addition to defamation against our client’s mother, Jane Carter, that work inaccurately portrays our client as, in Mr. Carter’s own words, “a pathetic, whiny, one-legged, emo-pussy.” While descriptors such as “pathetic,” “whiny,” and “emo-pussy” are subject to opinion, the claim that Mr. Carter does, in fact, have only one leg is clearly false. As the professed author of that story, you are directly liable for the libelous portrayal of our client within its text.
In another case, under the “Stories” category and the “Collaborations” subcategory, exists a seven-episode series entitled “00Carter.” That work portrays our client’s bandmate and close friend, Howie Dorough, as “Dr. Rough,” a maniacal, egotistical sociopath intent on terrorism, destruction, and world domination. Specifically, Episodes 3, 4, 6, and 7 contain scenes of Mr. Dorough engaging in acts of criminal conduct, including, but not limited to, conspiracy, coercion, accessory to grand larceny, homicide, trespassing, property damage, arson, and piracy. These accusations are false and amount to libel per se. Thus, if Mr. Dorough chooses to pursue legal action, he is entitled to recovery without proving special damages sustained from the defamatory statements.
that you immediately remove the contents concerning our client from your
Internet website and refrain from publishing any further false statements or
information about Mr. Carter or his family members, friends, or bandmates. If we have not received your confirmation
that the stories have, in fact, been removed from the website by the close of
Martin D. Singer
Attorney at Law
I sat on this for awhile before I decided to post about it, but I want to clear the air. First off, I have the utmost respect for Nick, Howie, and the rest of the guys. As I said, I never intended to harm them in any way. I’m embarrassed, but also hurt, myself, that the contents of what I consider to be my “craft” have been taken so far out of context.
Fan fiction is just that: FICTION. Of course it’s “false”; it’s supposed to be! That’s the whole point! Never have I claimed my stories to be anything but fiction. I haven’t broken any copyright laws by writing about someone else’s characters, and I don’t believe I have slandered any living person in my stories… well, at least not the Backstreet Boys. (‘NSync, maybe. LOL) So even though I respect Nick and the guys, I have to strongly disagree with the message in this letter.
I’m torn over what to do. The letter says if I don’t take down the contents of my site – which basically IS my site – by April 3, they’ll sue. Obviously, I don’t want to get sued, so for the time being, I have complied with their request. But this site is my baby, and I’m willing to fight to protect it, especially against such outrageous and unfounded accusations.
The thing is, I don’t know that I can afford to keep the site open. I already pay a monthly fee to keep my domain up and running. If I get sued by these people, I’ll have to have my own legal representation. I’m a second-year elementary school teacher; I don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Therefore, I’m asking for some help from my visitors. If you would like to see Dreamer’s Sanctuary stay open on the web and help me fight this absurdity, I would appreciate any donation you could spare. You can contribute to the cause through PayPal by clicking the button at the bottom of this page.
I hope to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and get Dreamer’s Sanctuary back on the web! Thank you for your support!
~ Julie, webmistress