Fanfic: Original?

One of the most successful trilogies in recent times began in a fanfiction blog, where the author, inspired by another series of books, narrated over-the-top love fantasies frequently reaching a censored tone. This is how in fiction, a vampire became a successful businessman in grey clothes, and how a “fanfic” author became one of the best-paid authors in the world.

Fanfics are stories commonly published on the Internet based on popular fictional characters or universes created by fans (usually) without the author’s permission.

Numerous voices accuse this genre of an outright copyright violation. As we saw in my previous post, a character by itself can be protected by Intellectual Property. If this protection is achieved, the character’s use is restricted to third parties, including, of course, the fans. For those exclusive characters, it would be clearer to establish the infringement when they are used without authorization to narrate other stories or in different contexts.

Despite this, we must understand that copyright does not grant absolute rights. In most legal systems, there are specific authorized uses, such as personal use, educational use, and in some countries, parody or criticism is also allowed. Likewise, beyond the law, there is the business behind these franchises, the decision to hunt those who nurture your popularity is usually not very attractive or advisable. 

Going back to the grey tones of the extraordinary initial example, we can see that what started as inspiration based on an existing work can become a separate work considered as original. If originality is understood as that which transforms and differs from its origin, then the point of departure or inspiration may not be critical in deciding whether a work deserves to be protected or not. Generally speaking, copyright allows the protection of all original intellectual creations. Subjective elements, such as artistic merit or the quality of a work, should not affect its protection under the law.

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