Fanfiction is acting on media in at least two ways. By
infrastructuring communities and publics, authors, read-
ers and platform runners build up (own) communicative
and (quasi-)material spaces for circulating, sharing and
archiving the stories they want to write and read, for
the stories they cannot find in official canon productions.
By doing fanfiction, whether it is their intention or not,
they also question the existing political-juridical condi-
tions which frame transformative working and publish-
ing of derivative material. Fanfiction challenges preva-
lent concepts of individual authorship and proprietary of
Reißmann, W., Stock, M., Kaiser, S., Isenberg, V., & Nieland, J. U. (2017). Fan (fiction) acting on media and the politics of appropriation. Media and Communication, 5(3), 15-27.
This article uses the concept of “acting on media” to look at fannish activities. Acting on media is the idea that some media consumers (for instance activists, special interest groups, etc.) not only consume media or even contribute to things like social media sites – they actively shape media infrastructures and environments. Reißmann et al. find that fans do this in two ways: we actively build our own infrastructures (like the AO3) or appropriate and shape existing infrastructures for our own ends. Remeber what Maciej Cegłowski (the Pinboard Guy) said about the fannish migration from del.icio.us to Pinboard? That’s acting on media. Equally, through our sheer stubbornness and insistance in being allowed to create and share transformative works, we also ask all sorts of uncomfortable questions about who owns culture, who gets to be an author, and why.