So I’m on AO3 ...(the forgotten history of disclaimers)

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Title: So I’m on AO3 ...(the forgotten history of disclaimers)
Creator: fandomlife-universe and commenters
Date(s): April 2016
Medium: Tumblr post
Fandom: Pan-fandom
External Links: Ex Cetra, Et Cetera • reginaisthegoodone: spiletta42: faedreamer:..., Archived version
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So I’m on AO3 ...(the forgotten history of disclaimers) is a viral Tumblr conversation about the history and necessity of fandom disclaimers, as well as the associated issue of creator objections to, and restrictions of, fanwork creation.

It originally began with a post by fandomlife-universe in which they expressed confusion over the presence of disclaimers on fic:

So I’m on AO3 and I see a lot of people who put “I do not own [insert fandom here]” before their story.

Like, I came on this site to read FAN fiction. This is a FAN fiction site. I’m fully aware that you don’t own the fandom or the characters. That’s why it’s called FAN FICTION

As of February 2019, the post had over 140,600 notes.

Some Topics Discussed

Some Comments in Reply



[kleenexwoman replied to that-vicious-vixen]

yep I did that. Everyone did. It’s honestly quite liberating to not have to put that disclaimer on your story

[majorenglishesquire replied to kleenexwoman]

OP it does not really FUCKING PAIN YOU to have to skip over a one-sentence disclaimer. Get a grip. It’s probably in the header. It’s not like it takes 30 words out of the word count or anything. It’s not like you got conned into reading a FULL SENTENCE OF UNRELATED INFORMATION HOW DARE YOU I still put disclaimers on the first pages of fic or the series header. Better slightly-safe than to directly call down the thunder. I’ve always felt that way, even after fanfic went semi-legit.

#seriously #fandom #fanfiction #fanfic #know your fandom history

[aerialsquid replied to kleenexwoman]

I believe some sites, including, used to actively require it on every story.….god, one ages fast in fandom.

[itsmeappo replied to kahtiihma]

even if the pit never actively required it, it was still standard operating procedure to put a disclaimer on everything you wrote. same for art.and yet now people think nothing of /charging money/ for fanworks (commissions, prints, etc). the times, how they change.

#everything old is new again

[angelwhowasfound replied to tahthetrickster]

I still do it compulsively. It was expected, kiddies. People would get up in arms if you neglected to write that shit.

[youdontownme101 replied to letsboldlygomotherfuckers]

Wait we don’t have to do that anymore?

#I'm probably still going to bc of my anxiety

[eleanor-3 replied to ladyzadie]

Reblog if you remember writing disclaimers, and coming up with increasingly funny/punny/ridiculous ways to say the same damn thing every time you wrote something new.

#I think most of my stuff over on still has disclaimers #good old days

[bec77broo replied to dealanexmachina]

Also that shit can still happen so most sites insist on that disclaimer. It’s only a few words and it helps both the writer and the site not get in trouble.

[scarredswordheart replied tomswyrr]

It’s a disclaimer, an attempt to stave off a lawsuit by the rightsholders.

[kirkspersonallog replied to nunchler]

Of all the things to complain about. The disclaimer isn’t for YOU. It’s for the author’s peace of mind. And if it gives someone peace of mind to write that disclaimer, whether it’s necessary or not today, what is it to you? It’s so easy to skip over.


I remember seeing this on FF all the time. I just assumed they were dumb and thought the artist authors would see it and assume they would be getting paid want to pay to write awful harry potter/star trek fan fics. It like when someone puts up a video on youtube that recorded from a theater and says ‘not mine’. Or has a tv ep just a little bit faster then in regular episode as if their going to get around copyright with it. I’m so glad I don’t see that on AO3. [1]


I remember back in the days having to put a disclaimer on EVERY. SINGLE. ONE of my Twilight fanfic chapters. That’s what everyone did. Even though sometimes it was simply a: I don’t own these characters. I play with them.

It was so strange not doing it on AO3 at the beginning. [2]


I still disclaim. Fandom may be more mainstream, but you never know who might get lawyer happy. You can bet I’ll cover my arse best I can at all times. [3]


A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend, but they can get pretty amusing…

I was one of those who disclaimed on my XF fic, and got wildly creative with some of it, because I knew it wasn’t actually going to stop them if they decided to sue so yeah, all of the above, and the “confusion of product” idea got a lot of writers really worried, since copyright law was still… iffy on that (it’s since been clarified considerably.

As a creator, my feeling is “go forth and have non-commercial fun, but for god’s sake don’t show me.” That’s for everyone’s protection: if dog forbid we come up with the same idea, knowing that neither of us saw the others’ work allows us to both write in peace. [4]


Yeah, I did the disclaimers back in the late 80s and early 90s. Besides worrying about a show’s overzealous lawyers, occasionally other fans would threaten to turn you in for whatever reason. Even the ones who weren’t doing it maliciously were hard to deal with. There was one person who emailed me to tell me she liked our stories so much she was going to copy them off the web site and send them to one of the actors in the show, and I had to try to convince her that she could get us in a shitload of trouble. It took several long emails and a lot of begging to get her to understand. That was not a good time for my anxiety problem. And then there were the ones who were going to send your stories or vids or whatever to the producers or actors AND dox you, in order to prove the point that fans shouldn’t be afraid of being sued, or something, which I agreed they shouldn’t but but maybe they could do it with themselves instead of selecting an involuntary sacrificial victim? There were a lot of things that eventually turned me off participating in fandom. (The doxxing was probably the most hurtful. There’s just something that hits you hard with the whole “I don’t like your head canon in your stories so I’m going to try to hurt or embarass you in real life” thing.) Someone said once that it isn’t going to be the lawyers who ruin your time in fandom, it’s going to be the fan sitting next to you, and I found that to be sadly true. [5]


Reblogging because I can’t believe there are people out there who don’t know the story behind fan fiction disclaimers. [6]


Oh you youngins… How quickly they forget.

Back in the day, before fan fiction was mainstream and even encouraged by creators… This was your “please don’t sue me, I’m poor and just here for a good time” plea.

Cause guess what? That shit used to happen.

[infearofblankpages replied to reconfemmandoforares]

You’re not just saying that you don’t own it (to cover your butt because we know you aren’t JKR), you’re also saying that you are not making money on it. That’s the big part, the part that’s saying “this isn’t copyright infringement,” the part that you’re doing it for fun not money.
It’s also a way to cite other sources you might’ve borrowing from, which was a rampant problem back in the and livejournal days. The main fandom is usually obvious, but that doesn’t mean you’re not borrowing inspiration from other sources. You can just look at the controversy with Cassandra Clare’s fanfic for a case study of that sort of thing.
In short, the disclaimer isn’t for readers, it’s for the copyright owners and in case of litigation. However, it’s also a way to show your readers what parts are yours and what parts aren’t

#fan fiction#fan works

Yes I can vouch for this back in 2002 when I came in to the fanfiction world, it was made real clear that if you don’t put your disclaimer in you’d be in trouble and your story would be pulled. I still put them in to day even though they are not required as I want the reader to know the source so if they want to go and watch it themselves or look at the companies other work
[cosmic-llin replied to hhertzof]

I’ve actually been really interested to watch this changing over the last several years. Like yeah, when I first started in Voyager fandom in like 2001 it was just the done thing, and now I barely even think of it, much less do it. Fandom in general has so much more confidence now in its right to exist, and creators (mostly) are so much more open to the idea of people creating fanworks. It’s fun to look back at those times but it’s also awesome that younger folks in fandom now don’t need to have that background worry that they might get in trouble for what they’re doing.


[glitteratiglue replied to cosmic-llin]

I remember it being second nature to put a legal disclaimer on fics, and I certainly did it myself. Would agree that fandom is a lot more confident in itself, and the discourse around fanworks as transformative works has probably only helped to promote that. I don’t miss disclaimers, and I agree that it’s good that people newer to fandom aren’t worrying about that sort of thing.

#fandom history#disclaimers

[sivsdotter replied to xxsparksxx]

And before you know it, it will come back again. This will never entirely cease to be an issue.

[grimmbluepanther replied to jadelyn]]

AdultFanfiction actually still requires you to out right state that you don’t own the characters from what I can recall and they even have a script for you to follow.

#disclaimers #how I remember these #ahhh... #the good old days #mmhmm #yup

[thewhaleridingvulcan replied to charlion]

Yes REQUIRED it as did LJ in early 2001-2002 and people lost some fantastic stories because of not having a disclaimer. Hell I lost about 83,000 words to not having a disclaimer

[remaaarkable replied to ofunicorndust]

Aww, are there people in the world who really don’t know that this was the case? Disclaimers were standard practices. FF.Net had a list of authors you literally couldn’t write fan fic for because they’d go after you. #fan fiction#fandom#disclaimers #wow I'm old

[vamp-prince-mikhael replied to sugary-mint]

“I don’t own Charmed guys, trust me if I did I would be very rich and thw show would be so much gayer lol!”

[timereaper replied to wolfstardreams]

I remember making those disclaimers in as detailed of wording as possible because I’d seen accounts disappear from sites like -gasp- Quizilla (how’s that for archaic?) because they weren’t specific enough. #fanfiction #disclaimers #backinmyday #fuckifeelold

[boogiewoogiebuglegal replied to lexiconallie]

Some of my old TOS fics have the disclaimers. I have to stop myself, now and then, from adding them when I write fanfic, because the fear was a very real thing (writing is always subversive to someone) and it was hammered into me as a new author that you HAD TO DO THIS or you might get sued. #fanfic disclaimers #those were the days

[johanirae scyllaya]

People used to have lots of fun with the disclaimers too. I once had too much fun with it… Got my account locked in ff net for having too long a disclaimer XD #fandom history

[alv529 replied to johanirae]

^All of this. Yes, you, the reader of the story, who is also a part of the fandom, know the author isn’t trying to claim they own the story/world/characters/all that jazz. Here’s the thing though. The people who do own all that jazz could, would, and did, get very, and I really do mean very hissy if you didn’t disclaim everything potentially recognizable as the creation of the original author.

You know the word ‘plagiarism’? That’s how hissy they could get over your '5 ways Don Flack met Danny Messer’ fic that included them meeting in the middle ages, during the roman empire, and because their space ships broke down on the same asteroid (fyi, those characters are from CSI: NY, which takes place in New York City during the 2000s, and sadly does not include space ships).

I think I got a warning somewhere once in the mid-2000s for my disclaimer being 'too sarcastic for this fandom’, but I don’t remember if it was on LJ or or where it was. #Fandom stuff #Fanfiction #Fanfic

[silversolitaire replied to johanirae]

I also kind of liked summarizing in the disclaimer who exactly is the creator of your source material. Give credit where it’s due. Many of those youngums don’t even know who they should thank for all of this.

