Fanfiction – Who Owns the Copyright?

Contents

  1. Fanfiction authors don’t own anything about their stories. Fanfiction cannot be copyrighted.” – Sorry, guys, it’s not that simple.
  2. Derivative or Transformative – The distinction that makes all the difference
    a. Derivative
    b. Transformative
    c. The Case of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey – Derivative or Transformative?
  3. Is all source material copyrighted?
    a. Test: Sufficiently Delineated characters
    b. Test: The “Story being told”
    c. The Problem with Character Copyright
  4. So what if the source material/character is copyright protected?
  5. What does fair use mean?
  6. Can authors such as Anne Rice or Marion Zimmer Bradley forbid fanfiction?
  7. What about another fan stealing my story or republishing it without my consent?
    a. Why do people still claim they have the right to take a fanfic because the author doesn’t have any rights to the story?
  8. So what can I do to protect myself and my stories?

 

If you are a writer or reader of fanfiction, or are simply active in online fandoms or online communities, you have surely come across the debate concerning fanfiction and its supposed missing copyright protection. These online debates are scarcely filled with actual information, but rather an abundance of opinions disguised as facts. Many involved debaters seem to draw their info from their own set of morals, and argue on the basis of what SHOULD be law in their opinion instead of looking at what we are actually dealing with.

Since I myself became victim of not only plagiarism, but also copyright infringement several times last year, I decided to tackle the issue the way it makes most sense to me: by getting information. Not from the internet—instead I did a quick research for actual published works in the field of legal and cultural studies by professionals.

From my own master’s degree in cultural and literary studies, I know that fanfiction has been heatedly debated in several academic fields for almost a decade now: usually in the realms of cultural and literary studies. So, I figured, if cultural scientists write papers—and whole books—analyzing fanfiction and its cultural impact and significance, there have to be works that analyze the legal standing of fanfiction from a copyright perspective.

And I was right. I stumbled across Aaron Schwabach’s book “Fanfiction and Copyright – Outsider Works and Intellectual Copyright Protection”. Schwabach is a professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California. One of his focus points is intellectual property. So his work provided an excellent starting point, for I knew I was dealing with a law professional who knows what he’s talking about. Which, in my world, is leaps better than dealing with opinionated people online who base their arguments on wishful thinking or obscure sources (“a friend of a friend” and so on).

Luckily, my university library was able to order his book from another library, since purchasing it from amazon (even the Kindle edition!) would have cost over US$100. So shout out and major credit to Free University of Berlin here, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to get my hands on the book.

Read more about whether you own the copyright for your fanfiction here.

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Plagiarism in Fiction Writing by Kimberley Jackson
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Plagiarism in the Fiction Writing World

Today I want to write a post about plagiarism and art theft. Mostly because recently I have become victim of it quite a few times, but also because it’s a topic that not many people seem to have an understanding off.

So let me start out with a basic definition of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Many people think that plagiarism only means copying another person’s sentence word by word. But legally it’s also plagiarism to take another person’s idea. Ideas, concepts or structure can also be plagiarized, provided they are an original composition.

The Legal Dictionary defines plagiarism as the following: The act of appropriating the literary composition of another, or parts or passages of his writings, or the ideas or language of the same, and passing them off as the product of one’s own mind.

(Source: Law Dictionary: What is PLAGIARISM? definition of PLAGIARISM (Black’s Law Dictionary))

Now why are there so many misconceptions about plagiarism then? It seems to be mostly because many people are under the impression that you can freely copy another person’s ideas as long as you don’t use their exact words.

To clear up some misunderstandings about plagiarism, I have compiled an article addressing 4 of the most common myths out there, that I myself have heard over and over again:

Myth #1 – You can basically retell the exact story of Harry Potter as long as you don’t name your character Harry Potter.

Myth #2 – Fifty Shades of Grey plagiarized Twilight

Myth #3 – It’s ‘Inspiration’, it’s not plagiarism!

Myth #4 – Nowadays, everything is plagiarized, because everything has been written in some form before.

Read more…

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GIVEAWAY!!! – Stargate Aschen ebook hits 750 downloads!

About 3 weeks ago, I released a free ebook called Stargate Aschen, a dystopian science-fiction novel borrowing characters from the popular television franchise Stargate. Since its publication, Stargate Aschen hit 750 downloads yesterday–which exceeds all my expectations.

To celebrate this, I created a little giveaway where you can win a Stargate Aschen Goody Box which consists of stickers, postcards and photoprints of my artwork for this and other stories.

All art was designed and created by Kimberley Jackson. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction.

You can enter the giveaway by clicking the image below. Have fun!

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Stargate Aschen Ebook by Kimberley Jackson

Stargate Aschen – Free ebook for download for all devices!

Who doesn’t like free stuff, right?

Now you can download my dystopian science-fiction romance “Stargate Aschen” as an ebook for free! Files are available for all devices. You can choose to either go for MOBI, Epub or PDF.

Stargate Aschen Ebook by Kimberley Jackson

Stargate Aschen

A Dystopian Science-Fiction Romance

In the year 799 (Aschen calender), Earth is a colony under strict reign by an oppressive Aschen government. The Aschen have turned humans into slaves, and seized control over the entire planet, including the Stargate–a device that allows them to form a wormhole and travel thousands of light years across the galaxy to their home planet within seconds.

Humanity is at the brink of extinction. Due to advanced Aschen medicine human lifespan has almost tripled, but most of the human population is born infertile. Only a small percent of humans are so-called gifted ones, who are able to conceive/father children. Strict rules apply to these gifted ones, as the Aschen government wants to uphold the human population.

Samantha Carter is 25 years old. She has just come of age and undergoes her first fertility tests. When her tests turn out positive, her life is about to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Unwilling to accept a forced marriage and life in a breeding facility under Aschen control, she runs away from home to find the resistance and fight for the freedom of Earth as well as her own.

As she meets Jack O’Neill, camp leader of resistance Cell 4, neither of them realizes they are bound together by more than the mutual goal to free Earth from Aschen reign. Side by side, they fight to liberate their world from the oppression of an alien race using a second, secret Stargate found almost a century before in the Antarctica forests…

Note: Although this work borrows characters and concepts from the television show Stargate SG-1, this work stands on its own and is independent from the television show.

You can download your free ebook here, or, if you’d rather read it first, you can also read “Stargate Aschen” online.

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Kimberley Jackson – Winter Giveaway #1

Hey all you Stargate SG-1 fans out there,

I’m running a giveaway on my website at the moment, where I’m giving away three special edition postcards of my Stargate inspired art.

If you want to participate, all you need to do is leave a comment on my website under the post. You can gain additional entry tickets by leaving a comment under the giveaway Facebook post, or tweeting the blogpost to twitter.

You can find all additional information here.