Wednesday, June 6

If claiming that the entertainment industry stole your writing for profit is the new trend, then, hello! I am so relevant!

As a 13-year-old I was one of the few people in my school to spend countless hours on the Internet hard-coding websites and chatting with strangers across the globe about, well, everything. I wish I still knew the URLs to my old sites (hosted on Angelfire and Tripod and usually called Princess Paige’s Palace or something equally adorable) because, like reading pubescent diary entries, they would now seem quite entertaining.

Anyway. This incessant internetting was also directly linked to my obsession with Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. The show had been off the air for something like five years, and I was rediscovering it through reruns on Showcase and the CBC while obsessing over every little trivial detail with fans online. We had webrings! And email newsletters!

So, this is where the interesting-slash-super-geeky part begins. In 1998 we started writing fan fiction (it should be noted that I was the youngest contributor, with the bulk of my online Degrassi friends being genXers) and I partnered up with two guys from Israel to develop a website to host our self-written television series “The New Generation of Degrassi”. It would follow Emma, Spike’s daughter, as she started school in the newly-repaired Degrassi Jr High. Mm, sound familiar?

A few months after we posted character sketches and a draft of our first script we were contacted by Playing With Time Inc. (the creators of Degrassi) and told to cease and desist. The premiere of Degrassi: The Next Generation was officially announced a few years later by CTV and one of the new characters was named Paige. (I freaked out about this here.)

Here’s the thing. On paper, sure, this sounds too coincidental to be a coincidence. But really, the concept of a Degrassi sequel was something every fan talked about. And using the character of Emma is a pretty logical lead for the show. You just can’t copyright obvious, universal ideas.

Oh, and SPEAKING of big media stealing ideas from others...
C’est What, July 2004: “I want a big guy, maybe as a boyfriend or just a friend, to look all bodyguard-ish and walk around with me when I go shopping.” -Paige
The National Post, September 2005: “I wanted a massive bodyguard, one who looks like a bodyguard and not just a friend.” -Rebecca Eckler