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[QUOTE] From Machinima: A Meme of Our Time | Tracy Harwood

Machinimators have created and distributed tens of thousands of fan vids, parodies, satires, reenactments and original content through online fora in an increasingly complex ecology of technologies and new media. Its influence has been widespread, impacting digital arts, film, new media platforms and even politics through the user-generated co-created and produced content, some of which has been used as ‘pre-production’ for big budget films that have subsequently been realised in mainstream environments such as Hollywood (eg., The Lord of the Rings and Resident Evil).

[Machinima’s] growth in popularity has impacted games developers significantly because it challenges the ways in which they view their intellectual property and the role of their customers (games players) in the creation of commercial value, effectively testing the boundaries between authorship and ownership. In turn, this has resulted in a shift in thinking about the format and framing of end-user license agreements (by eg., Microsoft, EA Games).

Machinima: A Meme of Our Time | Tracy Harwood ift.tt/2gKHZ5M

[QUOTE] From Ba Zi, 9c. Fair Use and the Translation Stranglehold

This problem is especially pernicious in–though as the J.K. Rowling/Harry Potter lexicon case demonstrates, not limited to–visual media, where the legal cases involving images and questions of fair use have placed far more limited restrictions on what can be done with images as opposed to, say, text. A scholar of a modern or contemporary poet would likely not even think of requesting permission to reprint an entire poem in a scholarly work (because, of, you know, fair use), whereas in, say, comics studies, it has become standard practice for publishers of comics scholarship to demand that authors get express written permission for each and every image to be reproduced, even though a work of scholarship is an obvious example of fair use.

Ba Zi, 9c. Fair Use and the Translation Stranglehold ift.tt/2eDaiVp

[META] “In a criminal case, if you are charged with an assault, the state incurs the cost of your defense,…”

“In a criminal case, if you are charged with an assault, the state incurs the cost of your defense, should you be unable to provide one for yourself. In a civil case, no matter which side you are on, you always incur the legal costs yourself. Large media companies, the ones actually engaging in legal action (NOT the creators), often have to do little more than threaten a lawsuit (or send a cease and desist letter) to elicit the desired behavior, even if they think they can’t win in court, because they know the defendant lacks the financial resources to defend him/herself and will thus back off, even if legally they are not obliged to do so. Scanlators generally cannot defend themselves and often lack the necessary legal knowledge (or access to a professional) so as to ascertain which legal threats have teeth and which do not. There may be ways of doing scanlation without express permission that do not violate copyright; it’s likely we will never know what they are, since the publishers hold (nearly) all the cards.”

Ba Zi, 9a. Copyright, Scanlation, and the Ethics of Unfettered Reading

[QUOTE] From Ba Zi, 9a. Copyright, Scanlation, and the Ethics of Unfettered Reading

In a criminal case, if you are charged with an assault, the state incurs the cost of your defense, should you be unable to provide one for yourself. In a civil case, no matter which side you are on, you always incur the legal costs yourself. Large media companies, the ones actually engaging in legal action (NOT the creators), often have to do little more than threaten a lawsuit (or send a cease and desist letter) to elicit the desired behavior, even if they think they can’t win in court, because they know the defendant lacks the financial resources to defend him/herself and will thus back off, even if legally they are not obliged to do so. Scanlators generally cannot defend themselves and often lack the necessary legal knowledge (or access to a professional) so as to ascertain which legal threats have teeth and which do not. There may be ways of doing scanlation without express permission that do not violate copyright; it’s likely we will never know what they are, since the publishers hold (nearly) all the cards.

Ba Zi, 9a. Copyright, Scanlation, and the Ethics of Unfettered Reading ift.tt/2aD6b7G

[QUOTE] From (Re)examining the attitudes of comic book store patrons | Stevens | Transformative Works and Cultures

Digital consumers overall read more comic texts and spend more money on comic books than those who exclusively collect and read physical formats. When the two outliers who purchase no physical material are excluded, it appears the publisher gets more revenue from the digital format consumers than the physical format consumers. Much like the iTunes model, consumers who are offered accessible, legal means of consuming digitally are often willing to pay for their wares; piracy is a matter of convenience, not necessarily a matter of maliciousness.

