This thought-provoking video from PBS Idea Channel speculates, on the future of fandoms. It asks the questions: Will fans be able to control the media they celebrate? Will fan created works and the argument of Fair Use alter copyright law? Will fandoms find a place in politics and government?
As fans we enjoy the original works that we are fans of but also see it’s flaws and it’s those imperfections that we attempt to address in our own works. But our fan-fiction and alternative ending videos and such are built on copyrighted material. Although Fair Use protects fanworks, it isn’t a law, just a defence.
But don’t worry because there is an organisation of fans fighting our corner who believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate. The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a non-profit organisation established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. They seek to protect all fanworks from commercial exploitation and legal challenge. Yay!
I didn’t know we had a movement but there are a lot of things I don’t know. Here’s something you might find interesting: a paper entitled Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Lucrative Fandom: Recognizing the Economic Power of Fanworks and Reimagining Fair Use in Copyright.
I’ve written fan fiction to extend a story or take it in a different direction but it’s always been for fun. Do you create your fanworks in the hope that they might become cannon in your particular fandom? Why do you do what you do?