Posted on

Writing fanfiction — why do they care about what you do?

I can understand some authors’ negative attitudes about fanfiction. They clearly feel threatened in some way — creatively, legally, morally, or financially. Whether their feelings and arguments are irrational doesn’t matter; I accept the validity of the perceived threat. Anne Rice and Orson Scott Card, two authors who have been outspoken about fanfiction, are entitled to their views on other people using their characters and worlds. Emotionally, they have something to lose.

I can understand the attitudes of pro and aspiring-pro writers…

Fanfiction communities, in general, are pretty damn respectful about the original creators’ wishes. Since fan works are tributes to both the original works and the creators of the original works, fan writers and artists usually abide by the originators’ wishes. For many, it takes some of the fun out of making fan works if the creator doesn’t want them made, just like giving a surprise party for someone who wants their birthday ignored.

Even the aspiring-pro writers’ attitudes are understandable. They obviously have ambitions and are dead set on improving their craft. Since people tend to give autobiographical advice, it’s natural to project their own aspiring-pro goals onto other people. Just like a father telling his kid, “You’re wasting your time playing guitar. You should be studying the stock market, making something of your life while you’re young.”

…even if they don’t understand why some people want to write fanfiction.

They don’t get that:
1) Fanfiction is actually a great way to hone your writing skills with the right mindset. In martial arts class, we had the option of doing full-contact fighting with our classmates. Our teacher created “RCEs” — Restricted Combat Exercises. It was a game where we did fight each other, but we were only allowed certain things. These restrictions made us focus on strengthening certain aspects of our combat abilities that would go untended, just because there are so many variables to worry about in real-time combat. It takes a lot of experience to fight well, and the restricted, but still combative, environment helped us with that.

2) A lot of fanfiction writers don’t want to be published. It’s an enjoyable hobby, and only that. Many of them do not write because they’ve always wanted to be writers, but simply out of love for the original works. You see this same attitude at many open mic nights — the people are obviously amateur (most of them), but they aren’t doing it because they want to be pro musicians. Anyone judging them against pros is missing the point: they are doing it to more deeply experience the songs they love, to really get inside the music. (When I have time, I will join an amateur symphony orchestra, just so that I can be in the glorious, golden center of art music again.)

My blind spot?

But what I don’t really get is why non-authors care so strongly about fanfiction. They have nothing to lose, unlike published authors. After someone commented on my previous fanfiction post, I had to do a little research on people’s attitudes.

Vanessa had said:

I wouldn’t say I’ve seen rancor but there’s definitely an attitude of why bother, you’re wasting your time, you don’t get anything out of it from some aspiring pro writers, even if a person says they’re just writing it for enjoyment. The thought process seems to be you could come up with an original, publishable story in the same amount of time. And of course some people just consider it right out plagiarism.

She is clearly more in tune to the scene than I am. While I had thought that the general attitude was either positive or, “um, it’s kind of lame,” I discovered a lot of non-published authors being actively against it. Arguments showed up such as:
– It’s a waste of time. If people want to write, they can write their original stories just as easily. (Variations on this are, “It’s lazy.”)
– It’s not serious writing.
– It’s plagiarism.
– It’s stupid and no one should do it.

Illogic of these ‘arguments’ aside (why is fun a waste of time?), the interesting aspect of this is: why do non-writers care so much?

If I want to spend my leisure time writing fanfiction — in a fandom where the original creator gave express permission to write it — instead of playing video games, who does it harm?

This sounds like a very teenager-ish, idealistic attitude. “Why should anyone else care if I dress Goth? It doesn’t hurt anyone,” etc. But really, it feels like people have a moral crusade against something that will never affect them. Unless they think it does affect their world for the worse in some way.

If anyone can shed some light on this, please do. I seem to have a blind spot here, and I want to understand.

12 thoughts on “Writing fanfiction — why do they care about what you do?

  1. I’ve never heard any non-writers or writers for that matter criticize fanfiction for the reason that the fanfic could come up with something “original” in that same time frame and with the same effort. So maybe I am not the person who should be commenting here, but this question really intrigues me and I thought I’d give it a shot.

