David Montgomery has posted an interesting essay on his blog about what he’s learned about fanfic from the debate that has raged here the last few days:
1) Most FanFic is a violation of the copyrights of the original creators. (The main exception to this is works in the public domain, which are free for all.)
2) This violation doesn’t really amount to much and is probably not actionable in most cases.
2a) Most writers of FanFic are unaware (or don’t care) that they are violating copyrights.
2b) They aren’t making any money off it anyway.
3) There is no essential difference between writing FanFic involving Huckleberry Finn or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, other than the copyright concerns.
4) Writing FanFic is a diverting hobby for some people.
5) Writing FanFic might be of some use to its creator as a learning tool, but the writer would be a lot better off creating his/her own works, if they can.
6) Presumably FanFic is fun for some peple to read, although hardly anyone seems to be making this point. (I get the impression that FanFic has many writers, but few readers.)
7) Most FanFic is crap (Sturgeon’s Law in action), but some of it’s pretty good.
8) The sexually-oriented FanFic (slash, mpreg, etc.) is downright creepy — and there’s quite a bit of it out there.
9) One will never convince FanFic writers that they’d be better off pursuing works of their own — and they’ll get mad if you try.
And, perhaps, most importantly…
10) FanFic is not a serious thing, nor an important one, so there’s no point in treating it as such. It’s fun for those who practice it, largely harmless, probably pointless, and the discussion of it has occupied too much of my time the past couple days.
I think I’ve learned a few of the same things. I may follow his lead and post my own list in the next day or two…