1. Toriea
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    Toriea New Member

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    What's the Legality of Posting Fanfic Content on the Same Site as Original Work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Toriea, Dec 27, 2011.

    I am in the very early planning phase of the conworld that I am currently creating, within which I am going to be setting my first serious attempt at writting a full fledged novel. At this moment in time I am not yet ready to start writing stories set upon this world.

    In order to help with developing my writing skills I am currently writing fanfiction stories; as most of the world development is already done for you! This is also what I call my hobby writing! Now, I want to be able to create pages for these fanfics on my website to give background information and character profiles.

    My question is thus: because these are works of fanfiction, would I still be able to post them to the same site that will also be, eventually, hosting encyclopedic information about my original works, or would I have to post them to a completely different site? I am mostly asking as some might see this as trying to make money off them, which is not what my intention is. Any help with this situation would be greatly appreciated.

    I wish you well.
    Tor...
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Whether you are making money off the material or not doesn't impact copyright infringement apart from affecting one factor in any Fair Use determination that might later be made. If you're writing fanfic that infringes the copyright of the rights-holder, the fact that you aren't making money won't matter at all - in fact, copyright has statutory damages to allow for a situation where there are no real monetary damages.

    Trademark and unfair competition claims might be impacted (and not in your favor) by including the works on a site that is making money.

    All of this is highly fact-specific. One of the first things you should do is determine whether you are violating copyright with the fanfiction, and it is looks likely, then you are best off getting permission from whoever owns the rights, or at the very least doing some looking to see how vigorous the rights-owner is in protecting copyright.

    Edit: I'm speaking in the context of U.S. law here.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    You're thinking way too hard about it. No one is going to sue you over a few pieces of fan fiction on a personal website. Wikipedia actually has a very thorough page discussing the legal issues around fanction, and even in the context of US law (which is by far the most rabid in terms of the persecution of copyright infringement) there is grounds to claim fair use--it isn't as watertight as parody or criticism, but providing your intentions are non-commercial and you don't attempt to mislead readers about the origins of the work, then there is no real risk in putting unpublished fanfiction online. And at worst, your website host gets slapped a DMCA notice and takes your website offline.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This isn't true. It is better to give an accurate picture than to blithely present the OP with bad advice.

    It is likely that no one will care about the fanfiction. There have been some authors who have been fairly strict in what they claim to protect/own. Others couldn't care less about fanfiction.

    The truth is, the worst that can happen is that you get hauled into federal district court. There is no requirement that the owner of the copyright send you notices first. Those provisions of the DMCA are directed to service providers, and the copyright owner can still go after the infringer.

    Given that copyright infringement litigation is expensive, and allows for statutory damages and the award of attorneys fees in some cases, it is by far preferably to have an accurate view of things before proceeding. In all likelihood, no one will bat an eye at the infringement (if there is any infringement to begin with). That small chance should be weighed against an accurate view of the potential costs.
     
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  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have my fanfiction on a personal website - but anything connected with my original work I intend to keep entirely separate. I'm neither ashamed of my fanfic or worried about legalities (the owners have always been supportive of fanfic), but that's for fun and trying things out (ie, there are mistakes and missteps I can 'accept' in fanfic that I would not in my original works). I look at the separation the same way some writers have different pseudonyms for different genres.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to steerpike... he's an attorney!
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    If it's written by the same author as the original work, it's not fanfiction. Fanfiction is written by a fan, not the original author. It's spin-off pieces, or alternate universe pieces, not fanfiction.
     
  8. Toriea
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    Toriea New Member

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    Thank you all for your input. After thinking about it, I have determined that the best course of action would be for me to keep all references to my fanfiction works on a separate site; even if it's on the same domain. Doing it this way means that I can put a disclaimer in the footer of each page without it affecting the rest of my content.
     

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