#fandom elder

[mikes-grrl replied to johanirae]

Yep, this is all true! Disclaimers were still de rigeur up until, what, 2010? But here’s the funny part: disclaimers do zilch to protect you from being sued or served with a cease-and-desist notice. Nada. Nothing. They are useless shields. In fact, a disclaimer mostly shows that you KNOW that what you are doing is not legally kosher. Of course, ignorance of the law is (at least in the US) is not a defense either.

Basically, a disclaimer was a survival tactic fanfic authors from years past used to try and look small in the eyes of large predators. #fandom history

[initiala replied to octoberspirit]

I know that is not ~the cool place to post~ anymore, but shit like this is the reason that at the bottom of their rules and guidelines page (which you have to agree to every time you post something new) there’s this list:

Link to image.

I haven’t heard of anyone else being quite as vindictive in destroying their creative fanbase as Anne Rice, but it would honestly not surprise me in the least.

#fandom history

[keyla-lovely replied to inquisitorpsyduck]

I remember being on back in the day, and they actively BANNED certain fandoms from their site (Vampire Chronicles and Pern in particular) because they were afraid of lawyers coming down on them. Like, it was in big letters when you joined the site what was and wasn’t allowed to be posted there. [7]

[girlwithapurplescarf replied to next-venoms]

Dude…I must be old. Because I can remember the first time I had ever even heard of fanfiction and going ‘OMG YOU CAN DO THAT!?!?!?’ and then researching more and realizing that a lot of people were getting sued and punished and not wanting the ghost of James Barrie on my bad side deciding not to post my ‘If Peter Pan was a girl’ miniseries. (or my Twilight spinnoff but lets not mention that okay? Okay.) #seriously though #Peter Pan #Twilight #fanfiction #fandoms

[kat1132 replied to liebgotitty]

Disclaimers show respect for the creators. You’re playing in their sandbox without permission. It tells the people reading that you’re not trying to “steal” the original creators work or any part of the revenue/royalties they get for creating that work. Fanworks made by people who love and respect the original work, people who aren’t intending to plagiarize/steal/copyright for personal gain. It says “I make NO money from this work, nor did I write it with the intention of making any money, but these characters are awesome and I’d like to see what would happen if…”

If you’re not using disclaimers on your fanworks, you should be. Give credit where it’s due.

Also, AO3 DOES have an Original Fiction archive as part of the site… so you don’t always know if your reading fanfiction when you’re on it.

#super important #disclaimers #fanworks

[yorglow replied to hushthenoise]

On the one hand, yes, that’s why people did that. On the other hand, it was basically a useless set of magic words that couldn’t stop anyone from suing who intended to, and could actually make things worse, since it showed knowledge that what you were doing could be interpreted as infringing copyright. Call it cargo cult language, plus a sociological dash of proving belonging in a particular subculture. @fyeahcopyright?

[renirabbit replied to letsboldlygomotherfuckers]

oh yeah, there was a time that we were scare shitless of being sue, not to mention we had to writte “ THERE WILL BE BOY SEX IN THISE” other wise (even if it as a slash mature fic) people would have shitty puppies on the comments. there were actually Active groups that would get together and flag all the fics that were explicite or “breaking rules” expecially the gay ones…. it was a crazy time

[moratheexplorer replied to daltheznadof]

Wait, you don’t have to put The Disclaimer anymore? It was like the number one rule, I worked for a site that criticized fanfiction and it was mandatory. And it was a site in Spanish, I’m pretty sure JKR isn’t writing in Argentinian but we needed to be sure… #yes Argentinian is a valid language #disclaimer #fanfiction #y valía puntos si era original #ao3 #but it was the times of

Copyright, C&D Letters

[catybird replied to vgersix]

fun fact: fan fiction is technically copyright infringement. Most authors/creators allow fanfiction of their works to exist because

a) It’s too difficult and pointless to hunt down and prosecute every single fan fiction author

b) fan fiction is a good thing. smart copyright holders realize that fan fiction is often what maintains the hype within a fandom, until the next official medium (book/episode/movie) is released.

But yeah, it’s pretty normal and understandable for fan fiction writers to reiterate that the work is theirs, but they do not own the medium it is based on. It’s the least they can do to show respect to copyright holders.

#commentary #fan fiction

[mage-cat replied to tarahime]

Seriously kids, there was a time that every fic you found on the internet started with this disclaimer. There were even standard jokes and everything. Sometime around 2010 or so, people on started to point out to others that the site itself had an actual legal disclaimer to this effect up, covering everything published on the site. I’m sure AO3 does as well. Since then, disclaimers on individual stories have become much less common.

#life on the net #fandom

[bibliomancer7 replied to lemedy]

I don’t know about actually getting sued (from what I understand, nobody wanted to be the test case), C&DS DID get sent, and certainly many people lived in fear of being sued. That disclaimer was even standard in anime fandoms, where copyright owners were far away and tolerated a lot of fanwork in their own country.

#how times change

[livelongthetruthisalwaysoutthere replied to beyondtherealmofscience7-deacti]

I just usually write “I’m sorry” at the beginning of any and all fic. That should be good enough, right?

I once had someone report my story because even though I included a disclaimer that I was using SOMEONE ELSES SONG LYRICS, I was “plagiarizing”. Because no one had any freakin idea that one of the most recent “Top 20” songs actually wasn’t written by a fanfic author.

#if you've heard it on the radio #I can promise I didn't write it

[ddynmjn replied to jchelseaw]

ok maybe i’m old but i can’t believe people don’t think disclaimers are still important… fanfic sites have gotten sued and taken down bc of a lack of disclaimers lol…

[gwylliondream replied to theaoidos]

Even with the disclaimers, some fanfic writers received Cease and Desist orders from disgruntled authors’ lawyers. The threat of lawsuits was real and could ruin a fanfic writer, both financially and professionally. Copyright laws are vague and subject to interpretation. Some can successfully argue that writing fanfic is a crime.

#fanfic #meta

[omobolasire1 replied to ladyspock7]

I still do it to cover my ass. In this day and age where suing is common place it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

[everyonelikedbubbahotep replied to carltonlassiter]

Never 5 Get when Viacom sued Outpost Daria.

#fandom #fanfiction #studios still don't know how to handle fandom #now they're trying to court us #and it's odd

(me: some context: http://www.dariawiki. org/wiki/index.php?title= Paperpusher%27s_Message_Board)

[blackmagickbabe replied to aventinemintha]

Again, how quickly people forget. Back in 2010-2012, there were a couple bills being passed around US congress (eg. SOPA/PIPA, ACTA, there may be a few more) that would basically criminalize any usage of copyrighted materials without direct permission from the creator. Fanfiction and fanart, unfortunately, fell under this umbrella. Luckily, due to public outcry and our congress being a clusterfuck, none of the bills were passed (I think). and AO3 likely implemented that rule to prevent THEMSELVES from getting sued by the creator or the NSA, as they would have been considered to be hosting “stolen content”.

[freya-ishtar replied to butjustwhatif]

Yeah, disclaimers aren’t or the readers’ sake (we know you guys know exactly what you’re looking for when you click on the story), it’s for the sake of covering our own butts as far as copyright infringement and other such gods awful legal matters.

The Passage of Time, Nostalgia, Some "Get Off My Lawn"

[imperatorannakas replied to twodefenestrate]

Ahhhh to be young and naive again! It is really interesting how much fandom culture has changed in recent years.

#fandom #fanfiction #nostalgia

[branewurms replied to swordsandparasols]


[deathberryhime replied to dickmaklim]

It’s reflex we can’t stop it #youngsters these days #back then #was the survival of the luckiest #living in fear we might get discovered #and captured #and sued #like please #NO

[annihilistic replied to mswyrr]

Lol, fandom young ‘uns thinking that warning is for them. #back in MY day

[amethystluna06 replied to themagicmelodicmask]


#oh lordy #the disclaimers for days #I had a text file saved with all those#that I could just copy and paste every time I posted something

[yuripliscatsky replied to fourofthem]

Ughhhh… I remember I don’t even know when I stopped doing that… But those were the times…. #fanfic #fandom

[hexiva replied to aerialsquid]
….god, one ages fast in fandom.

Don’t we just? I started feeling like a cranky old lady before I hit eighteen

[witchyunknown replied to trekupmysleeve]

Shit I’m officially old….

[themoviegeekstrikesback replied to psychrophile]

Exactly. I remember being in elementary [school] and having that sentence basically be the intro to every fic, because it was the only way to ensure the work’s legal survival, and possibly the author’s as well. In the early 2000s, it was a very real fear for any fan fic author to a) have the author/showrunner be made aware of your work and b) take legal action against you. Don’t mock it until you know the history behind it. #fandom#fan fiction

[moonflower91 replied to sarah-yyy]

sweet summer child, what do YOU know about fear?

#fanfiction#that's a very superior tone you're using

[chloekomqueerkru replied to therewillbesparkles]

Wait wut. We don’t have to do that anymore? Rofl. I’m old af.

[pthalocy replied to cornerof5thandvermouth]

back when fanfic wasn’t a ubiquitous thing in culture, just some internet backalley. Ho man. Glad that’s changed.

[angelicsentinel replied to kat1132]

Seriously, don’t hate. Don’t make me lose faith in the younger generation, all right? Been here since dialup and Usenet, not quite old enough to have done zines, but I’ve been around for a long time, k? When you had to hunt that shit. You didn’t have dedicated sites or archives. Y'all don’t realize how fucking awesome Ao3 really is. Of all the crap to complain about, Jesus. Haha, normally I’m not all, “you kids and your one direction and your superwholockes and your homestucks,” but haha, this totally used to be a thing. There were several big brouhahas and a few fans had legal trouble. It’s why Anne Rice fic is rare as fuck, for one reason. (The other being ffnet) These days you don’t really have to worry about Cease and Desist letters, but some people still like to make sure they have their bases covered. There was this one case, Google it it’s on fanlore, there’s a post floating about tumblr somewhere and so people started putting disclaimers as a cover your ass policy, before fair use and transformative works were defined and had precedent like they do today. Some people still do it. So like, take your condescending, ignorant attitude elsewhere and realise that people have reason for doing the things they do. Just because you don’t know the history behind it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. #disclaimers #fanfic #fanfiction #ao3 #you kids get off my lawn #*waves cane*

[maybeitstimetoearnmybluebead replied to jjeh--writes]

OMG, yes. It actually freaked me out when I realized that half the stories I’m reading these days don’t have them. All I could think was, “NOOOOOO_ you’re going to get taken down and then I won’t be able to read your amazing angsty goodness!” And then I realized that it’s 2016, not 2003, and suddenly I felt old because I realized I’d been reading fanfiction for 13 years. I reme,ber having to lie about my age to sign onto in order to read smut becasue AO3 wasn’t around yet and I was… very young when I started reading fanfiction.

