The regifting economy that is emerging, I argue, is the result of the industry’s careful cultivation of a parallel fan space alongside grassroots formations of fandom. By precariously attempting to balance the communal ideals of fandom’s gift economy with their commercial interests, the regifting economy of ancillary content models in particular can be viewed as attempting to regift a narrowly defined and contained version of fandom to a general audience. This regifted version of fandom that ancillary content models represent exchanges grassroots fandom’s organically generated output and fluid exchange of fan works for the regulation and resale of fan works through contests and the elusive promise of credibility. Although unofficial fan works and official ancillary content both contribute to the narrative world of a series and do similar textual work, the impetus behind their creation and exchange is fundamentally different. As Hyde (1983:70) stresses, “there are many gifts that must be refused” as a result of the motives behind their presentation; thus, the term regifting economy is meant to synthesize the negative social connotations tied to the practice of regifting with a brief analysis of why acafans and existing fan communities should be aware and critical of these planned communities and their purpose as a site of initiation for the next generation of fans.
Scott, Suzanne. 2009. “Repackaging Fan Culture: The Regifting Economy of Ancillary Content Models.” Transformative Works and Cultures 3.
Scott’s article on industry attempts to co-opt the concept of a fannish “gift economy” was published in 2009. Around this time, the idea of involving money in fannish interactions in any way was still somewhat outlandish for many people in English-speaking Western media fandom, and to scholars in English-language media studies who focused on that fandom.
Things have gotten more complex since then; art commissions, for example, are now considered perfectly normal pretty much everywhere, and fic commissions are fairly common too. Industry reactions to that complicating of the fannish “gift economy” are very diverse and have evolved as well. However, Scott’s framing of industry involvement and its (potential) effects on the social fabric of fandoms remains extremely relevant and important.