"Reactions of character creators to fanfiction have been varied, from polite acknowledgment to legal threats to having their character discuss out loud how disturbing and weird some types of fanfiction are. Fans reacted to all of these things by writing 9,000,000 new fanfics."When a creator (usually writers, it seems) bans or restricts their own fans from writing fanfiction online, drawing any fan-art, or generally using the author's official work "creatively". You can buy their books, buy The Merch and read their "officially sanctioned" material, but the hounds of hell will be unleashed should you write their characters into your online story! Reasons for such a ban/restrictions vary. Robin Hobb wrote an article sounding a bit like a PSA ("Fanfic — JUST SAY NO!") that had the basic premise of "Those characters are like family to me. You don't like seeing your family put into weird or perverted situations, do you?"note Others take the legal ground; that's how they make their living, and that's their intellectual property you are messing with. Others simply don't think anyone else can write their world as well as they can (detractors, however, might comment that they're actually worried that someone can write these characters better than the author could). A milder form exists in the form of restriction; the official creator might ban some Slash Fic, NSFW or PWP material, for example. Other creators are more picky, setting "rules" to which all fic/fanart creators have to adhere to. How they all keep tabs on such things is a mystery. Or they could ban any fanworks on just a particular work for certain reasons. For example, if they see the work in question as a stain on their accomplishments, they very well might actively want people not to even experience the work in the first place, let alone promote the fact that it even exists. This does not count all those authors who decide for legal reasons not to read fanfic of their work, whether or not they support it. If someone writes a fanfic and the author reads it, and later installments of the published work have elements similar to the fanfic, then there could be some messy legal issues. A fanwork ban can be particularly annoying if you get into a show or a book series after it officially ended. In the Internet, the first thing that many fans will do after the series ended was look for fan websites or some fanfiction works. If a Fanwork Ban was in place, these sites will be extremely hard to come by, if they exist at all... It's usually the case that most fans foolhardy or reckless enough to skirt a Fanwork Ban usually aren't intelligent or dedicated enough to put together a good online fanfic story. In extreme cases, this may result in a dead fandom (not many fans) — unless the fans are pretty social and don't mind restricting themselves to Real Life facts and discussion. It might also result in an online argument between fans who support the author's decision and fans who rail against the ban. Of course, it could work out exactly as the author hopes; instead of reading online fiction based on one of their works, you'll probably find yourself looking into the author's other works in the hope of finding something similar. This is predominantly a Western trope. Bans on fanwork are almost unheard of in Japan, where most fanworks are contained within the Doujin community and thereby insulated from the wider public. There has been an attempt to change all of that, which floundered following a backlash. See also Rule 34 – Creator Reactions. Contrast with Approval of God.
Examples of authors who have imposed fanwork bans/restrictions
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Anime and Manga
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Fullmetal Alchemist has an extremely odd example, since the "fans" in question are in fact the actors themselves. The US dub cast, headed by Vic Mignogna, produced a fan-film called Fullmetal Fantasy some years ago. Vic took it to a couple of fan conventions (and was working through all the proper channels to get permission for a DVD) before the legal people asked him to stop. After a couple of years, he was told that there was no way there'd be an official release, but he could start running it at conventions again if and only if it never ended up online. So he does still show it at cons, but relates this story beforehand and makes the fans present promise not to videotape and upload it. So far, so good.
- While not the series' creator, Mr. Mignogna has (perhaps ironically) regularly bemoaned the existence of yaoi fan art/fiction based on the series. He's not in any position to ban it, but he regularly discourages it.
- Yamakan's adaptation of Fractale seem to have deterred many fans from drawing Rule 34.
- Neither Masashi Kishimoto nor Viz Media has ever taken action to shut down Naruto fan works, and Shonen Jump publishes Fan Art of all its regulars, Naruto included. However, even though they have a section on the official website for Fanfics and Fan Art, it is against the rules of the forum to publish a fan work using trademarked characters. They must be serious about avoiding cross-pollination between fan ideas and official material.
- One of the sites have recently been cracking down on doujin and other derivative works in Japan as part of a new proposed law that could end fan creations for good in the country.
- Even before this, Kodansha has had an explicit Fanwork Ban on their properties, though it was somewhat loosely enforced.
- Specifically, the supposedly proposed law would give manga publishers equal ownership rights alongside the author, allowing them to go after fanworks even if the author gives approval.
- It should also be noted that the aforementioned "crackdown" should be taken with a strong grain of salt as not only is there an apparent lack of other news on it before or after this came to light note , but that the source itself was found at best to be little more than a forum post and roughly-translated, off-hand Tumblr/Twitter comments from Ken Akamatsu's accountsnote . In other words, when added to the already massive doujinshi market, the odds of such a law being passed is highly unlikely.
- Akimoto is supposedly very protective of his AKB48 label and the fanwork ban may be restrictive towards AKB0048.
- Due to the amounts of Ho Yay in The Heroic Legend of Arslan, author Yoshiki Tanaka banned yaoi fanworks based on the series, but changed the rule into ban of Rule 34 fanworks after an Internet Backdraft.
- Metafictional example: in Genshiken, main character Sasahara brings up his experience producing a doujinshi in a job interview at an official manga production company. The interviewer asks him how he would feel about being put into a position where he might be called upon to quash such efforts by fans. Sasahara tries to weasel around the question with a bunch of hemming and hawwing and non-committal doublespeak. He doesn't get the job.
