Tolkien Gateway

Fanfiction

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'''Fanfiction''' (abbreviated '''fanfic''') is a tale or book, generally of short length, that is based in this case on [[J.R.R. Tolkien]]'s legendarium.  Most are based on [[The Lord of the Rings]], and many others on various points in ''[[The Silmarillion]]''. [[Christopher Tolkien]] would not allow books based on [[Middle-earth]] to be published, and therefor most fanfics are printed on various sites.  The fanfics fall into several categories.
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'''Fanfiction''' (abbreviated '''fanfic''') is a term describing pieces of writing that use characters and settings from the original work of another author, created by fans of that work. Tolkien's [[legendarium]] is one of the more popular bases for fanfiction,<ref>For example, as of August 2010 'Lord of the Rings' was the fourth largest category at [http://www.fanfiction.net/ FanFiction.net].</ref> which is usually published on the internet.
  
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==Legality of Tolkien fan fiction==
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:''See also: [[Wikipedia:Legal issues with fan fiction]]''
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Most national copyright laws acknowledge the concept of ''derivative works'', meaning works that incorporate elements from an earlier copyrighted work, and gives the copyright holder of the original the right to control the distribution of derivatives. Fan fiction is generally thought to constitute a derivative work because, while ideas ''per se'' are not copyrightable, specific characters and concepts are considered intellectual property (as unregistered trade marks), and derivative works are not protected by ''fair use'' exemptions because they are not parody or criticism.<ref name="ChillingEffects">[http://www.chillingeffects.org/fanfic/ Chilling Effects Clearinghouse: Fan Fiction].</ref><ref name="ChillingEffectsFAQ">[http://www.chillingeffects.org/fanfic/faq.cgi FAQ About Fan Fiction - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse]. Updated Retrieved 2010-09-01.</ref> Therefore whether or not fan fiction is 'allowed' is at the discretion of individual authors: few will permit derivative work by fans to be published on a commercial basis, but the existence of non-commercial fan fiction on the internet is, generally speaking, tolerated, if nothing else by virtue of inaction. That said, they exist in a legally precarious state, and some authors (such as Anne Rice) have chosen to actively prevent fan fiction based on their work from being distributed.<ref name="Guardian">Pauli, M. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2002/dec/05/internet.onlinesupplement1 Working the web: Fan fiction]. ''The Guardian'' 5 December 2002.</ref>
  
===Categories===
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In an [http://www.tolkienestate.com/faq/p_2/ FAQ entry on their website] the [[Tolkien Estate]] discourage fan fiction based on Tolkien's works:
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{{blockquote|'''Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)'''<br>
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The simple answer is NO.<br>
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You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".<br>
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Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.<br>
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The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment.}}
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And in the past they have successfully taken legal action against commercial derivative works that infringed Tolkien's trademarks, e.g. in the case of a children's entertainer operating under the name "Gandalf the Wizard Clown".<ref name="ChillingEffectsFAQ" /> But as yet the Estate has not sought to halt the distribution of noncommercial fan fiction.
  
*'''Purist'''.  This category is made up of fanfictions that stay (to the best of their knowledge) true to the books.  They are often longer than other categories, and perhaps the favorite of hard-core [[Tolkienists]].
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Tolkien himself received at least two requests to allow the publication of two fan-written sequels to ''[[The Lord of the Rings]]'', both of which he (somewhat indignantly) refused.<ref name="Letter292">{{L|292}}.</ref> He also, on several occasions, expressed the opinion that made-up names and words should have just as strong protection under copyright law as entire works of fiction, on the basis that he put a great deal of effort into their creation.<ref name="Letter292" /><ref>{{L|258}}</ref>
 
