Fan Fiction: Plagiarism or Tribute?

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Title: Fan Fiction: Plagiarism or Tribute?
Creator: Lonely Gamine
Date(s): 2000[1]
Medium: online
Fandom: Les Misérables, multi
External Links: at LMFFI
at Writers University, Archived version
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Fan Fiction: Plagiarism or Tribute? is an essay by Lonely Gamine.

It was posted to Writers University and The Les Miserables Fan Fiction Index.


I recently had a conversation with a friend over the telephone I hadn't seen in a while, and when she asked about what I had been doing over the summer, I told her about my website and mentioned that I had written a lot of fan fic. Her reaction surprised me.

"But isn't that stealing from the author?" she asked.

Since her response surprised me so much, I stuttered a bit, trying to defend fan fic, but once we hung up the phone I got to thinking. Is fan fiction simply a fancy word for plagiarism? Are we, with all our plot decisions and our character developments, no more than literary thieves? Even though Victor Hugo is out of copyright, are we still committing a grand faux pas by taking his characters for our own devices? I decided to try and see if one certain genre had committed the offense above others, as my friend had implied later on in our argument.


  1. Posted to The Les Miserables Fan Fiction Index 19 August 2000. Recent Updates. (Archived 02 September 2000 by the Wayback Machine.)