Famous authors have different opinions on fan fiction and copyrights

Having flocks of devoted readers is probably one of the greatest compliments an author could ever hope to receive. After all, there is no better proof that people love an author’s work than if millions of them buy it and read it.

But what if these hordes of enthusiastic readers take an author’s characters and use them in stories of their own? Is that just another testament to the power of the author’s work, or is it a violation of the author’s copyright?

The answer, of course, is that “fan fiction” is both, but people do not tend to see it that way. Most writers of fan fiction say they are just giving their beloved characters new life, but not all authors are comfortable with that. Here, we have a rounded up for Naples readers a sampling of author’s opinions on the topic:

  • Stephenie Meyer, who made millions of tween girls weak in the knees with her “Twilight” series, has said she does not mind fan fiction and finds it kind of flattering.
  • J.K. Rowling, the author of the phenomenally successful “Harry Potter” series, has given off the opinion that fan fiction is tolerable as long as it stays PG. She told one interviewer she has seen some more…mature stories involving her characters and does not approve of those because she doesn’t want young readers to stumble across them and think she wrote them.
  • George R. R. Martin, whose book “A Song of Ice and Fire” is the basis for the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” has said he does not like the idea of anyone but him using his characters because they are his creation and his alone.
  • Science fiction writer Charlie Stross doesn’t tolerate people using his characters either, but unlike Martin, his reasons are not personal or artistic. He cheerfully told an interviewer he does not want people “ripping off” his characters because it is through them that he earns his livelihood.

As you can see, authors have quite an opinion on the subject of fan fiction. Have you ever read any of it, or written it yourself? What’s your take on it; is it a harmless homage or do you feel that authors who object to it have legitimate grounds for doing so?

Source: Flavorwire, “Abusing the People of Westeros: Famous Authors on Fan-Fiction,” Emily Temple, April 19, 2012