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FanLIb: What Are Your Thoughts?

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this community and I have a question for those members with legal expertise.

What are your opinions on FanLib.com?

Some of you may or may not have heard about it, but it's avidly being discussed over at metafandom  and in many people's personal journals.

It's a new for-profit site for posting fanfiction from any fandom that was founded by a non-fandom group. Recently launched, it has many people on edge because it seems like these businessmen are trying to profit off of the hard work of fiction writers. It's catapulting fandom into the spotlight without actually asking us if we wanted to be there in the first place or understanding fandom at the most basic of levels. They have tried to engage members of fandom, but in doing so have really only shown their ignorance and insensitivity about the cares of fandom.

Their Terms of Service seem to be worrying some people the most. It's worded very sneakily and deliberately, but it effectively says, among other things, that you don't have a right to ask for royalties if they, for instance, decided to publish an anthology of fanfiction and sell it. This also means you lose your rights to your work. Furthermore, because they are such a mainstream website and are encouraging people to post fanfiction about works to which they do not hold copyrights, it seems as if they are inviting lawsuits and C&D orders. I don't think many users know this however because they state that they are backed by many big businesses and publishing houses like Harper Collins. They create a false sense of comfort without actually backing this up with facts. Also, if you do get sued, the TOS allows them to wash their hands of you.

This could be a case of fandom collectively overreacting and a new company starting off on the wrong foot, but it really doesn't seem like that all.

There are many other objections to the site being voiced, but I was just wondering what the lawyers in this comm thought of the it, its TOS, and how much of a legal risk fan writers would be taking if they posted their work on the site.

Thanks!

Comments

rez_lo
May. 22nd, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to jump in, and I feel as though I'm harping on this point a little obssessively, but what the heck...

FanLib's test case was a fansite for the Showtime/CBS series The L Word. Hilary Rosen of the RIAA was named president of that new company, OurChart.org. Jon Moonves, brother of Les Moonves, CEO of CBS, is on the FanLib board.

Hilary Rosen's done everything in her power to criminalize fair use. Les Moonves is way on board with strategies to monetize fandom. So whatever's going on here, it's not ignorance of copyright or naivete about fanfic's legally fuzzy status, imo.

The notion that FanLib's a test-bed aimed at forcing cases that'll sort legal (i.e., corporate-controlled/sanctioned) from illegal (all the rest) is not out of the question, also imo. In the meantime, it's also a possible way of identifying which "properties" are ripe for L-word-style treatment, which made the Showtime folks a lot of money, based on stuff the fans did for free.

(Links for the above available at life_wo_fanlib, set up by stewardess to collect discussion links.)
rez_lo
May. 22nd, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Gah. Meant to say, Jon Moonves, heavyweight entertainment industry lawyer and brother of Les Moonves, is on the FanLib board.
This Community should be used for informative and educational purposes only or to give the public a general understanding of the law.
Nothing in this community, its posts or the comments thereto should be considered as specific advice. Your access to and use of this Community means that you understand and acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship exists between you and any poster or commenter hereto, and that the Community should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney/counselor/solicitor in your jurisdiction.

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