Legal Analysis

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fandom: fandom
Dates: 1992-present
See also: Copyright

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

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)


Salil Mehra, Copyright and Comics in Japan: Does Law Explain Why all the Cartoons My Kid Watches are Japanese Imports? 55 Rutgers L. Rev. 155 (2002)


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)

Melissa De Zwart, Japanese Lessons: What Otaku Can Teach Us About Copyright and Gothic Girls, 35 Alt. L.J. 27, 28 (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).

David Tan, Harry Potter and the Transformation Wand: Fair Use, Canonicity and Fan Activity, in Amateur Media: Social, Cultural and Legal Perspectives 94 (Dan Hunter et al. eds., 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).

Orion 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]

Casey Fiesler, Jessica L. Feuston, & Amy S. Bruckman, I am not a lawyer: copyright Q&A in online creative communities. In S. Goggins, I. Janke, D. W. McDonald, P. Bjorn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Supporting Group Work (pp. 291–294). New York: ACM. (2014) [11]

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) [12]

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) [13]

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) [14]

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) [15]

Rebecca Katz, Fan fiction and Canadian copyright law: Defending fan narratives in the wake of Canada’s copyright reforms, Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, 12(1), 73–108 (2014) [16]

Jacqueline C. Lipton, Copyright and the Commercialization of Fanfiction, 52 Houston L. Rev. 425 (2014) [17]

Viva Moffat, Borrowed Fiction and the Rightful Copyright Position, 32 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 389 (2014) [18]

Samantha S. Peaslee, Is there a place for us: Protecting fan fiction in the United States and Japan, 43 Denver Journal of International Law & Policy 199–227 (2014) [19]

Kate Romanenkova, The Fandom Problem: A Precarious Intersection of Fanfiction and Copyright, 18 Intellectual Property Law Bulletin 183 (2014) [20]

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)


Melissa Anne Agnetti, When the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few: how logic clearly dictates the First Amendment's use as a defense to copyright infringement claims in fan-made works, 45 Sw. L. Rev. 115-164 (2015). [21]

Casey Fiesler, Jessica L. Feuston, & Amy S. Bruckman, Understanding Copyright Law in Online Creative Communities, CSCW '15 Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing 116 (2015) [22]

Sonia Katyal, Slash/Ing Gender and Intellectual Property: A View from Fan Fiction, in Diversity in Intellectual Property (ed. Irene Calboli & Srividhya Ragavan, 2015) [23]

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) [24]

Raizel Liebler, Copyright and ownership of fan created works: fanfiction and beyond, in SAGE Handbook of Intellectual Property (ed. Matthew David & Debora Halbert, 2015) [25]

Alexis Lothian, A Different Kind of Love Song: Vidding Fandom’s Undercommons, 54 Cinema J. 138 (2015)[26] (link goes to entire section of issue)

Mariani, Jyme, Lights! Camera! Infringement? Exploring The Boundaries Of Whether Fan Films Violate Copyrights, 8 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 117 (2017) [[27]]

Nele Noppe, Mechanisms of control in online fanwork sales: A comparison of Kindle Worlds and, 12 Participations 218 (2015) [28]

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)

Betsy Rosenblatt & Rebecca Tushnet, Transformative Works: Young Women's Voices on Fandom and Fair Use, eGirls, eCitizens 385 (U. Ottawa Press, Jane Bailey & Valerie Steeves, eds., 2015) [29]

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) [30]


Brittany Johnson, Live Long and Prosper: How the Persistent and Increasing Popularity of Fan Fiction Requires a New Solution in Copyright Law, 100 Minn. L. Rev. 1645 (2016) [31]

Stacey M. Lantagne, When Real People Become Fictional: The Collision of Trademark, Copyright, and Publicity Rights in Online Stories About Celebrities (2016) [32]

Stacey M. Langagne, The Copymark Creep: How the Normative Standards of Fan Communities Can Rescue Copyright, 32 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 459 (2016)]


Melissa de Zwart,‘Someone is angry on the internet’: copyright, creativity and control in the context of fan fiction, in Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment (2017) (book chapter) [33]

Morgan Drake, “It's Dead Jim!” - Fair Use in Fanworks Without Precedent, 27 DePaul J. Art, Tech. & Intell. Prop. L. 199 (2017) [34]

Zachary Fialkow, Will Fan-Fiction Live Long And Prosper?: Exploring The New Relationship Between Entertainment Companies And Their Audiences, 4 Emory Corporate Governance And Accountability Review 1037 (2017) [35]

Jon Garon, Fandom and Creativity, Including Fan Art, Fan Fiction, and Cosplay (July 23, 2017) [[36]]

Yoshimi M. Pelc, Achieving the Copyright Equilibrium: How Fair Use Law Can Protect Japanese Parody and Dojinshi, 23 Sw. J. Int’l L. 397 (2017)

Mark Peterson, Fan fair use: the right to participate in culture, 17 UC Davis Bus. L.J. 217-252 (2017) [[37]]

Betsy Rosenblatt, The Great Game and the Copyright Villain, 23 Transformative Works & Cultures (2017), [38]

David Tan, Fair use and transformative play in the digital age, in Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment (2017) (book chapter) [39]

Babak Zarin, In the Restricted Section: Harry Potter and Unauthorized Sagas, 9 Elon L. Rev. 459 (2017) [[40]]


Casey Fiesler, Everything I Needed to Know: Empirical Investigations of Copyright Norms in Fandom, 59 IDEA: L. Rev. Franklin Pierce Center for Intell. Prop. 65 (2018)

Aaron Schwabach, Legal Issues in Online Fan Fiction, in The Routledge Companion to Media Education, Copyright, and Fair Use (2018) (book chapter) [41]


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

Katz, Rebecca, (2019). A Pilot Study of Fan Fiction Writer’s Legal Information Behavior. Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, 3(1), 1-29. [[42]]

Tandy, Heidi Howard, Into the Fandom-Verse, 12 No. 1 Landslide 16 (2019) [[43]]


Kempfert, Kamila, & Dr. Wolfgang Reißmann, Copyright Disclaimers in Fan Media: Cultural Practice and Legal Relevance, 84 UFITA 1/2020, 191, DOI: 10.5771/2568-9185-2020-1-191


Aaron Schwabach, Bringing the News from Ghent to Axanar: Fan Works and Copyright after Deckmyn and Subsequent Developments, 22 Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law ___ (Forthcoming 2021) [44]

Aaron Schwabach, Fan Works and the Environmental Law of Copyright, Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property (forthcoming 2021) [45]


Ruth Flaherty, Fair Dealing in a Fandemic: How Pastiche can be used to Clarify the Position of User-Generated Content, European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol 13 No.1 (2022) [46]

Eden Sarid, A Queer Analysis of Intellectual Property, 2022 Wisc. L. Rev. 91 [47]

Kailea Swartz, Destroying the Market without Making a Dime: How Fans Are Risking Copyright Protection by Abandoning Original Creators, 75 Rutgers U.L. Rev. 271 (2022) Note: Argues that fans who consider fan fiction better or more canonical than authorized works, with the example of fans who have rejected J.K. Rowling's stance on trans rights, may not be engaging in fair use because of the supposed harm to the author's market. Does not engage with the question of whether that is a copyright harm. [48]


Alice Preminger, Rebranding Batman, 22 Chi.-Kent J. Intell. Prop. 37 (2023) [49]


Aaron Schwabach, Fan Works and the Elusive Border between Derivative and Transformative Uses: A Fanfic Law Retrospective and an Optimistic Look Forward, 57 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2024) [50]