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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

emmuzka
May. 23rd, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
Sorry to jump in the conversation late, but:

They have the right to use Submissions "in connection with the Website."

If they published and sold an anthology at any more than reasonable cost of distribution, I know lots of lawyers (including your humble correspondent) who would be slavering and baying to sue for breach of license.


It seems like they have a *very* different idea of what the "in connection with the Website" means. In their adverticing leaflet they write:

A FAN'S ULTIMATE REWARD
When the work of the fans is complete, the ultimate prize is to actually produce and distribute their creation.

Air on television alongside regular programming
Publish as a book or part of an anthology
Distribute as DVD-extra, theatrical trailer, or online à la BMW Films
Stream on the web as animation
Print in magazine as part of a sponsored ad section
Ultimately, create a fan-powered event series


With stating things like that to the investors, who can honestly think that the fiction writers pull-out will work?
stmarc
May. 23rd, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
That's an ad for the fan event promotions they sell to IP rightsholders. While I agree that it's something to keep in mine when considering their long-term goals, it doesn't really contradict the TOS. If a fan pulls a story, or won't participate in a fan event, they'll have some explaining to do to the rightsholder, but it won't affect the fan's rights. They couldn't cite this as relevant to the question of what "in connection with the website" means very effectively (especially with that pesky integration clause.)

M
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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