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The Next Corporate Takeover? - Morgan Dawn Livejournal:The Here And Now
The Here And Now
The Next Corporate Takeover?
"But both Fifty Shades and After prompt questions, within fan communities and without, about what it means to write fan fiction now that the practice has been thrust into the public eye, and now that a select few are raking in enormous profits from the practice.

What is the purpose of fan fiction? There is no single correct answer. It can be a way to critically engage with the source material – a rewriting of a plotline, a reexamination of a scene from another angle, a what-if twist that alters the entire thing. It can be a way of fulfilling a fantasy – say, when you write that your favorite singer has fallen in love with an ordinary girl. It can be pure, sugar-spun fun; it can be more challenging, emotionally or intellectually, than the works that inspired it. It can be an enormous dialogue, inter-fandom and intra-fandom, sharing tropes and themes and methods of experimentation. It can be a way to just spend more time, in whatever way you prefer, with characters or a world that you find compelling. It can be a space that exists wholly outside the pressures of commercial writing – a story can have a million followers, or just one, and it doesn’t make a difference. But then, if a story has a million followers, is it hitting that commercially-publishable note – and can you fault the publishers, or the writers, from cashing in?"

---"The truth behind that six-figure deal for Harry Styles fan fiction" in the New Statesman, dated June 24, 2014.

This reminds me of Congressional hearings in the early 1900s over audio recordings (aka records). Most music was created and performed in the home or in community settings by and for members of the community. The fear was that audio recordings would kill the community and creativity of local musicians by commercializing the practice and rendering the home grown versions as both unnecessary and unwanted competition.:

talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy...in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape." (Lawrence Lessig cited this as part of his argument against stricter copyright laws).

Fan Fiction has always been a grass root creation and the introduction of the Internet made it even more "grass rooty"  (accessible to a wider range of fans). If fan fiction becomes monetized, then our culture will be in direct competition with commercial fan fiction. But therein lies fandom's strength - because until commercial fan fiction embraces the knotting, the tentacle, the incest, the MPREG, the gender fluid, and the many other forms of fantasy yearning to be free, it can never compete with the unfettered, freaky, amazing and wonderful human imagination.

So bring on the competition and let's see who blinks first.*

(*But let's also support the OTW, the EFF and any other entity that fights for fair use and non-commercial transformative use, because I suspect corporate interests are stacking the legal deck to avoid real competition.)

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