Legal Analysis

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Dates: 1992-present
See also: Copyright

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There have been a number of articles in law reviews and legal publications addressing various fanwork-related issues, beginning with fan fiction and gradually expanding to other fanworks.

This is a partial bibliography, with links to the full articles where available, in chronological order by year, alphabetical by author within the year. The citation format is close to Bluebook.


Rosemary Coombe, Author/izing the Celebrity: Publicity Rights, Postmodern Politics, and Unauthorized Genders, 10 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 365 (1992)


Rebecca Tushnet, Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction and a New Common Law, 17 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 651 (1997)[1]


Erika S. Koster & Jim Shatz-Akin, Set Phasers on Stun: Handling Internet Fan Sites, 15 No. 1 Computer Law. 18 (1998) at


Justin Hughes, Recoding Intellectual Property and Overlooked Audience Interest, 77 Tex. L. Rev. 923 (1999)


Jessica Elliott, Copyright Fair Use and Private Ordering: Are Copyright Holders and the Copyright Law Fanatical For Fansites?, 11 DePaul-LCA J Art & Ent. L. 329 (2001)

Deborah Tussey, From Fan Sites to File Sharing: Personal Use in Cyberspace, 35 Ga. L. Rev. 1129 (2001)


Meredith McCardle, Fandom, Fan Fiction and Fanfare: What's All the Fuss?, 9 B.U. J. Sci. & Tech. L. 443 (2003)

Sean Kirkpatrick, Like Holding a Bird: What the Prevalence of Fansubbing Can Teach Us About the Use of Strategic Selective Copyright Enforcement, 21 Temple Envir. L. & Tech. J. 131 (2003)

Cecilia Ogbu, I Put Up a Website About My Favorite Show and All I Got Was This Lousy Cease-and-Desist Letter: The Intersection of Fan Sites, Internet Culture, and Copyright Owners, 12 S. Cal. Interdisc. L.J. 279 (2003)


Simone Murray, “Celebrating the Story the Way It Is”: Cultural Studies, Corporate Media, and the Contested Utility of Fandom, 18 Continuum: J. Media & Cult. Studies 7 (2004)


Matthew Brett Freedman, Machinima and Copyright Law, 13 J. of Intellectual Property Law 235 (Fall 2005)

Krissi J. Geary-Boehm, Cyber Chaos: The Clash Between Band Fansites and Intellectual Property Holders, 30 S. Ill. L.J. 87 (2005)

Jordan Hatcher, Of Otakus and Fansubs: A Critical Look at Anime Online in Light of Current Issues in Copyright Law, 2 Script-ED 551 (2005)

Sean Leonard, Celebrating Two Decades of Unlawful Progress: Fan Distribution, Proselytization Commons, and the Explosive Growth of Japanese Animation, 12 UCLA Entertainment L. Rev. 189 (2005)

Leanne Stendell, Comment, Fanfic and Fan Fact: How Current Copyright Law Ignores the Reality of Copyright Owner and Consumer Interests in Fan Fiction, 58 SMU L. Rev. 1551 (2005)


Sonia Katyal, Performance, Property, and the Slashing of Gender in Fan Fiction, 14 J. Gender, Social Policy, & Law 463 (2006),%20Property,%20and%20Slashing%20of%20Gender%20in%20Fan%20Fiction.pdf

Jaime E. Muscar, A Winner is Who? Fair Use and the Online Distribution of Manga and Video Game Fan Translations, 9 Vanderbilt J. of Entertainment and Technology Law 223 (2006)

Mollie E. Nolan, Search for Original Expression: Fan Fiction and the Fair Use Defense, 30 Southern Illinois L.J. 533 (Spring 2006)

Christina Z. Ranon, Honor Among Thieves: Copyright Infringement in Internet Fandom, 8 Vanderbilt J. of Entertainment and Technology Law 421 (Spring 2006)

Note, "Recoding" and the Derivative Works Entitlement: Addressing the First Amendment Challenge, 119 Harv. L. Rev. 1488 (2006)


Anupam Chander & Madhavi Sunder, Everyone's a Superhero: A Cultural Theory of 'Mary Sue' Fan Fiction as Fair Use, 95 Cal. L. Rev. 597 (2007)

Ernest Chua, Fan Fiction and Copyright: Mutually Exclusive, Able to Coexist or Something Else?, 14 eLaw Journal 215 (2007)

Jacqueline Lai Chung, Drawing Idea from Expression: Creating a Legal Space for Culturally Appropriated Literary Characters, 49 Wm. and Mary L. Rev. 903 (2007)

Andrew S. Long, Mashed Up Videos and Broken Down Copyright: Changing Copyright To Promote the First Amendment Values of Transformative Video, 60 Okla. L. Rev. 317 (2007)

Rebecca Tushnet, Payment in Credit: Copyright Law and Subcultural Creativity, 70 L & Contemp. Problems 135 (2007), and responses by Jessica Litman, Creative Reading, 70 L & Contemp. Problems 175 (2007), and Mark Lemley, Should a Licensing Market Require Licensing?, 70 L & Contemp. Problems 185 (2007) ]