    I would argue that these people do not understand that there are significant differences both in the writing process and purpose in these very different types of writing. And I would argue that for some of these original writers resent fanfic writers, because (1) the fanfic writers may get more attention more easily to their works because they benefit from the original works; (2) issues of copyright infringement; and (3) possessiveness.

    FANFIC V. ORIGINAL FIC WRITING PROCESS

    First, I should disclose I write both original and fanfic (although the latter has been curtailed because of the former now being a money-based endeavor). I should also say that my fanfic is known to be huge and involved (my Star Wars fic is over 1000 pages alone and it’s not finished yet). So these are not short, fun endeavors, but years-long endeavors. Second, I should disclose that I write original fic for money. With that experience, I can say in all honesty that the process of writing fanfic and original fic is NOT the same.

    In fanfic, my goal has always been to take the characters we all love and try to stay within their confines yet take them to places the original creator never did (Luke x Vader anyone? ahem). In original fic, you have to create those characters and worlds from the ground up. There are no short cuts AND your readers have to be willing to invest in something new versus fanfic where they already have a comfort and familiarity with the characters and universe. Sometimes people critique fanfic by how close to the original characters’ psychology you’ve written, etc. where that will never be the case in original fic, obviously.

    Each one has their own challenges, each one their own rewards and those differences are what make each fun and difficult to write. Even though I am writing my original fiction, loving every second of it and receiving money for it, I long to write a Star Wars fanfic right now. My brain hungers for those characters in a different way then it hungers for the original ones. Perhaps it’s because I long to right the wrongs IMHO that Lucas made or rather how I would have loved it to have gone if I had been the one to create these wonderful characters and worlds. Perhaps its because these are archetypal characters that speak to my psychological state. Who knows? But even though I could be making more money spending my time on only original fic, I still want to write fanfic.

    ORIGINAL WRITERS V. FANFIC WRITERS

    For those original fiction writers out there that disparage fanfic (specifically those that argue that someone could write something original and publishable, etc.), I would argue that some are in fact jealous of fanfic writers. I’ve seen this a lot in the art world where the fan art gets far more hits, likes, and comments than original art (b/c people have a way to judge the fan art versus the original art is harder to appreciate sometimes because there is no easy direct comparison to be made). That means for the original fiction writers their work may get overlooked or may not get as much attention as the lastest Star Trek fanfic no matter how poorly written the fanfic is.

    In the beginning of my original writing career, I resented how much more interest there seemed to be in my Star Wars piece than in my beautifully crafted original novels. It took time for people to come around to the new material and become as attached to it. But at the start, I felt like knocking my head against the wall and doubted my talent entirely. Was all my “popularity” because I wrote in certain fandoms? Did people not like my writing at all? Or maybe they liked it fine for fanfic, but not enough to pay for it.

    If these are professional writers (i.e., those who make money off their writing) whose work is being fanfic’ed and they don’t like it or claim to not understand its purpose, I actually do have some pity for them. First, copyright infringement. I’ve seen this occur recently where a writer was profiting heavily from her fanfic of a famous Japanese work. That is an issue with people on the internet (and off) not understanding the derivative work concept of copyright. Second, and this has happened as well, where a fanfic writer claims that the original author absconds with their idea.

    Finally, there’s the possessive nature of writers and their characters. I had a moment when I started seeing some fanfic of my own work where I got weirded out. Yes, me a fanfic writer myself was suddenly very protective of my original work. My first thought: this is MINE and nobody is going to write it better than ME. My second thought: what if they like the fanfic better than my original work? Then I got over myself and am enjoying seeing the works enormously. But I imagine that some professional writers feel that only they should be allowed to write of the characters they created and no one else should be able to even if the payment is only in comments.

    And that’s the end of my tome. But really interesting question!

  2. Thanks for the comment bomb! You went into issues I glossed over so I could get to the question. Yeah, I completely agree that original works and fan works have different motivations and creative processes. This is going into Epic Post / Manifesto Territory, but you touched on something here that I really want to respond to, just to get my own thoughts worked out. I love talking to you — you’re so honest about what you think and do.

