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The Unfiltered Truth: You Read You Decide
You know what? I'm tired of this entire mess. I'm tired of taking the time to go about things in a nice and business-like manner while someone who stole my work is continuing to gain from it. So I say from here on out, I will just respond to this. I don't need to waste the time or money on legal action when I can take care of this here and now. Emma Paige Langley ripped me off, plain and simple. She knows it. I know it. The thousands of people who have read my scripts since 2003 know it. I gave Emma the chance to remove my material simply and without much fuss. Instead of doing that like a normal person would, she threatened to sue me, and went on to badmouth me online. She is using the Buffy fan community, playing all of us for fools, and I'm not going to stand for it any longer. She is not one of us. She is not someone that should be welcomed into this amazing group of people that I've had the privilege of communicating with for the better part of ten years. And she should not be gaining publicity by using our community the way she has. This is not just about her ripping me off (which I have no problem admitting is still a large part). This is about her attempting to gain notoriety by using the Buffy fan community (and some of those involved with the series) and I find that disgusting.

So I'm putting it all out there, folks. My side of the case coupled with her side of the case. Since a proper trial is held before a jury of one's peers, I'll let all of you decide. Take the evidence and make up your own mind about who to believe. Honestly, I don't have the time it would take to do this the "proper" way (which is why I'm just using an edit of my existing page for this). Sorry for all of the reading you'll need to do to get through this, but I'm going to try not to leave anything out.

Emma, if you want to make a comment, send it my way and I will post it on this page without edit. I am not the one with something to hide here.

Previously, On Someplace That Is Else...
Around the time that Buffy was ending, I began to play around with the idea of writing a continuation of some sort. I'd already written a few scripts to post online, and I'd done some work on miniseries for Buffy and Angel, so I figured that I might try another miniseries after Buffy ended.
As I began to kick this idea around (and knowing that I'd failed to complete my first Buffy miniseries) it really became more of a challenge. As I started to outline the rules of this challenge, I realized that I couldn't leave it at six episodes. Too simple. Not enough time to properly arc the story and make it seem like the real series. I considered making ten episodes, since the first season had twelve episodes and that would have made a proper seven seasons instead of the six and a half that we actually got with the show. But that idea made less and less sense as time went on.
I finally had to admit to myself that the only way to do this properly would be to write an entire season. Twenty-two full episodes. And I'd have to put them up for public viewing according to a realistic tv schedule. One slip on that aspect and the whole challenge would be lost.
So I got to work on plotting out the season almost as soon as the show ended. Some of the early ideas were eventually scrapped because they were lame, or because one of my main baddies (Harmony) ended up in a recurring role on Angel. So I tweaked a little. However, some of the plot points that did stick were set up in a scene that I outlined in one of the earliest scribblings.
The Xander eye arc. Created because I'd gotten tired of Xander sitting around with no arc, sometimes feeling left out because he had no special powers. Also because I remembered reading an interview back in the mid-90's with LeVar Burton (from Star Trek TNG) where he mentioned how horrible it was for him as an actor to have his eyes covered up for so many years. When I remembered this, I decided that Nicholas Brendon shouldn't have to spend an entire season wearing a patch over his eye. Insane for fanfic, but it makes sense in the context of me having to write this as a realistic season.
This also gave me an arc that I could play out before the main arc really kicked in. For the first six or seven episodes, Xander would have an arc to call his own! It was easy enough to figure out how he'd get his eye back, since Willow was a kick-ass witch, right? I'm sure that 99% of fanfic writers went there.
However, one of the other arcs to be set up in that one scene was an arc that would remain pretty low-key until later on in the season. Willow's growing inability to perform spells. For a long time, it was just some minor frustration that she mentioned here and there, possibly tied to whatever power existed in Bear River, or the fact that she was no longer on a Hellmouth. It wouldn't pay off until way later in the season, but the seeds needed planting early on if I wanted anyone to buy into it. So it couldn't be an easy process for her to grow Xander's eye.
And then, finally, the Willow/Xander relationship which would also grow slowly over many episodes. In this one scene with them (the first of the season), you discover that they've pretty much spent the summer gazing into each others' eyes. A very intimate situation, no matter what their reason might be for doing it.
While this one scene may have appeared small and unimportant at first, if one were to go back and read it again, they would realize that a large part of the season was being set up in that one scene which was about two pages long (beginning on page 3 of my first season 8 script). It's only upon this second reading that people can realize how much went into creating that one scene. Which I hope you'll keep in mind as you read on.