Joshua M. Daniels, "Lost in Translation”: Anime, Moral Rights, and Market Failure, 88 B.U. L. Rev. 709 (2008)

Casey Fiesler, Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Fandom: How Existing Social Norms Can Help Shape the Next Generation of User-Generated Content, 10 Vanderbilt J. Ent. & Tech. L. 729 (2008)

Christina J. Hayes, Changing the Rules of the Game: How Video Game Publishers Are Embracing User-Generated Derivative Works, 21 Harvard J. L. & Tech. (2008)

Edward Lee, Warming Up to User-Generated Content, U. Ill. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2008)

Nathaniel T. Noda, When Holding On Means Letting Go: Why Fair Use Should Extend to Fan-Based Activities, 5 U. Denver Sports & Ent. L.J. (2008) (note that logging in as guest may be required to view)

Sarah Trombley, Visions and Revisions: Fanvids and Fair Use, 25 Cardozo Arts & Ent. J. 647 (2008)

Rebecca Tushnet, User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice, 31 Colum. J.L. & Arts 110 (2008)


Steven A. Hetcher, Using Social Norms to Regulate Fan Fiction and Remix Culture, 157 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1869 (2009)

Elizabeth F. Judge, Kidnapped and Counterfeit Characters: Eighteenth-Century Fan Fiction, Copyright Law, and the Custody of Fictional Characters, in Originality and Intellectual Property in the French and English Enlightenment, ed. Reginald McGinnis (Routledge, 2009), chap. 2, 22–68

Christopher Reid, Fair Game: The Application of Fair Use Doctrine to Machinima, 19 Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Ent. L.J. 831 (2009)

Megan Richardson & David Tan, The Art of Retelling: Harry Potter and Copyright in a Fan-Literature Era, 14 Media & Arts L. Rev. 31 (2009)

Aaron Schwabach, The Harry Potter Lexicon and the World of Fandom: Fan Fiction, Outsider Works, and Copyright, 70 U. Pitt. L. Rev. (2009)

Shira Siskind, Crossing the Fair Use Line: The Demise and Revival of the Harry Potter Lexicon and Its Implications for the Fair Use Doctrine in the Real World and on the Internet, 27 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 291 (2009)


Emily Chaloner, A Story of Her Own: A Feminist Critique of Copyright Law, 6 I/S: J. L. & Pol'y for Info. Soc'y 221 (2010)

Brian Link, Drawing a Line in Alternate Universes: Exposing the Inadequacies of the Current Four-Factor Fair Use Test through Chanslash, 33 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 139 (2010). Note: Unlike the majority of the works cited, the author proposes to cut down on fair use for fan fiction, and in particular argues that chanslash--that is, sexually explicit work featuring underage characters engaged in homosexual acts--should not be fair use because it "mutilates" the original work. The author uses chanslash specifically, not chan, but does not explain why chanslash is more offensive than heterosexual chan; the article does not acknowledge the existence of non-slash chan.

Jacqueline D. Lipton, Copyright’s Twilight Zone: Digital Copyright Lessons from the Vampire Blogosphere, 70 Maryland L. Rev. (2010)

Patrick McKay, Culture of the Future: Adapting Copyright Law to Accommodate Fan-Made Derivative Works in the Twenty-First Century, 24 Regent U. L. Rev. 117 (2010)

Nathaniel T. Noda, Copyrights Retold: How Interpretive Rights Foster Creativity and Justify Fan-Based Activities, 20 Seton Hall J. Sports & Entertainment L. 131 (2010)

Rachel L. Stroude, Comment, Complimentary Creation: Protecting Fan Fiction as Fair Use, 14 Marquette Intell. Prop. L. Rev. 191 (2010)

Melissa L. Tatum, Robert Spoo and Benjamin Pope, Does Gender Influence Attitudes Toward Copyright in the Filk Community?, 18 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 219 (2010)


Choe, Michael, The Problem of the Parody-Satire Distinction: Fair Use in Machinima & Other Fan Created Works, 37 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 93 (2011).

Stacey M. Lantagne, The Better Angels of our Fanfiction: The Need for True and Logical Precedent, 33 Hastings Comm. & Ent. L.J. 159 (2011).

Jacqueline D. Lipton, Moral rights and supernatural fiction: authorial dignity and the new moral rights agendas. 21 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 537 (2011)

Nathaniel T. Noda, Perpetuating Cultures: What Fan-Based Activities Can Teach Us About Intangible Cultural Property, 44 Creighton L. Rev. 429 (2011)

Aaron Schwabach, Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection (Ashgate 2011)


Michelle Chatelain, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Copyright Law, 15 Tulane J Tech & Intel. Prop. 199 (2012).


Christina Chung, Holy Fandom, Batman! Commercial Fan Works, Fair Use, and the Economics of Complements and Market Failure, 19 B.U. J. Sci. & Tech. L. (2013).[2]

Mariko A. Foster, Parody's Precarious Place: The Need To Legally Recognize Parody as Japan's Cultural Property, 23 Seton Hall J. Sports & Ent. L. 313 (2013).

