Academic Paper, 2017
21 Pages, Grade: 1.3
What if Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock actually did share a romantic relationship? What if Sauron had won the War of the Ring? What if Katniss had not volunteered for the annual Hunger Games and had let her little sister participate in the deathful competition to fight for her bare life? Who knows…? Authors inevitably leave the readers of their stories deprived of information, additional plotlines and answers to countless “what ifs”. Imaginative homo and -heterosexual relationships, the continuation of deceased characters or simply alternative endings of novels rob true devotees of sleep on a regular basis. So much so that discontent of fans, combined with their creativity and willingness to awaken the author within themselves, has enabled fan fiction to emerge as a popular form of fan labor with many subgenres. Being loosely defined as “any prose retelling of stories and characters drawn from mass-media content” , fan fiction has appeared in fan magazines and other forms of print since the 1930s. The “explosion” of the internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, has taken fan fiction to a new level of popularity. Fellow fans across the globe can interact with fan fiction, and the writers are given international recognition within their respective fandoms.
This widespread recognition has also had the effect of attracting the attention of original authors, and them being confronted with stories revolving around the universe that they created. While many authors have publically stated their tolerance for or even praise of fan fiction, and have even encouraged it, others have dispraised it for its shrewdness, sexuality or often times its dreadful style of writing. However, authors have taken legal actions against plenty of their admirers in the past – regardless of their personal stance on fan fiction.
This paper will deal with the infringement of the author’s rights through fan fiction under the U.S. Law and “probably most famous lawsuit ever brought by an author against a fan” – J.K. Rowling against Steven Vander Ark (and RDR Books).
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