Fan Fiction Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), January 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

Fan Fiction Sincerest Form of Flattery


Byline: Jesse Thiessen 20Below News Team / The Register-Guard

SO LET'S SAY you're fascinated with a musician, a book series, characters in movies, video games, etc. What do many people do in such circumstances?

Why, they write fan fiction, of course!

For those who don't know what fan fiction is, or for those who could use a nice introduction regardless, fan fiction is writing stories about something already created, real life or otherwise. Often it centers around a character: a musician, a movie star, a movie character, video game character, etc.

For example, a "Star Wars" fan might write a small piece on the last bit of `Return of the Jedi' from Darth Vader's point of view. Or a fan of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" might write humorous biographies for all the Knights of the Round Table. Fan fiction expands on a world an artist has created.

While this is nothing new, much fan fiction is published on the Internet for mass consumption, which causes much brow-furrowing from the people who have created these characters - and from the companies that own them.

For example, Anne Rice asked fanfiction.net (An extremely large and popular site for all kinds of fan fiction) to take down all fan fiction relating to Anne Rice's works or characters, under threat of pressuring fanfiction.net's server to shut them down.

Rice claimed copyright infringement, and in a statement issued by her lawyers, said, `Such use of such characters and material without Ms. Rice's permission constitutes copyright infringement. While Ms. Rice greatly appreciates the interest of her fans in her characters and material, it is her and our responsibility to make sure that her rights are not infringed."

Other people who haven't taken kindly to fan fiction are:

Fox, which shut down all fan-fiction sites for `Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and its other TV shows.

Warner Bros., which quashed multiple fan sites about the Harry Potter movie - although after a public relations meltdown, the studio has backed off. …

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