FanFiktion.de

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Archive
Name: FanFiktion.de
Date(s): 2004 - present
Archivist: none (automated archive)
Founder: Marc, Helge
Type: fanfiction and original fiction archive
Fandom: multifandom
URL: http://www.fanfiktion.de/
FF.de Logo
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FanFiktion.de, short FF.de, is a German-language multifandom archive that was created in 2004. It is not a pure fanfiction archive; users can also upload their own novels, meta, poems and autobiographical texts.[1] Content requirements are minimal and mostly address legal concerns, such as the laws against pornography, the child protection laws, intellectual property rights and Volksverhetzung.[2] Other rules were introduced to provide minimal quality control. Chat style, a type of script format, was banned, as were so called "empty chapters" (chapters which aren't part of the story, but instead consist of begging for reviews or announcements that the next chapter won't be posted within the week), bad spelling and grammar and extensive linking within the story.[3]

History

2004

  • FF.de is founded in April.[4] On April 7 someone asks on the mailing list of Fanfiction Paradies (FFP), an older German multifandom archive, if other people have received the same invitation email for this new archive FF.de. Many active members on FFP report receiving an invitation to the new archives which prompts further discussion on the FFP mailing list as to how their email addresses were obtained.[5] When someone asks Helge, the founder of FF.de about the invites, he is reported as saying that Fanfiction Paradies subscribers might have gotten the invitation mail because the FF.de people "have spidered the FFP site" (scraped the email addresses from the archive website postings).[6] This leads to a long-standing feud between the Fanfiction Paradies archivist and FF.de (See Conflicts).

2005

2006

2007

2008

  • Helge, one of the administrators creates a blog associated with the archive. The first post was published on 2008.01.01. and was titled Atti und die Zukunft der deutschen FF-Szene or (Atti and the Future of the German Fan Fiction Scene).[7] The blog would subsequently become a source of controversy as it repeated the history of disagreements over the nature of the two main German fan fiction archives, Fanfiction Paradies and FanFiktion.de: moderated vs open fiction postings, ad-supported vs ad-free, web design and color schemes etc. (See Conflicts).
  • Forums are added in August 2008 to create a space in which the users of the site can talk about their favourite fandoms, rec fics, discuss writing techniques and tell the administrators about the features they would like to see on the site in the future.

2009

  • On 2009.05.29, the AVL ratings were introduced. Stories with content, which may be disturbing for children (for example a positive characterization of a criminal), would now only be accessible to users who verified their age once a month with their identification card or who read during the night. Content, which is judged dangerous for the development of children (for example pornography), was and remains prohibited.[8]

2010

  • On 2010.03.11, a representative blog of moderator Noctifer was created[9] after an internal discussion about transparency issues. It contains anecdotes from the life of a FF.de moderator, among other things.
  • On 2010.08.06, a Twitter account is created. It is mostly used to publicize challenges and other writing projects.[10]

Types of Fandoms

Total number of fics by media type[11]
Total number of fanfiction versus original works[12]

FF.de is popular among writers of fanfic for anime and manga fandoms, RPF, and book fandoms. Many authors also write original fiction and poetry, some do so exclusively. This sometimes leads to a clash of cultures within the archive, since some original fiction authors look down on those who write fanfic exclusively.[13]

The most popular book fandoms are Harry Potter, Twilight and The Lord of the Rings, with Harry Potter fanfiction making up about half of all book fanfic. All other book fandoms are small with less than 500 stories, often less than 100, written for them.[14] The biggest animanga fandoms are Digimon, InuYasha, Naruto (the biggest), One Piece and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but smaller fandoms, including Avatar, are not necessarily small.[15] Popular RPF fandoms are Football RPF, Tokio Hotel and J-Pop and J-Rock RPF and Finnish Bands.[16] All other fandoms are medium to small in size, with less than or just over 1000 fanfics.

