This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Fanwork Ban

"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."

Some creators don't like Fan Work and actively discourage — if not outright prevent — fans from creating, posting, or publishing their fan work. Although such a ban encompasses all Fan Work, it seems to happen most often to Fan Fiction; hence, most creators who try to enact a Fanwork Ban tend to be writers.

The reasons for such a ban vary, but it's usually one of these:
  • The most obvious reason is to protect the author's copyright. After all, fanfic is techincally copyright infringement, and authors don't like fans potentially eating into their profit margin (especially where they want fans to buy The Merch or other officially sanctioned material). A related concern is that an author could accidentally (or not) write a story that uses some of the same elements as an existing fanwork, allowing the fan to turn the tables and sue the author for copyright infringement.
  • Some authors feel an emotional attachment to their work and characters, and they don't like seeing fanfic writers do weird and nasty things with them (and fanfic writers particularly like writing Slash Fic and other sexually explicit works).
  • On that front, some authors don't mind fanwork per se, but they don't like seeing sexually explicit or other NSFW material involving their characters. There's quite a lot of it on the Internet, as exemplified by Rule 34: "If it exists, there is porn of it — no exceptions." Other than the above-stated personal disgust at seeing such things, creators may also be concerned that younger readers could accidentally stumble upon them. Big content producers like Disney crack down particularly hard on this sort of thing, as it could otherwise harm the image they cultivate with their intellectual properties.
  • Some authors also seriously doubt fanfic writers' ability to write a story in that universe as well as the author can; this usually attracts detractors who claim the real reason for the ban is a concern that fanfic writers can write the characters better than the author could. Relatedly, they may try to impose rules on what fans can write to ensure that fan fic is consistent with the main universe.
  • Some works are Old Shame, and creators might discourage or ban fanworks of these works because they don't want to draw attention to them.

In general, a Fanwork Ban is not a good thing to happen to a fanbase. While it may accomplish one of the above-stated goals, a fanwork community is one of the most powerful ways to consolidate the fanbase and generate enthusiasm around the work. In extreme cases, it can drastically diminish a fanbase by discouraging them from talking about the work at all on the Internet, meaning that people who discover the work can't connect with other fans of the work (or run into massive Flame Wars about the fanwork ban).

See also Rule 34 – Creator Reactions. Contrast with Approval of God.

Examples of authors who have imposed fanwork bans/restrictions:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In general, Japan has a much more permissive attitude to Fan Work than the West does. Part of this is the long-standing Doujin tradition, which keeps fanworks isolated within their respective communities and makes it a lot harder to accidentally stumble upon the nasty stuff. That attitude is not universal, and more and more creators are imposing fanwork bans. But the doujinshi community is so big that there would be massive resistance to any wholesale change on this front. For instance, anime fans worked themselves into a frenzy in opposition to a supposed proposed law in Japan that would give manga publishers equal ownership rights to the author, allowing them to crack down on communities that even the author approves of (this turned out to have arisen from a few offhand comments from mangaka Ken Akamatsu, who has an axe to grind with his publishers, and has no real basis in reality).
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has an odd example, as the fanwork in question, a Fan Film called Fullmetal Fantasy, was created by the official U.S. dub cast, headed by Vic Mignogna. Mignogna showed it at a couple of fan conventions and wanted to work through the proper channels to get permission for a DVD release, but the legal people said no. After a couple of years, he was told that although there was no way there would be an official release, he could start running it at conventions again — if and only if it never showed up online. So whenever he shows it at a convention, he relates this story beforehand and makes the fans promise not to videotape and upload it. So far, so good.
  • Neither Masashi Kishimoto nor Viz Media have 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.
  • 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.
  • In-Universe example: in Genshiken, protagonist 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 hawing and non-committal doublespeak. He doesn't get the job.