In keeping with the rules of the challenge, I sat on this script until an appropriate season premiere date which was chosen at some point during the summer. This date was September 30, 2003. By which time, I'd actually had a few of the scripts written and ready to put up… This didn't save me from the crunch to get "Cold Front" or "It Just Is" out, but that's another story.

I went on to publish 1,222 pages in my season 8. This is not counting the stand-alone Giles episode or the six-part miniseries that followed. The project taught me a lot about how to map out a season and was an incredible challenge as far as writing was concerned. But this wasn't simply about having fun or challenging myself. It was a test. I'd watched the series for seven seasons and it played an important role in how I perceive the art of writing for television. In a way, this was my thesis after having spent seven years in the classroom. With luck, I'll take a lot of what I learned from this project and use it in the future as a professional writer.

If you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, here are a couple of links:

My Yahoo Group Page founded on October 14, 2003 after being suggested by a reader.

The Internet Archive which captured my site as of March 20, 2004. By this time, my series was well underway, but it's still interesting to look at. Plus, you can see how obsessive I was with this whole "realistic tv season" theme by reading the fake news blurbs and interviews before the season even began.

Oh, and it might help if I posted links to my script for "Scratch". You can access the full season 8 page by going through my main site.

It was a dark and stormy night...
Okay, it was actually a kinda sunny day if I remember correctly. I was visiting family when I got an e-mail from a reader of my site. This fan of my site told me that he'd just watched a fan film in which he noticed some material taken directly from my season 8.
Truth be told, I didn't think much of it at first. It's not the first time that someone's taken my work and claimed it as their own. It's usually easily handled and kinda funny. I happened to mention it to a family member and he ended up watching the film before I did. Since it had been years since he read my scripts, he only noticed that something sounded familiar at first. And then he opened my "Scratch" script and read it along with the film, finding that the Willow/Xander scene just after the film's opening credits matched my script nearly word for word. Even down to how I described the characters movements.
Since I wasn't at home and couldn't watch the video right away, I did a little bit of research on the film and found myself growing more and more (and I hate to use this word now that I've watched that scene a few times) frustrated by what I was reading. If this was my material, I didn't like how it was being used (which I'll get to in the next section).
Upon my return home, I was finally able to watch the film myself. I recognized the scene right away, and then opened my script to read along with it. I cannot properly describe the feeling of reading that script with the scene playing at the same time. I couldn't even make it all the way through before I was jumping out of my chair. To the rest of the world, this was just a minute and fifteen seconds of fanfic. It's hard to describe the way my mind works when it comes to writing, but my relationship with the characters and the way the scenes play out in my head are pretty intense (and I mean that with the least amount of insanity possible). To see that scene used by someone else without my permission, to have them take credit for those words that I put together without even asking me, and to know that the material was used in ways that I don't approve of on top of all that was upsetting to say the least. And then I had to process the small changes that were made, resulting in a scene that was just a wee bit nonsensical. To top it all off, the scene had no context in the film, so the scene was swiped just for the sake of ripping me off!
Well, you get the point I'm sure. I'm going to try not to rant since this is long enough as it is.