(Re)examining the attitudes of comic book store patrons | Stevens | Transformative Works and Cultures ift.tt/2aI6Rvr

[QUOTE] From Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244

Comike was neither the first nor the biggest dōjinshi fair when it was established; its main purpose was to provide the freest market possible, and that freedom has come at a price. The dream of a Comic Market open to every one and everything was never realized, as there were too many physical, financial, and legal restrictions. Even today, the Comic Market suffers from a lack of space, a lack of money, and a lack of legal security. Only two-thirds of applicant circles can participate due to constraints, since, as a small independent operator Comike’s financial resources are limited and most of the work is done by volunteers.

Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244 ift.tt/1jEHBFw

[QUOTE] From Susan Hall, The Future of Fanworks Legal Q&A – Post 2

One area of serious concern which has not received the attention which perhaps it should is the privatisation or enclosure of folk works, historical or mythological figures or works which are out of copyright (for example, Mulan, Robin Hood, the Jungle Books, Pooh Bear) by the growing use of trade marks. Although trade marks should only restrict commercial uses of intellectual property, the danger by way of using trade mark law as a way of deterring ISPs from hosting fanworks in future is a danger which should not be overlooked.

[QUOTE] From Susan Hall, The Future of Fanworks Legal Q&A – Post 2

(Q: Given the increasing visibility of fanworks to both content/source creators and the public, what do you think are some important points to emphasize — or sources to use — when explaining fanworks to people who are unfamiliar with them?)

I think it’s important to stress that the simplistic “all fanworks are theft” line peddled by the likes of Anne Rice and Lee Goldberg is, and always has been, completely unsupported in law, even in the more restrictive legal systems of the EU. Furthermore, there are a lot of myths about alleged cases with have been brought and alleged rulings against fanworks, most of which do not stand up to scrutiny.

A report recently commissioned by the EU into the use made to date by European countries of the exceptions in favour of “parody, caricature or pastiche” introduced by the Copyright Directive of 2001 or equivalent local exceptions was unable to find any EU cases where successful legal action had been brought against fanworks by rightsholders.

[QUOTE] From Anne Jamison from the “Future of Fanworks” chat with fan studies authors, going on right now. Join in!

I find there is *tremendous* confusion about legal rights and moral rights, and that people in written works have a much more restrictive sense of copyright than US law, while people have a much more liberal sense of what can be used/copied in terms of images than trademark/IP law actually specified.

[QUOTE] From Noah Berlatsky, Great News: Now Anyone Can Write and Publish a Sherlock Holmes Story

So carving off characters can be a way to comment on the original work—to expand on its themes, to examine what it erased, to update it, to teach folks about it, or just to enjoy it (and surely enjoyment is an important goal of lots of literature, not excluding the Sherlock Holmes stories). Interacting with literature and appreciating literature means, in no small part, talking back to literature. And a big way in which people talk back to literature is by dissecting it, reassembling it, and making it their own.

Again, that deconstruction can sometimes be ugly. Not every use of Sherlock Holmes is going to be pretty, or make the Doyle Estate happy. No doubt there’s X-rated Sherlock/Watson slash fiction out there that would make Conan Doyle rise from his grave, if he could manage it. But to say that it’s a crime against literature to reuse Sherlock Holmes is like saying that Doyle committed a crime against literature by turning Dupin into Holmes. Artists and writers always engage with and respond to other writers. That’s how art gets made. And that’s why it’s a good thing for culture, for literature, and for Doyle himself that it looks like Holmes will finally be completely free to be used, abused, and celebrated by everybody, free of charge.