    Comics 
  • Archie Comics, concerned about the proliferation of Rule 34 fanfics, has banned all fan fiction in general. That hasn't stopped people from putting up fan fiction and fan art on the Internet anyway, although more "official" venues still have to respect the ban; Fanfiction.Net, for instance, took down its Archie section, but Archive of Our Own still has one. The main exception is Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, since all Sonic characters are owned by Sega, which is Japanese and doesn't mind nearly as much. (Ken Penders, though, insists that any fan art of his characters include a copyright crediting him.)
  • Pat Mills has forbidden fanwork based on Nemesis the Warlock, apparently to avoid diluting the original story. However, his other comics, including ABC Warriors and Sláine, are fair game, although 2000 AD's official website won't accept new stories based on any of Mills' work.
  • CrossGen enacted a fanwork ban after finding Rule 34 works. Fans consider this decision to have contributed to their eventual bankruptcy and acquisition by Disney.
  • Jack Chick would legally attack any parody of his tracts, claiming "It's only fair use if you draw everything yourself." The relevant copyright laws say otherwise.
  • Marvel Comics has been known to come down on video game modders who made custom characters based on their comic book characters. Their efforts during the heyday of The Sims led to a near-disappearance of Marvel character skins on the Internet. Most infamously, they once sue to stop City of Heroes players from making Marvel characters with the character creator, only for the judge to discover that the examples Marvel's lawyers provided were created by Marvel themselves and dismiss the case.
  • 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. (A few memes and parodies do survive, though, most notably the Captain Haddock "HA HA HA, OH WOW" meme.)
    • The Hergé Foundation came down hard on Tintin in Thailand, an adult-oriented parody of the series. More than just being explicit, its author Baudouin de Duve (under the pseudonym Bud E. Weyser) attempted to pass it off as a previously-unreleased genuine Tintin comic; Belgian police arrested him in a sting operation.
    • Moulinsart sued to take down a political cartoon portraying former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as Tintin — artist Bill Leak was able to convince Moulinsart to back down after promising not to profit from his work.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • 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: no writing about existing Pern characters, no boys can Impress gold dragons, no girls can Impress bronzes, and no dragons of any other colour except for the five standard colours — Ruth is the exclusive exception. No one cared about these rules, given the proliferation of exotic characters. The ban was lifted entirely in 2004, but it's still quite a small fandom.
    • One effect of this was that 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 and cited the commandment "Thou shalt not steal" to justify her stance (a fairly shaky theological conclusion).
  • Robin Hobb famously wrote an article in which she explained her fanwork ban as coming from her personal attachment to her characters, claiming they were like family to her, and it was thus uncomfortable for her to see them in weird and perverted situations. It reads almost like a Public Service Announcement against fan fiction.
  • Charlaine Harris does not approve of fanfic.
  • Terry Goodkind has a general Fanwork Ban, although it's unclear whether it applies to Legend of the Seeker.
  • John Norman is known to be hostile to Gor fanfics.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin disapproves of fan fiction, but he's okay with fan art. His main objection is that fan fiction is bad practice for an aspiring writer; he believes that creating and developing one's own characters and setting are an integral part of writing. He likens fan fic to an artist learning to draw by doing paint-by-numbers. Fan art, on the other hand, still requires genuine skill, so it doesn't bother him as much. In any event, A Song of Ice and Fire has such a dense and tightly wrapped universe that there really isn't much room to write fan fic without any drastic changes, which fans mostly don't respond well to.
  • 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 wrote that he specifically designated this period as a "playground" for his fans, hoping to divert fan attention away from other things. He still doesn't like Rule 34 fics, though:
    "We said the magic word and frightened him away: Lawsuit."
  • Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling doesn't mind fans writing fanfic and doing other fannish things, recognizing that this helps consolidate the fan community. She does, however, dislike sexually explicit fanfics. Part of it is to avoid younger fans accidentally stumbling upon them, and part of it is that since many of the characters themselves are minors, the fics are technically child pornography. She has also been known to stop fans from publishing things she was planning to do herself: for instance, the Harry Potter Lexicon, a popular online Harry Potter encyclopedia, existed just fine on the Internet but couldn't be published in book format for a long time because Rowling was thinking of publishing a Harry Potter encyclopedia of her own (it didn't happen, and a heavily modified version of the Lexicon did eventually see print).
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley enacted a fanwork ban in response to a Darkover fanfic writer claiming that she had used some of his story elements in a later Darkover novel, which wound up never being published. The story is a rather complicated one with backers on both sides; a reasonably dispassionate summary can be found here.
  • 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 the Creative Commons license:
    "As you folks already know, my agent, Russel Galen, has in the past been opposed to fanfiction. However, he is also Cory Doctorow's agent now, and Cory is a persuasive little gnome."
  • Terry Pratchett mentioned in a 2007 lecture that he had developed a balanced compromise on Discworld fan fiction that seems to work: Fans were free to have as much good-natured fun as they wished (non-commercially), on two (later three) conditions:
    • First, fans must automatically surrender all their creative rights to their derived works back to Pratchett. That way, he said, if a potential licensee asked, for instance, if anyone else had made a video adaptation of Jingo, he could simply say "Yes, but I own all the rights to it," which didn't seem to bother them at all.
    • Second, fan fic shouldn't happen where he could see it. This would prevent anyone from claiming that he used any of their ideas in a later Discworld book. He was more worried about reputational damage than legal repercussions; it would have been easy to prove that he didn't steal ideas, but mud sticks.
    • The third came in the late 1990s, when am-dram companies started doing Discworld amateur theatrics without even bothering to seek Pratchett's permission. He was willing to give it, but they had to ask first. So to enforce this, he would grant permission in exchange for a small donation to the Orang-Utan Foundation, hopefully discouraging people from shortchanging a charity.
  • This list of publishers who do not allow fanfiction also includes Raymond E. Feist, PN Elrod, Nora Roberts, and a few others, although it doesn't state their reasons for doing so.
  • Diana Gabaldon bans fanfiction and has compared the practice 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.
  • Jasper Fforde, author of Thursday Next, has quite a militant stance against fanfiction. It's actually mellower than it used to be; one of his books contains a rant about the damage fanfic writers were doing to The Lord of the Rings. Irony strikes again here, as his own books are basically Public-Domain Character fanfiction.
  • Kim Newman is uncomfortable seeing other writers use his characters, even though he is the author of Anno Dracula, which quite clearly uses another person's character. He's at least aware of the hypocrisy.
  • For a long time, Jim Butcher's official position on The Dresden Files fanfiction was that there isn't any. Because, as he explains, if he knew there was fanfiction out there, he would be legally obliged to have it taken down, and he didn't want to do that. He lifted the ban in 2010, so long as a disclaimer is included; his full policy can be found here.
  • 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.
  • Eric Flint, author of 1632, has tried to stem the tide of fanfic by posting a list of guidelines for writing every character in Grantville. Furthermore, writers who wish to use these characters must obtain permission from Flint himself or the Grantville Gazette editors. But within that framework, Flint actually kind of likes seeing what the fans come up with.
  • 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, author of the Percy Jackson series, discourages fan works based in the universe, but doesn't ban it outright. He explained that he has no problem with fanfic per se; he just finds it incredibly unnerving to see other people narrating his characters. (He's never seen the movies for the same reason.) On the other hand, he loves fan art.
  • 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.
  • Paddington and Company Limited, the owners of the Paddington Bear franchise, understandably does not approve of pornographic images of their family-friendly characters (especially their namesake), as the company's name appears on e621's Do Not Post list.note 