#fanfiction #ao3

[suchbrightlights replied to cleolinda]

I was growing up in the fandom while all the Anne McCaffery business was going down, and yes ma'am, double digit years later, I disclaim everything the same way I did when I was 12. It’s habit- and I can’t see a reason to drop it.

Music Vids and AMVS

[foremost-of-noble-ladies replied to sailaweigh]

I first got involved in fandom fifteen years ago, when I was in high school. I made AMVs, and posted on rp forums. When YouTube first became A Thing, all of my videos had long disclaimers that I didn’t own the rights to the music or the anime, and I promise I’m not making any money from this. Then there was that whole Warner Music thing, and a lot of my videos got flagged. Thankfully, the worst that happened was that I was forced to take some of them down, and a few of them lost their audio. The rp forums I was on ALWAYS had credits in the ‘required reading’ and a disclaimer. One Dragonriders of Pern site I frequented had a copy of The Rules in addition to the standard forum rules. And you had to be careful where you hosted, because on some boards, fandom activity of any kind was expressly forbidden in the ToS. #fanfiction #history

[turntechxgnostic replied to raineydayrainbows]

This also applies(even more recently) to video fan content, like AMVs, let’s plays, fandubs, video reviews, and top x lists. Those used to be constantly taken down by copyright holders, but a few years ago the DMCA was interpreted to allow them and since then there’s been far fewer instances of that(though recently we’ve been going through companies falsely placing copyright claims on videos and making money through that kind of essential scamming)

[equine-aurora replied to skaylanphear]

This was actually an interesting read. I didn’t get into fandoms till 2009 and while I read a bit of fanfiction back then, writing it is a recent development. I put disclaimers on AMVs I make but haven’t put them on any of the fanfics I put on AO3. I might go add them now though just to be safe though I don’t think the creators of Miraculous Ladybug care.

[elvenavari replied to vixenargentum]

I will forever put disclaimers on my fics, just in case. I remember when LucasFlim went on a copyright spree on Youtube and tried to get all fanvids taken down/removed. Not fanfiction but still. #fanfiction #history

[love-geofffree replied to polyglotplatypus]

I remember some of this (very little, I was pretty much on the tailend of these times) but I also remember learning that disclaimers actually don’t legally protect you, especially if you are not a minor, although I think nowadays you are less likely to be sued. however WB did sue someone recently for downloading supernatural footage from a video they owned to make a fanvid.

[onewordtest1 replied to luvtheheaven]

Even back when fair use could actually dependably help you putting it in the description didn’t matter, you had to go through an appeal process after your video was already flagged. And I remember that working for me only a handful of times. Also, people don’t seem to get that fanvids don’t automatically fall under fair use. They only do if you use a certain percentage of the song. Any fanvid that uses the full or nearly the full song doesn’t fall under fair use. The show is another matter but it’s usually the music that’ll get ya.

[luvtheheaven replied to onewordtest1]

Yeah I claimed it was fair use and it worked for me during the appeals process on quite a few fanvideos. Although I’m not sure they actually checked to see what I was claiming was my justification. It also didn’t work enough times that I went from being luvtheheaven on YouTube to being luvtheheaven5… so…

[doublel27 replied to evilythedwarf]

Your fanatic and fanvids were constantly in danger of being taken down for using copyrighted material. People got their accounts shut down over use of video clips, and not just music. Although you definitely got shut down over music. Videos always had copyright disclaimers. The late 90s and early 2000s were covered in debates about what was and was not copyright infringement. All fanworks were dangerous in those days.

[sparethetragic replied to paulfwesley]

I remember all of this, especially putting disclaimers on my own BtVS/AtS related fanfics. I still maintain that Joss and Co had no issue with fanfics (Joss has even gone on record as saying that he envisioned BtVS as a fanfiction type of realm, so to speak) but rather it was FOX who had the beef. Fox still tries to copyright everything BtVS related. Just look at YouTube. You have to go to great lengths to get your fanvids on there from a BtVS/AtS fandom. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. life and times of a fanfiction writer


[maplepancake replied to chichirinoda]

Also, there was a lot of paranoia in fandom back then, specifically because of Anne Rice. Everyone wondered if their fandom would be next, and as a result they were all very careful to be as unoffensive as possible and to make it clear that they did not own the characters or the setting and that it was all for fun. The same used to be true of roleplay too. Back in the day, Dragonriders were a big deal for roleplaying, but Anne McCaffrey shut that shit down very fast. Part of the reason why roleplaying is so different between sites now is that groups splintered off onto different websites at that point, and the culture of each group evolved differently. Hence why the email RPers do things differently from the DWRPers, who both do things differently from the message board RPers, and so on and so on.

[engineerleopoldfitz replied to mrsleopoldfitz]

Scrolled down this post to see if Anne McCaffrey was mentioned, and sure enough, yup. I was in any number of Pern-based RPs over the years who got love letters from her lawyers for being ‘too sexual’ or ‘too gay’.

[lovedlea replied to misakyra]

The rp community has it bad too. Way back in the early 90s when yahoo groups was a thing, rpers got the same treatment. Before Anne McCaffrey’s list of rules, I got one of those pretty cease & desist letters. I was young (maybe 12) at the time, & it terrified the hell out of me.The same threats & disclaimers were on AOL rp chatrooms too. Fandom was in a precarious place for a long while but we persisted & I’m so pleased that we overcame.

[gwendallas replied to teimywimey]

Oh wow, MEMORIES. I posted my fic on The Gossamer Archive from a school computer so I couldn’t be traced to my home address (I learned everything I knew about computers from Hackers). I RPed on fandom weyrs that ranged from Anne McCaffrey strict to non-canon and they got closed down on the regular. I didn’t write anything for most of my major fandoms until after AO3 opened because I never wanted to risk it. I was in so many email lists…And I still include a disclaimer. #fandom history #i'm so old #get off my lawn


Wait, so © disclaimers aren’t standard fare anymore? Like, fo’real? Cuz, lemme tell you, the debacles had amongst the early RolePlay forums and communities, good Ghu. And the issues with Dragonriders of Pern. Like. Whoa. I still remember so many vague things from this one group called Ruins Weyr which I think has long since croaked (And honestly good riddance - the person that ran that group was a nightmare to work with and the legality of the early days supposedly having permission to publicly keep an AoL Message Board (Yes, that long ago) RP group was… well, like I said. Things). And the stuff with Rice was always horrifying like, really? Most lawyers at least just saddled up with a C&D, but Rice, good Ghu her team did not fuck around.

[cephalopede replied to embraceyourfandom]

Oh god, this. As teenagers a friend of no e started an online RP based around a book series I forget the name of. HE TOLD THE AUTHOR. The author asked my friend, who was fourteen at the time, to pay a reasonable $1 licensing fee to use the setting and oh, the author would technically own any characters we made. #fandom #rp #fandom history

[zwordsman replied to petermorwood]

Ah. I remember these days… Actually a fanfic/anon RP (self made; kinda D&D like I realized in alter years) coop written story webpage/chat thingy for Dragonball z I used to frequent as a 11 year old in the late 90′s was killed off because of a similar reason. #fandom#fanfic#MEB

[dingoes8myrp replied to luscious2]

was introduced to message board RP around 2008 when Supernatural was getting popular (shout out to @greenekangaroo for suggesting “Hey, you should try this Internet thing the kids are using these days…”). I remember being baffled that there were all these online communities of people who also did what I did, that there was a name for it.

I had been writing what I called “what if” stories in notebooks since high school. It started when I read Interview with a Vampire, ironically, and I didn’t know there were sequels. My aunt had lent me the book and I had so many questions about the lore and the characters. So we’d have these long discussions. “What if this?” and “What if that?” My aunt encouraged me to write it all down, to use my imagination to answer those questions for myself.

I did this with everything I read. And then everything I watched. It was not only a way to increase my reading comprehension and critical thinking, but to learn how to write a good story and compelling characters.

Until recently (whenever I started posting my fics on Tumblr, maybe a year ago), I still kept my “what if” stories hidden on my desktop or in my notebooks. I did message board RP, which had its own drawbacks and stigmas, and I wrote for canon characters. And it was generally well received. Nobody really picked apart or disliked my writing (or if they did, they kept it to themselves). I heard bits and pieces of the stories outlined here and it made me kind of nervous about my own fanfiction. It had never occurred to me that imagining scenarios from beloved works and (gasp) writing them down for fun would be frowned upon (or even illegal).

I do remember even on message board RPs having to put disclaimers on things, having secret password protected boards, sites coming down on players for writing non-hetero relationships in a certain way (even some Buffy the Vampire Slayer communities did this, which I found strange given the show’s landmark same-sex relationship). At the time, I didn’t really get it. It annoyed me and made me roll my eyes, but I wasn’t a part of the online fanfic community at the time. So I saw some ripples reverberate across the Internet, but I didn’t see where it came from.

The reason I’ve begun posting my fanfiction online is because so many fandom creators, writers, actors, and crew have shown acceptance or support of fanfiction (granted, sometimes it’s grudgingly so).

Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, has encouraged aspiring writers to write “spec” TV scripts, and includes a footnote “And no, I will not read your spec Sons of Anarchy.” He wrote spec scripts himself to build his writing portfolio. Joss Whedon, J.K. Rowling, and Daniel Knauf come to mind, though I don’t have any articles handy to link.

It seems like fanfiction has always been a thing. But talking about it publicly was what ruffled some feathers, as well as the Internet allowing us to “publish” it during a time when it was unclear what that meant. #fanfiction #rp #message board rp #dingorambles

The Fourth Wall


Omg I can’t believe it! I always took fan works for guaranteed, never again! I entered in the fandom word when I was 13, started with following thousands of blogs and italian fanfic sites but I’ve never ever heard about all this massive shit happening o_o Not knowing english saved me from internet hiding at such a young age, lucky me 💚 However, Imho we’re witnessing the opposite phenomenon,like for exemple marvel cinecomics are more and more interested in capturing “fangirls” attention. I don’t know if this is positive or not but it is undeniable that directors/actors/authors/ecc are well aware now of the impact of their work on us. Maybe they simply noticed that the more interest there was on a fandom, the more gadgets/novels/ecc were sold, otherwise why there are so many stuff to buy now than 10/20 years ago? [8]


Yep I used to have disclaimers on all my Buffy fic back in the day. The Buffy creators were mostly pretty chill about fandom but it’s not like it is now. You did NOT talk about fandom with anyone except other fandom people and bringing it up at cons was a massive no no because of stuff like this.

I think Supernatural (and Misha Collins specifically) was when that wall between fandom and creators started to break down. It’s a relatively new thing.

I remember going to a Merlin panel down in London and a girl sitting next to me asked the cast about slash and I thought she was going to get kicked out!

Fandom history is important. [9]

[whatdoesthistellyou replied to slavewhotouchedastar]:

"I remember going to a Merlin panel down in London and a girl sitting next to me asked the cast about slash and I thought she was going to get kicked out!"

What’s more the reaction in the Merlin fandom on seeing the vid of a question like that was to condemn her completely.

(Also their reasoning was that they believed the creators would respond by destroying the Merlin/Arthur relationship to prevent slash fans touching their work. That was [the view of] what creators were like.)


It was such a strange and uncomfortable experience for me when fans in LOTR and Potter fandoms suddenly started shoving their work in people’s faces speaking publicly about fandom and wanting to engage in dialogue with the creators and actors of the Thing they were into. Fan stuff was supposed to stay online, in archives and list-serves and zines we passed around because it just wasn’t cool to talk about it and it could get you in a boatload of trouble. The freedom we have to create and gather together in a shared space, or actually be acknowledged in any way by people outside the fandom was inconceivable to my fannish, teenaged self. I want fans these days to understand how amazing modern fandom really is, cherish the community, and appreciate what it took to get us here. [10]


“if you found this by googling yourself, hit back now. this means you, pete wentz[11]



one thing i particularly love is how shows have characters that write fanfiction because shows have writers that wrote fanfiction. current fan culture hasn’t been this way for very long, but it’s been this way for long enough, and now it’s in children’s cartoons like adventure time that if you like a book or a show, you might write your own adventures for it and read it to your friends, no big deal. i don’t remember seeing any girl in any show writing fanfiction where that wasn’t the punchline, that she was a sad freak…you still see that joke sometimes, but increasingly there’s also support and approval for the collaborative, imaginative storytelling fans do for fun, and that’s really cool. [12]


Let’s not forget: the reason AO3 is called ‘Archive of our own’ is because it was created in response to some bullshit that assholes were trying to play with fan creators. Basically (if I remember the fiasco correctly) trying to mine fandom creators for content which they could then use to generate ad profit on their shitty websites. When the series creators objected, the fans tried to pull their content, only to find that the website hoster resisted, claiming their content was all his now. [note 1]

That wasn’t even all that long ago… [13]


Reason 673 that we have Fanlore, the fandom history wiki. [14]


This, this, this, all of this… except:

I don’t know of any actual lawsuits filed against not-for-profit fanfic. If anyone does, PLEASE SHARE INFO. I know about plenty of cease-and-desist letters, and threats of potential lawsuits; if anyone knows if a media creator (or their big-corporation-legal-team) actually filed a lawsuit, FANLORE NEEDS THOSE DETAILS. Fragments that I’ve heard that might relate to actual filings:

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro over St. Germaine (wtf is it with female authors and their vampiric imaginary boyfriends?)

X-Files owners vs fansites

Early Lucasfilm reactions to fan works

… anything else? My admittedly-not-detailed digging on each of those turned up no actual legal suits filed, just threats.

A big part of AO3 was the willingness to stand up and say, “y’know what? No more caving to vague threats. If you think this is REALLY illegal, if you think we are causing you financial damage, if you think we are not within the bounds of fair use… put your damn money where your mouth is and file. that. suit. Because ‘I don’t like how they’re talking about the characters I made up’ is not, actually, against the law.”

It’s been more than 7 years, and AO3 hosts fic about pretty much all of the “NO FANFIC EVER” fandoms, and… zero lawsuits so far. [15]

Oh, this brings back some not so-awesome ‘90s fandom memories! [16]


History became legend. Legend became myth…. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. [17]

[helena-invictus replied to scyllaya]:

There’s a reason you will never, ever find Laurel K. Hamilton fan fiction on the internet. Also, way back in the day, Forever Knight (remember that?) had such a strong following that fans got the show brought back for a third season after it was cancelled. The producers were so angry they literally killed everyone so fans couldn’t fight for a fourth season

[prismatic-bell replied to argylepiratewd]:

Yup. That’s why places like AO3 even exist. I remember actually including the line “I’m twelve years old, please don’t sue me” in a disclaimer.

[luke-jace yexn replied to fandomlife-universe]:

So I’m on AO3 and I see a lot of people who put “I do not own [insert fandom here]” before their story. Like, I came on this site to read FAN fiction. This is a FAN fiction site. I’m fully aware that you don’t own the fandom or the characters. That’s why it’s called FAN FICTION. AO3 isn’t even a fanfiction site completely? It is usually used for fanfics, but it has original content too. is a different story but still.

[anightvaleintern replied to voltronlaundryday]:

Fanfiction has also become more acceptable as the newer generations are becoming the published authors. Rebecca Sugar, for example, participated in fandom before become a professional so I’m sure to her, this all comes with the territory.

[gallifreygal replied to therothwoman]:

I remember being a part of a Livejournal RPG comm back in the early 2000s and the mods were big on making sure no characters would be from fandoms where the creators discouraged fanfic. So, no Pern characters, no Anne Rice characters, and then, no characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. George R.R. Martin despises fanfiction, btw. I don’t think he’s ever gone as far as suing writers, but I can’t be sure and I can’t be bothered to research rn.

Anyway, this was way way way before Game of Thrones became an HBO show, so I suppose it was easier to enforce the ban when the biggest hurdle to the fandom was a collection of ultra-thick books. Then the show happened, the fandom exploded, and then everyone started writing stories regardless of George’s feelings about it. Sorry George, the fans have won.

Also the talk about Dragonriders of Pern RPGs took me way way back to my online text gaming days. Remember MU*s? Remember creating a character and logging in and then auditioning to be a canon character in front of mods? Good times. #fandom history #long post #but good! #so good


The X-Files

[myassbrokethefall replied to noifsandsorbees]

“Site.” You modern folk you! In my day we read all our fic on newsgroups. (And yes, there was a very real concern that Fox would try to sue everyone.)

#fanfic #fandom stories

[dashakay replied to myassbrokethefall]

Or on email lists! It was always fun to try to write a creative disclaimer: “These characters belong to Chris Carter but he doesn’t deserve them.”

[devonebriewiy replied to dashakay]

Hahahaa….. “…..but he doesn’t deserve them.”!!!!! What a quote by Dasha!!!!! 😂 🙌

[bluegrasscontessa replying to pinknoonicorn]

As someone who was part of an ancient FanFic Forum and whose own site was shut down by the service provider after forwarding me and my gang a Cease and Desist order from a US network legal department, I can attest to the fact that yes, back in the day, one had to put a DISCLAIMER in the header of your posted fan-generated fiction when using licensed likenesses and images. Yet we remained X-Philes and laugh now about the early days of creative license vs. first amendment rights/legal ownership/proprietary entities.

Long story short, one of our story lines caught the attention of someone on the TV show’s writing staff and we were vindicated, exonerated, (eventually compensated) and given credit for contribution to the mytharc canon.

In a way, our being caught, chastised and censured had a silver lining.

But yes, once upon a time, creative types who wrote/photoshopped/made fan videos had to stamp disclaimers all over their works - no matter how underground or dark net we thought we were. TPTB *ALWAYS* find you.

[pletzel relying to gingerstellagiulia]

Fox used to love shutting down fan sites. I was twelve when I received a cease and desist letter for my tiny fic archive! They shut down so many circa ‘99-00 that scores of the most popular fan sites – including those using screenshots and fan created images as well as fic – participated in ‘Operation Blackout’ whereby they shut down for a day in protest. We take disclaimers for granted now, partly because there’s such a high volume of media out there that it would be impossible to monitor everything, and the benefits of fan publicity are realised, but covering your butt was serious business when the Internet was getting started.

#fandom history #old Pletzel is old


Oh man, let me tell you about the X-Files fandom. Lawyers for FOX sued, threatened, and generally terrified the owners of fan websites on a regular basis. God help you if you wrote or created original art set in their (expansive) universe or worse - dared to write about their characters. Even people who weren’t creating fanworks, just hosting Geocities pages about how much people liked the show would be sent C&D orders or actually fined. When I was first discovering the concept, the first rule of fandom was you do not talk about fandom because the consequences could be devastating.

Star Wars


Lucasfilm also sent cease-and-desist letters to Star Wars fanzines publishing slash. [note 2]

My favourite bit I read from one included the idea that you weren’t allowed to have any explicit content, of which anything queer, no matter how tame, was included, to “preserve that innocence even Imperial crew members must be imagined to have”.

Yeah. The same Imperial crew members who helped build the Death Star to commit planetary genocide.

(It’s one reason Sinjir Velus, while I still have some issues with him, feels like such a delicious ‘f*** you’.)

Later on, they were apparently persuaded to ‘allow’ fans to write slash, provided in ‘remained within the nebulous bounds of good taste’.

(On a related note, if I wasn’t quite so attached to my URL, I would 100% change it to ‘Nebulous Bounds’, because that’s just downright catchy) [18]


wasn’t there a similar kerkuffle in the star wars fandom

like, back in the time of zines, didn’t Lucasfilm go down hard on the shipping or did I dream that[19]


when I first got into reading fic, I sort of researched the history of fandom a lot (fandom archaeology! such a nerd) and, uh…

that DEFINITELY happened. Luke/Han shippers had their stuff basically blacklisted from zines because lucasfilm banned ‘adult content’ fanworks…and all slash was considered ‘adult content’ DDD:

the fans panicked. nobody would publish han/luke.

also a lot of fans were all ‘moral outrage’-y at the idea of slash in general (and luke/han in particular).

the luke/han pairing went *way* underground; people passed their fic around privately and secretly. nothing was published in zines until the first issue of Elusive Lover in 1996.

and even after this, the whole ‘slash is against the RULES!!1!1!!’ mentality seemed to persist for a good long while in the star wars fandom, because even online fic for the prequels would sometimes have, in addition to the ‘it’s not mine! please don’t sue me!’ disclaimers, rather *terrifying* (esp. for young me) warnings on them


‘we can’t promise you that lucasfilm won’t legally go after you if they find out you read this’

type warnings

honestly, the way that fans are clamoring for CANON GAY STAR WARS characters now is…really sort of amazing and wonderful to me. [20]

Anne McCaffrey/Dragonriders of Pern


Anne McCaffrey had this huge long set of rules about how exactly you were allowed to play in her sandbox. Dragonriders of Pern was my first online fandom, and I was big into the Pern RP scene - and just about every fan-Weyr had a copy of these lists of rules McCaffrey wanted enforced. One of which was ‘no porn’ and another was basically ‘it can’t be gay’ (and for a while ‘no fanfiction posted online’? which??? anyway.)

She relaxed a little as time went on, but still. [21]


Oh man, Pern fandom. I was originally in Pern fandom in the early 00s, when the Rules were still going strong. When I left the fandom and came back and found that there were FORUM CLUBS?! With the posts just where ANYONE COULD READ THEM?! AND NEW DRAGON COLORS?!?! Holy shit, mind blown.And I remember the list on of authors whose work you weren’t allowed to fic, including Anne Rice. And literally everyone putting some kind of disclaimer on their fic. It was just how fandom operated.[22]


Oh god, Pern. Pern was my first online fandom. Not gonna lie, I miss it, a lot.

So, back between 2002-2004, I played on NorCon MUSH, which was one of the bigger ones. I also played on SouCon. Had some different characters. One dragonrider, one weyrfolk, a bakercraft apprentice who I advanced to journeywoman. On SouCon I had a brewer and possibly another weyfolk? I don’t remember. And nobody paid attention to the “no gay stuff” rules, even outside of mating flights. But there were definitely not any unorthodox dragon colors.

I played on Skies Apart for a while in 2013 as weyrfolk, a cook. No unorthodox dragon characters. Plenty of gay stuff.

If anybody’s reading this and played on NorCon, especially, during those times, feel free to message me, especially if you were at Igen, Telgar, or Ista. I miss people :)[23]


I was in the Pern fandom and played on a Harper’s Tale for a while, and that was in the era of when some of the Mu* still had official letters from McCaffrey declaring they could operate. (Like… wow.)

Plus, the Pern fandom is why I was originally *deeply baffled* by people who wrote fic about canon characters (whaaat?!?!) and roleplayed using canon characters (??!!??), because that was def. against the Rules.

I mean. I got over it, but it’s hard to shake the cultural norms of the first fandom you’re socialized into.[24]


I grew up reading X-Files and Pern fandom during those days, and it has left me incredibly sensitive to creators trying to control what is and isn’t allowed within fandom.

If any of my followers has wondered why I get so mad at the Yogscast over their treatment of fanfic authors, it’s because I remember this. And I am not okay with even the slightest motion back towards it.

(I read McCaffrey’s rules on what was and wasn’t allowed in fanworks, got to “no new dragon colors” and almost immediately turned around and made a dragon OC whose color was best described as “rainbow quilt” because screw that noise.)[25]


Oh man. Pern fandom brings back memories. Yeah, I helped a friend do one by the book. Did regular emails back and forth with her son (forget which one - not the one I think took over her books tho) to get it the official approval.

All rp was via email, so it could be private. Mailing lists were king. You could create new Weyrs, but I think there were certain guidelines on where they could be. One of the best RP Weyrs was Kadanzer - cool admins and mods. They had a private forum that did occasional rps for like hatchings and stuff. But all rp and fanzine was done via email. (Well, the fanzine was pdf but emailed out ya know.) Plus they let people’s female characters Impress blues and browns.

The different color dragons and such came about to get around her rules. Most of those were on free forums and technically *not* on Pern. Though terms and such were shared. As far as I knew McCaffrey didn’t send lawyers out to anyone, but just wanted to keep a tight reign on how things were set up.

She let things go once her Pern series was trying to be picked up for a movie/tv series. It was basically explained that she did this to give the writers and producers some leeway. They even started filming a bit. I remember seeing a pic of her on a dragon saddle. It was all green screen around her and only saddle was practical. But then that fell through.

(Sorry, I know the convo on this moved past this but PERN YO)[26]


I remember a lot of this stuff. I’m probably still on a Weyr somewhere with most of Anne McCaffrey’s rules intact. I remember having to put a disclaimer on fics and wading through a full page of carefully worded disclaimers before you got to the actual fic you wanted to read. I remember thinking about how “telling someone not to do something” was one of the surest ways they would do it and scratching my head at property owners. #fandom #history #fandom history #usenet #ao3 # geocities[27]


Yeah… I remember this too. Any fan authors who started their foray into the world of fanfiction during the 90s know this [about disclaimers]. Those are some wacky early days, before even the creation of and the gradual acceptance of fanfiction as a celebration of our love for fictional worlds and characters. I never got quite into the whole Anne Rice’s melt down thing, but I do remember Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and its torrents of cease and desists emails sent to young teenage girls and boys who wrote and celebrated their adoration for McCaffrey’s fictional universe out of pure love.

Now it has gotten much better because the marketing people are wising up to the facts that fan arts and fanfictions lengthen the longevity (and thus profitability) of any given series. But… you never know when some lawyer people are gonna get greedy dumb over chump changes.[28]


I’m still in a Pern RP that was approved back when one of McCaffrey’s team insisted on approving all new play by email Weyrs. We still have a lot of Anne’s list of rules in place because at this point they’ve been there 16+ years and we’re used to playing within them and some of the club runners think shedding them would be weird. I remember us having to password-protect our online post archive because we didn’t want to violate the “no fanfiction online” rule, and we were hoping that “must be a club member to read” and “locked behind member password area” would help it. Now our archives are open to all and it’s awesome. #fandom history #maaaaan i def remember pern RPs having to have So Many Rules #and I remember all the disclaimers[29]


I remember that one of Anne McCaffrey’s rules for fanfic was that there couldn’t be another white dragon. I mean, of all the things …

But, yeah, I remember when someone not having a disclaimer on their fanfic was shocking.[30]


There could not be another white dragon, aaaand:

Greens: only women and gay men

Blue: gay/bi men and women (maybe not even bi)

Browns: MEN ONLY



Like, we had to abide by those rules in any fandom setting. Is there an RPG weyr? Still better be within those bounds. (and, of course, no other “special” dragons")

I heard tell that once upon a time, women were allowed by McCaffery to be brownriders, but that apparently there was some kind of fandom kerfuffle, and she responded by “taking the toys away.” At the time, I shrugged and accepted it, but now I wonder just what kind of people went whining to Anne freaking McCaffery that they didn’t want female brownriders in their rpg/fanfic group. #so naturally i made up my own character with a purple-ish bronze dragon because I Do What I Want #fic life #fandom life #q[31]


Someone above mentioned Anne McCaffrey, and I can never pass up the chance to tell people about The Time Anne McCaffrey Threatened to Sue a Middle Schooler.

Way back in the day, I was super big into the Dragonriders of Pern series. It was the earlier days of the World Wide Web and I’d found an internet home in an HTML-based chat site called There were tons of chat rooms, but I frequented most the Young Writer’s Clubhouse and DragonHold – the latter being a fantasy RP chat room. I’d signed up for the website as “Lessa of Benden Wyer,” misspelling unintentional at the time.

Since it was also “Back in the Day” a number of authors were just starting to make websites for themselves. Anne McCaffrey was one of them with Dragonhold Underhill, and on her website she’d posted her AOL email address. I was so happy, and I emailed her excited to talk to a REAL LIVE AUTHOR. I told her how old I was, asked her where she pulled her inspiration, and then mentioned that I roleplayed as Lessa online.

She replied back with the writing tips, and then at the end of the email, she threatened to sue me.

My favorite author threatened to sue me. I was twelve years old.[32]


Dude the Anne McCaffrey thing was so weird to me when I got into the online fandom in the mid-90′s. At first it was “no fanfic,” so if you wrote it you had to hide the shit out of it or keep it to yourself (a lot of this had to do with the fact that in the 90’s no one was really sure what to do with the Internet because compared to today it was so small. There were actually legitimate concerns of someone confusing a fanwork with something AM herself had written, because 1. No one knew how to deal with the Internet, as stated before, and 2. Anne McCaffrey’s website was garish until her dying day so someone confusing a Geocities site with it was not out of the realm of possibility).

Then it was “No fanfiction except on my specific archive, on my website, which has to be approved.” Which was so fucking weird because that was when FNN was really popular, before the Purge and AFF, well before AO3. FFN had to take down all of the Anne McCaffrey-based fic. Simultaneously the shit was going on with Anne Rice so FFN had to pull her shit too.

Then the criteria for her archive was released and basically you could only use her characters in specific situations; if you wanted Teh Gay, you had to create your own characters within her world and use them (that, apparently, you were allowed to do to your heart’s content, but it still might not get published). I found this really bizarre because Anne McCaffrey was one of the few well-known sci-fi/fantasy authors that regularly included queer people in her novels. They were usually side-characters and more often than not male, but they were there. There were even instances where their sexual escapades were described; not the long, lustful scenes you got with the het protags but like…actual gay sex happened in her novels. So the Ban On Gay Shit was really baffling to me. And the fact that the Pern fandom, specifically, was one of the only places where you were encouraged to create an OC. It was SO WEIRD.

She really did loosen up a lot after the ‘net boom in ‘04, when it became very obvious that no one was going to mistake her shit for fanfic, or vice versa (most of the websites hosting illegal Pern fanfic LOOKED BETTER THAN HERS). But it was still really weird.

The last two years of her life she just stopped giving a fuck, as far as I can tell. Not sure what Todd, her son, thinks on the topic now that he holds the official rights to the universes she created. But the old site still has the rule of NO EROTICA which is just MIND-BOGGLING to me because??? she wrote???? erotica??? Like LOTS of it?????

W/E; AM, I loved your work and I miss you but fuck you were weird.[33]


1. made it MANDATORY to have a disclaimer on every chapter to try to ward off threats of shutting the site down. If someone reported you for not doing it your fic would be taken down and you could be banned.

2. Anne Macaffrey got better about fanworks but her son didn’t. He went after a woman who was getting known for her dragon art and harassed her until she shut down her website for a while even though the works she had up were not of Pernese dragons. She had done some fanart but it wasn’t posted at her site. Just the fact that she was inspired to draw dragons by the Pern books was enough.

Edit to add: The son who did this was Alec not Todd.

Also, I had given up on finding this link to a Studio 360 story from 2001 about that case and suing fanartists in general until I thought about the Wayback Machine.[34]

[uncannykate replied to bastlynn]

This is why I, as an older person who loves geeky things, do not read fanfiction or engage in the community any more. It was really a shadowy game where we expected to be shut down if lawyers found it. I was particularly active in the MUSH space (online real-time roleplay) and saw more than one get threatened and removed, including Narnia, and yes the Pern restrictions (we violated the no gays rule flagrantly, and nearly got shut down back when we had several hundred players a day connected regularly when they found out that we *gasp* had a Benden Weyr.)

I’m glad that it’s changed, because it was really not fun to devote your time and energy to living in your favorite fantasy world and then have the creator find out and stomp all over you. Which was the norm and common as fuck. It was basically treated like piracy, if not worse - authors had been scared from a few real cases into thinking fanfiction was a breeding ground for lawsuits from fans if your stories happened to resemble things they’d posted online earlier.

Also: Please never claim anyone ‘stole’ from your fanfic, because people that did that nearly killed fandom in the 90s and left horrible scars on the rest of us. [35]

[cheyinka replied to violent-darts]

I remember playing on a Crystal Singer MUSH (text-based real-time RP) and having a very long conversation with one of the staff about whether my Sorter character could go to one of the minor moons for a vacation. Because, you see, one of the Rules in HELP RULES was “if you aren’t a Singer you CANNOT leave EVER,” and even though everything on a MUSH is ephemeral and even though the odds of anyone even associated with Anne McCaffrey, never mind McCaffrey herself, logging in were absolutely infinitesimal, we were seriously concerned about whether we would be Breaking The Rules by having that happen.

Take that paranoia and multiply by 10,000 for anything on a static webpage where anyone could find it. (Multiply merely by 5,000 for anything behind friends-lock, because anyone could take a screenshot and save it and send it somewhere, right?) #paranoia strikes deep #into your life it will creep #it starts when you're always afraid #step outta line #the man come and take you(r fanfic) away [36]

[smartass-telepath replied to jathis]

It wasn’t just fanfics too! Anne McCaffrey used to send C&Ds to people RPing Dragonriders of Pern. You needed to have your site/etc approved by her personally or it would get shut down. She backed off in her later years, but yeah, this shit happened. #ooc


Does the Pit of Voles (do the Young People even call it that anymore?) still have that list of authors they won’t host fic for because they were too litigious? It was Rice, Anne McCaffrey, Robin Hobb, Melanie Rawn, and a couple of others, IIRC. So yeah - there were entire fandoms it was hard to find fic for because people who hosted it put themselves in legal danger. That was one of the rationales behind AO3/the OTW - to be able to *legally defend* the existence of fannish archives.


Anne McCaffrey sued for fan fiction? There used to be tons of Pern ‘zines out there. Never followed the online stuff though.

#fandom #fandom history[37]


I’m not sure if everybody on that list sued, to be fair - some of them it was just that they had expressly stated they didn’t want fanfic written, and at that stage FFN was the only major pan-fandom archive and tried to respect that. McCaffrey was definitely very dubious on fanfic and explicitly anti-slash, but she lightened up as the years went on. Zines were, of course, much harder to police because they circulated within the fan community rather than being online for everybody to see.

[andlightplay replied to etharei]

Anne McCaffrey did relax her rules a lot in her later years, but I can’t let this post pass without noting the amusing implications of saying that she’s “lightened up these days”…given that she died in 2011

#I am snickering inappropriately ngl[38]


one does not simply walk into fandom. it’s black gates are guarded by more than just lawyers. there is evil there that does not sleep, and the great mccaffrey is ever watchful.

#it is a barren wasteland[39]


As a giant nerd who did some Dragonriders of Pern fandom RPGing in High School, I can add that Anne McCaffrey was, not Anne Rice aggressive, but definitely threatening to fans. She especially didn’t like people trying to reconstruct Pern in a way that made it less inherently sexist and homophobic.[40]


I remember playing in the Dragonriders of Pern fandom in the late 90’s. There were sanctioned RP groups and you couldn’t use any characters from the book series, and everyone else was threatened with suing. It was a dark time.

Then I found the underground HP slash fandom and never looked back.[41]


Yeah. It wasn’t just Ann Rice, either. Anne McAffery INDIVIDUALLY APPROVED and micromanaged Pern RPs for the longest time. Marion Zimmer Bradley is the reason many authors are contractually not allowed to read fanfiction, and so on.[42]


Back in the day, I was on several board of directors for Dragon Riders of Pern online Weyrs. We played our own characters, but still had to get permission from Anne McCaffery’s representatives ahead of time. Shit was no joke.[43]


Anne McCaffrey got FFN to remove their Pern category and fully ban Pern fanfic from their site. #fanfic#fanfiction #fan fiction #fan fic #Anne McCaffrey #Anne Rice #Pern #Dragonriders of Pern #Vampire Chronicles[44]


Hah, I remember feeling so lucky whenever I stumbled onto that rare Vampire Chronicles fanfic.

Also, they reversed their decision on this some time ago, but Anne McCaffrey used to forbid Dragonriders of Pern fanfiction. No one could write fanfic, but she did allow RPGs that took place on Pern as long as her Weyrs and characters weren’t mentioned. I mostly stuck to PBeMs because that felt most like writing and reading actual fic to me, but I remember there were endless lists of places to go play Pern RPGs.

To this day, I honestly can’t read Pern fic that star the book characters without feeling like I’m doing something really wrong. Pern fusion where other characters have dragons? Sure. Reading about Lessa or Manolly? Oh no, no way. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one from those days who has the fanfic taboo still haunting them, looking at the overall lack of quantity in the Pern fanfiction categories at or AO3 and comparing it to the sheer number of people I remember being a part of those RPGs.[45]


I feel so old right now, because I remember too much if this.

For so long I kept following the disclaimer out if habit, but I’d managed to suppress why. I also strictly avoided all fandoms ok books, and have read like Two ever cross-overs into dragons of pern. (One teen wolf and one avatar).

I can’t believe I managed to Forget the McCaffrey and Rice crap. Specially Mccafrey and her lovely opinions on the gays (like me). And as a gay nerd the dragons of Pern was so fascinating, and it would mesh so well with so many fandoms I love now, but I just can’t go back to that series.

I’m old enough to remember the damn tent peg thing making the rounds. If you aren’t familiar during an interview asking about sexualities of riders of green dragon riders (male green dragon riders and whatever dragon rider MAN was impressed with the dragon mating said green dragon end up having relations driven by the passion of their dragons….) and a big question arose as to if green dragons picked gay riders, and “what if the green D[r]agon picked a straight rider,” to which she replied, to the effect of “if you have sex with a man once and are straight, even if it’s rape (an actual story about a straight man being raped by a tent peg was inserted here by McCaffrey at this point) you become gay.” So yeah, bisexual and questioning erasure, neither of which I was but so many of my not-out or trying to find their way friends were, and such a horrifying dismissal of their sexuality from one of my favorite childhood authors was devastating. I aggressively stayed out of fandoms for all my favorite books after that and only read/write slag fandoms on the underground archives for anime and cartoons that I had less childhood emotional investment in, (oh gundam endless waltz: 3x4 forever) so I wouldn’t have more things RUINED.

I’m so glad things are “better” now so I can actually consciously decide to let go of some of the old fears and baggage. I think I finally wrote my first fic on any website WITHOUT the disclaimer literally two months ago, on ao3. (Which I continue to donate to during their crazy regular donation calls because I never want to go back to shifty archive sites and the idea of there not being a transformative works defense fund.)

#blitz feels old #but happy about the times a changing[46]


Way back in the compuserve days, to run a Pern RP forum, you had to a) get permission from Anne McCaffrey and b) only use Turns and Weyrs that were not featured in the books. The whole thing was plastered with reminders that it was fan works and not authorized or official in any way. #old fandom[47]

[lunararcher replied to whitebear-ofthe-watertribe]

Okay, this is all very cool and very interesting (I’m glad I only ever read Interview with a Vampire, because the Anne Rice mess sounds toxic) but I do have one thing to say about the Pern rules:

No GAY?! 98% of her dragon riders were male for most of their history and when the female dragons (green and gold) go into heat, THEIR RIDERS DO TOO. And guess what? Only gold dragons were ridden by women until the very most recent books. So where does that leave the (male) green dragon riders? That’s right! GAY! It was canon!! For heaven’s sake, that’s just ridiculous

[michirucipher replied to everyday-im-preaching]

Oh god I remember the horror stories. I used to rp Pern and it was just awful because I was kicked off the site just because I was “too friendly” with another rper of the same gender character. They were just good friends, but they were so afraid that they decided to ban me. That’s how bad it was.


Well, I dove into the internet in 2001 at age 16. I was a Dragonriders of Pern fan myself, so was already thinking of Anne McCaffrey by the time she was mentioned in this thread… I never felt she was one of the stuffy, overbearing authors, however. I think it came through that she was very flattered about the idea of fanfiction, and really didn’t like making rules. She just had an old-fashioned perception of copyright law as it could affect her control over her plot/characters whilst a bunch of labels, including Warner Brothers, were so eager to turn it into a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esqe… thing, that just wasn’t Pern. I know that might seem a little paranoid, but Idk, it made sense to me. Times have changed… now WB is -less- likely to mutilate it and I’m cautiously optimistic that they have the rights.

But yeah… I remember the olden days of anime fanfiction too, when most of it was written by twisted over-30-year-olds… Slayers… what a ride![48]

[ebonykain replied to bibliotecaria-d]

Heck, to this day I’ve never read any of the Pern series because I remember McCaffrey going after artists who drew dragons that looked like they could be based on her dragons. It was so upsetting to me that you weren’t allowed to be so inspired by her work that you just had to create. And that fear got deep enough into my head that I know I’ll never be able to read and enjoy it. I remember a huuuuge backlash against the fan who handed Sir Ian McKellen a fic she wrote, that he apparently read and enjoyed, iirc. But daring to cross the boundary caused a huge uproar in fandom as everyone worried that we’d see the witch hunts against fan-creations start up again


The “Anne McCaffrey doesn’t want Pern porn” thing seems a bit odd to me, because unless I’m remembering the books wrong, there’s at least two times where dragon and rider fuck another dragon and rider (respectively) at the same time. It wasn’t graphic, of course, but “only I am allowed to think about my characters having sex” is a strange and weird thought process to me. #text #fandom #tumblr #tag


I am having nightmare flashbacks to Burned Fur.

FYI Pern fanfiction predates the internet. I knew people who belonged to in-person Pern writing clubs.

However I think the point of the the first unfortunate dumped-upon post might have been lost. Posting a sentence or 6 pages of legal-ish sounding disclaimers on your fic does not protect you. That was true in 1998, it is true today. It is true even if Anne Rice is really, really mean. Having a lawyer explain fair use to the plaintiff will help, but much like RIAA lawsuits this was always done with the knowledge that most of those sued could not afford to mount an effective legal defense. #i love watching people write about ancient history that is comparatively new in the history of fandom[49]


I’m 99% sure Anne McCaffrey was a real bitch about it, too, but I don’t have personal experience– I just remember people saying it. And of course, Tolkien’s kid, Chris, can be a right ass-hat.[50]

[issoylentgreen replied to tarahime]

On Anne McCaffrey’s website, there was a board where she allowed people to post fanfiction. It would only stay on the site for a week and then was deleted. I’m pretty sure there were restrictions on what people could write as well, but I’m not sure what they were. Otherwise, she didn’t want anyone writing fanfics. had a list of authors who didn’t approve of fanfic as their own disclaimer like “hey if you do this we warned you."

[chaoskirin replied to nabulos]

Anne McC@ffrey was another one. She’s the writer of the P@rn series, and to this day, I still cannot bring myself to own or read anymore of her books. She, or rather, her son, litigated like crazy. We learned not to type out the name of the author or the series name, because if he found you, he would sue you. I still use the @ sign to block out a few letters out of habit.

The thing about that disclaimer (and why I never used it, back in the day) is that it really didn’t matter if you used it or not. Even if you put it on your fanfiction or fanart, you could still be sued. Stating you were doing it for fun did not absolve you in the eyes of unfriendly powers-that-be. In fact, one of my favorite P@rn fanart sites had a huge disclaimer right on the top, and she still got sued.

I think T@dd McC@ffrey tried to claim a copyright or trademark on dragons right around then.

ETA (from Dee Dreslough’s page): This was the cease-and-desist she was sent. Bolding/letter editing is mine. …..

Dear Ms. Dreslough:

I represent Anne McC@ffrey and recently had occasion to review your web page entitled “Dee’s Drag@nrider Art Gallery (Tables Version)”. You have made clear in the text of your materials that the artwork appearing at this web site is inspired by and based upon Ms. McC@ffrey’s Drag@nriders of P@rn series and you appear to understand fully the copyright and trademark rights reserved to Anne McC@ffrey, by your reference to her works. You also seem to understand that you may be violating her rights by your statement found on your web site that “if mentioning my inspiration is something that can get me sued… oh well. If I’ve goofed, let me know where to fix and I will.*sigh*”

Indeed, you are seriously violating Anne McC@ffrey’s trademark and copyright rights by your efforts to copy her work (creating “derivative” works) and marketing them over the Internet. As you indicate, you have not received permission from Anne McC@ffrey to do so and the mere fact that you disclaim such endorsement does not allow you to violate her rights. ……..

This was how I learned that disclaimers were just extra letters on a page, and ultimately pointless. (Note that the artist was not ‘marketing.’ She had a fanart page.)

[featheredschist replied to phinarei]

Anne McCaffrey (may she rest in peace) waffled on the subject of fan works over the years. At first it was fine, then it came down to authorized groups only (fan groups, who took the name ‘Weyr’), then everything went on lock down. Cease and desist letters went out to fan artists of all kinds, including a guy who made leather mugs, with patches on them emblazoned with canon coats of arms (symbols for each Weyr and Hold). I recall he supposedly only made enough to recover the cost of making the things, never a profit, but that was ages ago, and my memory is shit. I got a reply to a letter I wrote as a teen, who was just starting to futz with fan fic (in the days before internet, even), and wanted to write some kind of crossover. I made the mistake of saying I wanted to get it published, and she put the kibosh on it (or her lawyers did).

Wasn’t until about a decade ago that she changed her mind about the fandom stuff.

I do know a couple people who are like “fan fic is of the devil”, and I can only say “well, that’s your right, and I respect that” and go on about my day. #fandoms #authors #approving # or not #of fan fic #fan art #etc #FFN #still has a list of#no-no authors #to avoid #so they don't get sued[51]

[bones-and-struts replied to geekygothgirl]

Anne McCaffrey had Official Storytelling Weyrs, each of which had to be approved by her and had to abide by her rules. There was a HUGE kerfuffle when a member dared to argue with her. That member’s entire Weyr was shut down and forbidden from reforming. Meanwhile, she made her rules even stricter. Some Weyrs adjusted while members axed or rewrote noncompliant characters. Some Weyrs died because too many writers said ‘Fuck that’ and left. But it was her sandbox, and in order to be allowed in, we had to abide by the rules.

[whitmerule replied to soupernabturel]

… I’m still stuck on Anne McCaffrey saying it can’t be gay when she literally has socially institutionalised gay sex because of green dragons? (which is technically dubcon at least in most cases but hey consent was not her forte)

[felixan replied to ioystercakes]

Anne McCaffery didn’t calm down last I recall, didn’t even have a section at her request.


Oh man, Anne McCaffrey fandom was a trip. Between the rules and the tent peg thing (warning: super homophobic, read at your own risk) I never actually finished a fic and also really read any of her stuff again. Although by then I was really getting bored of the Ayn Randian “She’s the strongest, specialest woman in the world, so she needs a stronger, specialer man to tame her!” trope that was in. Every. Single. Book.

[aerinalanna replied to a-kingdom-or-a-fencepost]

The funniest thing about Anne McCaffrey’s “nothing gay” rule was that there was canon about riders of blue dragons often being bi or gay or of flexible sexualities in the first place.


Fandom History lesson always welcome on my dash. Also I find the Ann McCafffery rules just so deliciously ironic considering all Dragonriders except for Queen Riders were men and Greens were females. Horny females. Guess what happened to their riders when Greens rose to mate. Go on…guess.


It’s like looking into a…hold on a second. Ann McCaffrey’s rules for fanfiction included “don’t make it gay”? Did…did she not realize she made all the dragon riders save the Queen riders men? And that the greens were females and were prone to going into heat at the drop of a hat? Like literally? This was the jumping off point for the second fucking book. Don’t make it gay my ass.


I was part of an official, Anne-stamped fandom Weyr during her big tantrum and The New Rules. Some of my fellow players scrapped characters. Some changed gender of rider or dragon to comply. I had a male greenrider who got a change in his sexuality, because it was the one thing in my writing that hadn’t come up yet. When Anne calmed down and relaxed the New Rules just a tiny bit, my group did not. We didn’t want to relive all the upheaval if she changed her mind again.

[featheredschist replied to embraceyourfandom]

I don’t have the letter anymore, but McCaffrey has flip-flopped in her fan rules. It was the unwritten ‘do whatever, but don’t bring it to my attention’ at first, then the structured online community 'Weyrs’ for RP purposes, and so on, then as she got older it was looser, but still restricted. I wanted to write original fiction in her verse, and wrote her about it…big no no.

I know of at least two online instances of people getting the bricks dropped on them after having been 'approved’ as fan works™ for Pern. One was an artist who drew dragons, and the other was an artist who made leather goods, with badges depicting the signs and symbols of the holds and Weyrs. Both had permission, then some nebulous time later, got C&D letters. And they have no idea what happened, other than possibly someone convinced the McCaffrey that it was bad. These days, I refuse to hide my fan fiction, because really, it’s transformative. I have AO3 to thank for that. #copyright #fan fiction #history

Anne Rice

[skullfloo4518 replied to spockshair] won’t be complaining if you have heard about how back in the days Anne Rice used to sue people who wrote fanfic of her characters, and there’s a ban or something for that fandom.. I don’t know the details all I know it’s it COULD happen...

[crisfeline replied to chrisshemsworth]

These sweet summer children have never heard about certain gothic novel author, who wrote some famous vampire novels, and who threatened and harrassed her fans for writing fanfiction. The threat was so real that many fan sites, archives and forums were shut down and many wonderful fans and fanfic authors went into hiding. So that is why you write disclaimers, boys and girls, in case other authors take that attitude against fanfiction and their fans. You can read more about this in the link

#sad things #selfishness #greed

[lokigodof replied to crisfeline]

Anne Rice: “I do not allow fan fiction. The characters are copyrighted. It upsets me terribly to even think about fan fiction with my characters. I advise my readers to write your own original stories with your own characters. It is absolutely essential that you respect my wishes.”

I am currently thinking about fanfiction and I’m sure somewhere Miss Rice is feeling upset and thinking, “This must be because someone somewhere is thinking about Lestat fanfiction.“

My voodoo capabilities make me happy. #shhh #mun


I worked with one of the women that got contacted by Rice’s lawyers. Scared the hell out of her and she never touched fandom again. The first time I saw a commission post on tumblr for fanart, I was shocked. [52]


One of the reasons I fell out of love with her writing was her treatment of the fans… (that and the opening chapter of Lasher gave me such heebie-jeebies with the whole underage sex thing I felt unclean just reading it.)


Oh hey, even more blasts from the past.

I was one of the ones who got love letter from Anne Rice’s lawyers. Bear in mind that up until that point her publisher had encouraged fanfic and worked with the archive keeper (one of my roommates at the time) to drum up publicity for upcoming books and so on.

I could tell such tales of how much Anne screwed over her fans back then. The tl;dr version is that she and her peeps would use fan projects as free market research and then bring in the lawyers once it was felt Anne could make money off of it herself. (Talismanic Tours being one of the most offensive examples of this.)

But where fanfic is concerned not only did we get nastygrams but one of my friends had Anne’s lawyer trying to fuck up her own privately owned business which had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING ANNE RELATED. Said friend was a small business owner with health issues who wasn’t exactly rolling in money, so guess how well that went?

On top of that when yours truly tried to speak out about it I discovered that someone in Anne’s camp had been cyber stalking me to the point where they took all the tiny crumbs of personal information I had posted over the course of five years or so and used it to doxx me (before that was even a term and in early enough days of the WWW that this wasn’t an easy task) and post VERY personal information about me on the main fandom message board of the time. Luckily for me the mod was my friend and she took that down post haste, but it was still oodles of fun feeling that violated and why to this day I am very strict about keeping my fandom and personal lives separate online.

Hence why those of us in the fandom at the time who still gave enough of a shit to want to keep writing fic DID keep writing fic, but shoved it so far underground and slapped it with so many disclaimers they could’ve outweighed the word count of War & Peace. It wasn’t just for the purpose of protecting fic but for trying to protect our personal lives as well.

(Also would love to know who tiger-in-the-flightdeck knew. Life paths crossing after so many years….) [53]


I have zero problem with fanart/fic so long as the creators aren’t making money off of it. It is someone else’s intellectual property and people who create fan related works need to respect that (and a solid 98% of them do.)

The remaining 2% are either easily swayed by being gently prompted to not cash in on someone else’s IP. Or they DGAF… and they are the ones who will eventually land themselves in hot water. Either way: this isn’t much of an excuse to persecute your entire fanbase.

But Anne Rice went off the deep end with this stuff by actively attacking people who were expressing their love for her work and were not profiteering from it.

The Vampire Chronicles was a dangerous fandom to be in back in the day. Most of the works I read/saw were hidden away in the dark recesses of the internet and covered by disclaimers (a lot of them reading like thoroughly researched legal documents.)

And woe betide anyone who was into shipping anyone with ANYONE in that fandom. You were most at risk, it seemed, if your vision of the characters deviated from the creators ‘original intentions.’ (Hypocritical of a woman who made most of her living writing erotica.)

Imagine getting sued over a headcanon…

Put simply: we all lived in fear of her team of highly paid lawyers descending from the heavens and taking us to court over a slashfic less than 500 words long. [54]


how soon they forget ann rice’s lawyers. [55]

[barefootwithneonhands replied to harpers-mirror]

RIP Anne Rice fandom. #NeverForget

#fandom #fanfic #meta #anne rice #writers writing about writing

[themightyfluffyone replied to eloqit]

If I remember correctly Anne rice was really bad about doing that That’s the reason why if your looking for fanfiction for any of her vampires you can’t find it on

[m-winnike replied to boomboxgeneration]

Cut to now where Anne Rice camps out on Amazon message boards about her works and other author’s she supports and is shitty to people who give less than 5 star ratings for it. Anne Rice is a bitter, unpleasant woman and I fully believe that fucking over fans who were just writing fic and drawing art was just an excuse to show her true personality to people.

[nandamai replied to mrv3000]

Well I think you’re all interrogating the text from the wrong perspective. #the ann rice wars

[writers-spark replied to midoriko-sama]

So Anne Rice has been after her readers/fans since day one, basically… good to know. #lol #her association with STGRB rubs me the wrong way #anne rice #disclaimers #fanfiction

[witchyunknown replied to trekupmysleeve]

Ahhh Anne Rice. I cherished the few Vampire Chronicle fanfics I read. They were gems. …this is literally the legacy that our generation will pass on. Horror stories about disclaimers on fanfiction.

[pottergerms replied to gloster]

Yeah, back in the old days we were all afraid of being sued, especially since the whole ~internet fandom~ thing was fairly new and we didn’t have copyright laws for online content. We didn’t have social media to make discussing your favourite thing such a common occurrence that the limit to how much you can engage with it would be stretched. That whole Anne Rice business was freaking scary for any fanfic writer, because it could be the end for all of us. But well, we’re still here, so fuck you, Anne Rice (don’t sue me). Nowadays, unless you’re making money, it’s impossible to lose if an author is stupid enough to sue you over fan work. I don’t write disclaimers anymore, it’s sort of unnecessary. (And btw, no disclaimer would protect us if they decided we were trespassing copyright laws. Luckily that didn’t happen.)

[sliceosunshine replied to anfichasruinedm ylife]

#certain websites even had a ‘disclaimer’ section you had to fill in or you couldn’t post your work #we all lived in dread of making so much as a typo in our disclaimers #just in case that somehow voided them and the lawyers would emerge from the shadows and drag us to the pits of hell (via @touchyourblood) #fandom #fandom history #long post disclaimers #i think i remember reading about an author having to stop and take down their fic because they got in trouble with someone's lawyers #but that was years ago and i was so young that i forget

Diana Gabaldon

[mswyrr replying to dealanexmachina]

and this one time diana gabaldon said that writing fanfic about her characters was the same as a woman coming into her home and seducing her husband. then she deleted the blog post

#diana gabaldon #is a fucking asshole who glorifies domestic violence tra la la #jump in a lake asshole #fandom #i know that i am old because that was six years ago and kids on this site have no memory of it #but it feels like yesterday

[rose-griffes replying to mswyrr]

Huh, I didn’t remember the husband-seducing analogy. Too distracted by the “writing fanfic is like stalking my daughter and writing sick sex stories about her, but it’s okay because it’s all just fiction, but IT’S NOT OK!” Which… conflating your fictional characters with actual family members? In two different analogies, no less… oh, Ms. Gabaldon.

#diana gabaldon #hee #fanfic lingo #this is one of the reasons #i've never read outlander

[fandomfairy replied to mswyrr]

Um, wasn’t Outlander inspired by Doctor Who?[56]


This isn’t even ancient history. Back in 2010, there was an extremely nasty incident in which Diana Gabaldon (the author of a number of formally published Doctor Who self-insert fics the Outlander series) put up a blog post[note 3] that began like this…

OK, my position on fan-fic is pretty clear. I think it’s immoral, I _know_ it’s illegal, and it makes me want to barf whenever I’ve inadvertently encountered some of it involving my characters.

As if this weren’t already a strong statement coming from a woman who seems to be oddly invested in writing sexy assault scenes (not that there’s anything wrong with subversive female fantasies, but I’M JUST SAYING), Gabaldon continued in the same vein, comparing fanfic to home invasion and adultery (as well as other bizarre and unsavory things in her responses to the comments on the now-deleted post). When “fandom” rose from the depths of Livejournal to challenge her, she became even more offensive and belligerent, and other popular writers (such as George RR Martin, who was ironcially part of the Livejournal fandom culture himself) came to her defense. This “debate” led to a number of think pieces in mainstream media about how entitled and ungrateful fans were destroying traditional publishing, not to mention high-profile male creators publicly complaining about cosplay, teenage girls attending comic conventions, and other visible manifestations of fandom.

What has changed since then is that the young people (primarily women) whose work was nurtured in fandom communities have become professionals, and they’re transforming the entertainment industry from the inside. Fanfic writers are now publishing original novels and editing their own literary magazines for genre fiction. Fan artists are now working for Marvel and DC and putting out original graphic novels with major presses. Video game fans work as programmers and localizers, and cosplay enthusiasts have become character and set designers.

This cultural shift is not just a white thing and not just a straight thing and not just an American thing. Representation in fiction and art - traditionally published or otherwise - is hugely empowering, as is being part of a supportive community. I don’t mean to suggest that fandom is changing the world… but it kind of is. [57]

Marion Zimmer Bradley


Every time I see this post it has another author being anti fanfic, but no one mentioned Marion Zimmer Bradley

now MZB was incredibly pro fanfic and even published her own zine for her universe, but then bad shit happened

she and a fanwriter had the same idea and the fanartist got there first putting it in print

she did approach the fic-author to ask about using the idea, offering her acknowledgement and a few dollars for the idea

the bickering that took place after this is almost entirely lost to time, but both the fic and the novel were killed

and the idea that writers won’t accept fic etc comes from this battle [58]

Laurell K. Hamilton

[plotqueen] replied to [rayshippouuchiha]:

Back in the very late 90s the Anita Blake fandom had that nightmare too, where LKH (the author’s usual title) came down hard on it. We got our shit yanked from and moved to private sites. Never did go away, thank god. Because she really fucked that series up.

[laika-mercury] replied to [grungygardener]:

If I recall, when I first started posting fic on there was #fanfiction in specific author's universes|a whole thing on the submission form about not posting Rice fic and others, including Laurell K. Hamilton (which was a bummer, because at that time I was super into her horrifyingly awful Anita Blake series). And yes, on every fic chapter I posted there was at LEAST one classic “I’m just a teenager who wrote this, don’t sue me kthx bai” disclaimer.

[earthenarya] replied to [hostsamurai]:

Laurell K. Hamilton has done the same… which is why you don’t see much for the Anita or Merry fandoms. Hell finding fanfiction for either is hard because most are crossovers to avoid her wrath. She still doesn’t want any fandom stuff done for her books. #anne rice #laurell k hamilton #fandoms #disclaimers #fanfiction #I remember doing this #and still doing it #just in case the creators or anyone #gets a wild hair #like we're not claiming your work #we as fans just see things in the world you created that you may not be open to seeing #because it changes things that are already canon or that you're going to make canon

[angstrydenbytch] replied to [comtessedebussy]:

Laurell K Hamilton is the same way as Anne Rice. Straight up erotica is what she writes, and she’ll sue the hell out of you if you even look like you might be thinking of writing about her characters.

[the-ouija-board-sent-me-moved] replied to [madelinelime]:

Didn’t laurel k Hamilton basically ask people not to write fanfiction too? I don’t think it was as horrifying as Anne rice though

[angstrydenbytch] replied to [ollygollymolly]:

I don’t know if anyone has mentioned Laurell K Hamilton yet or not, but she is pretty much a modern day version of Anne Rice. I personally have never experienced anything from her, but she has a blog and used to post All The Time about how she just will not tolerate people playing in her sandbox.

[angstrydenbytch] replied to [deanswingsbothways]:

In current times Laurell K Hamilton is the same way. She’s vile to her fans if they even remotely imply things that she doesn’t like…And she has her main character in a polyamorous relationship with something like fifteen people, one of whom is a Twink.

Cassandra Claire

[sanicgofast] replied to [liikkua]:

remember the time cassandra clare blatantly plagiarized multiple sources in her fanfiction and was banned from ffn and then somehow got a book contract i do there are a lot of quotes of her saying that fanfiction isn’t real fiction too there’s so much dirt on her in the old web #ooc #tbd #forever salty

[grrrbarrowman] replied to [warblerties]:

Also, don’t forget that there were cadres of fans in certain fandoms that attacked you if you didn’t ship the right ship, or like the right writers. The most developed story I know of is Msscribe’s fuckery, which makes for a highly engrossing read, but long af: Beware: if you’re a fan of Cassandra Clare’s writings, this might not be the most palatable story. But it’s crucial fandom history.

#fanfiction #anne rice #disclaimers #fandom wank #fandom

[zandracourt] replied to [ilovedancy]:

I sometimes feel like the biggest mission of tumblr is ensure that early-internet-fandom is able to pass along its history to the next gen. Because things like this, or Cassandra Clare or Sorkin’s Mad-Mods-in-Mumus are never forgotten.

#sit and listen while granny spins her tale

[pg-chan] replied to [kryallaorchid]:

And on the flip side of this, we get Cassandra Claire :/

[goodbyejorvik] replied to [wehavedonetheimpossible]:

also reblogging because of the cassandra claire flashbacks!

[justabrowncoatedwench] replied to [wildlingtothebone]:

This is the big major reason Cassandra Claire’s entire fanwork catalogue is behind a password. You can email her (or her people) for the password, but you can’t just find her massively huge Harry Potter fan serieses lying around the Internet anymore. Anyone else remember her Draco Dormiens trilogy?

[positive-pebble] replied to [jewishpokemontrainer]:

slightly unrelated but does anyone remember when Cassandra Clare would sick her lawyer upon anybody who even mentioned her Harry Potter fanfics that she rewrote for mortal instruments and the plagiarism in them? I’m scared to even bring that up now #there was so much drama back then #CC also set all of her fans on this one girl who mentioned it #I think she got death threats too??? #like that shit was crazy

[samallcapswilson] replied to [hyperbunny94]:

I could always tell when some BNF (y'all remember that term) was trying to go pro because suddenly ALL their fanfiction would disappear and only be illicitly passed along in zip drives of enterprising fans who saw it coming. I’m still sad that DW didn’t take over for LJ fandom space. It was a much better system than tumblr tbh. Ah, memories. Also everytime I see gifs for Shadowhunters and think that there aren’t fans who know about the Cassandra Clare fanlore, I giggle.

Harry Potter

[kulekrizpy] replied to [anyhoodle]:

jk rowling was actually instrumental in changing that whole atmosphere #kk talks

[reconfemmandoforares] replied to [blackwidina]:

^that was a serious problem. As in recall, JK Rowling was the first author to embrace fan creations and that changed how most authors look at those same creations now. There are still a few who officially won’t condone playing in their sandboxes, even if we play nicely, but its muuuuuch more relaxed than it used to be.

[ladyhallen replied to unpretty]:

Before J.K. practically pressed the green button for it, fanfic was a nervous, underground-cult thingy that was rife with fear. #ff

Notes & References


  1. ^ This fan is referring to FanLib.
  2. ^ Actually, slash wasn't the issue. It was a very mild R-rated het fic called Slow Boat to Bespin, see Open Letters to Star Wars Zine Publishers by Maureen Garrett.
  3. ^ The blog post (archived here) is about Gabaldon's post Fan-Fiction and Moral Conundrums.


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  7. ^ Stuff and Nonsense, Archived version
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  11. ^ oyveyzmir.tumblr (dead link)
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  36. ^ darthrose: rhpotter: themagdalenwriting:... - Randomness, Archived version
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  56. ^ Reblogged copy here. Archived.
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