Noah Berlatsky, Great News: Now Anyone Can Write and Publish a Sherlock Holmes Story

[META] Artistic Freedom, or This Is Not a Review of The Hobbit

This is not a review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but I’ll share some impressions for context. Though it kept me entertained, I didn’t think it was very good. The story felt padded; the implausible action scenes lacked tension; the moralizing was often forced. But for all that, I’m glad the movie was made because it means that the narrative of Middle-earth is still alive.

Storytelling belongs to the public consciousness. All the copyright laws in the world cannot stop that being true. It is human nature to imitate: it is how we learn to talk, to dress, to be polite, to live in society. It is embedded in human nature to take in stories and breathe them out again. This is not to say there is no place for copyright. As long as we live in a nominally free market society, artists must be able to make money from their work for art to flourish, and copyright (ideally) gives them control over distribution of their work to prevent market saturation and grant them remuneration. But if copying must be restricted, the creation of art itself is naturally free: the mind flies to it as it flies to love, and no prison nor prison sentence can stop it.

One common complaint about derivative works is that they are often bad quality. And this is true. (It’s true of original works just as much.) I would argue that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, despite a great deal of talent and effort, is bad quality in many ways. It’s a legal, licensed work, but aside from giving it a big budget, that doesn’t affect whether it’s good or bad art. Likewise, some still claim fan fiction has dubious legality, but that has no bearing on whether it is brilliant or painful to read. Art is speech, and democratic society has long understood that respecting freedom of speech exposes us to reams of stupid speech. That is a very small price to pay for the freedom to share thought and learn and grow as individuals and cultures.

I don’t doubt that Tolkien would be rolling over in his grave at the excesses of the Jacksonverse. In this particular movie, I suspect he’d find the Elf-Dwarf romance ridiculous, the sex joke appallingly inappropriate, the fight scenes mostly absurd and undercutting of the quieter narrative of Bilbo’s clever heroism—and that’s just for a start. I wouldn’t be surprised if his heirs have similar feelings. I have many of the same feelings myself.

Who cares? We don’t really deserve any say in how others choose to retell a tale. I mean this as a statement about natural rights rather than gracious conduct. A gracious standard of conduct might well choose to consult with a respected original author or their heirs, might make an effort not to bruise their feelings, might listen to critiques and revise accordingly. But a narrative belongs to the mind of every person it has touched. And no one has a right (regardless of the current law of the land) to tell any person not to re-envision that narrative however they wish.

Without such re-envisioning, The Hobbit is just a novel, a good novel, written in the 1930s in Britain, growing slowly more remote from the language, tastes, and customs of the new century. Without this re-envisioning, one day it will die. And so we create new versions, and they have women and more action and additional tie-ins to The Lord of the Rings and sex jokes and a younger, sexier Thorin and a scarier Ring. And out of what might be considered the mess of this particular version, out of the sloppy, poorly paced, bad taste et cetera comes a new perspective on an old story.

I liked the scarier Ring, the almost-heavy handedness in showing its immediate hold on Bilbo, the changes in his behavior when he fears he’ll lose it. I liked the general tone of foreboding, the sense of social breakdown among the Wood Elves and the Lake Men that presages the cataclysmic War to come in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien could not have done this for the simple reason that he hadn’t yet written The Lord of the Rings when he wrote The Hobbit. Whether or not he would have done it if he had already developed the full history of the War of the Ring is moot (as an Ent would say). The story left Tolkien years ago. It is our story now. It is Peter Jackson’s. It is mine. It is yours. And as the years pass and its iterations continue to ripple out—a cartoon here, a CGI-heavy trilogy there, a radio drama, a few thousand fan fics, and who knows what—it will be reshaped by the minds it meets, often badly but perhaps one day with hammer-blow of genius that will truly reinvent it. Perhaps Tolkien has yet to meet his Shakespeare. But the tale will always be reshaped to meet the changing world it continues to speak in. And it will keep living, as art has to if the human spirit is to thrive.

