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101 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc'y 274 (2019-2021)
I Wrote This, I Swear!: Protecting the "Copyright" of Fanfiction Writers from the Thievery of Other Fanfiction Writers

handle is hein.journals/jpatos101 and id is 278 raw text is: 274

I Wrote This, I Swear!:
Protecting the Copyright of Fanfiction Writers
from the Thievery of Other Fanfiction Writers
Narisa Bandali*
People who write fanfiction do so to explore, sustain, and contribute to
content to which they feel a connection-content that is generally protected
under copyright. The legal status of fanfiction in comparison to copyright
law is a gray area, but fanfiction is generally considered to be transforma-
tive. Regardless of how a court may view fanfiction, writers of fanfiction in-
vest time, effort, and passion into works that can sometimes be longer than
a normal published novel. While fanfiction is currently a topic of discussion
in the legal world, plagiarism of fanfiction tends to be ignored. Similarly,
plagiarism within the fanfiction community does not currently have any
real regulation besides social pressure, like online shaming.
However, fanfiction writers can be protected from those who plagia-
rize their work through the codification of their current social norms and
the emulation of current, legal frameworks. The fanfiction community al-
ready has social norms, including those against the commercialization of
fanworks. The community also frowns upon plagiarism. American and
European law have instruments of regulation that allow rights holders to
have infringing works taken down through the Digital Millennium Copy-
right Act and the European Directive on Electronic Commerce, respec-
tively. An association that adapts legal instruments to regulate plagiarism
in the fanfiction community, codifying social norms into a system of best
practices, can allow fanfiction authors who have been victimized by pla-
giarists to seek protection for their creations. Similar to the notice-and-
takedown procedures under the DMCA and European Directive on Elec-
tronic Commerce, the association can regulate notice-and-takedown pro-
cedures of plagiarized works through voluntarily enforcement of websites
that host fanfiction. A notice-and-takedown procedure within the fanfic-
tion community can protect fanfiction writers who invest hours and effort
into their creative expression.
*J.D., Michigan State University College of Law, 2019; Articles Editor, Michigan State Law Review. Thank
you to the Michigan State Law Review Notes Editors for your help with this, Professor Nancy Costello for your
interest, faith, and expertise, and thank you to all the fanfiction writers who serve as examples in this paper.

101 J. PAT. & TRADEMARK OFF. SOC'Y 274(2019)

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