    “Finally, there’s the possessive nature of writers and their characters. I had a moment when I started seeing some fanfic of my own work where I got weirded out…”

    So, you know I’m a behavioral / cognitive scientist. We deal with stuff like, “Is perception reality,” etc. My semi-organized thoughts:
    1) No matter what your artistic *intent,* once you’ve placed your bet, so to speak, you can’t influence the roll of the dice. People will take your art however they take it, no matter what your intentions were. A written story is the instructions to the readers for building the story in their heads. Your perception of your own character is not the same as a reader’s perception of your character, and you cannot control this.

    Artists who really understand this are songwriters. They know their songs change meaning from person to person, and they embrace that part of their medium. That’s why there is a mostly-supportive cover/remix culture. Quick example: Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” was thought to be about a breakup with a lover; in actuality, it’s about her brother’s death from a motorcycle accident. Doesn’t matter — she used that emotional fuel to write a song that appeals to a lot of different kinds of heartbreak, and she’s not about to say, “No! It’s not about romantic love, but family love!”

    2) Divergent perception happens because the reader’s coming at your material with a whole lifetime of context, expectations, knowledge that differs from yours. For example, let’s say I write about a black kid stealing stuff from the convenience store. These are scenes from my childhood, but in a big city, most people have friends of different cultures/races (I’m white as a Siberian snow.) So I wouldn’t be intending to say anything like, “black kids steal because they’re poor and black,” or whatever. My intended message would probably be, “kids dare each other to do stupid stuff, like shoplift, isn’t that funny?” I’d be trying to tap into the universality of being young and retarded, and simply writing about black kids because I’ve always had black friends, and I tend to mirror my world in my writing.

    Someone with similar life experience to my own would take it this way, but someone growing up poor and black wouldn’t necessarily have the same view. She might read greater poignancy than I did with that scene… she might think I’m talking out my ass because I’m not black… she might think of how undignified that representative of her culture comes across in the story, etc.

    3) Where I’m going with this is — people’s characters in fanfiction aren’t the sole property of the creator, because they are writing about their versions of the characters, not the author’s versions. I think of it as half and half. Half your ideas, half the originator’s. There is no way I think of your Luke and Vader as the exact same characters that are in the actual movies. Based on the same material, certainly! But I’m fully aware that you are infusing your fanfiction with your ideas. I know which half is yours, and which is the originals — there is no way I would confuse them, especially since your story diverges so much from the original.

    4) If there’s one thing I know about people, it’s that they want credit for their ideas. So the mine-mine-mine stuff is just being human. I was actually doing research on copyright today. Being a sample artist, and someone who’s been sampled/remixed in the past (with my complete blessing), I’ve had to deal with these issues before. Someone sampled about half my track and rapped over it. Did I think it was my song? No. First of all, it was instrumental, and his was vocal with lyrics that took the song in completely new directions. Cool, I thought. Art is social and collaborative, and it’s important to balance the desire for credit with the acknowledgment that we don’t exist by ourselves, inconvenient as it may be at times.

    Anyway, I dunno. Just wanted to get some stuff down in text before my brain shuts down. Any thoughts?

  3. First, mutual appreciation society here: I love your thoughtful commentary on this issue and others. It’s refreshing to talk about some of this stuff rather than just leave it there simmering. As to my honesty, I can’t help myself. Lol! Character trait (or deficit, I don’t know, guess it depends).

    Now for some more comment bombing here:

    The idea that fanfic is 50/50 and the issue of difference in perception was not something I had ever considered. Though I have to say that when my Star Wars piece was ripped off more times than I can count I found the anger in me to be as great as if someone had claimed a piece of my original work as their own. I felt as if I had more “ownership” in the fanfic than I thought I should, because after all, I told myself, it isn’t like I can really claim any part of this really! So the idea that more of it is from me than I gave it credit for makes me thrilled. You’re right that my Luke and Vader are not Lucas’ nor the kid’s down the street, because of everyone perceptions involved. And I admit, my two greatest thrills are juxtaposed: (1) a few people thought the characters and stories were so in line with the shows or movies that they thought I was one of the actual writers in disguise; and (2) I’ve been told by readers that they like my versions of the characters better than the originals (now I am going to fanfic writer hell, lol!).

