Letter to the Editor: Why the Fuss Around Fanfiction?
by Kimberly García R | published Nov. 6th, 2016
After reading the article entitle “Fanfiction: A legal battle of creativity” by Bailey Gribben, there are some considerations I believe must be addressed. In recent years, fanfiction went from being a fad to becoming an international internet sensation which content creators are not totally supportive of. Some see it as a violation of their copyrights, and others as a compliment to their own work. However, fanfiction is not taking someone else’s work and making it appear as their own. Fanfiction is, in the words of Amanda Michalak, a famous published fanfic writer, “a creative outlet for fans to continue a character’s story past what the original author had written or to create new events in the existing storylines.” That is why fanfiction should be allowed as long as it does not turn into a commercial activity.” That is why fanfiction should be allowed as long as it does not turn into a commercial activity.
Content creators have to understand that fanfiction was created as a response to the fans, and that to stop its growth is impossible. There are thousands of websites for fanfiction reading, each with millions of fanfics in an unimaginable number of languages. Instead of worrying about others using their copyright-protected elements, content owners need to pay close attention to what makes fanfiction stories appealing to the readers, and in some cases, more successful than the original work. Fans do not have to choose between the original content and fanfiction; therefore, it does not have a direct negative effect on book sales or TV ratings. On the contrary, fanfiction can be considered free advertising and publicity.
Fanfiction succeeds thanks to the readers’ and fans’ support, and unlike original content, to their feedback. To have direct contact with the person who writes the piece of work is easier and often encouraged in the world of fanfiction. Fanfic writers usually ask for comments on their writing, and use such responses to improve their own writing skills and the work itself. In addition, by connecting with readers’ preferences about a specific TV show or book, fanfiction writers are capable of developing their creativity at the same time as readers get more involved and immersed in the world the original creators have established.
The moment fanfiction becomes a commercial activity is the moment content creators should intervene, and those within the fanfiction world should denounce the offense. Whether it is the person who writes or the platform on which it is published, profiting from fanfiction goes against its main purpose, which is the free enjoyment of the fan-made content. Any earnings that come from the exploitation of others’ original ideas for one’s personal gain have to be punished, but fanfiction does not qualify as such, so why condemn such creative expression if it brings positive outcomes not only for the writer, and readers, but for the content creators as well. Let’s not shut down creative outlets; we might be repressing future famous writers.