     Live-Action TV  
  • There was an official fanfiction ban during the original broadcast run of Babylon 5. This was instituted after the creator, J. Michael Straczynski, was forced by Warner Bros. lawyers to prove that he had planned the main plot of the episode "Passing Through Gethsemane" before a fan on Usenet had independently suggested that such a story would be cool.
  • 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 hit with a cease-and-desist order.
  • 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 ban Star Trek Fan Films from being made, but they did impose some pretty severe limitations to their creation. They included a 30-minute maximum time limit on "feature-length" films, killing "original series" by preventing any fan's original characters from appearing in any other works, preventing anything they defined as "profit making" (including raising or crowdsourcing money), and requiring official Trek gear to be used (and if you made your own, you couldn't sell it in any fashion).

     Music 
  • Sony is rather notorious in certain video creation circles for issuing DMCA takedown notices on 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.
  • Avex is another notorious offender in this regard; many Animutations featuring music from their artists have had YouTube videos taken down by their cease-and-desist orders.

     Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • The rulebook for Mobile Frame Zero requires you, when creating your own faction, to avoid portraying authoritarianism or anarcho-capitalism positively, and specifically forbids basing anything on the Nazis or naming your frames in reference to them.
  • Games Workshop, the makers of the enormously popular Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 lines, get really tetchy when someone makes anything that even looks like their material. They've taken down such things as fan-made player aids and even scenarios, and don't even try to make a fangame or fanvid if you don't want their lawyers coming down on you like a ton of bricks. Even fan modeling projects have been knocked down, despite modeling being one of the core draws of the hobby.
  • Inverted by Wizards of the Coast, who created the Open Gaming License to encourage fanwork — and thus boost their own profile. It arose out of their purchase of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise; WotC noticed that although D&D led the tabletop gaming market, there as an oversaturation of RPG systems competing for a limited market. These systems were all incompatible with each other, meaning that there was little "cross-pollination" between buyers of different games. The Open Gaming License allowed other companies to make their own games using the WotC d20 roleplaying system, as long as they credited WotC and didn't publish the rules themselves, instead directing players to WotC's core rulebooks. It was a win-win; other companies could tap into the existing D&D fanbase, and WotC could delegate lower-margin work like campaign settings and adventure modules to new companies. The License was introduced with the 3rd Edition, but made more restrictive with the 4th Edition; backlashnote  an led to the 5th Edition using the original Open Gaming License.

    Toys 
  • LEGO sent cease-and-desist notices to video game fan art site VGBoxArt over copyright infringement concerns, leading to a rule that explicitly forbade any LEGO-related video game covers on the site, although a number of them still slip through the cracks.
  • Mattel, the parent company of American Girl, has a strict stance on the intellectual property. Although they're fine with stop-motion videos and such, they come down hard on unauthorized uses of the "American Girl" name, such as conventions. They once threatened to sue a fan site which was planning to publish an unofficial collector's guide for the dolls. Most famously, Mattel sued Danish-Norwegian pop group Aquanote  over their song "Barbie Girl", claiming it portrayed their product in a negative light; they relented when they realized they could modify the lyrics and use the song to promote their product.
  • 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 third-party companies. They even ban the mere possession of such toys at BotCon and will confiscate any that they find. Ironically, though, many of these third-party companies are based in China and specialize in Shoddy Knockoff Products, so the fans tend to side with Hasbro on this one.