    As to this one author who shall remain nameless who sold her fanfic and offered as one of her many excuses for violating copyright law (and we’re not talking selling it for the cost of printing and binding and shipping so no one get up in arms here) that she had created a “whole new world.” But here’s the thing, when she asked her readers whether they would still read the piece if she just changed the names of the characters, stunningly the readers said NO. At least it was stunning to me.

    If the “only” thing that was the same between the two works, as she argued, were the character names and there was nothing that truly the original writer’s work then why would the name change matter? The answer I think is what differentiates original and fanworks: the readers have a rich and vibrant history when they the work is a fanwork (they have the original source material for that), but such a history simply isn’t there if is is original (which the stripping of the names allegedly in this case would have caused to have happened). A fanfic is like an iceberg, so much is underneath the tip of that story than shows above the water line.

    Original works have a slightly harder time of creating this rich and full back story, but they, too, are riding on the shoulders of giants. After all, there is arguably nothing new under the sun. If you’re writing a vampire novel, people who like vampire novels and who know about vampires are coming to yours with a semblance of history and expectations. My favorite authors are Lovecraft and Howard and I tell you that horror and sword and sorcery fiction are all influenced by these two and readers of these genres, too, will have certain expectations and back story to fill in; something familiar with something new (arguably all genre fiction is like this).

    I’m stopping here lest I write twenty comments in this one space!

  4. Carpet bomb alert.

    1) I can’t believe people ripped off your Star Wars fic. It’s just so obviously unique to you. I mean, I could attempt to write a Luke/Vader story, but it wouldn’t feel comfortable because I would never naturally think of it.

    No matter how much I enjoy yours, I don’t feel the need to do a similar one, either, because I have plenty of my own ideas that are familiar and true to myself. I guess, that may answer why people would rip off someone else’s work — no ideas of their own, or no confidence in their own ideas.

    2) “…the readers have a rich and vibrant history when they the work is a fanwork (they have the original source material for that), but such a history simply isn’t there if is is original.”

    Generally, I believe fanfiction works because the readers are already bonded with the characters. (There are stories that stand alone, but those tend to be the exception, in my experience.) It’s like a three-way conversation: the original creator’s perspective, the fan artist’s perception and reworking of material, transforming it for the fan who is reading/viewing it bringing his own life experience. I’ll have to think about that some more.

    3) And yes, in the tradition of our mutual appreciation society, I completely agree: “but they, too, are riding on the shoulders of giants.” Of course! The root of art is life, anyway — original characters are combinations of the creator himself, plus his life experience… stories he’s read, people he knows, etc.

    That doesn’t mean that the creator has no right to own his own expression of his ideas — he does. He is a unique being, and the expression of his ideas is also unique to him. Someone else claiming the part of his works that come only from him is artistic identity theft. But there’s a limit to how much one can truly “own” of one’s story, I think, considering how any original story is derivative of your own life.

    4) Are characters ideas, or specific expressions of ideas? If it’s the first, they aren’t really protectable. Copyright/patent protects specific expression, not general concepts, as far as I know.
    – Would a “type” be an idea, and a character made from the time be the expression?
    – Or would a character be the idea, and a story made with the character, the expression?
    – Or would a story and character be the idea (ie melody and lyrics), and the specific *telling* of the story be the expression? (the recording of a specific band’s cover)

    5) “My second thought: what if they like the fanfic better than my original work?” (from your previous comment.)
    I understand this fear, but you’ve already expressed your own understanding that most ff can’t stand alone. They can’t like the fanfic without liking the original — it’s a symbiotic relationship, I think. I’ve read fan stories without being familiar the original source, but I still *knew* it was fanfiction; drawing any conclusions from that experience is bogus because I couldn’t escape the frame.

