From Nukees, by Darren Bleuel
It used to be simple: you'd sit down in front of your computer/typewriter/pad of paper/stone tablet and chisel/whatever you use to write with, and you'd write. And when you were finished, assuming that you hadn't copied important portions of someone else's book word for word, it was your story: it didn't matter if it was Yet Another Fantasy About Slaying a Dragon, or Yet Another Space Opera About Overthrowing the Evil Galactic Overlord, it was still legitimately your story.
Heck, some fantasy authors have made their livings -- respectable livings -- by retelling the Lord of the Rings over and over again. And have copped to it.
Double heck, some of Shakespeare's most famous plays were based on histories written by Raphael Hollinshed.
That era, it seems, may be something that has passed on; if it has, we can thank the US patent system for it. Just when you think the Patent Office couldn't get any more incompetent, someone goes and patents a storyline.
Seriously. Patents a storyline.