Tiffany Lee, Fan activities from P2P file sharing to fansubs and fan fiction: motivations, policy concerns, and recommendations, 14 Tex. Rev. Ent. & Sports L. 181 (2013).

Olympia Mavridou & Robin J. S. Sloan, Playing outside the box: Transformative works and computer games as participatory culture, 10 Participations: J. Audience & Reception Stud. 246 (2013) [3]

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger & Lena Wong, Fan or Foe? Fan Fiction, Authorship, and the Fight for Control, 54 IDEA — Intellectual Prop. L. Rev. 1 (2013) [4]

Danielle Meeks, Fifty Shades of Transformation, 3 Pace L.P. Sports & Ent. L.F. 1 (2013) [5]

Natalie H. Montano, Hero with a Thousand Copyright Violations: Modern Myth and an Argument for Universally Transformative Fan Fiction, 11 Northwestern J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 689 (2013) [6]

Jenny Roth & Monica Flegel, ‘I’m not a lawyer but …’: Fan disclaimers and claims against copyright law, 1 J. Fandom Stud. 201 (2013)

Teresa Scassa, Acknowledging Copyright’s Illegitimate Offspring: User-Generated Content and Canadian Copyright Law [7], in The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law (Michael Geist ed. 2013). [8]


Jane M. Becker, Stories Around the Digital Campfire: Fan Fiction and Copyright Law in the Age of the Internet, 14 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 133 (2014)

Oren Bracha & Talha Syed, Beyond Efficiency: Consequence-Sensitive Theories of Copyright, 29 Berkeley Tech. L.J. (2014) (contains substantial section on fan fiction) [9]

Casey Fiesler & Amy Bruckman, Remixers’ Understandings of Fair Use Online, CSCW '14 Proceedings of the 2014 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing 1023 (2014) [10]

Katharina Freund, “Fair use is legal use”: Copyright negotiations and strategies in the fan-vidding community, New Media & Society (2014), doi:10.1177/1461444814555952

Marc H. Greenberg, A short comment on derivative works, fan art and fiction, in Comic Art, Creativity and the Law 95 (2014) (book chapter)

Tianxiang He, What Can We Learn from Japanese Anime Industries? The Differences Between the Domestic and Oversea Copyright Protection Strategies towards Fan Activities, Am. J. Compar. L. (2014) [11]

Tianxiang He, Fansubs and Market Access of Foreign Audiovisual Products in China: The Copyright Predicament and the Use of No Action Policy, 16 Oregon Rev. Int’l L. 307 (2014) [12]

Steven D. Jamar & Christen B'anca Glenn, When the Author Owns the World: Copyright Issues Arising from Monetizing Fan Fiction, 1 Tex. A&M L. Rev. 959 (2014) [13]

Pamela Kalinowski, The Fairest of Them All: The Creative Interests of Female Fan Fiction Writers and the Fair Use Doctrine, 20 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 655 (2014) [14]

Jacqueline C. Lipton, Copyright and the Commercialization of Fanfiction, 52 Houston L. Rev. 425 (2014) [15]

Viva Moffat, Borrowed Fiction and the Rightful Copyright Position, 32 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 389 (2014) [16]

Kate Romanenkova, The Fandom Problem: A Precarious Intersection of Fanfiction and Copyright, 18 Intellectual Property Law Bulletin 183 (2014) [17]

W. Michael Schuster, Fair Use and Licensing of Derivative Fiction: A Discussion of Possible Latent Effects of the Commercialization of Fan Fiction, 55 S. Tex. L. Rev. 529 (2014)


Casey Fiesler et al., Understanding Copyright Law in Online Creative Communities, CSCW '15 Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing 116 (2015) [18]

Sonia Katyal, Slash/Ing Gender and Intellectual Property: A View from Fan Fiction, in Diversity in Intellectual Property (ed. Irene Calboli & Srividhya Ragavan, 2015) [19]

Stacey Lantagne, The Copymark Creep: How the Normative Standards of Fan Communities Can Rescue Copyright, Ga. St. U. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2016) [20]

Stacey Lantagne, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Lucrative Fandom: Recognizing the Economic Power of Fanworks and Reimagining Fair Use in Copyright, 21 Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev. 263 (2015) [21]

Raizel Liebler, Copyright and ownership of fan created works: fanfiction and beyond, in SAGE Handbook of Intellectual Property (ed. Matthew David & Debora Halbert, 2015) [22]

Alexis Lothian, A Different Kind of Love Song: Vidding Fandom’s Undercommons, 54 Cinema J. 138 (2015)[23] (link goes to entire section of issue)

Samantha S. Peaslee, Is There a Place for Us?: Protecting Fan Fiction in the United States and Japan, 43 Denv. J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 199 (2015)

Rebecca Tushnet, The Romantic Author and the Romance Writer: Resisting Gendered Concepts of Creativity, in Diversity in Intellectual Property (ed. Irene Calboli & Srividhya Ragavan, 2015) [24]

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