“Is fan fiction legal? Fans are understandably nervous.”

…many commentators, and indeed, many fans themselves, operate on the rueful assumption that fan fiction does in fact infringe copyright.

Undaunted by this, Rebecca Tushnet, a professor of law at Georgetown University, and a keen fan fiction writer herself, wants to take fan fiction out of the legal shadows where it has operated, more or less at sufferance, for decades, and carve out a legal place for it within the US doctrine of fair use. She has recently helped found the Organization for Transformative Use, with the mandate to establish fan fiction within the parameters of legal, non-infringing use.

(Grace Westcott, “Friction over Fan Fiction”, Literary Review of Canada, Jul./Aug., via A&L Daily; our posts on fans as infringers).


  • Anything that limits copyright is good in my book.

  • Hate to be contrary, but if I took the time and trouble to invent a character and had the good luck to get it published, I would be more than put out to discover another writer had usurped my work and was using same said character in a work of their own. This certainly would fly in the visual arts, even fair use and parody have their limits. I always thought copyright was supposed to be about time not content.

    For the record, there really in a website http://www.tush.net. Don’t go there, nothing but a parking site for adult links. I just knew it was going to about ZZ Top’s song of the same name. I was so disappointed.

  • There is a group promoting fan works. It was started by Naomi Novick of Temeraire fame, and it’s know as the Organization for Transformative Works. Then you have the “1632” community at Baen’s Bar, which is essentially a fan works community approved by the series creator Eric Flint. (It helps to remember that Eric is a practicing Leninist with an appreciation for a healthy profit line. Going broke makes it hard to save Humanity.)

  • A better question: Is Potter/Snape slash-fic legal?

    I hope to God it isn’t.