Once I was through yelling at my computer screen, and was able to form thoughts again, I typed up an e-mail to Ms. Langley in which I (rather politely) informed her of who I was, and that I was made aware of what had happened. I requested that the material be removed from the film and that she make an apology to me, and to those that had been led to believe that she had written the film by herself. A reasonable request under the circumstances, I would think.

The response that I received the next day was not from Emma. It was from a woman named Pamela Bruns (who is also credited as a producer on the film). Ms. Bruns immediately took a hostile tone with me, demanding to have my personal contact information so that she and Emma might pursue legal action against me for defamation. She went on to say that she had been part of the "Forgotten Memories" production since 2002, and was in the very room with Emma when the scene in question had been penned "back in early 2003" (to quote her exact words). She closed the e-mail by threatening to use her various contacts in the film industry against me and to investigate just how I had come into possession of the scene.

When I received that e-mail, I have to say that I was a little thrown. Okay, I wasn't really scared of the various threats, but I also couldn't take those threats idly either. The threat of legal action is a serious matter, and the false accusation of plagiarism against a writer is also a very serious matter that could come back to haunt me.
That aside, I was thrown by the fact that she claimed to have been part of the production since 2002. Since the film followed up on events that took place in the final episodes of the series which didn't air until May of 2003 (in the US), a claim of beginning production in 2002 is a little bit impossible. This followed by the "early 2003" date of writing that particular scene, which couldn't have been written until the final Buffy episodes had aired on TV, which would have been mid-to-late 2003. This on top of the official Forgotten Memories website in which Emma recalls drafting her initial ideas for the film in 2004. And for good measure, I'll ignore the fact that a large chunk of the film could not have been written until sometime after October 2003 when Spike was made corporeal once again on the Angel series (again, in the US). And I'll put aside the creep factor that would come with having a non-writing partner looking over your shoulder as you attempt to write a script (and evidently, Pamela Bruns wasn't the only one watching… more on that later!)
Since I'm not in the habit of giving away my personal information to those wishing to wrongfully file lawsuits against me, I responded to Ms. Bruns by telling her that Emma was fully aware of what she had done, and before she proceeded to make further threats against me, she should sit Emma down and have a long chat about this.
Since she had threatened legal action against me, I also informed her that if she were to receive my personal information, she would receive it from my attorney.

Ms. Bruns (again, not Emma for some reason) responded by giving me her e-mail address and telling me that she would be happy to discuss matters with my attorney, and that once she had my information she would be happy to set up a meeting in which this matter could be discussed.

This was the last e-mail exchange, since I felt it wisest to consult an attorney before digging the hole even deeper. More on that in a bit…

Since those comments were exchanged, Emma has released a message on her site, and has also made postings on a bulletin board in which she discusses this matter, and manages to throw around a little name calling while she's at it. While I don't think I should release the e-mails exchanged since they were exchanged in private, I will copy the comment made on her site and on public boards. It reads:

Hey Guys,

I need to urgently alert you to a very serious and urgent situation. Soon after the Hub Productions convention, my manager received an email from someone calling himself/herself 'informant', accusing myself of ripping off a scene from his or her Buffy season 8 fan fiction story. After looking at their website, it is clear that this person does write Buffy season 8 fan fiction, but Forgotten Memories is entirely my creation.

The scene in question is the Willow/Xander eye scene, just after the opening credits. 'Informant' claims that this scene was up on their website since September 2003, which by this time, the cast was already rehearsing with that scene! I have also been informed (computer illiterate that I am) that web hosts can change the dates on things so it can appear that text was posted earlier than it actually was. The scene in question was emailed out to many people when we were auditioning for Willow, and although I can't prove how the paper trail lead to 'informant', this is probably where he or she came across it and lifted the scene. The script has also been online to download since late 2004, so there is also a possibility that they lifted it then. Informant probably never thought that the film would have done as well as it has, and therefore they wouldn't have been found out. Funny how people lie when they are up against a wall.