Submission by Arwen Spicer

[QUOTE] From Michelle Dean, Why You Should Worry About Amazon Buying the Right to Publish Kurt Vonnegut Fan-Fiction

One of the weirder bits of news sailing through the Internet this week is Amazon’s acquisition, from the Vonnegut Trust, of the right to publish fan-fiction based on the, uh, Kurt Vonnegut universe. (…) Setting aside the question of whether or not anyone will actually make use of these rights, though, the very fact that this kind of licensing is becoming standard practice should raise eyebrows. The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl: those are clearly commercial literary properties. They were designed for merchandising and licensing and spinoffs. Vonnegut: eh, not so much. And the thing is, literary novelists have a long tradition of being, ahem, “inspired” by each other’s work. (…) Do we want “serious writing” to be a place where people must license characters from each other? Does that do a disservice to the way in which literature is, for a lot of writers, an ongoing conversation with their predecessors? How would postmodernist novelists, for example, be curtailed by such rules, since they often incorporate commentary on the characters of others? Forcing everyone to get a license would send chills down the spine of any novelist thinking of writing, say, a feminist novel from the perspective of, say, Holden’s girlfriend Sally Hayes, not just anyone who wants to engineer a meeting between Holden Caulfield and Serena van der Woodsen. Michelle Dean, Why You Should Worry About Amazon Buying the Right to Publish Kurt Vonnegut Fan-Fiction

Issue 14 of Transformative Works and Cultures is out!

Congratulations to the editors and writers! Links to all articles below. As usual, we’ll be posting some good quotes from these in the coming days, and you’re very welcome to submit your own.

Editorial

Spreadable fandom - TWC Editor

Theory

Metaphors we read by: People, process, and fan fiction - Juli J. Parrish

Sub*culture: Exploring the dynamics of a networked public - Simon Lindgren

Praxis

A Japanese media pilgrimage to a Tasmanian bakery - Craig Norris

Trans-cult-ural fandom: Desire, technology and the transformation of fan subjectivities in the Japanese female fandom of Hong Kong stars - Lori Hitchcock Morimoto

Fannish discourse communities and the construction of gender in “The X-Files” - Emily Regan Wills

Capital, dialogue, and community engagement: “My Little Pony—Friendship Is Magic” understood as an alternate reality game - Kevin Veale

Symposium

So bad it’s good: The “kuso” aesthetic in “Troll 2” - Whitney Phillips

Translation, interpretation, fan fiction: A continuum of meaning production - Shannon K. Farley

Fan/dom: People, practices, and networks - Katherine E. Morrissey

Fandom, public, commons - Mel Stanfill

Review

“Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture,” by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green - Melissa A. Click

“Reclaiming fair use,” by Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi - Josh Johnson

“Genre, reception, and adaption in the ‘Twilight’ series,” edited by Anne Morey- Amanda Georgeanne Retartha

[QUOTE] From Anna von Veh, Kindle Worlds: Bringing Fanfiction Into Line But Not Online?

So if being online is so important to fanfiction, why has Amazon not adopted this central mechanism which could have drawn millions of views to its own online site? One reason may simply be that they are relying on sites like Wattpad to generate the traffic to Kindle Worlds. The other may have to do with content control. The plural “Worlds” in Kindle Worlds marks a clear separation between the different fanbases; there will be no boundary crossing here. For fanfiction, boundary crossing of various types is the point. Trying to constrain the unconstrainable is an inherent paradox in a model based on content control. Of course, one way to attempt to control content/text is to contain it in a book rather than have it online where control is always subject to slippage. However, the existence of Fanfiction itself undermines this attempt. Amazon and the licensors have a difficult balancing act. Most licensors would want to retain control over the content that appears online and therefore restrict official content, whether it be original or fan-generated, to their own fan sites; it might indeed be very difficult to keep the licensed Worlds separate in one online environment. So one could argue that the “form” of the ebook in this case, where online would normally be the “native” medium, answers primarily the needs of the licensors rather than those of the fans and readers. This is not to say that Kindle Worlds shouldn’t have ebooks; even in the fanfiction communities, people create ebooks of fanfics for free download. It is the fact that Kindle Worlds appears to be only about ebooks that is the issue in the context of fanfiction. Anna von Veh, Kindle Worlds: Bringing Fanfiction Into Line But Not Online?

