OTW Fannews: Who’s claiming fanworks?

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  • Momentum Books covered the usual concerns about authorship in the fanfic age. But they also cited the case of “Jordin B. Williams’ novel Amazingly Broken that has sparked accusations of intense plagiarism of multiple best sellers, identity fraud, and all-round skullduggery when it came to promoting the book. Readers were furious to find Williams’ book had directly plagiarised large passages from other authors of a similar genre, and the author has since been confusingly linked to a previous fanfiction story with a duplicate plotline…Perhaps these examples are a cautionary tale for aspiring authors looking to utilise online communities, or a warning to publishers to be wary of unknown writers.”
  • Who owns fanworks may become a controversial topic, especially if media properties distribute it without saying if they got permission to do so. Collaborative writing projects have been online for a long time with open-source characters. These days successful projects may be closer than ever to fan-created works. Projects such as Wikia’s collaborative writing offer is deliberately asking for fan participation. But there’s no discussion of contributor rights in their announcement, or what agreements fans might have to sign.
  • Fanfic’s ability to generate money is creating more open discussion about a project’s fannish roots. But as this post at Today.com (which quotes TWC editor Karen Hellekson) mentions, who will benefit the most from this openness is still unknown. Says Henry Jenkins, “‘The gender politics are very real here. The majority of fan fiction is written by women who are telling stories that don’t reach the public, because Hollywood has a hard time telling stories about women’s lives.’ He hopes that Amazon has women on its Kindle Worlds advisory board who understand the role women play in creating fan fiction ‘or they’ll get serious pushback.'”

What ownership disagreements have you seen surrounding fanworks? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.