    But more to the point, something in *you* led to the creation of the original idea, and I think all fanfiction writers and readers know that, and realize that the source has ultimate value. That’s why they are so respectful of the original creators’ wishes about fanfiction.

    On a side note, I think that may be the more sane way to look at copyright — the aim isn’t to protect the individual works, but to free up the source to produce more. That was the historical reason behind copyright, anyway, to give the source time to produce the next best thing. We can finally see beyond the false scarcity of materials (where it costs a lot to make copies), to the true scarcity: every creator has a limited time on this earth to make art. But that is really Another Subject For Another Day.

    This has been a very cool conversation so far. I’m not totally sure what I think about these issues yet, and it’s great to talk with someone who isn’t a talking head in academia, but a real artist with practical experience.

  5. Not that I can offer much more than what has already been said, but I’m so much of a blabber mouth I’m going to try anyway.

    I write Fan fiction. I write Originals. And I write fan fiction with original characters. This might be where I can offer a slightly different view.

    Fan fiction, as you’ve mentioned is a wonderful writing exercise. You have boundaries, limits, expectation to meet, and characters to stay true to. However, when you bring in an original character people tend to scream that you should just do an original story. I have been blessed in that I have not yet had anyone complain about my original character, but I’ve seen it done. IMO fitting 1 or even several, original characters into a set universe to interact with other pre-made characters is no where near the level of commitment it would take to create an original story out of it. And honestly? If your writing an original story that is taking you about the same amount of time as it would to write a ff, you’re doing it wrong.

    I personally think that writing a story with similar characters and settings and calling it “original” is MORE like plagiarizing than writing fan fiction. With Fan-fiction, people know you aren’t claiming ownership, but are paying homage to the true owner. Most of the time it’s mentioned right at the beginning of the fic for all to see. Fan-fics are a form of worshiping the greats. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

    As an original fic writer I understand that once I release a new story/chapter/character into the world, it is no longer my private little secret, it’s not just MINE anymore, I’ve given it to the whole world. (well, at least the ones that read it lol) It is for their enjoyment as well as mine. As hard as it is to share my “babies” that’s what I created them for lol. That being said I do completely understand the authors that have not wanted ff to be written. Some people can’t stand to see their worlds and characters mutilated by ppl that don’t understand their art, and that is their prerogative.

    So now I’m rambling and it long, but anyway, there’s my .50 cents 😛

  6. However, when you bring in an original character people tend to scream that you should just do an original story.

    I can understand why people would think that — they want to read about the existing characters, and to them, inventing new material is like sacrilege. They will always think that only the original creator should be allowed to invent new stuff in that world.

    But I think this is bogus, of course, though many will not agree with me. Fanfiction is a hybrid of the fan writer’s original thought with existing material of the source. Even though the characters/story world may be borrowed, it’s not the original author’s version, but the fanfiction writer’s version. And that version comes from the “original material” of the fanfiction author’s own experience, background, etc.

    That being said I do completely understand the authors that have not wanted ff to be written. Some people can’t stand to see their worlds and characters mutilated by ppl that don’t understand their art, and that is their prerogative.

    Again, IMO this is bordering on trying to enforce thought crimes. Teachers (my sister is one) don’t like it when their kids speculate on their bedroom habits, but middle schoolers will do that. She’s like to control it, she really doesn’t want people talking about her in that way, but she cannot control people’s thoughts, or their expression of these thoughts in telling their friends.

    There are differences in these two cases, I admit, but I think that the root of fanwork suppression, and attempts to protect artistic ideas, is more trying-to-stop-people-thinking-about-you-sexually, and not the practical legal/economic argument that so many cite.

    At least Anne Rice was honest that her reasons were emotional, and I totally respect that. I think that’s why a lot of people respect her desires.

    Anyway, thanks for commenting. I could write a lot more, but I’m going to turn all these comment bombs into posts of their own, when I think about this stuff more.