[QUOTE] From Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244-245

Though its most important function is still to provide a physical place, Comic Market has also become a symbol of the otaku and dōjinshi communities. It is not only by a wide margin the biggest dōjinshi event in Japan (and therefore related to many subcultural and independent media in Japan), it is also the oldest such event, and the one most famous in the mass media. As the center of attention, with its size and its links to the industry, it is undeniable that Comike possesses the power and the means to influence social, market, and even political developments. In recent years it has not been reluctant to use this power. Whether through conferences on copyright issues or on the establishment of a “National dōjinshi fair liaison group” (Zenkoku dōjinshi sokubaikai renrakukai) in 2000, it has taken on the responsibility of representing and of regulating Japanese dōjinshi culture.

Fan-Yi Lam, Comic Market: How the World’s Biggest Amateur Comic Fair Shaped Japanese Dōjinshi Culture, p244-245

[QUOTE] From Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, pp730-731.

When writer Lori Jareo self-published her novel Another Hope and listed it on Amazon.com (Amazon), she expected only her family and friends to see the page and consider purchasing a copy. However, the novel also attracted a great deal of unwanted attention: from mocking bloggers, outraged fans, and Lucasfilms’ lawyers. Another Hope was not a wholly original work, but rather an unauthorized Star Wars “fan fiction” novel: a story using characters and settings from Star Wars without the consent of Lucasfilms, which owns the copyright to the Star Wars universe.

Lucasfilms’ lawyers sent a cease-and-desist notice to Jareo, who then removed the book’s listing from Amazon. While that was the only legal consequence of Jareo’s obvious copyright infringement, the punishment that she received from the public was much more severe. When several well-known science fiction writers and bloggers latched onto the story, they all had strong negative opinions of Jareo’s actions. In April 2006, the story hit dozens of popular blogs, inspiring such mockingly clever titles as “The Stupid is Strong with this One,” and “I Bet She Finds Our Lack of Faith Disturbing.”

Were it not for the Internet publicity concerning the Amazon listing, Lucasfilms may not have ever noticed it. In fact, the book was published nearly a year before the scandal erupted. It was not intellectual property lawyers or the copyright holder that condemned Jareo; rather, it was her fellow fan fiction writers. Jareo broke a major rule when she tried to profit from her fan fiction, and other fans were there to point out her mistake—not only for the faux pas in the fan community but also for the potential attention she brought to the world of fan fiction, a world in which copyright law is largely untested.

Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need To Know I Learned from Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, pp730-731.

[META] Amazon announces publishing platform for licensed fanfic

PaidContent reports that in June this year, Amazon will be launching Kindle Worlds, a legal publishing platform for fanfic. According to Amazon’s announcement, Kindle Worlds will start out by allowing fanfic based on Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries.

It’s not necessarily bad news that companies are trying to create options for “licensed” fanfic, and I’ll leave the in-depth analysis of the legal aspects of this to professionals. Legal issues aside, though, I certainly hope that Kindle Worlds won’t become a model for other attempts to legalize fanfic. This concept seems to repeat a lot of fan-unfriendly aspects of previous forays by companies into the weird world of fic monetization. Kindle Worlds would allow fic authors to sell works “without hassle”, as PaidContent says, but apparently also without many rights, and within the boundaries of extremely strict content guidelines.

