FanFiction, Fan Studies, Copyright, Oh My!

I am hosting an occasional series on fanfiction, with guest posts from my best and brightest friends and colleagues. To help them out, I’ve assembled a collection of resources on fanfiction, copyright, and other forms of creative derivation.

For an overview on the history of copyright, the video and the chart in this blog post will be a good start (the video is the first Lawrence Lessig lecture I ever heard, and the chart visually depicts historical copyright extension).

For a general review on the law surrounding fanfiction, please see the Chilling Effects FAQ (Chilling Effects is run by the Electronic Frontier Foundation).

These are two of the most incredibly helpful papers I have ever read. Both are by an economist named Rufus Pollock at Cambridge University. One is on the value of the public domain (pdf). The other is on the optimal length of copyright (pdf), from an economic perspective. Amazing stuff.

FanLore has a neat fan studies wiki:

A great example of an academic article dealing with fanfiction and fan communities (addressing the issues of Tara’s death in Buffy).

Some recent news stories on lawsuits surrounding high-profile derivative, published works:

5 derivative copyrighted worked which–if they weren’t either riffing off of public domain works or authorized–would clearly be fanfiction (in my opinion).

  1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Elizabeth and Darcy court while fighting the undead)
  2. March (the story of the absent father from Little Women)
  3. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (worm’s eye view of Hamlet)
  4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic books (more adventures of the Scoobies)
  5. The Red Tent (the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob–of the multicolored dream-coat–who is briefly mentioned in Genesis; this book is called “what the Bible might have been had it been written by God’s daughters, instead of her sons“).

This series is shaping up to be incredible. I have commitments to write from an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major at MIT, a Public Policy and Computer Science dual major at William and Mary, and from Carnegie Mellon I have two Dramaturgy majors and a Directing major. Gosh I have cool friends.

Inspirational Quote:

“Slash fandom is subversive and media creators tend to hate it, if they are even aware of it.”–Judith L. Tabron

1 Comment

  1. Wow this is amazing…i definitely will return to this site later, as I am interested in doing a senior honors thesis on fanfiction! Thank you so much for all these resources!

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