The Legality of Fanmade Items

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m_dono on LiveJournal asked Should Fanmade Items Be Illegal?

Wow, what a softball question. NO!  That was easy, the harder question is why do Major Media companies see Fanmade Items as something they need to destroy.

Fanac v Piracy

Copyright control freaks really don't understand the difference between a Fanmade Item and Piracy.  They also don't understand the Personal Computing revelation (yeah, they need to get over that before we can even get to the internet).

I started my first Fanzine before the internet really got fired up.  I used to go over to a friend's house and use his mother's Mac to collect up stories and opinions and print them out.  We gave away these zines, charging only for postage.  Word Processors opened up a new world to people like me who wanted to share my love for Star Trek, Star Wars, and Forever Knight.

They never understood that.  They thought we should have had the audacity to do anything other than accept the content they gave us as the mindless consumers they want us to be.

There is a big difference between a fan creating a work of love and uploading a complete episode of a show to bit torrent.

While I don't buy it, there is an argument to be made that pirate downloads of someone else's intellectual property could do them financial harm.  The same argument can never be made for Fanac.

Fanmade Items = Free Publicity

Fans know what they like in a particular franchise, and those are the aspects they highlight in their vids, fanfic, fanfilms, et al.

I started watching True Blood because of the fan community.  I saw several vids that got me interested in the series, and so I started renting it.  It took a while, but it worked.

Copyright Holders must begin to see their fans as an asset rather than as a liability.  Word of mouth is the best advertising, and the tighter they pull the noose on Fans, the less word of mouth, or worse, the more negative word of mouth they get.

So do your part, write a filk, make a vid, or just tell a story, and Copyright Holders, spotlight the best fan made items.  Fans are the heart of your audience and your secret weapon to gain market share.  Wake up, and join the convention already in progress!

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