- Archie Comics has banned all Fan Fiction due to the proliferation of Rule 34. Partly due to it being almost impossible to censor completely, both fanfiction and fanart still exist on the web. Archie isn't likely to properly enforce their rule unless it's dragged into the public eye or costs them money. Fanfiction.net once had an Archie section but deleted it due to the ban, though a few Archie fanfics still exist on the site in other categories and Archive of Our Own has both an Archie and a Riverdale section.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
- Unlike with their other franchises, Sonic comic characters originally from Archie can still pass through, mostly due to Sega owning all Sonic copyrights due to the "derivative work" clause of the Copyright Act. Sega originated in Japan, and Japan doesn't really worry about that kind of thing.
- According to a few posts from Ken Penders, he demands that all fanart of his characters include a copyright marking crediting him, possibly due to his law-suit with Archie.
- Apparently to avoid diluting the original story, Pat Mills has forbidden fanwork based on Nemesis the Warlock. However, his other comics, including ABC Warriors and Sláine, are fair game.
- 2000 AD's official website states that new writers cannot submit stories based on any of Mills' work.
- CrossGen did a ban after finding Rule 34. This is considered by fans to have contributed to the situations that led to their bankruptcy and acquisition by Disney.
- Jack Chick legally attacks any parody of his tracts, claiming "It's only fair use if you draw everything yourself." The relevant copyright laws say otherwise.
- Back when The Sims modding community was big, Marvel Comics came down on anyone hosting skins of their characters, leading to a near-disappearance of these kinds of skins on the Internet.
- Marvel also tried to sue City of Heroes when people were creating Marvel characters with the character creator. Problem was that in the court case the judge found out that most of the 'examples' that Marvel's lawyers had shown to the court had been created by Marvel. The case was quickly tossed out after that.
- The owners of the Tintin copyright are known to aggressively go after fanfiction and fanart, including works not used for profit. This originates from Hergé requesting that no more albums be published after his death. This has led to several lawsuits and many Tintin forums and fansites having to ban fanworks and discussion of fanworks entirely to stay online.
- As in the case of Tintin in Thailand, an adult-oriented parody of the series penned by Baudouin de Duve, under the pseudonym Bud E. Weyser. The Herge Foundation wasn't pleased with the direction de Duve took with his Tintin parody, more so when Baudouin was said to have attempted to pass the book off as a previously-unreleased Tintin comic, which led to his arrest in an organized sting operation (with a Belgian Police Officer acting as a prospective buyer).
- A number of other parodies and satirical works still remain online as of 2016, however, most notably the Captain Haddock "HA HA HA, OH WOW" meme, and a political cartoon portraying former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as Tintin - the latter led to another lawsuit by Moulinsart, but since Bill Leak claimed fair use on the basis of using the Tintin character for commentary or parody, Moulinsart conceded and has since allowed Leak to use Tintin for as long as he isn't profiting from the original work.
- Warner Bros. briefly tried to get rid of Harry Potter Slash Fic. This went nowhere.
- Full Moon Entertainment recently threatened to press charges against one fan creating and selling his own replicas of puppets from the Puppet Master film series. It doesn't help that said fan's replicas are largely thought to be a significant improvement over the officially-released ones.
- In the dark ages of Fan Fic, before the Internet, George Lucas allegedly hit the roof when he found sexually explicit material for Star Wars. And promptly went into orbit when he found the Slash Fic. He tried a repeat performance of this in the late '90s-early 2Ks when he found the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan stuff, but found it was like playing whack-a-mole. It took until 2003 and BioWare being really sneaky to finally slip a lesbian into the canon.
- Games Workshop, of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 fame, did this to the German-made fan-film Damnatus. Annoyingly, the film's cease and desist order came after it was ready to release. In GW's defense, they were required by German copyright law to issue it or forfeit all their copyrights. The people who worked on it agreed never to release it, saying that it would have to remain on their computers for good. This statement prompted the forces of the internet and fandom to somehow extract the film's final cut and post it on the Internet. Since those who made the film did everything they were required to do to keep it from getting out they are legally safe from retribution. It is quite stunning in its quality, even though watching it in German with English subtitles makes it hard to admire the high quality physical effects.
- In 1997 a group of folks were working on a Quake mod based on the Alien franchise simply titled Alien Quake until 20th Century Fox issued a Cease and Desist on them. The shutdown was notorious enough in the modding community to the point it even coined the term "foxed" to refer for projects similarly shut down at the request of corporations.
- Oddly enough, Fox hasn't gone against Aliens TC for Doom, likely because modding wasn't that widespread back then.
- With the exception of a few RPGs, Anne McCaffrey banned fanfiction being posted publicly for years. Fans could still write and share it with each other, but it had to be via private e-mails or mailing lists. She later relaxed the ban but imposed rules on would-be writers such as no writing about existing Pern characters, no boys can Impress gold dragons, no girls can Impress bronzes, no dragons of any other colour except for the five standard colours. Ruth is the exclusive exception. Not that anyone actually pays attention to these rules. Oh, the good old days of MSN Groups RPGs with all kinds of sparklypoo dragon colors. The ban was finally lifted in 2004, although it's still a rather small fandom.
- One effect of this: The Angband Roguelike variant Pernband (which, despite its comparatively obscure focus, had become one of the most heavily-developed roguelikes of its day) was forced to excise all Pern material and change its name. It eventually became Tales of Middle-Earth and, even later, Tales of Maj'Eyal.
- Anne Rice famously bans all fanworks, a stance that got even stricter when she found Jesus.
- This is not to suggest that all Christians view fan works as violating "Thou shalt not steal."
- Robin Hobb - the aforementioned article has been archived here.
- Charlaine Harris does not approve of fanfic.
- Terry Goodkind, though as yet it's unknown if there's a Fanwork Ban on Legend of the Seeker.
- John Norman is known to be hostile to Gor fanfics.
- George R.R. Martin disapproves of fan-fiction. Curiously, he's okay with fanarts.
- His major objection is, apparently, that fan fiction is bad practice for an aspiring writer, the equivalent of doing paint-by-numbers for an aspiring artist. Fanart, being the translation of words into images, likely doesn't cause him quite the same consternation on that count.
- Curiously, despite any kind of outright ban, proliferation of A Song of Ice and Fire fanfics is downright tiny compared to, say, The Dresden Files and other popular fantasy series. The reason for this may be because canon in the Fire-verse is wrapped in such a tight knot that there is very little room to flexibility with existing characters. Thus, any prospective fanfic writer is either going to have to go for something Original Flavor, feature minor characters that are mostly outside the novels, or simply forge ahead and risk charges of They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
- Larry Niven approves of fan fiction, as long as such stories are strictly set within the Man-Kzin War period of his Known Space universe. He publicly stated, in print, that his work was a "playground", and that he was opening up the Man-Kzin war parts of it to anyone who wants to play with his playground equipment. No entendre intended.
"We said the magic word and frightened him away. ("Lawsuit").
- In an author's note in one book he did mention that he'd stepped on a rule 34 fanfic for using the Kzin.
- J. K. Rowling has said that she actually likes her fans writing fanfic and doing other fannish things, but she doesn't like the fanfics where her characters have sex when they're minors. Her voiced displeasure about the 'under-aged' porn 'fics is partially because of the kiddie porn - and partially because she fears for the kids who accidentally discover Rule 34 first-hand. This 'rule' still doesn't stop anyone from writing them though!
- J.K. Rowling successfully prevented the Harry Potter Lexicon, a popular online Harry Potter encyclopedia, from being published in book format. While she had no qualms with the website in question, the fact that she has previously voiced that she was interested in publishing a Harry Potter Encyclopedia of her own may have been a motivation to completely nix this from happening.
- Didn't entirely stop it though, since a heavily edited and modified version did later on see print.
- The Other Wiki says this about Marion Zimmer Bradley:
"For many years, Bradley actively encouraged Darkover fan fiction and reprinted some of it in commercial Darkover anthologies, continuing to encourage submissions from unpublished authors, but this ended after a dispute with a fan over an unpublished Darkover novel of Bradley's that had similarities to some of the fan's stories. As a result, the novel remained unpublished, and Bradley demanded the cessation of all Darkover fan fiction."
- Strongly influenced by Bradley's experiences, Mercedes Lackey actively banned fan fiction in her universes (except under certain draconian conditions) for over two decades. However, as of late 2009, she has altered her stance to allow fanfic licensed under Creative Commons:
- Terry Pratchett mentioned in a 2007 lecture that he had developed a balanced compromise that seems to work: Fans were free to have as much good-natured fun as they wished (non-commercially), provided that they automatically surrendered all their creative rights to the derived works back to Pratchett. That way, he said, if a potential licensee asked if anyone else has made a video adaptation of Jingo, he could simply state "Yes, but I own all the rights to it" and it didn't seem to bother them at all.
- When it came to original Fan Fiction, he didn't mind its existence as long as it didn't happen where he could see it. Just in case someone tried to claim he stole their Discworld ideas. (The legal aspects didn't bother him - he didn't steal ideas, and a court of law would have found in his favour - but mud sticks.)
- There was also a period in the late 90s when some am-dram companies were intepreting "permission is always given" for Discworld amateur theatrics as "permission need not be sought". He dealt with that by publicly announcing that permission would now be granted in exchange for a small donation to the Orang-Utan Foundation. He didn't want to start getting heavy on his own account, but now anyone who didn't comply would be defrauding a charity...
- This list also includes Raymond E. Feist, PN Elrod, Nora Roberts and a few others.
- Diana Gabaldon has compared fanfiction to, among other things, people breaking into her house or selling her children into slavery. This despite the fact that she has acknowledged that Jamie Fraser, the hero of her Outlander series, is directly based on Jamie McCrimmon from Doctor Who.
- Laurell K. Hamilton
- Jasper Fforde's stance, although mellower than it used to be, is still against fanfiction, to the extent that one book actually talks about how much damage fanfiction writers are doing to The Lord of the Rings.
- This is ironic, considering the extent to which his books are Public-Domain Character fanfiction.
- Kim Newman is uncomfortable seeing other writers use his characters, although he acknowledges that this is somewhat hypocritical.
- Jim Butcher's official position on The Dresden Files fanfiction is that there isn't any. Because, as he explains, if he knew there was some, he'd have to, legally, have it taken down from wherever it was hosted, and he doesn't want to do that.
- Fan fiction is prohibited from being posted on David Weber's official forum or anywhere that he might see them, to prevent copyright issues, but is otherwise unrestricted.
- Due to the popularity of 1632 early on and the mass of Fan Fic Eric Flint has had to institute guidelines on the population of Grantville and the makeup of its residents as of the Ring of Fire. He's got it down to a list of every person in small town including their associations to everyone in the series. To use one of these persons in a story requires the approval of Flint or more likely Grantville Gazette editors Huff and Goodlett. However Flint is not opposed to these short stories upsetting his plan, and instead would like to use them to enrich the series, and perhaps take it in a new direction.
- Melissa Marr encourages fanfic (and apparantly reads some herself), but forbids fans from writing rape fic of her characters. Unusually for fanfic writers, this wish is respected.
- Rick Riordan discourages fan works based in the Percy Jackson universe.
- It's worth noticing however, that in a recent forum he claims to have no problem with fanfiction since he himself wrote a lot of things that sounded a lot like LOTR, what he says that it's he just feels weird, having someone else narrating about his characters so he never reads it (he cites the same reason about why he's never seen the movies), he says he loves fanart though.
- Fans of Bordertown had to follow some rules outlined by creator Terri Windling if they wanted to create fan works. Of course, any fan work had to be non-commercial; additionally, works were required to include a specific copyright disclaimer, existing characters could only be used with permission from the characters' respective creators (Windling gave permission for a handful of her characters in the rules themselves), and dramatic and gaming rights were strictly reserved by Windling. Said rules were at one point detailed on the official website, but were taken down. Fortunately, they were archived by a fan site.
- There was an official fanfiction ban during the original broadcast run of Babylon 5. This was instituted after the creator, J Michael Straczynski, had been forced by ass-covering Warner Bros. lawyers to prove that he had planned the main plot of the episode "Passing Through Gethsemane" before a fan had suggested that such a story would be cool on Usenet.
- The American cop show scriptwriter and prominent blogger Lee Goldberg (not to be confused with the New York meteorologist) has become notorious for being vehemently against fanfic and denouncing anybody who writes it as a plagiarist and thief.
- Any fan remake of a game show owned by Fremantle Media will be quickly C&D'd.
- Kira Kosarin of The Thundermans has stated multiple times on twitter that she's completely squicked out by, and wholly disapproves of the shipping of her character Phoebe with Jack Griffo's Max, as they are brother and sister.
- In the aftermath of a legal quagmire regarding the Star Trek Fan Film Axanar, Paramount Pictures (who are the legal holders of the franchise) didn't explicitly banned Trek Fan Films from being made, but instead set some pretty severe limitations to their creation, including a time limit of 30 minutes tops for "feature-length" films, that the original characters you created for one story could not appear on another in any way (effectively killing any type of original series), that the films required official Trek gear on them (and if you made any of your own, you could not put it up for sale anywhere—this restriction is harsher with starship sets) and that you could not request money to help fund them in any way (like through Kickstarter), citing this as "making profit".
- Sony is rather notorious in some video creation circles for DMCAing any video with Sony-owned music in it. It's gotten to the point where some such circles forbid the inclusion of Sony-owned music in any video for fear of Sony hitting them where it hurts.
- Kevin Siembieda of Palladium Games is extremely hostile to people posting conversions of his games anywhere where he can find them, and is notorious for making legal threats against said individuals. His official reason is that he doesn't want to take any flak from other companies for someone using his material to infringe on their copyrights, but the general consensus of the fandom (backed up by several statements he's made "off the record") is that it's his Small Name, Big Ego at work and he doesn't want anyone playing in his settings without using his rules. As you might expect, the fans ignore him, buy his books for the setting material and swap out the mechanics.
- Inverted by a Fanwork Encouragement with the Open Gaming License featured by Wizards of the Coast's release of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. After buying the franchise from TSR, WotC did an in-depth study of what went wrong before. The consensus that that there was an oversaturation of RPG systems on the market competing for a limited fanbase. D&D was the leader, but games like The World of Darkness and Shadowrun had sizable followings with very non-compatible rulesets. This meant that there was little "cross-pollination" between customers of different games. The solution was the Open Gaming License. For the simple price of including a WotC-mandated I Do Not Own notice in the final product, other companies could make free use of WotC's d20 roleplaying system without paying any licensing fees or restrictions. The only catch was that other companies could not publish the actual rules themselves; instead, players would be directed to WotC's core rulebooks. It was a win-win: Other companies could tap into the existing Dungeons & Dragons fanbase for their products, while WotC itself could deal with the more important work of concentrating on rules updates and leave the traditionally lower-margin items like campaign settings and adventure modules to others. The end result was similar to the Dot Com craze; dozens of independent game companies came out of the woodwork to cash in on the wide-open license.
- A similar license, called the Game System License, was released for 4th Edition. On the whole, it was a good deal more restrictive in its terms than the OGL, required registration with WotC's licensing department, and other legal loopholes. As such, some companies continued to support 3rd Edition, most notably Pathfinder.
- And the new 5th Edition is under the same Open Gaming License as 3rd Edition, quite possibly as a reaction to the continuing success of the aforementioned Pathfinder and other 3rd Edition-compatible products.
- The rulebook for Mobile Frame Zero requires you to, when creating your own faction, avoid portraying authoritarianism or anarcho-capitalism positively, and specifically forbids basing anything on the Nazis or naming your frames in reference to them.
- LEGO sent C&D notices against video game fan art site VGBoxArt owing to copyright infringement concerns. While this led to a rule that explicitly forbade any LEGO-related video game covers on the site, a number of them still slip through the cracks.
- Mattel, the parent company of American Girl, once threatened a lawsuit on a fan site over an unofficial collector's guide book for the dolls. Needless to say, the said book never materialised. Another point of contention is the company's rather strict stance over the American Girl IP and their other properties - while fan works such as stop-motion videos are fine for them, fan conventions bearing the "American Girl" name, or variants thereof, isn't.
- Of particular note is the infamous suit against Danish-Norwegian pop group Aqua,note to which Mattel viewed the song "Barbie Girl" as portraying the doll character in a negative light. They did relent however, given how they could just use the song (with modified lyrics of course) to promote their toy line anyway, as the bubblegum-pop melody certainly appeals to younger audiences, though arguably not in its original form.
- While Hasbro seems to have no problem with non-toy Transformers fanworks, they are notoriously opposed to third-party Transformer toys that are created to bear a resemblance to any character in the franchise, and unlike with My Little Pony, have shown zero interest in partnering with companies. Many fans even side with Hasbro and have a strong dislike of these toys as a result (including a few action figure customizers, who produce and sell their own unofficial toys on eBay without permission from the IP holder... the irony is not lost on some of us.). One possible reason for this unwillingness may be that most of the companies making these toys are located in China, which would make it difficult to monetize or regulate sale or production. While Hasbro has yet to really stop online stores that sell these toys (partly because many of those retailers also carry Hasbro stock and they do not wish to lose large customer bases), they have banned even the possession of these toys at BotCon - not the sale, mind you - and will attempt to confiscate ANY copy brought to the convention, even personal possessions. Whether or not they can legally do that... of course, this has led to a few unofficial Transformers conventions focusing heavily on third-party merchandise in retaliation.
- In response to the popularity of their video game franchises such as Halo, and knowing that the community would come up with derivative works based on their properties, Microsoft has since put up a set of guidelines for modders and other fans to abide with, provided that they include a notice acknowledging Microsoft's rules and would not do any works they deem objectionable.
- Which is a bit strange as the player act of teabagging in Halo is seemingly given a free pass even though this appears to fall under obscene content as described in the aforementioned page.
- A zig-zag of this trope: Ultima Online has 'free shards', which are reverse-engineered copies of the MMO, turned into highly moddable single or multiplayer versions of itself. The terms of service say that playing on a free shard will get your official account permanently banned. However, both Game Moderators and Event Managers play and own free shards of their own, and Origin's development team uses popular game mechanics, art, and new skill sets from such free shards as the basis for new expansions and patches. Free shard players aren't actually persecuted.
- Kingdom Hearts fans in Japan often keep their fanwork sites a sort of secret, hiding them under passwords and the like to avoid C&Ds from Disney even if there's no porn. This seems to have changed or at least been relaxed somewhat since the introduction of Pixiv. Though it appears that only Original Generation characters such as Sora and the Organization XIII are okay - should a picture include say Donald or Goofy, they'll often be drawn with a Censor Box over their eyes as if that conceals their identity.
- And Rule 34 of Kingdom Hearts in Japan, even with original characters is strongly discouraged. Not that it matters with the Yaoi Fangirls. The western side however has much more Rule 34 of the girls in stock however.
- Disney also occasionally cracks down on Kingdom Hearts fanworks-for-sale in the US.
- Square Enix hates Fan Remakes. Or rather, fan remakes that are due to release the same month as their own Updated Re-release.
- A similar case happened with Sega and a group of fans that were making a fan game/remake of the Streets of Rage franchise. What made the case frustrating was Sega had been informed of the existence of the project by the developers themselves, but didn't take any action (approving or disapproving) until it was finished, at which point they issued a C&D. Unlike the Chrono Trigger case above, Sega never remade or ported any of their Streets of Rage games when the fan game was released and the game itself can still be found on various sites on the internet.
- Late 2012, early 2013 Sega made the unusual decision to ban all videos on Youtube featuring footage from the Shining Series, regardless of content/context. The theory was that they did it to increase the profile of the (then) upcoming game Shining Ark rather than any worries about copyright; the decision was eventually reversed with a half-hearted apology.
- Nitro+ does allow for-profit fanworks of their games, as long as it doesn't violate their licensing rules (no selling more than 200 pieces or the profit must not be over 100,000 yen). They will outright sue anyone who breaks the rules out of copyright issue. Fans can ask them for permissions should they want to sell more than 200 items/go over the profit of 100,000 yen as mentioned above.
- Nintendo deserves a mention after they issued a C&D letter against the makers of a Zelda-based Fan Film The Hero Of Time.
- Nintendo was also pretty tough on any porn made of their characters in the late 90's and early 00's. During Pokémon's popularity peak in America, they sent constant cease and desist letters out to various hentai sites based on the franchise, and porn based on other characters were even harder to come across. After a misunderstanding with the site Suicide Girls, they've been a bit more lenient on how they approach the issue nowadays.
- For the most part, Nintendo seems to not mind fan output, so long as it doesn't "diminish the dignity" of their IPs. In short: No making money off of porn of their intellectual properties and you're good.
That last bit, incidentally, is also why they hold the rights to Super Hornio Bros. - so it can never be re-released.
- Nintendo still doesn't take Game Mods sitting down. At all. Just typing the words "Project M" in any post on the Miiverse network will trigger an automatic ban for discussing "criminal activity".
- Project M is an interesting case. During the invitational tournament held during E3 2014 to promote Super Smash Bros. 4, several of the participants, notable competitive players, had learned that Nintendo was quite aware of Project M. Some of them were even afraid that Nintendo would soon take legal action against the team developing the mod, but such a thing never came to pass. However, later on Nintendo became an official sponsor for Apex 2015, a popular tournament series heavily featuring games in the Smash series, including Project M, which was now removed from the game lineup. It's largely believed that Nintendo won't just C&D the Project M team because at the time of the invitational Nintendo was trying to appeal to the competitve community and get them interested in Smash 4 after Super Smash Bros. Brawl's lukewarm reception, which Project M is seen as a vastly improved version of by that part of the community, and that C&Ding it would burn that bridge; pretending it doesn't exist is the middle ground they decided on. Project M eventually ended on its own volition, realizing that the scope of the project had grown so much that Nintendo, if it so chose, could have sued instead of C&D-ing it.
- Then there's the Another Metroid 2 Remake incident. AM2R is exactly what it sounds like: a fan-created remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, with updated graphics, sound, and new areas. Nintendo sent DMCA notices on it two days after its release on the Metroid series' 30th anniversary, after themselves not marking the occasion with any fanfare. Didn't stop the internet from keeping the game alive.
- Most recently, Nintendo issued DMCA notices on a whopping 562 fangames hosted at Game Jolt. Game Jolt has made it clear that "Developers affected by takedown notices should never lose data", so only time will tell if this latest incident will kill all 562 fangames affected by the notice or not.
- Chris Hülsbeck has kindly asked not to have his video game tunes remixed, which is why there is a standing ban on derivative works at the Videogame Music Archive and only one remix on Overclocked Remix.
- If this is true, Mr. Hülsbeck seems to have relaxed a bit on this recently. There are now four remixes of Hulsbeck works available on OCR and two pages worth of arrangements of his work on RKO, dating back as far as 2001. Also, the Austrian group Mind.in.a.box remixed "Shades" in 2008.
- Tomonobu Itagaki sued a modding community years ago over their making nude mods of the female characters from the Dead or Alive series. He specifically cited the fact that said characters were like "his daughters" and that the mods were akin to violating them in real life. Most people on the Internet speculate that the lawsuit may have stemmed more from a personal problem with westerners (the modding community was American) than with maintaining copyright and the brand's purity, since neither he nor Tecmo have batted an eye at the metric tonsloads of Hentai Doujinshi featuring those characters engaging in acts that would get them arrested in at least 30 countries. And saying that the DoA girls are like his daughters gets a little awkward given the sheer amount of Fanservice in the series.
- Epic Games put out a Cease & Desist against a fan who posted a picture of a custom Super Sculpey-made Gears of War action figure he made for his cousin on his DeviantArt gallery page because he put it in a (also custom made) blister box, which the lawyers said looked too realistic.
- The MUSH Multiverse Crisis MUSH acknowledges this phenomenon in its banned characters list, not allowing characters from works subject to Fanwork Bannote , among other things, to be played. However, Captain Ersatz versions of banned characters are fine - in fact, there is a theme in the game that is a Captain Ersatz version of Kingdom Hearts.
- 3D Realms, and by extension, Gearbox Software, has essentially done this to fan-made Duke Nukem projects in any game that isn't Duke Nukem 3D, unless they get money out of it. Said ban indirectly extends to Duke Nukem Forever, as the modding tools that supposedly existed were never released.
- If you dare to use the name Tetris® or even so much as create a game that involves falling tetriminos, prepare for a C&D letter from The Tetris Company. Unless you pay The Tetris Company licensing fees and royalties. Even if you're not violating their copyrights and only copy elements which the US Supreme Court itself has ruled cannot be covered by copyright (see Lotus v. Borland), you'll still get SLAPP'ed with legal threats for the sake of intimidation. This is particularly ironic, as Tetris was created in the Soviet Union by a Soviet citizen doing government work, and thus the game was originally in the Public Domain. At one point, The Tetris Company issued takedown requests to even just YouTube videos of unofficial Tetris clones such as Texmaster and Lockjaw. This caused headaches especially for fans of Tetris: The Grand Master, as non-Japanese TGM fans only have piracy, clones, and expensive, difficult-to-find arcade hardware as their options.
- This trope is the reason why the official Taleworlds discussion board refuses to grant full subforums to the Mount & Blade mods based on novels / movies. Such mods aren't actually forbidden themselves, there are mods inspired by The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc.; they're just de-emphasized to avoid legal tussles.
- The Star Trek Online forums have a formerly weekly, now monthly, literary challenge run by the current community manager, but for understandable reasons they draw the line at submitting Rule 34 (it's a public forum and the game is rated T, so do the math).
- From 2011 to 2015, the fan-operated online service Programmed World allowed players on current BEMANI arcade cabinets in countries not served by the eAMUSEMENT network to enjoy functions and features that are otherwise exclusive to eA-connected machines. On top of that, this was the only way for arcade BEMANI games released in 2012 onwards to function outside of the eAMUSEMENT network. Unfortunately, in March 2015, Konami sent a cease-and-desist order to arcades running PW-connected cabinets as well as the PW staff, forcing the service to go offline.
- Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, has said that while he is totally fine with fan work of all types, he would prefer that R34 work be given the #undertail tag to keep it seperate from the main body of work, because "It's a family friendly show!"
- An interesting subversion involving Hideki Kamiya and his series Bayonetta. When Rule 34 of the titular witch hit the internet Hideki was initially upset... because the art depicted Bayonetta in a submissive role. Once he let his grievances be known and work started showing Bayonetta in a more typical dominant role, Hideki fully approved it.
- Rockstar Games is known to be rather ambivalent about Game Mods; while they do allow other fan works to be made based on their properties, and would even show them on their official Newswire, at best they have a mixed stance on modding in general. The End-User Licence Agreements on their games explicitly forbade reverse-engineering, yet another clause seems to imply that R* is more or less OK with it. It didn't help that the Hot Coffee scandal left a sour note on both the company and Moral Guardians, and FiveM, an unofficial multiplayer replacement for GTA Online, was viewed by the company as conflict of interest on the grounds of "piracy", leading to litigation against the mod's authors, permanently banning them from using Rockstar's services and developing GTA-related modifications.
- Word has it that HBO keeps a razor-sharp eye on Paradox Interactive, and specifically Crusader Kings II Game Of Thrones Mod. Nobody wants to crack down on someone's fan mod and risk that kind of bad publicity, but the network execs appear to be legitimately worried that Paradox might start monetizing the extremely-popular Total Conversion.
- To put it simply, Blizzard Entertainment will seek and destroy Overwatch porn.
- This has later been clarified to be only porn using assets ripped from the game. If you use fanmade assets they seem to leave you and your smut alone.
- ZUN, creator of Touhou, is generally very supportive of fanworks, but has a set of official usage guidelines which (among other things) forbids selling fanworks online, crowdfunding them, or distributing them through Steam and similar platforms. Less formally, he also asks creators to include an I Do Not Own disclaimer and to avoid names which could lead to their project being confused for an official work.
- Something of the sort occurred with Boy Meets Boy and by association, Friendly Hostility. There was really only one fan site with fairly specific submission guidelines, and all the fic and art seemed to be done by the same handful of people. The site has since gone offline. Averted with the launch of Other People's Business — one of the first sections set up on the creator's forum was an OPB fanwork section, with a Friendly Hostility fanwork section following close behind — helping die-hard 'shippers soothe the pain that followed the launch of the new comic.
- Fred Gallagher once stated that if anyone ever made Rule 34 fanworks of Megatokyo, he would immediately quit making it. It turned out to be kind of an empty threat. Handing people who don't like you an easy way to make you quit probably isn't such a brilliant idea.
- Tim Buckley, author of Ctrl+Alt+Del, issued a pretty derisive and considerably assholish C&D letter to an unsuspecting fan that dared to make a fan video about his comic. Later, it was discovered that Buckley was planning on making an animated series himself and sell it online at a considerably high price. He was able to get it off the ground eventually, but, well...
- Bill Holbrook has discouraged fanart and fanfiction of Kevin & Kell, feeling that it weakens his copyright protection. He now has a DeviantArt community for fanart, but fanfic is still out.
- Mike Russell seems to heavily discourage any kind of fanfiction (but not fanart) of The World of Vicki Fox unless it strictly takes place in a similar setting as the original.
- Andrew Hussie bans all for-profit fanwork of Homestuck, with the exception of one-time commissions of graphic art. It should also be noted that there's not a ban on creating fanworks, just on selling them. It should also be noted that Hussie's girlfriend Rachel (who serves as his business manager) was the one who put down the ban, and was also the one to suggest selling merch in the first place. Hussie has stated that he just likes to work on the comic. Unfortunately, many of Hussie's more zealous fans have taken the ban to heart and have been known to go to conventions and harass artists who draw Homestuck art (even if the work was a one-time commission), and loudly threaten to "report" artists to Hussie so they can be sued. As a result, some conventions maintain a blanket ban on artists doing anything Homestuck-related, and many artists who run the convention circuit refuse to draw Homestuck commissions. Amusingly, this is not so much due to the threat of lawsuits (how would Random Teenager #34623 even contact Hussie?), but more because nobody wants to deal with annoying crusading Homestuck fans.
- Christian Weston Chandler gets upset if anybody steals/parodies/makes fun of Sonichu. He doesn't ban the works, per se, especially after he gave up on Sonichu, but one case in particular caused him to instead incorporate the authors of a parody into his work, where he brutally executes them after a nice game of Kangaroo Court.
- Eric W. Schwartz allows Sabrina Online fanworks of all types, with one hard and fast exception: No adult works featuring Sabrina herself. Though this seems to be a case of "I don't do it, so neither will you" since he doesn't publish any art harder than "cheesecake-y pinups" of Sabrina.
- The creator of Ava's Demon has explicitly disapproved of crossovers with her characters or concepts, which led to a fair amount of drama after a Homestuck crossover.
- The FAQ for Darths & Droids says that the Comics Irregulars will create an Audio Adaptation after the comic is completed, but strongly perfer that the fans do not create or publish one themselves.
- KC Green, author of Gunshow, has previously attempted to erase from the Internet fan edits of his comics, "Feminist Robot" and "Ghost Blowjob" being some of the most famous to the point where the latter certainly overshadows the original strip entirely.
- Fanfiction.Net's content guidelines contain a list of IPs and authors the site does not accept fics of: Anne Rice, Archie Comics (the only IP on the list so far), Dennis L McKiernan, Irene Radford, JR Ward, Laurell K Hamilton, Nora Roberts, PN Elrod, Raymond E. Feist, Robin Hobb, Robin McKinley and Terry Goodkind.
- Ghost has implied such a ban on his radio show, owing to his displeasure of people compromising the integrity of his "serious" online political talk show by splicing his voice together to make remixes and make him say things he never said. Those who have made remixes that get discovered by Ghost (like most infamously, "Melting Pot of Alcohol", also now get put on his "Shit List"
- However, despite this, he has in no way tried to force takedowns on YouTube.
- Of a sort on Neopets. In the Nickelodeon Kids & Family Virtual Worlds Group games terms of service (which includes Neopets, Petpet Park, Nicktropolis, and Monkey Quest), all rights to making derivative works under Fair Use are given up. However, Neopets at the least still has original art, poetry, and storytelling contests, as well as the Neopian Times (which accepts fan comics and stories), all of which have rules that all submissions must follow in order to be accepted (such as No Hugging, No Kissing).
- Generally, the fan community for That Guy with the Glasses is allowed to write any pairing with any characters (with Doug Walker actively shipping him and his brother, sometimes in livestreams with his wife right behind him). However, there are exceptions, since all of the team know about the fanfiction. The fans respect these rules, as since the team know about it and read the Kink Meme, they'd know. As well, the official Kink Meme has a list of what's not allowed in the fanfiction. Nash Bozard in particular, has asked that there be no fanfiction rated above "General", with him in it, Iron Liz has requested no fan-art with her and her ex-boyfriend Linkara, and there is a general rule that, following Spoony's departure from the site in 2012, there be no dub-con fic between him and Lupa.
- There's also a few unwritten rules, though for the most part, they come down to 'If two producers dated and the breakup wasn't pretty, don't write any more fic of them'.
- In late 2013, the fan community placed a ban on any fanworks involving JesuOtaku after controversy regarding his remarks to some of the fanbase about fanworks involving him.
- The Yogscast have outright said that they like fan art and fan fiction, but ask that the latter is not put in the main tag on Tumblr and kept in the separate #yogfic tag (which caused a small ruckus when the Yogs read some on a livestream, without consulting the author). Hannah Rutherford has a very negative reaction to shipping in particular, although this is mostly due to some rather disturbing stories written about her. Tumblr's "search" function changing to no longer observe tags and instead picking up ANY post with the specified words in it has not helped matters.
- William Strife has nothing against fanart, but has noted that he's not a fan of being shipped with Parv.
- In early 2015, a "bootleg" reimagining of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (made as a Darker and Edgier reboot that starred Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek) was temporarily pulled offline due to a copyright claim from Saban Entertainment, who claimed that the work was infringing upon their brand. This was alongside claims from fans that the short (which skyrocketed in popularity) was showing up its creators and proved the potential for the series. After Saban suffered from a wave of negative publicity against their hamfisted response, they rescinded the claim and allowed the short to be put back online, this time with a disclaimer stating it had no affiliation with their brand.
- Welcome to Night Vale actively encourages fan art, fiction, and other projects. However, they have a ban on doing any fan projects for profit, since selling merch is the primary way the creators support the podcast and as a small indie operation they can't compete with fan art the way bigger companies can. As of Sept 6th, 2015, fan creators of fake podcasts based on the show have started receiving Cease and Desist emails from Night Vale Presents, which appears to be the "new owner" of Night Vale. Perhaps NVP is just a spin off of the original company Common Place Books and not "new" per say. Regardless, it remains to be seen what effect this new policy against fake episodes will have, considering it is currently estimated that the fan base has created over three times as many recorded fake episodes as the original show.
- Disney and porn. In fact, quite a few authors have problem with Rule 34 in general even if they don't mind the rest of the madness.
- Harlan Ellison famously got in trouble over this.
- As did The Air Pirates, a group of underground comix creators in the early 1970s.
- At Anime North, you're expressly prevented from selling fan works based on Disney, including their acquisitions The Muppet Show, Marvel Comics and Star Wars — as well as non-Disney properties Homestuck (see its Web Comics entry above) and ReBoot — in the Artist's Alley. Everything else is fair game.
- Videos featuring Dr. Rabbit typically resulted in legal trouble with Colgate. One user in particular, Nicholas Wahlstrom a.k.a. Walrusguy, ended up butting heads with the company repeatedly from continuing to use the character in YouTube Poop. Eventually, Colgate just gave up and stopped bothering to stop the Poop.
- Butch Hartman (Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom and T.U.F.F. Puppy) is okay with Fan Fic so long as it's not Slash Fic and isn't too violent.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- Warner Bros. smacked down several writers of Slash Fic based on the show back in the mid-1990s when the world was young and the lawyers still thought that might work.
- The episode, "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" was written by three then-eighth grade girls, and was lucky enough for Steven Spielberg to have not only approved it, but also have TMS Entertainment animate it. After the episode was made, the writers made it very clear that they would not be making any more episodes based on fanfictions they may have been sent, as the gag credit for that episode says, "Please mail your unsolicited manuscripts along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to - Some other show!".
- This is part of the reason why Elmyra was given more screen time than Fifi La Fume, as the writers felt that this was their only way of getting the point across that they hated fan fiction. This is evidenced in episodes such as "Weekday Afternoon Live", where Fifi is shown alongside Fowlmouth and Little Beeper as part of "Some other people that might not even appear on the show at all", and "Night Ghoulery", wherein the World's Biggest Tiny Toons Fan asks Gogo Dodo and his friends from Wackyland when Fifi is going to get her own series.
- There was a time when Fox would crack down hard on The Simpsons porn, but they've since given up.
- Averted by Hasbro in regards of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In fact, they actually fired their lawyers for sending out C&Ds to fans, saying it was a "Bully Move". Fan Works, Fictions, Arts, Films, Games, pretty much everything is welcome with few exceptions. note Lauren Faust herself has admitted to reading stories on occasion and, even though she's in a diminished role on the show nowadays. One of her biggest rules is that "fans are not to be attacked for creating their own situations!". The one sole exception to the rule was My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic , and that was mostly because someone had the bright idea to enter it into EVO, which was something Hasbro could not ignore like other fanworks, and thus had to shut it down. The "for profit" rule has also partially been lifted due to a deal with Shapeways that gives Hasbro a percentage of sales from fan-made items sold through the Shapeways site.
- Another exception was what happened with a near show-quality fan animator, going by the name of Jan. He produced several shorts that were met with critical reception and praise, including people that worked on the actual show when he showed them at conventions, and Lauren Faust herself. It was because of this that he was asked to do some of the animated segments of Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony as well. But the shoe dropped when he started making Button's Adventures, a spin-off series based around a background colt. Whether it was because he went too far by trying to make his "own" series or Hasbro decided to start cracking down hard on fan works in general, the results were the same. All his videos were cease and desisted (including what he made for the Brony documentary), and only very few of them have been cleared by Hasbro's legal team and allowed back online (legally) since then. And under the terms of the C&D, he is never allowed to make more pony animations. "Button Mash" has also been altered in the actual series to have a different (much lighter) color scheme as well.
- Mane 6 has since moved on to work on an original game Them's Fightin' Herds, with Lauren Faust herself as the character designer. There's also a Fighting Is Magic: Tribute Edition, if you still want the original pony version (although don't ask too loudly).