My Policy on Fanfic and Other Adaptations of My Work
In the wake of my recent posts about FanLib, and for other reasons, I’ve been asked a bit about how I feel about fan fiction in my universes and/or people adapting my work to other media (particularly film). So, here’s what I think about that, posted here so I can refer people back to it rather than say it over and over privately.
Note the following is not a legal agreement for anything. It’s just me talking in a theoretical sense.
First: I do retain and reserve all rights to my work. I’m not very squishy about that fact. Just so you know. If you play in my universe, you implicitly accept I have the right to come around, say “mine!” and then stomp off with all your pretty toys. Yeah, I know. I’m a dick. What can I say.
Second: As long as you can deal with that first point, as far as I’m concerned, you may play in my universe(s) as long as the emphasis is on “play.” This means that nothing you do in my universes may:
a) Generate any sort of economic benefit for you, in any form;
b) Generate any sort of economic benefit for any third party;
c) Cause me economic detriment of any sort.
Basically, don’t try to make any money off my universes, and please don’t do something that’s going to make it difficult for me to make money off my universes. My mortgages and my daughter’s college education fund thank you in advance.
That said, some quick thoughts on stuff in particular:
Fanfic: Have fun. Don’t show it to me. And for God’s sake, if you see me at a con, don’t tell me about this great John Perry/Lazarus Long/The Skipper from Gilligan’s Island slash you wrote/saw on a LiveJournal group. I don’t want to know. Seriously.
Fan art: I actually don’t mind seeing this, although you should know that me saying “Cool!” does not constitute canonical approval. As above, you can skip showing me the hentai or the yaoi, especially if it involves the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island.
Filk: I can’t imagine why anyone would want to make filk out of any of my stuff, but hey, whatever.
Movie/TV scripts: We’re aggressively trying to sell movie/TV rights, so do keep all movie/TV adaptations for your own amusement/edification only, which is to say it would make me happy for you not to float them even as specs to agents, etc. Definitely don’t send these to me.
Audio/Podcast versions: These are also rights we’re shopping. Read it aloud for your own amusement; please don’t post or broadcast.
School projects: Some folks at design/animation/art schools have contacted me wanting to know if they can use some of my work as elements of their school work. My line on this is as long as it’s for educational purposes, that’s fine. Hope you get a good grade. I’m not going to be involved with your design process, but after it’s done, if you want to show it to me, that’s fine.
Parodies: Dude, parody’s totally covered by fair use. You don’t even have to ask. Just make it, you know, good.
Actual, Genuine Licensing: If you want to license any part of my work — and you would have to if you have a project that entails even attempting to make money, or doing anything that is in a field where I could make money off it — then you need to contact me. I’ll point you in the direction of my business representatives. When in doubt, contact me.
Questions? Leave ’em in the comment thread.