We have asked 'informant' repeatedly to give us their name and contact details so our lawyer can discuss this with then, but they are hiding behind the pseudonym 'informant'. This person has threatened to contact all the actors involved with the film, including those at the screening, trying to totally discredit me and have already contacted many people that have conducted interviews with me to date. I can only assume that this person has a massive gripe against me, possibly someone who was removed from production or was knocked back for a part.

I have been presented with many malicious comments in the guestbook of the old Forgotten Memories website and my patience towards this person and this situation is growing thin.

My manager is now organising a meeting with our lawyer to commence a defamation suit against 'informant' and also approaching contacts she has in the NSW Police Service in order to file a statement and to also investigate who this 'informant' is.

As you can imagine, this has been a cause of major strain and stress for me, now having to prove and defend myself, but I do believe it's worth it. I loved doing Forgotten Memories and it's a shame that people feel the need to lie and cheat to get noticed in the fan community. As they say, a little bit of recognition seems to bring the crazies out of the woodwork!

Thank you for your support!

Emma Paige Langley

About this time, she was also posting on a bulletin board. You can read those comments in which she claims that her mother also witnessed her writing that scene, and also makes some other interesting comments by Clicking Here

Now, to respond to some of the comments made in her posting:
First, if the cast was rehearsing with that scene before I put the script online, I will eat my own shoe. Seriously, you show me solid evidence and the Converse is going down.
Second, I have no way of altering the dates of the internet archive, the Yahoo Group page, my Geocities update logs, or the various bulletin boards that show people discussing my season 8 since before I even debuted the first episode. There are also the countless people who have read my scripts as far back as they've been online (a couple of people even before that) so the notion of altering the dates is a bit far fetched.
Third, I do firmly believe that this scene could have been e-mailed to people who were auditioning for the role of Willow, as long as those auditions were held after September 30, 2003. It's possible that the Forgotten Memories script was incomplete at that time, and they chose a scene from my series for the audition process, deciding later to keep it as their own. This would even explain why they didn't take a scene that was a little deeper into my season 8. Just speculation, but it's possible.
Fourth, the implication that I would have lifted the scene after having auditioned for the role of Willow is insane troll logic. Not only am I a US citizen who has never set foot in Australia (I really do need a passport eventually) but I also happen to be a rather butch male.
Fifth, the scene was online for public viewing on September 30, 2003. By December of 2003, I had a post on my site celebrating one thousand hits on that particular script. There is no way that I just randomly came across a scene in late 2004, as Emma claims, and decided to plop it into my completed season 8. As I said, that scene was designed very carefully when I wrote it, and it's not something that is just wedged in there (as it seems to be in Forgotten Memories).

Again, to suggest that I was cut from the production and therefore hold a grudge is simply not possible. While I might hold a grudge, I assure you, it's a fairly recent one.

I have contacted several people who have conducted interviews with Ms. Langley and who have scheduled her for their conventions based on this film. How they choose to respond is their decision, but I will not allow her to go on deceiving people without being called on it. Once these people know they're being played, it's up for them to decide.

Again, Emma says in this message that she has contacted a lawyer and is willing to communicate through attorneys. She also claims to be taking this to the police, which is a little odd. More on this subject as we continue (I'm not just trying to string you along, it really is a whole other section to discuss).

Eventually, I also came across the script for "Forgotten Memories" on Emma's Yahoo Groups page (created May 2, 2006). In this script, it is very clear that the scene had been directly copied from my script into her own. The descriptions, stage directions and dialogue are all nearly identical.
It is also worth noting one change made in her script, which is that Willow and Xander are sitting on the floor rather than the bed, as in my own script. In the filmed version of the movie, they are on a bed. If I had copied this from a rehearsal scene, one would think that they would have remained on the floor.

Oh, and just to make the point that I'm not BS-ing about those boards where my season was being discussed before it came out, here are a few links to a board that I regularly posted on:

September 23, 2003 - I tease my new season

September 30, 2003 - "Scratch" goes public

October 7, 2003 - "No Worries" goes online and people discuss Xander's eye arc.