The platform refers to fandoms as “Worlds”. Copyright holders can give Amazon Publishing a license to allow fic writers to upload stories about licensed media to Amazon Publishing, which will then offer the stories for sale. Since this is not a self-publishing platform, Amazon Publishing will be setting the prices:

Paidcontent:

The fan fiction authors get a royalty of 35 percent for works of at least 10,000 words, and a royalty of 20 percent on works between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

Amazon’s “Kindle Worlds for authors” page:

Amazon Publishing will set the price for Kindle Worlds stories. Most will be priced from $0.99 through $3.99.

Fic authors will get a monthly payout. Amazon will be paying an undisclosed amount of royalties to the copyright holders of the media the fics are based on, and presumably also keep an undisclosed amount of money for itself. In short, while fic writers will get some money, they have zero control over how much they might want to charge or how much of a cut they deserve, and no options to negotiate. Amazon can organize its business the way it pleases, of course. But this “you will take what we offer you or nothing” approach may offer a big clue to how Amazon believes the rights of all parties should be balanced out when fic writers and copyright holders try to share income from fanworks.

An ever-returning problem with “official” fanfic contests and corporate websites is that they tend do have content guidelines that are rather more restrictive than what many fans feel is sensible, and Kindle Worlds is no exception. The copyright holders who license their properties to Amazon to allow fanfic on Kindle Worlds will be deciding which content is allowed:

World Licensors have provided Content Guidelines for each World, and your work must follow these Content Guidelines. We strongly encourage you to read the Content Guidelines before you commit the time and effort to write.

It’s not immediately clear if this means that there will be different content guidelines for every fandom on top of the content guidelines that Amazon itself sets. But Amazon’s basic content guidelines are as follows:

Pornography: We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
Offensive Content: We don’t accept offensive content, including but not limited to racial slurs, excessively graphic or violent material, or excessive use of foul language.
Illegal and Infringing Content: We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that their content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
Poor Customer Experience: We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art, or product descriptions. We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.
Excessive Use of Brands: We don’t accept the excessive use of brand names or the inclusion of brand names for paid advertising or promotion.
Crossover: No crossovers from other Worlds are permitted, meaning your work may not include elements of any copyright-protected book, movie, or other property outside of the elements of this World.

This is rather incredibly restrictive, but I can’t say I’m surprised. In other fanfic contests and corporate fic-hosting endeavors, media companies have also set content guidelines that prohibit sexual content or other hard-to-market things. (Also check out this thesis by Suzanne Scott and this article by Roberta Pearson for more discussion on this.) Last year’s MTV-organized Teen Wolf fanfic contest caused some amazement precisely because it wasn’t explicitly hostile to slash or porn.

Needless to say, these guidelines will be excluding a massive number of authors from legally monetizing their fic – from those who write smut to those who like to write some violence, have their characters curse, or just don’t manage to provide a good “customer experience”. I’m curious what Amazon will make of non-sexually explicit slash.

Some may also consider it an issue that there will apparently be DRM on the stories to prevent them from being read on non-Kindle devices and programs:

Stories will be available in digital format exclusively on Amazon.com, Kindle devices, iOS, Android, and PC/Mac via our Kindle Free Reading apps. We hope to offer additional formats in the future.

And then we come to where the copyright on the submitted stories will go:

Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright. (…) You will own the copyright to the original, copyrightable elements (such as characters, scenes, and events) that you create and include in your work, and the World Licensor will retain the copyright to all the original elements of the World. When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story. This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World. We will allow Kindle Worlds authors to build on each other’s ideas and elements. We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.

Exactly what this implies is best explained by a legal professional, and I have no doubt that the OTW’s lawyers will have some advice ready soon, as they did with earlier corporate attempts to solicit fanworks. However, it certainly sounds like Amazon acquires all publication rights and will give the copyright owner a license to use a fan’s contributions without any compensation in any further commercial media they publish. (Whether Amazon gets any additional income from this licensing to the copyright holders isn’t mentioned either.) I’m curious about whether, for instance, this licensing agreement with Amazon would permit a fic writer to still offer her story for free on another fic archive.