     Video Games 
  • Microsoft has a set of guidelines for fans to follow when modding their games, including the Halo franchise. Fans must include a notice acknowledging Microsoft's rules and promise not to do anything objectionable. (Ironic, considering that Halo gave us the "teabagging" trend, which the guidelines call objectionable but seems to get a free pass.)
  • Ultima Online zig-zags with the trope with its "free shards", reverse-engineered copies of the MMO, which provides fans with highly moddable versions of the game. Even Game Moderators and Event Managers own and create these shards, and some of the coolest ones are even used as the basis for new expansions and patches. But the terms of service explicitly say that playing on a free shard will get your account permanently banned; thankfully, this term is not really enforced.
  • Kingdom Hearts fans in Japan present a weird case; Japan doesn't like fanwork bans, but Kingdom Hearts uses Disney characters, and Disney is famous worldwide for its aggressive cease-and-desist orders. Fans keep their fanwork sites as secret as possible, hiding them under passwords and the like, and they're remarkably restrained with Rule 34 works (much more so than the Western fandom, which is used to the underlying threat). They even put Censor Boxes over Disney characters' eyes to "hide" their identities. But the fear only extends to the Disney characters; other characters like Sora and the Organization XIII are okay.
  • Capcom requested that development of Invader Games' fan remake of Resident Evil 2, titled Resident Evil 2 Reborn, be halted — only to invite them to work on the official remake.
  • Square Enix hates Fan Remakes. Or rather, fan remakes that are due to release the same month as their own Updated Re-release, which happens fairly frequently. They were particularly quick with a fan-made 3D remake of Chrono Trigger called Chrono Resurrection, which was barely in development when it got hit with a C&D (although it did manage to give the fandom an awesome rendition of "Corridors of Time").
  • Sega has been known to do this to its properties:
    • Sega sent a cease-and-desist order to the makers of a Streets of Rage remake. Frustratingly, the fans told Sega about the project themselves hoping to hold off any problems; Sega did nothing until the game was finished. Even more frustratingly, Sega never made their own remake or port of any Streets of Rage game. The fan game was eventually released on the Internet and can still be found if you know where to look.
    • Sega made the unusual decision to ban all YouTube videos with footage from the Shining Series, regardless of context. The theory was that they weren't even worried about copyright; rather, they were trying to increase the profile of the then-upcoming Shining Ark. After being called on it, Sega eventually reversed the decision with a half-hearted apology.
  • Nitro+ does allow for-profit fanworks of their games, as long as they don't violate their licensing rules (no selling more than 200 pieces or the profit must not be over 100,000 yen without express permission). They will sue anyone who breaks the rules for copyright infringement.
  • Nintendo is notorious for its historically ferocious protection of its intellectual properties. For the most part, they don't mind fan output per se, but they will come down on works that "diminish the dignity" of their properties or infringe on their ability to make money. That means they come down particularly hard on explicit works and Game Mods. They have a history of all sorts of crackdowns, though:
    • They were widely criticized for issuing a cease-and-desist letter against the the makers of a Zelda-based Fan Film called The Hero of Time.
    • They sent constant cease-and-desist letters to all sorts of Pokémon hentai fansites, which proliferated during the peak of the franchise's popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After a misunderstanding with the site Suicide Girls, they've become a bit more lenient with how they approach the issue nowadays.
    • They went so far as to obtain the rights to Super Hornio Bros., to ensure that it can never be re-released.
    • They were very wary of Project M, a Game Mod of Super Smash Bros. Brawl designed to play more like Melee and be more suited to Tournament Play. For a time, players could be banned automatically from the Miiverse network just for typing the words "Project M" (ostensibly for discussing "criminal activity"). The competitive Smash community was waiting for the cease-and-desist notice for years. In the end, it never came; scuttlebutt suggests that Nintendo didn't want to alienate the competitive community in the runup to Smash 4. They did become an official sponsor for Apex 2015, a popular tournament series heavily featuring Smash games, which removed Project M from the lineup for that tournament. In the end, Project M ended on its own volition, as the makers grew increasingly worried that Nintendo would sue them.
    • They squashed Another Metroid 2 Remake, which was a fan-made remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus. They hit it with a DMCA takedown notice just two days after its release; fans did what they could to keep the game alive. Many speculated that Nintendo didn't want the game to compete with Metroid Prime: Federation Force; it was revealed several months later that Nintendo was in fact planning their own remake of Metroid II, which was released the following year as Metroid: Samus Returns.