Controversies

Conflicts

At some point during the creation of FanFiktion.de in 2004, a dispute may have developed between the FanFiktion.de founder, Helge, and the Fanfiction Paradies (FFP) archivist, Atti. The exact nature of the controversy is not clear, but it may have its origins in claims that the FanFiktion.de founder "spidered the [Fanfiction Paradies archive] to collect email addresses of potentially interested authors" who then received invites to join FanFiktion.de.[17]

4 years later the debate was still simmering when Helge, one of the administrators created a blog associated with the FanFiktion.de archive. The first post was published on 2008.01.01. and was titled Atti und die Zukunft der deutschen FF-Szene or (Atti and the Future of the German Fan Fiction Scene).[18] The post included a link to a photo of the FFP archivist, Atti. While the photo was not used with permission,[19] it had been publicly available prior to that point somewhere else on the net in connection with her name. Still, its use seemed superfluous to some and disingenous to many who felt that its purpose was to higlight the fact that the FFP archivist was an overweight woman. The archivist Helge disagrees with both assessments pointing out that he used the image because "it put a face to the name, nothing more. It would have been set too if Atti were the most beautiful person on the planet." [20] The blog would subsequently become a source of controversy as it repeated the history of disagreements over the nature of the two main German fan fiction archives, Fanfiction Paradies and FanFiktion.de: moderated vs open fiction postings, ad-supported vs ad-free, web design and color schemes etc.

Note: see Talk page for further PPOV issues.

Cease and Desist Letters

FF.de has received a handful of cease and desist letters, some from authors or their representatives, some from celebrities, and some from businesses. In 2009, J. R. Ward, whose Black Dagger Brotherhood was one of the more popular book fandoms on the archive, approached the archive to request that fan fiction based on her works be removed. In March 2009, the archive first locked and then deleted all Black Dagger Brotherhood fanfictions.[21]

The site archvist, Helge, has also referenced concerns involving writer Diana Gabaldon on the Talk page without offering further detail. He has discussed the author's position on fan fiction in his blog here and here (note: blog posts are in German). Both seem to elaborate on the archives decision to not permit any fan fiction based on her works even without receiving a cease and desist letter from the author.[22] Some members have questioned the decision to proactively ban fan fiction based on Diana Gabaldon's work, pointing out that while other writers have objected to fan fiction in general that this has not resulted in the archive banning fan fiction based on their works.[23] For example, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles still has its own category on FF.de in spite of the author's well known objections to fan fiction.[24]

The site has been forced to remove RPF about two German celebrities, violinist David Garrett [25] and the soccer player Andreas Görlitz [26] According to the archivist, the site received cease and desist letters from their representives on some unspecified date. Further details are unavailable at this time.

Finally, the site was the focus of a trademark dispute in 2010 (see The Lichtbändiger Case) below.

The Lichtbändiger Case

In March 2010, the archive was served with a cease and desist letter in connection with the claim that some of the Avatar fan fiction hosted on the archive infringed on a trademark.

Avatar: The Last Airbender has been translated into many languages. In Germany, it has been translated to mean: Avatar – Der Herr der Elemente. However, since 'Airbender' is only one of the superpowers demonstrated in the movie (ex the ability to bend the element of air is very much like the ability to bend water or fire elements), fans have created an additional superpower, Lightbender which means "Lichtbändiger" in German. A eyeglass manufacturer with a similar name, Lichtbändiger Brillendesign, felt that any use of the word 'Lichtbändiger' online constitued an infringement of their tradmarked name and ordered the archive to remove any fan fiction that referenced this fictional super-power.

That is to say, the company Lichtbändiger Brillenglasdesign registered the term "Lichtbändiger" as a trademark. Under this trademark, they sell a variety of glasses whose colourful decorations are their distinguishing characteristic. These glasses can look like this, this or this. The company Lichtbändiger Brillendesign asked FF.de to remove all stories that contain the term "Lichtbändiger". We contacted our lawyer, who advised us to comply with the request. While there is in fact no direct relation between the element benders from Avatar and the glasses, the trademark "Lichtbändiger" applies to electronic publications, which fanfics are in a sense, as well, and so the trademark law applies. [27]