While the scene in particular isn't discussed, you can see that the arc that was set up in that scene was clearly in play. I would love to have feedback on every single scene of my season 8, but it's a little hard to ask people to be that detailed in their response.

Curiouser and Curiouser
A few chapters back in this great novel of a website, I mentioned that I had done some research on the film before I got the chance to actually watch it. And I didn't like what I saw.
What I meant by this was that upon some exploration, I discovered that this film that had used my writing without permission had been displayed for members of the Buffy cast. Emma had appeared at conventions with it. She gave Joss Whedon a copy of the script. She had been mentioned in magazines and on websites. She is also mentioned on Wikipedia. It was extremely annoying to see someone who stole your work standing on stage next to Amber Benson. I never wrote any of this for fame or glory, but to have any small part of my work used to gain notoriety for Emma nearly made me sick. This liar was standing on stage, knowing full well that she didn't belong there, as people cheered her on. It's like walking into Thanksgiving dinner and seeing someone else sitting in your chair at the family table.

As incredibly frustrating (I hate that word!!!) as this was, what was even more so was the fact that money had changed hands somewhere along the lines. A screening was held at which there was an admission fee. This went beyond ripping off my fanfic. This put me in danger of having Fox's lawyers come after me. Taking money for a screening of this movie violates the copyright on the Buffy franchise. On top of that, it is a violation of the relationship between those who make the show and those of us who are part of the fan community. Whatever reason Emma had for doing this, she crossed a line and I want no part of it. I don't want my material used in this way, and I certainly don't want anyone to think that I played any role in the making of this film.

Proof of this admission fee can be found by Clicking Here

On top of that, This page contains an interview in which Emma speaks of her plans to sell DVD copies of this movie. Again, this is wrong and I want no part of it. I want my material to have no part in it as well.

What Right Do You Have?!
I've seen a lot of people make the comment that neither one of us can claim rights to any of this, since it is fan fiction. This comment is both true and false. I do have certain rights in this situation.
First, I want to make it clear that I in no way mean to suggest that I have a right to the characters of Willow or Xander, or to the Buffy franchise. Aside from those aspects, the scene is mine. I own it. I own the way the scene was written, the dialogue that I wrote, the stage directions that I wrote. I own the elements that I created. It is copyright 2003, by me.
Let me explain this a little more…
In the industry, new writers who wish to work in television will write what is called a spec script. This is a script written for an existing show, meant to show off the writer's ability to write. If this script is taken by someone else and produced, the writer does have the ability to sue for damages based on the fact that he wrote that material. This is why TV producer (such as Joss Whedon) won't read fanfic, and won't accept unsolicited scripts. At one point, Star Trek allowed for scripts to be submitted, but you pretty much had to sign them over to the studio before they'd even look at them.

Again, I don't want damages. I don't want to waste the time or money it would take to bring this to a court. I don't want a cut of the profits. I simply want my material removed from the film. It's that simple. I have a right to what I created, and I have a right to decide how it is used. To suggest otherwise means that at any point, any producer could take any fan film, put it on a DVD and sell it without the consent of those attached to that film. That's simply not how it works. Do you really think that a publishing company could take the scripts on my page and publish them without permission? (if you're actually with the company that produces official Buffy books, call me sometime. We can work something out)

I hope that clears up that issue once and for all.

The Letters Of The Law
As I mentioned before, my e-mails to Emma were responded to with hostility by a woman named Pamela Bruns who threatened legal action against me, speaking on Emma's behalf. Ms. Bruns provided her contact information and told me that if my attorney was to get in contact with her, the matter could be discussed or a meeting could be arranged (which I assume would have to happen over the phone unless they wanted to provide air fare and that damned passport that I keep meaning to get).
On March 2, a letter was sent by my attorney to Emma's e-mail address (provided on her site), Ms. Bruns' e-mail address (provided to me in an e-mail from her) and to the physical address that Emma provided on the Forgotten Memories script, available on her Yahoo Groups page. My attorney requested that a response be made by March 12.
No response was ever received from either e-mail address or the physical address. No representative for Emma or Pamela Bruns made contact with my attorney, and no meeting was arranged.