  7. I don’t know why people are so against it! I love writing fanfiction because it makes a great hobby. A lot of people I know don’t like how something turned out so they wrote a fanfiction to “satisfy” their urge to see what they imagined like say someone didn’t want Voldemort to die they could write a story about time travel and have complete peace with tue wizard world.
    Maybe it’s a continuation of a story.
    Maybe like the fanfic I’m writing right now…well see I don’t really like how Harry Potter turned out so in my fanfic I gave him a sister. 🙂

    The only problem I have with fanfiction is that I see tons of crap fics with tons of positive reviews and no one reviews MY stories. I had over 300 hits on the latest chapter because of all the people who put in on alert but guess what? Out of those people only ONE person reviews loyally with awesome ideas and constructive criticism. It bugs the crap out of me^^ cause I work hard on it and it’s like a slap to the face.

    Oh I’m off topic….I see where both sides are coming from…
    Fanfiction is good for all ages anyway. Let a five year old read a cute fanfic about bunnies when the story it’s based on is hardcore gore and violence.

    I don’t like how some people do genderbenders though sometimes it’s necessary.
    I loathe M-preg just because the babies are always born out of a hole that magically appears where a girl gives birth but on a male.

    I’m a yaoi fangirl and can’t stand yuri so I’m a hypocrite. I have a soft spot for certain shota stories because they are cute and the one I read are where the characters are 5 years apart (tragic)

    I understand that authors could feel violated when someone makes a story like those mentioned above because they worked hard to craft them so carefully but a fanfic writers point of view is (well mine is) to keep the perfect respect for the author and only jack t u all crazy like when the situation calls for it XD.

    If you are curious about my fic that’s got all tue alerts and hardly any reviews it’s called Guild of Rejects:Poison and Choclate. My user name is RussianCrazy and it’s on fanfiction , net.

    Well I hope I gave some kind of strange perspective to this 🙂

  8. Thanks, and sorry for the late reply. Personally, I totally suck at fanfiction. I just can’t do it successfully, and I have a lot of respect for people who can work well with others’ material!

    Intellectually, I can understand how authors may feel violated… but I believe it’s an exercise in futility. I really don’t believe that a complete story is 100% the property of the original author. Reading is participatory engagement. The *reader* does half the work — I’ve often seen the analogy that the writer provides the plans, but the reader actually builds the house.

    To try to control what kind of house comes from their plans is like thought control. And while there’s no enforceable way to do thought control, there *is* enforceable (sort of) control of the *expression* of the thoughts — fanfiction being one way of expression.

    This isn’t a real reply to your comment, just my thoughts inspired by your comment. Just got back from acro class so I’m dead anyway :/

  9. I write original fiction and fan fiction.
    Fan fiction, to me, is a tool to practice my writing abilites, to develope my skill and then I take that to my original stuff and apply it there. I don’t think fan fiction is plagarism because it only goes into that area if you sell it for money. As long as there is a disclaimer on the fic in question and people know that you’re only fan ficcing. I think its fine.

    Of course, for those authors who don’t want their stuff fan ficced – too bad for that fandom. I find that fan fic actually helps a fandom out, more fan interaction and more money flows into the fandom – I think that prohibiting it just dimishes the possiblities.

    Some people even get into a fanom because they found a fan fic and they want to know what the original material is all about. I’ve gotten into a fandom that way. I bought some stuff. So the creators do get money from fan fic. It just takes a while.

    I would like to point out the “lazy” factor.
    Those people can shut the front door.
    Writing fan fic is just as hard as writing original stuff, if you are SERIOUS about it.
    I mean, I’ve read some really, really bad fan fic where I just hate the author and hope they never write again. On the other hand, I’ve read fic authors who, if they ever wrote an original novel, I’d buy in a second.

    It’s all about how you approach the idea and what you do with it. It can be bad, or it can be good. Also, fan fic authors have the responcibility to nip bad endeavours in the bud. If they see someone plagarising in a fic, then you report that fic and you make some fandom wank over it.