References

  1. Freie Arbeiten on FF.de. Subcategories include Poetry, Biographies and Diaries and others. Accessed 2010-09-14
  2. Wikipedia article about Volksverhetzung
  3. Verbote und Einschränkungen, accessed 2010.09.15; WebCite.
  4. April 2004 is the date given by Helge in his post Atti und die Zukunft der deutschen FF-Szene
  5. All the authors participating in the ffp mailing list discussion taking place in April 2004 report that they received email invites, a fact which the archivist Helge disputes: "Unprovable and hearsay. To verify this every member of the fanficparadise would have to testify positively, which is hardly believable." See Talk page.
  6. According to an e-mail a subscriber sent to the FFP mailing list (message #5960, subject: Noch mal zu FanFiktion.de). After the subscriber had asked the people sending out the invitation mails why she had gotten an invitation to the new archive, she received an email from someone who signed his email messages as "Helge". Her FFP e-mail paraphrases the response she got, however, she did quote a portion of Helge's message directly: "wir haben nach der Infoaktion bereits wieder alle Emails gelöscht, daher kann ich nicht genau nachprüfen, woher wir jetzt deine spezielle hatten. Aber wenn du bei FFP registriert bist, ist das durchaus möglich, da wir die Seite einmal gespidert hatten." 09 April 2004. (Accessed 26 December 2010)
  7. Atti und die Zukunft der deutschen FF-Szene WebCite.
  8. 29. März 2009 FF.de hat zwei weitere Ratings eingeführt: P18-AVL und P18-AVL Slash. Hierbei handelt es sich um Ratings für Geschichten mit "jugendbeeinträchtigenden" Inhalten. Geschichten, welche unter diese Ratings fallen sind für unangemeldete Benutzer nicht einsehbar. Für Angemeldete Benutzer ist der Zugang erst nach 23:00 Uhr oder nach einer Altersverifikation mittels Personalausweis möglich. Quoted in Neue Alterskennzeichnungen, accessed 2010.09.15
  9. Die obligatorische Vorstellung, accessed 2010.09.15
  10. The first post of Fanfiktionde was Aktuelle Projekte unter http://bit.ly/dsToD9 #Fanfiktion #Prosa #120er #Wettbewerbe #PuGe, posted on 2010.08.06 at 9:49 AM. Accessed 2010.09.15
  11. These figures are based on the index pages of 2010-09-14.
  12. These figures are based on the index pages of 2010-09-14.
  13. Original versus FF, a thread in the forum, accessed 2010.09.15
  14. Bücher overview, accessed 2010.09.15
  15. Anime & Manga overview, accessed 2010.09.15
  16. Reale Personen overview, accessed 2010.09.15
  17. From a FFP mail (09 April 2004): "wir haben nach der Infoaktion bereits wieder alle Emails gelöscht, daher kann ich nicht genau nachprüfen, woher wir jetzt deine spezielle hatten. Aber wenn du bei FFP registriert bist, ist das durchaus möglich, da wir die Seite einmal gespidert hatten." or (we deleted all the emails after the information campaign, so we cannot establish or prove where we obtained them. However, if you are registered at FFP, it is possible that we obtained your email address when we scraped their website.) (Accessed 26 December 2010)
  18. Atti und die Zukunft der deutschen FF-Szene WebCite.
  19. The source of the photo and the context in which it was found and presented has also caused some controversy. Some have argued that the photo was not used in a fannish context, instead having been put online by Atti as part of her profession. Linking to that photo, without permission, even if publicly available skirted close to, if not was, an outing. Helge disagrees with this assessment saying: "There is no permission required for the use of a link on the net. If you post a picture of you somewhere then you still have the rights to it, yes and it may not be sold or changed without your permission, but anybody can link to it. The phrase "it was used without permission" implies that permission is required in such a case and that is simply untrue." See Talk page.
  20. See Doro's and Helge's comments on the Talk page.
  21. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Geschichten - gesperrt forum posting (The Black Dagger Brotherhood fan fiction has been barred), posted on 2009.03.19, accessed 2010.09.15; WebCite.
  22. Verbotene Fandoms und Diana Gabaldon posted on December 7, 2010 or Forbiddenn Fandoms and Diana Gabaldon and Gift Culture und Gabaldon zum Letzten posted on December 9, 2010.
  23. Odysseen und Interna – Fanfiktion.de und die Frage nach Antworten,' posted on December 15, 2010; WebCite.
  24. Vampirchroniken, the category on FF.de, with 77 fanfics as of 2010.09.15.
  25. Wikipedia article about David Garrett.
  26. Wikipedia article about Andreas Görlitz. See also fan writer Rollrasen's account of being told to remove her Andreas Görlitz story by the FF.de archivist: Bitte entferne die Person "Andreas Görlitz" aus der Handlung der Geschichte, da dieser nicht in fiktionalen Geschichten als seine Person (handelnder Charakter oder Protagonist) in Erscheinung treten möchte. WebCite.
  27. Translation taken Rodo's blog post dated March 30, 2010, Archived version. It references the archivist's blog posting which has since been taken offline. See also the OTW's blog post on May 16, 2010 that references the dispute. Another account, in German, can be found on Ella.Photgraphy blog dated March 26, 2010;WebCite. Both posts express doubt over the merits of the optical company's trademark claims.