    • They issued a DMCA takedown notices against the website Game Jolt, squashing a whopping 562 games hosted at the site. Game Jolt, for its part, claims that "[d]evelopers affected by takedown notices should never lose data," so it remains to be seen what will happen to these games.
    • They send a cease-and-desist letter to the website Undiscovered Playthings, a gallery of bootleg toys, to take down their collection of Pokémon toys.
  • Konami can never seem to make its mind up about fanmade games. It initially greenlit several remakes of their Metal Gear series (including some that actually featured original voice actors David Hayter and Paul Eiding reprising their roles as Solid Snake and Colonel Campbell, respectively), only to withdraw permission later on.
  • 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 four remixes on Overclocked Remix — although there are also two pages worth of arrangements of his work on RKO, dating back as far as 2001, as well as a 2008 remix of "Shades" by Austrian group Mind.in.a.box, so he may have relaxed his stance a bit.
  • Tomonobu Itagaki, creator of the Dead or Alive series, sued a modding community that was making nude mods of the series' female characters. On top of the legal complaints, he claimed that the characters were like "his daughters" and that the mods were akin to violating them. That comment, though, doesn't gel with the sheer amount of Fanservice involving the characters in the series itself, or with the massive amounts of Hentai Doujinshi featuring them that he and Tecmo consistently ignored. Scuttlebutt suggested that he sued the community because it was American and not Japanese.
  • Epic Games, makers of Gears of War, sent a cease-and-desist notice to a fan who posted a picture on his DeviantArt page of his custom Super Sculpey-made Gears of War action figure — not because of the figure itself, but because of the also custom-made blister box he put it in, which the lawyers claimed was "too realistic".
  • The MUSH Multiverse Crisis MUSH acknowledges this phenomenon in its banned characters list, which includes characters from works subject to a fanwork ban. However, Captain Ersatz versions of banned characters are fine, and there's even a theme in the game featuring such versions of Kingdom Hearts characters.
  • 3D Realms, and by extension, Gearbox Software, have essentially disallowed any 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.
  • The Tetris Company is hugely protective of the Tetris brand. If you dare to use the name Tetris® or even so much as create a game that involves falling tetriminos, without paying the proper license fees and royalties, prepare for a cease-and-desist letter. They have sent DMCA takedown notices to YouTube for videos just featuring unofficial Tetris clones. They have even gone as far as threatening legal action against fans who pointedly use only elements that cannot legally be copyrighted,note  using meritless legal claims for intimidation (in a strategy known as a SLAPP). Their stance causes particular headaches to fans of Tetris: The Grand Master, which wasn't released outside Japan. Ironically enough, Tetris was created in the Soviet Union by a government employee and was thus originally in the public domain.
  • The makers of Mount & Blade, fearing retribution of this sort, prohibited the official Taleworlds discussion board from granting subforums to mods based on novels or movies subject to fanwork bans.
  • In 2015, Konami shut down the fan-operated online service Programmed World, which was the only way to play BEMANI arcade games outside countries served by the eAMUSEMENT network, by sending cease-and-desist notices to arcades running PW-connected cabinets.
  • Toby Fox, creator of Undertale, has said that while he is totally fine with fan work of all types, he would prefer that Rule 34 work be given the #undertail tag to keep it seperate from the main body of work, because "It's a family friendly show!"
  • Subverted by Hideki Kamiya, creator of Bayonetta, who was upset with the first Rule 34 art of the title character — because it showed her in a submissive role. When the artists caught on and started showing Bayonetta in a more typical dominant role, Hideki fully approved it.
  • Rockstar Games, makers of is known to be rather ambivalent about Game Mods; they seem not to mind them in principle, but ever since the "Hot Coffee" scandal in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, they've been a lot more wary of the Moral Guardians. Their games' EULAs explicitly forbid reverse-engineering, although they've never enforced that clause. They also sued the makers of FiveM, an unofficial multiplayer replacement for GTA Online, and permanently banned them from using Rockstar's services and developing GTA-related mods.
  • HBO apparently keeps a razor-sharp eye on Paradox Interactive, and specifically the 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.
  • Blizzard Entertainment will seek and destroy any porn using assets from Overwatch. But if you use fanmade assets, they'll leave you 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.

