Fan Fiction Writer Rights
Author: HatedLove6
Content Rating: GA
Published: 2014-01-28 21:05:40
Tags: fan fiction, rights

What, you didn't know that you own and hold a copyright to your fan fiction, and that you are technically allowed to write whatever you want?

Author´s Notes and Disclaimers:
This is the chapter I most wanted to write and was the true inspiration to this guide. I am tired of people dictating what "good" and "bad" fiction is, and I'm tired of seeing people telling others to just delete their story just because their ways of writing is unconventional, or doesn't go with the program. A canon character dies in the story? So what? It's part of the plot! A canon character falls in love with an OC? What's the problem with that idea? An OC is born instead of a canon character? You may not like it, but fan fiction writers are still allowed to do that.
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Just like with original fiction, especially online, there will always be stories that you love, and stories you hate, but please remember that writers of fan fiction, as long as they follow the creator’s parameter’s and limitations of the fandom, and also follow the fair use laws along with preventing themselves from committing plagiarism, they can write whatever they want.  Sure, you as the reader of fan fiction can have an opinion, and you can respectfully state whether or not you liked the story and why, but you cannot tell this person to actually stop or change what they are writing.

That means that they can continue to write AU and OOC.

They can write with Mary-Sues/Gary-Stus.

They can write satirical parodies.

They can write reader-inserts as well as self-inserts.

They can write a story that switches POVs five times in a chapter.

They can bash certain characters.

They can write canon characters losing a battle or even dying.

They can write crack fan fiction.

They can have an original character or fan character replace a canon character.

They can do multiple things that you might absolutely abhor and disagree with, but the fact is that as long as they are within fair use, and aren’t committing plagiarism, then the writer can still technically write the fan fiction, and even post it to the public.  

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Voltaire).

What Voltaire had said is practically defines the meaning of freedom of speech, and this can also apply to fan fiction.

Now, whether something being allowed to be written and posted at all and that story becoming popular in a positive way are two different things.  For example, I do think most of the Top Rated stories on Quizilla are absolutely ridiculous, but I don’t send any private messages telling them to stop what they’re doing, or demand that either they delete their stories or demand that changes be made.  All the writers do is right the story; they can’t help it if lots of people like it.  If you keep sending those messages, whether to only one person, or a wide range of people, you will be reported for cyber bullying, or at the very least harassment because you aren’t respecting the other person’s right to write the story.

And, please, don’t argue with “They are ruining the fandom/literature!”  This statement can be considered as a multitude of common literary fallacies depending on the focus of the argument in this statement.  Ad hominem, appeal to ignorance, argument from adverse consequences, etc. there are more, but I’m not going to list it all.  The point is that you don’t have concrete evidence that a certain fan fiction is ruining the fandom or all of literature.  You cannot prove in an objective viewpoint that a group of fan fiction stories are ruining the fandom or even all of literature.  Don’t you think that’s a tad bit of an exaggeration?  Does fan fiction affect what happens in the original fandom?  No, not unless the creator took a peak at the fan fiction in question and plagiarized it to continue their fandom, which would then be the creator’s fault and not the fan fiction writer.

Don’t even bother with “But the creator doesn’t like it!”  You don’t know that, and if the creator doesn’t like it, they can just come out and say it themselves with a cease and desist order.  J.K. Rowling didn’t like certain content in fan fiction regarding her fandoms, and so she put limits.  Some authors don’t like fan fiction being written at all, so file their stuff under a derivative law to protect their rights.  Most authors, however, acknowledge “bad” stories as practice runs because they can remember and relate to a writer starting to bud and grow.  There will be bad stories just like there will be good ones, so stop generalizing everything just because of one story.

“Because to take away a man's freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person” (Madeleine L’Engle).

Even though Voltaire and L’Engle were talking about human rights, I get this same feeling whenever I see a comment telling a fan fiction writer to stop just because they aren’t writing the norm or what is “acceptable” to the public, even though these fan fiction writers still technically have the right to write their story however they want.  Kindness and tact can go a long way.  If several people say that they simply didn’t like the story because of this one thing, then the writer would be more willing to reconsider their writing than if they faced comments just telling them to stop even though they know they are within their fan fiction rights.

Now, that being said, fan fiction writers, you may be able to write whatever you desire, but don’t expect it to be accepted or popular.  There is always a chance that you’ll receive comments telling you to stop, or comments that degrade you as a person, and these comments can be hurtful.  I know.  I went through that with my very first fan fiction, and it still makes me angry thinking about it.

The one thing I wish that someone told me from the very beginning is that you are allowed to accept or deny any comment that comes your way.  If you aren’t doing anything technically wrong, as long as you stay within fair use and aren’t plagiarizing, then you don’t have to listen to anyone that you don’t want to.  You don’t have to change or delete your fan fiction just because one person, or a group of people, tells you to.  When you receive comments like these, you can ignore them, and if they can be classified as cyber bullying, or if they keep commenting in this manner, which would definitely make it harassment, you can report it and block that person.  Just ignore comments like that even if they try and goad you into replying.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to respectable constructive criticism when it is in an objective viewpoint with a dash of subjective that is portrayed in a tactful manner with sensitivity in mind, but I just want you to know that no matter what you write, and no matter how “badly” it is written, you don‘t deserve to be treated with that abrasive and possibly abusive method of “reviewing.”

I could go into how to write a story, teach you grammar and spelling, but that falls under general literature, and there are many sites that can help you with that sort of thing if you just look it up on Google.  In regards to fan fiction, I think this just about covers it.  
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