Due to the lack of response to the first letter, a second letter was sent on March 30, to the same addresses. This time, a response was requested by April 16. Again, there was no response from either woman.

Delivery confirmation for these letters assures us that they were delivered. Both Emma and Pamela Bruns have received these letters and both have chosen to ignore them. Despite their offers to discuss this through attorneys (both in the e-mails to me and by Emma in her online comments), it has been impossible to get a response from either woman.

In Closing
While I could push this, and take it to court, I see little reason to at this time. If the problem is ignored by Emma's side, any ruling by a judge would be ignored and this mess would only get uglier and more expensive to me. And again, I don't want money.
That's why I'm putting this all out there for everyone to see. This is the cheap, easy, fast way to deal with it and put it behind me. What matters to me is that people know the truth. I want everyone who sees this to know that Emma may have stolen from me when producing this movie, but she is continuing to play you as she shows it off. Every time she appears at a convention, accepts praise for her efforts, gives an interview or even simply mentions this film on an internet bulletin board, she knows that she is lying to you. She is playing all of you in order to gain attention and some small amount of fame or glory. I don't know if I'm the only one that she's taken material from. There could be others. Either way, even if it is one scene, the fact remains that she is using all of us.

I'm not trying to sound like the selfless hero in this picture. I'm pissed that she stole that scene from me. I put a lot of thought and a lot of effort into my season 8. I spent a year of my life planning it and writing it. I am proud of what I ended up with and the response that I've gotten from it. I'm angry that someone is trying to claim that I am the one who plagiarized this material. I am baffled that someone would suggest that I would write 1220 pages, but that was one scene that I just needed to take from someone else.
Furthermore, I have to protect myself. This claim of plagiarism is not something that I can take lightly. If I ever want to have a film produced or work on a television show, this could destroy my chances. I won't have a liar like Emma Paige Langley tarnish my reputation. And I won't stand for her attempts to damage the relationship that I've built over the years with the rest of the Buffy community.It'd be swell to meet Joss and Amber and be invited to conventions or whatever, but that's not why I did this. I did this as a challenge to myself which I am proud to have met, and I did this as part of the community that kept me going for that year as I pushed to get each script out on time. It's not like many people in the real world understood my unhealthy obsession with Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I couldn't have done it without the people who read the scripts and gave me feedback. The same people who are watching this film and who are being lied to by Emma Paige Langley. Emma claims that she wants to be a professional writer. If this is true, then she should know better than to lift someone else's material. It's not cool, and it cannot be ignored or tolerated, even in the fan fiction community.

Of course, these are all just my own opinions. Feel free to make your own.

Emma's Own Words...
This section is here, waiting for Emma to respond and to make her own case.

What she refused to say through her attorney, let her now say to the fan community. We both stand now, before a jury of our peers. Let them judge for themselves.

The views expressed on this page are the views of this website and its owner.
Readers are urged to research what materials they can before coming to their own conclusions regarding the moral integrity of Emma Paige Langley.

I am aware of problems with Internet Explorer... though I am not sure which versions. There is a problem with the way IE renders the top FRAME on the Buffy Season 8 page. There are also many issues with how IE renders the "Comment" pages for each script.

Some of this is my fault... I have been hammering out the site as fast a possible. As such, most of the pages are NOT W3 compliant. That said, I will eventually be converting everything to utilize CSS. This will fix some problems, but not all!

For now, I recommend viewing the site with FireFox. It is the browser I use most and the one I am "aiming" for when I write the pages, for now anyway.