     Web Animation 
  • While Rooster Teeth doesn't have such a policy, the fandom for RWBY has a rule amongst themselves banning Rule 34 of the show's protagonist Ruby Rose, who's under 18. The rule is informally known by the phrase, "Don't Lewd the Rube". (Its enforcement varies between communities.)

     Web Comics 
  • Fred Gallagher once stated that if anyone ever made Rule 34 fanworks of Megatokyo, he would immediately quit making the comic. 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 cease-and-desist letter to an unsuspecting fan who dared to make a fan video about his comic. It was later 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.
  • 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 a no-go.
  • 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 (or rather, his girlfriend and business manager Rachel) bans all for-profit fanwork of Homestuck except for one-time commissions of graphic art. Non-commercial fanwork is still okay. Unfortunately, Hussie's more zealous fans go much further and threaten to "report" Homestuck fan artists to Hussie so he can sue them, regardless of whether the work is for-profit or a one-time commission. This leads some conventions to maintain a blanket ban on Homestuck-related art and artists refusing to draw Homestuck commissions, just to avoid these annoying fans.
  • Christian Weston Chandler, creator of Sonichu, gets upset if anyone steals, parodies, or makes fun of his work. He doesn't ban fan works per se, especially since he gave up on Sonichu, but he's been known to overreact to seeing fanworks he doesn't like. One case in particular led him to incorporate the fan authors into the 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. 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 discourages fans from creating any Audio Adaptations of the comic, as the Comic Irregulars want to be able to make one themselves after the comic is completed.
  • KC Green, author of Gunshow, has previously attempted to erase fan edits of his comics from the Internet, for all the good that does. "Feminist Robot" and "Ghost Blowjob" are some of the most famous, to the point where the latter certainly overshadows the original strip entirely.
  • Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content once stated that while he's "okay" with other people making images of his characters in sexual situations, he draws the line at such drawings of underage characters (specifically Samantha Bean, the daughter of the owner of "The Secret Bakery"). He went on to wish that those who drew Sam naked would "die in a car fire".

     Web Original 
  • Fanfiction.Net's content guidelines contain a list of IPs and authors for which the site does not accept fics, including: 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 of True Capitalist 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. He has a "Shit List" of people he's caught doing this (including the makes of "Melting Pot of Alcohol"). But to his credit, he hasn't tried to force YouTube to take the videos down.
  • Neopets contains many original submissions which have their own rules which fans must follow if they want to make fanworks (mostly of the No Hugging, No Kissing variety). However, they also explicitly allow Fair Use derivative works or content covered by the Nickelodeon terms of service (which covers Neopets, Petpet Park, Nicktropolis, and Monkey Quest).
  • The fan community for That Guy with the Glasses likes writing explicit fanfic about the characters. The site's personalities are split on the subject. Some hosts don't mind it at all (Doug Walker actively ships his own character with his brother, sometimes in livestreams with his wife right behind him). Others don't want to be in explicit fics — Nash Bozard asks that he only appear in fics rated "General" or lower). JesuOtaku lashed out at fan artists and got the community to put a complete ban on fanworks involving him. And there's an overarching (yet unofficial) rule that fanfic shouldn't feature two producers if they previously dated and the breakup wasn't pretty (e.g. Iron Liz wants no fanart with her and her ex-boyfriend Linkara).
  • 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. William Strife has nothing against fanart, but has noted that he's not a fan of being shipped with Parv. Then Tumblr changed their search function so that it no longer recognizes tags, which makes it harder to sequester fanfics.

  • 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. Night Vale Presents has also sent cease-and-desist notices to creators of fake podcasts based on the show, ostensibly to avoid confusion with the real thing (it's estimated that the fanbase has created over three times as many fake episodes than there are real episodes).

    Western Animation 
  • Disney and porn have a long-standing relationship, and Disney's lawyers are already legendary in the business, so it's no surprise that they go after fanworks very aggressively — particularly explicit fanworks. In fact, quite a few authors have problem with Rule 34 in general even if they don't mind the rest of the madness. Among their targets have been:
  • 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 after 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.
  • Warner Bros., the makers of Tiny Toon Adventures, has had a tumultuous relationship with fanwork creators going back to the mid-1990s (when their lawyers still believed they could get rid of Slash Fic by lawsuits).
    • One episode, "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian", was in fact written by three eight-grade fans of the show, who were lucky enough not only for Steven Spielberg to approve it, but also for TMS Entertainment to animate it. But the makers were very wary of possibly opening the door for all manner of bad fanfic writers to flood them with material, so they made it very clear that they would not make any more fan-created episodes in the episode's Credits Gag:
      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.
  • There was a time when Fox would crack down hard on The Simpsons porn. In the early 2000s, they were able to successfully shut down several Simpsons fansites (lampshaded in "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", when Lisa tells Homer his website is just full of copyrighted material from other websites). But the sites keep popping up, and Fox has since given up.
  • Averted by Hasbro in regards of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which in many respects owes its popularity to the fan community making fanworks. They generally allow fanworks of all kinds, as long as they're not for profit (and even then, fanworks have occasionally been sold on Shapeways thanks to a deal that gives Hasbro a cut of the proceeds). Creator Lauren Faust has even been known to read fanfics and encourages fans not to attack each other's creations. There were a few hiccups along the way, though:
    • Hasbro's lawyers originally didn't get the memo and started sending out cease-and-desist letters to fanwork creators. Hasbro responded by apologizing to the fans, calling it a "bully move", and firing the lawyers.
    • The fangame My Little Pony: Fighting Is Magic was so popular that it was entered into EVO, a tournament so big that Hasbro couldn't ignore the threat to its IP and was forced to shut it down. The developers went on to make an original game a lot like it, called Them's Fightin' Herds, with Lauren Faust herself as the character designer. (And there's a Fighting Is Magic: Tribute Edition, if you still want the original ponies, but don't ask too loudly.)
    • A fan animator named Jan produced several near-show-quality shorts that met with critical reception and praise, including Lauren Faust herself and others who worked on the show. He was even asked to do some of the animated segments of Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony. But the shoe dropped when he started making Button's Adventures, a spin-off series based on a background colt. That was too far for Hasbro, who sent cease-and-desist orders to take down all his videos (including what he made for the Brony documentary) and to agree never to make any more pony animations; since then, only very few of them have been cleared by the Hasbro legal team to go back up.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FanworkBan