  10. Thanks for commenting. I’ve been absent for a while, mostly because I didn’t have much to say!

    Can one really make an argument against fanfiction on economic grounds? Fanworks are amateur and exist outside the marketplace. Furthermore, most of the fan contributors are buyers in the first place. Saying they rob a fandom (of money) sounds rather ridiculous, to me. Then again, I don’t exactly have my finger on the collective pulse of the general entertainment market, so I may be wrong. (I don’t have that many fingers!)

    As for moral objections, for fanworks of any kind — music remixes/covers, fiction, etc — I’m more of the mind that once you release your stuff “into the wild,” you cannot control how it is perceived or consumed, but not completely.

    It’s like a good-looking teacher trying to eliminate the possibility of student crushes, trying to control how their students think about them and perceive them. Those crushes will happen, and there’s nothing they can do about it. You can bluster around gracelessly and trumpet how wrong it is, or you can just say, “Thank you, I’m flattered, though I’d rather it not happen at all.”

    But I do believe in commercial moral rights. For example, if someone wanted to use one of my project’s tracks for a cigarette ad, I’d probably say no. I’m fully aware that artist and artwork cannot be neatly separated, and I would not want anyone thinking that I endorse smoking.

    For this reason, I have empathy toward people who don’t like their works being… hmm… emotionally hijacked, I guess, is how they may feel. At the same time, part of what’s exciting to me, personally, as an artist, is that I don’t know what will happen when I release my ideas, wrapped in songs or stories, to the public.

    I believe that art itself is the intersection of the artist’s intention and audience’s perception. You can control one half, but not the other…

  11. Of course the fans are consumers of a fandom. I don’t think the popular ones would have survived if the fans didn’t do their thing, be that fan art, fan fiction, covers, mixes. The thing that saves the fans from legality is that they don’t sell the fan work. Savvy?
    I remember some fandom wank where this girl wrote fan fic for twilight and tried to sell it. If she hadn’t tried to sell it, no one would have gotten all up in arms about the fan fic in the first place. It’s when you cross that line from “I’m only doing this for fun and not making any money off this piece of work” to “I’ve worked hard on this, and yeah, its fan fic, but I’m gonna sell it anyway!” – that is the problem. When people know they are infringing on copywrite.

    As to the other stuff – I give credit where it is due if I use someone else’s work. Be that a picture that inspire my work, or a quote. There is a certain bit of leeway when it comes to using quotes, as long as you source, no one cares. For pictures, it’s a lot harder so I don’t use pictures a lot. If I do I’ll give the credit. Songs…get remixed all the time. I expect people to ask permission before they use the song in a vid/ad/podcast. Unless you’ve put it up as a creative commons – but I don’t know much about that. I highly expect everyone to ask permission if there is a certain song they want to use for their work.

    As it is, copywrite protects me. I don’t normally put up my original fiction, but when I do, I put a copywrite on it so people know that it belongs to me. I don’t put my fiction under a creative commons lisence, mostly because this is my world, characters, plot, what have you. I don’t want someone to come along and ruin it, unless they ask to ruin it first. *lol*

    I don’t think Fan fiction, or any work of fans, is bad. As long as proper respect to the creators is given.

  12. I would just like to say, there are plenty badly written novels as well as badly written fanfiction. I write fanfiction because at the time I had nothing original to write. Now I have two ideas that no one has ever thought of, but I would love to go back to creating fanzines because they are fun in addition to writing the two original novels.

    I could see what you are saying though. Vader and Luke? Oy. I like slash, but knowing what we all know now about that relationship, that’s disturbing. If anyone rips off your fanfiction, then the person has no original thoughts in their head. I remember someone ripped off someone’s bad fanfic that I wrote a bad review for. Then the original two authors (Co-wrote) told me that the person ripped them off and I told them that I am not interested in their story because the rip off version with the name changes was bad enough.

    People have to also realize for the many badly written fanfics out there, there are a few good writers out there as well. They just have to keep looking. I write crack fiction and some of my stories make fun of and point out the flaws in other fanfics with different subjects like Mary Sues, self-insertion, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *