Hero with a Thousand Copyright Violations: Modern Myth and an Argument for Universally Transformative Fan Fiction

Montano, Natalie H. | September 1, 2013

Copyright law is designed to protect the ownership and financial rights of the original author of a literary work. However, the internet has created new opportunities for amateur writers to create their own fan fiction based on such literary works. Borrowing from the ideas and characters of a work, fan fiction authors build upon and re-imagine these stories. Such fan works should be protected under the Fair Use Defense, but the power imbalance between amateur fan fiction authors and successful published authors often leads to the eradication of fan stories from the public domain.

This Comment argues that fan fiction should be defined as universally transformative so as to avoid any possibility of infringement lawsuits on the basis of a derivative work that, by law, belongs only to the original author. Such a legal definition is favorable due to the sociological and literary benefits that fan fiction has for the public at large, due to its ability to create and perpetuate modern myths.