Regardless – since claiming all rights to fanworks is another thing that many “official” fanwork-soliciting endeavors from Syfy with Battlestar Galactica to the fic contests planned by the infamous Fanlib have been lambasted for, I’m not sure if this will go down well anywhere.

All this doesn’t sound like the Kindle Worlds was designed to take fans’ rights and concerns into account. The list that Amazon gives of advantages that Kindle Worlds offers to fic writers is tellingly meaningless:

Writers benefit from Kindle Worlds because:

  • Amazon Publishing has already secured the necessary licenses to write about any Kindle World
  • They can earn royalties writing about established characters and universes
  • The Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform is easy to use

The first point seems to imply that fic writers need a license to be allowed to write fic at all, which is a contested idea at the very least; many legal scholars writing about fanworks would probably argue differently. The second point, earning money with fic, may be considered a good thing by some fic authors; I’ve argued in favor of fic writers considering commodification options, as have others, so I’d personally say that this can indeed be a legitimate advantage – although as mentioned earlier, the fact that fan writers would have no control whatsoever over pricing makes this a qualified “okay then” indeed. The third point, that Kindle Worlds is easy to use, is just silly. Plenty of websites where people can publish fic are easy to use. I get the feeling that they just needed a third point in there to match the three-point list of advantages for copyright holders, and couldn’t think of anything.

Again, I’m not against the idea of “licensed” fic in and of itself, and those who want to agree to Amazon’s terms certainly have the right to do so. However, something like Kindle Worlds can be only one option among many for licensing fic, and it definitely shouldn’t be a model for other “solutions” to the legal uncertainties surrounding fanworks. The only option for publishing fic legally can’t be a platform that takes or licenses away many rights, doesn’t give fic authors the option to set prices, and excludes large numbers of fans with its content guidelines. Hopefully, alternatives that strike a better balance between the rights of fans and copyright holders will emerge soon to counter this.

[QUOTE] From Anna von Veh, What Can Trade Publishers Learn from Fanfiction?

Fanfiction sits at the margins of mainstream creative endeavour, and interrogates established views of what it means to be a writer; the meaning of intellectual property, creativity, originality, ‘ownership;’ and traditional boundaries surrounding these concepts, as well as the whole vexed issue of international rights. As a publishing person and daughter of an artist, I have an uneasy relationship with how fanfiction steps on these well-established fences, particularly with regards to the fanfiction based on novels, rather than TV or films. (The latter seems more ‘legitimate,’ but that might just be justification for my own interest.)

In many ways, fanfiction is, and has been for many years, ahead of its time in terms of its embrace of the possibilities and potential of digital technology, of community and niche interests, its very questioning of established domains of knowledge and ‘right/s,’ and its acknowledgement of the role reading plays in writing. As Saul Bellow said, “A writer is a reader moved to emulation.” The leaching of boundaries described above is exemplified by the infinite trail of hyperlinks on the web (Derrida anyone?). It is therefore apt that fanfiction should exist online, and make use of the technology that allows deferment of meaning and certainty; a metaphorical and literal leaking of content from the container (…).

Anna von Veh, What Can Trade Publishers Learn from Fanfiction?

[META] Fan Art Law at Comic-Con (by deviantart)

Fan Art Law at Comic-Con (by deviantart)

From a review of the video by Boing Boing:

Here’s an hour-long presentation on copyright law and fan art from San Diego ComicCon 2012, presented by a lawyer from DeviantArt who once worked as a copyright enforcer for Paramount. It’s a pretty good overview, though — predictably enough — the presenter waits until quite late to talk about fair use and other public rights in copyright, generally downplaying them and omitting the de minimis exemption to copyright (the idea that it’s not infringement if you take a small enough piece, for reasons that are separate from fair use) altogether.

During the Q&A, he also mischaracterizes SOPA and PIPA as having been concerned with “mass-scale” infringement (the laws allowed for censorship if there was a single link to a website that infringed), but makes up for it somewhat by plugging EFF, Public Knowledge and other public interest groups.