Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fan Fiction, Fair Use, and the Internet

Natalia Cianfaglione, Boston University School of Law & Bard College, has published Hollywood Online: Fan Fiction, Copyright, and the Internet. Here is the abstract.

The Internet has allowed fan fiction to reach new heights. YouTube and similar technologies have allowed fans to engage in creative and massively shared interaction with copyrighted works of authorship. While all of this online fan activity reinforces the popularity and success of Hollywood franchises and arguably, provides the studios with valuable free advertising, fan fiction also raises a number of important copyright questions.

This paper explores the copyright issues involved in the creation of fan fiction. Using two case studies, this paper discusses the applicability of the fair use defense and the implied license defense to the most common types of fan fiction videos available on the Internet – parodies and mash-ups. Finally, this paper discusses the different responses from studios to these different types of fan created works, ranging from complete intolerance to any use of their copyrighted material to welcoming fan created work by providing a platform for fans to contribute their original ideas and content. Ultimately, this paper argues that these people, these fans who appropriate copyrighted content but transform it to pay homage to the franchises to which they are so devoted, should be protected by the fair use doctrine.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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