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*'''Loose'''.  This category is composed of fanfics that are only loosely based on the books, or are based primarily on the [[Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings|movie's]] depiction.  Often these are far less researched that Purist fanfics, and the details are not as accurate.
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*'''Spoof'''.  This is composed of books that are not realistic to Middle-earth, which is usually parody or "Mary-Sue". See below
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===Subcategories===
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The subcategories are divided from one or more of the above categories.  Many fanfics fall into more than one of these subcategories.
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*'''Action/Adventure'''.  This subcategory generally falls into the Purist and Loose categories, as being made up of stories of battles and adventures.  Primarily these are stories that tell of a particular person at a particular battle.  Most are based on Lord of the Rings as opposed to the Silmarillion.
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*'''Gap-fillers'''.  This type of story fills in a gap in Tolkien's works, particularly concerning the Lord of the Rings and [[the Hobbit]].  Some examples include [[Strider]]'s capture of [[Gollum]] and the battle of [[Lothlórien]] during the [[War of the Ring]].
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*'''Character-Adventure'''.  This one usually takes a character, such as [[Glorfindel of Rivendell|Glorfindel]], and expands upon his or her life.  Another example would be a fanfic on [[Aragorn II|Aragorn]]'s early life as a ranger.
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*'''Romance'''.  This subcategory is, obviously, about the romantic relationships of two characters; usually Aragorn and [[Arwen]].  Because this can also be used in the Spoof category (such as a character falling in love with [[Legolas]]), many Purist sites discourage the use of this subcategory.
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*'''Firsthand Account'''.  This subcategory can fall into all categories, and includes those fanfics whose primary character follows and observes the actions of various Tolkien characters. An example of this along more Purist lines would be one of the ten companions of [[Finrod Felagund]] and [[Beren Erchamion]].  On the other side, in the Spoof category would be a visitor from Earth that helps and follows the [[Fellowship of the Ring]].
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*'''"Historical" Novel'''.  This style is usually the longest, and falls into only the Purist category.  It usually is more like an actual book, with a character that sees events, battles, and the like taking place.  This is usually based on a period in the Silmarillion.  An example of this would be an elf of [[Tirion]] participating in the [[Flight of the Noldor]].  This type usually has a whole plot beneath the main story as dictated in Tolkien's writings.
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*'''Mary-Sue'''.  This falls into the Spoof category.  A Mary-Sue is one in which a character from our world (Earth), particularly a girl, ends up in Middle-earth.  Usually (particularly after the releasing of the films) the character falls in love with a character, particularly Legolas.
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*'''Slash'''.  This subcategory is one which features gay (homosexual) characters, usually elf-lords.  This is prohibited on many fanfic sites, despite its rising popularity, because it is considered by most contrary to Tolkien's ideals and writings.
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''To be continued''
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==See also==
 
==See also==
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* [[:Category:Fanfictions]]
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*[[Fanon]]
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*[[Neo-Elvish]]
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{{references}}
  
[[:Category:Fanfictions]] — Fanfictions posted on this site
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==External links==
 
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<!-- arranged in rough order of number of stories -->
==External Links==
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* [http://www.fanfiction.net/book/Lord_of_the_Rings/ FanFiction.net - Lord of the Rings]
 
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* [http://www.fanfiction.net/book/Silmarillion/ FanFiction.net - Silmarillion]
*[http://forum.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi The Barrow-downs fanfictions], a closely monitored site that does not allow Spoof or slash, and takes a very Purist viewpoint
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* [http://www.lotrfanfiction.com/ Lord of the Rings Fanfiction]
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* [http://www.henneth-annun.net Henneth Annûn Story Archive]
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* [http://www.storiesofarda.com/ Stories of Arda]
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* [http://www.tolkienfanfiction.com Tolkien Fan Fiction]
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* [http://forum.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi The Barrow-Downs: Middle-earth Fan Fiction]
  
 
[[Category: Fandom]]
 
[[Category: Fandom]]
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[[de:Fan-Fiction]]

Revision as of 11:39, 29 June 2011

Fanfiction (abbreviated fanfic) is a term describing pieces of writing that use characters and settings from the original work of another author, created by fans of that work. Tolkien's legendarium is one of the more popular bases for fanfiction,[1] which is usually published on the internet.

Contents

Legality of Tolkien fan fiction

See also: Wikipedia:Legal issues with fan fiction

Most national copyright laws acknowledge the concept of derivative works, meaning works that incorporate elements from an earlier copyrighted work, and gives the copyright holder of the original the right to control the distribution of derivatives. Fan fiction is generally thought to constitute a derivative work because, while ideas per se are not copyrightable, specific characters and concepts are considered intellectual property (as unregistered trade marks), and derivative works are not protected by fair use exemptions because they are not parody or criticism.[2][3] Therefore whether or not fan fiction is 'allowed' is at the discretion of individual authors: few will permit derivative work by fans to be published on a commercial basis, but the existence of non-commercial fan fiction on the internet is, generally speaking, tolerated, if nothing else by virtue of inaction. That said, they exist in a legally precarious state, and some authors (such as Anne Rice) have chosen to actively prevent fan fiction based on their work from being distributed.[4]

In an FAQ entry on their website the Tolkien Estate discourage fan fiction based on Tolkien's works:

Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)
The simple answer is NO.
You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".
Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.
The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment.

And in the past they have successfully taken legal action against commercial derivative works that infringed Tolkien's trademarks, e.g. in the case of a children's entertainer operating under the name "Gandalf the Wizard Clown".[3] But as yet the Estate has not sought to halt the distribution of noncommercial fan fiction.

Tolkien himself received at least two requests to allow the publication of two fan-written sequels to The Lord of the Rings, both of which he (somewhat indignantly) refused.[5] He also, on several occasions, expressed the opinion that made-up names and words should have just as strong protection under copyright law as entire works of fiction, on the basis that he put a great deal of effort into their creation.[5][6]

See also

References

  1. For example, as of August 2010 'Lord of the Rings' was the fourth largest category at FanFiction.net.
  2. Chilling Effects Clearinghouse: Fan Fiction.
  3. 3.0 3.1 FAQ About Fan Fiction - Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. Updated Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  4. Pauli, M. Working the web: Fan fiction. The Guardian 5 December 2002.
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 292, (dated 12 December 1966).
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 258, (dated 2 August 1964)

External links