fuck yeah copyright law: It’s Kindle Worlds, we’re just living in it?
Amazon is working with WB to publish (read: sell) fanfiction from the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries ‘verses. And they said that more “worlds” will be announced soon.
Basically, fanfic writers will be able to sell their fics – formatted for Kindle – via Amazon, and the …
I’m definitely not the first to note that (1) these are already corporate entities—created by work for hire agreements, with no human entitled to claim “authorship” or object to this; unlikely to be a model for works with “auteurs”; and (2) the content restrictions are likely, like other Amazon restrictions, to be enforced unevenly (“new adult” is so profitable, after all) and more heavily against certain kinks/pairings/sexualities. That isn’t to say that people should refuse to participate; commercialization makes me uneasy, but as long as there are also noncommercial spaces with greater freedom then it’s one choice among many.
The key thing is preserving that choice! (And holding Amazon accountable when it inevitably does engage in biased enforcement.) My real concern is preserving fair use. I don’t think this announcement changes the fair use environment in any significant way; the content restrictions show exactly why copyright owners don’t have the right to control markets for transformative uses, even when they’d prefer to monetize them. But it’s definitely a development that many will be watching. Alloy Entertainment in particular probably sees little downside in making sure that it gets paid for any potential 50 Shades of Grey arising from its properties.
Further proof that anyone who tells you that they know what entertainment markets will look like in 5 years is overly optimistic.
I also note that I’ve actually written in all 3 of these fandoms! Though I don’t think I have anything that would qualify for the program, and I wouldn’t use it if I did, being an open access sort of girl.
Bolding mine. I don’t think that Amazon’s Kindle Worlds will put freely distributed fanfic at risk – and if Amazon or its World Licensors try to, then fandom (and the lawyers & activists who abide within fandom) will explain very clearly why that is so not on. The law won’t change, or if it does, it’s likely to become broader in allowing/protecting/supporting fanworks. And cases from outside of fandom, like Cariou v Prince, make it clear that where the fanficcer or fanartist or vidder provides “creation of new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings”, the work is likely to be transformative.