Rowling backs Potter fan fiction

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News Media Commentary
Title: Rowling backs Potter fan fiction
Commentator: Darren Waters
Date(s): May 27, 2004
Venue: online
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: Rowling backs Potter fan fiction; archive link
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Rowling backs Potter fan fiction is a May 2004 article by Darren Waters for "BBC News Online."

Some Topics Discussed


Harry Potter author JK Rowling has given her blessing to fans who write their own Potter stories online. Thousands of fans have written their own stories based on the world of Harry Potter, which are published on the net.

The release of the third Potter movie is expected to boost the already hugely-popular fan fiction phenomenon.

A spokesman for Rowling's literary agent said she was "flattered people wanted to write their own stories" based on her characters.


The spokesman for the Christopher Little literary agency said: "JK Rowling's reaction is that she is very flattered by the fact there is such great interest in her Harry Potter series and that people take the time to write their own stories.

"Her concern would be to make sure that it remains a non-commercial activity to ensure fans are not exploited and it is not being published in the strict sense of traditional print publishing."

He said writers had to ensure that the stories were not obscene and were credited to the author and not to JK Rowling.

He said: "The books may be getting older, but they are still aimed at young children.

"If young children were to stumble on Harry Potter in a an x-rated story, that would be a problem."

Fan fiction is a genuine online phenomenon, but its roots go back decades.


Dr Matt Hills, lecturer in media and culture studies at Cardiff University and author of Fan Cultures, said fan fiction had always been part of fan culture.

"It's something that fan cultures have always been involved in.

"The arrival of online means it has a greater visibility. Before the age of the internet, it was only circulated between fans."

But not all authors are as happy to have their work used as the basis for amateur writers' own musings.


Xing Li, editor of, said the website had received a number of requests from authors to remove work.

He said: "It is our long standing policy of to respect the wishes of original writers and will remove or ban fan fiction categories at their request."

Authors to have contacted the website include Anne Rice, Anne McCaffrey and Raymond Feist.

The spokesman at the literary agency stressed that copyright in the Harry Potter series and characters remained with Rowling and trademarks with Warner Bros.

"Hopefully the fan fiction will help people become writers in their own right," he said.