Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Can I publish fanfiction (for profit)?

Fanfiction is the art of writing/creating work based on another work. Examples of this can be found all over the web, from Wattpad to my personal account, to deviantArt. Fanfiction is known as derivative work and is protected under copyright laws.

Many authors and developers of work agree that fanfiction is good, with J K Rowling admitting that fanfiction makes her feel honoured, and a lot of Japanese manga-artists actually fully endorsing the use of their characters in what is known in Japan as doujinshi, or the use of characters in new manga comics.
I have made posts on how to make fanfiction, but it is important to realise what you can and cannot do with what you have made.
It is totally fine to post your work on places like and deviantART, provided you will not make profits from it. However, some authors and other creatives have taken a very strong stance against their work being used, such as Anne Rice. It is always good to check on the site you are publishing on if you are allowed to use characters that are copyrighted.
It is not fine, however, to attempt to publish work for profit without the owner's permission. It is advisable to attempt to gain permission before publishing, if you hope to publish for money. However, this can be a long, and sometimes expensive process and it can be much easier to create your own work.
Fanfictions can be flipped upside down however, and the likeness of a character is generally fine. 50 Shades of Grey started it's successful life as a fanfiction of Twilight, yet most people have heard of the series. Remember though, legal trouble is abound if you do not take precautions with your fictions.

In short, you must always respect the wishes of original owners, otherwise you face criminal charges. It is usually a good thing to post your work on the internet for free, usually just to have fun with the community and explore your ideas and share them. However, you cannot claim the characters as your own.

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