"I do not own this trope. It and any characters that may appear in it are the intellectual property of Unknown Troper @ 188.8.131.52. Please don't sue me."Fan Fic writers frequently see the need to begin their fiction with statements that look sort of like the page quote, usually as part of the Fanfic Header. These disclaimers are not only completely useless — or even counterproductive — from a legal point of view, but also generally redundant, especially if posted on a website like Fanfiction.Net which already includes its own well-written legal disclaimers. This kind of disclaimer comes from a misunderstanding of copyright law; fanfic writers seem to believe that it's concerned with taking credit for someone else's work,note so as long as she is explicit that she didn't create the characters or setting, she's not taking credit for the work and is thus home free. The problem is that copyright law is concerned with protecting the original author's rights, whether or not the fanfic writer takes credit for the work; you can be liable for copyright infringement as long as they lose money because of your work. (This can happen even if you don't charge for your fanfic; the rights holder can argue that he could have written your story just as easily and charged money for it, except your free version is there, so he can't.) Some fanfic authors try to head off legal consequences by pointing out that they have little, no, or negative assets; this never works because rights holders don't care about your assets so much as protecting their own assets and stopping you from doing further damage. The point is that this kind of disclaimer doesn't really improve your legal situation if you're a fanfic writer. It may even make it worse; if you admit that you don't own the work, it's much harder to claim that you didn't realize it was copyrighted by someone else. And "willful infringement" of copyright — i.e. you've been told that you're violating copyright, but keep doing it anyway — leads to triple damages, and if you point out from the start that you don't own the work, you may be starting at willful infringement. (On the other hand, the disclaimer also implies that you think what you're doing is legal, so then that's not "willful infringement". You see why good lawyers are so expensive?) So why is Fan Fic so prolific if almost all of it infringes on copyright, disclaimers or not? Because of Sturgeon's Law; a good 90 percent of this fanfic is utter crap. It's not nearly good enough to even dent the revenues of the original work — this realization goes back to Star Trek fan magazines in the 1970s (incidentally, also the origin of this sort of disclaimer). What can lose the rights holder money, though, is the terrible publicity from suing a fanfic author. In fact, most rights holders don't mind fanfic because it helps consolidate the fan community in general (those who do are rare enough to be listed on Fanwork Ban, and many of them have more ethical than legal reasons to do so). Rights holders tend to be more proactive where the fan work can actually lose them revenue (like homemade video games), but they tend to start with a Cease and Desist order in those cases in the hopes that the parties can reach a mutually acceptable conclusion. So these days, the disclaimers are more of a tradition than an attempt at actual legality. They are often used to show gratitude to the original creators for giving us the original work; some compare them to Homer's invocation of the muse. Some authors also use them to clearly demarcate which elements of their story are canonical and which are invented (e.g. "I don't own any of these characters, except my Author Avatar"). As such, people frequently use vague, cutesy, or parodic disclaimers, along these lines:
— Micah, who launched but didn't suggest this trope
- "Stuff in this story is owned by some company; I didn't look it up."
- "Disclaimer: I claim dis."
- "I don't own this work, but I wish I did!" (and its Hate Fic equivalent, "I'm glad I don't own this work.")
- "I still don't own this work. I haven't even asked about it."
- "I own not, you sue not."
- "I don't own anyone in this story, except for [attractive character x]. He's mine! *glomp* ^_^"
- "I own nothing" or "All I own is a piece of chewed bubblegum and a bottle of vodka — so if you want to get drunk and eat pre-chewed gum, sue away!"
- "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue... / I do not own, so please don't sue."
- I do not own [work X]. If I did, [characters Y and Z] would have totally hooked up by now."
- "If I owned this work, don't you think I would have better things to do with my time than write fanfiction?"
- "I totally own these characters and this universe! I'm a millionaire! See? Nobody cares."
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- The disclaimer at the beginning of almost all Abridged Series goes something like: "The following is a non-profit fan-based parody. [Original work] is/are owned by [original work's creator(s) and/or studio(s)]. Please support the official release." Admittedly, most of these are added in the desperate hope that YouTube won't pull down their presumably Free Use-protected parodies with accusations of copyright infringement.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged has its disclaimers narrated by a different character each time, usually someone who's about to have something nasty happen to him in the episode to follow.
- Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show also narrates its disclaimer with a different character each time and refers to itself as a "fan-based parody of a fan-based parody".
- Kaikisimoto's Digimon Adventure abridged series encourages viewers to "support the non-existent official release."
- After the removal of Sailor Moon Abridged from YouTube, that exact quote is the first thing added to the episodes, accompanied by a picture of Raye and the word "Fa**"
- Hellsing Ultimate Abridged has a different character read the disclaimer at the start of every episode. When it's Jan Valentine's turn, he stops midway and recites a disclaimer hailing the superiority of his penis.
- Second Wind's author tries to come up with a different witty disclaimer for every chapter. In Chapter 18, he says he’s running out of material.
- From a Star Wars fic: "Thanks, Uncle George, for letting us play with your toys! We promise to put them back in the box when we're done." This could be inspired by the Acknowledgments pages of actual Star Wars novels, nearly all of which end by thanking Lucas for creating the GFFA and letting the authors "play in his sandbox."
- From Rob "Kenko" Haynie's Ranma fic Fair Warning:
- M. McGregor likes to have fun with these:
"I don't own these characters. I don't even own the humorous disclaimer I was going to put here."
"If these characters belonged to me, I would be living somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. I'd have a nice luxurious cabin near a mountain somewhere. It would have solar panels, central air-conditioning, and hot and cold running supermodels. The cold supermodels run to warm themselves up. The hot ones run cause they accidentally lit themselves on fire while trying to cook me dinner. Silly supermodels, you don't know how to cook!
"Anyway, I don't own this stuff."
- From this fanfic, likely a Troll Fic:
- Fanfiction of Joss Whedon's works nearly universally comes with a clever disclaimer, often "Joss is Boss" (particularly for Firefly fics) and "Everything is owned by Joss Whedon" (ironically, the only one of those works he actually owns himself is Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog). In particular, the fic (Meltha has this disclaimer:
- The disclaimer on a website devoted to the TV reality competition The Amazing Race:
The Amazing Race is the property of CBS Television and World Race Productions — we don't own it, we just like to play with it.
- One Transformers fic has this disclaimer:
Of course I own Transformers. I own tons of Transformers. I spend so much money on Transformers, they've decided to cut out the middleman and send Hasbro my next paycheck. I own so many Transformers that I barely have room for... That's not what you meant, is it?
- "This fic bears no intentional resemblance to any persons living or dead. If I'm doing my job right, it should bear a very great resemblance to persons made up and not owned by me." (From here.)
- Clell65619 generally does this for his Harry Potter fics on Fanfiction.Net"
- His standard disclaimer is "I don't own Harry Potter and wouldn't particularly care to. I would like a rental agreement with option to buy for Hermione Granger. A short term contract with Nymphadora Tonks wouldn't be turned down. A Long-term agreement with Luna Lovegood would probably be a whole lot of fun. Any time Padma Patil wants to open negotiations, call me and oh for a weekend with Fleur. Oddly Lavender and Padma's sister (despite being her twin) Parvati do nothing for me."
- On Harry Potter and the Distaff Side: "I own none of this. I do not own Harry Potter or any rights to his image or personality. I do not own the moon or the stars. I do not own human genders, other than my own personal original factory equipment. Honest. Nope, not me. I most certainly do not own the rights to a billion dollar literary work. Damn it."
- From another Harry Potter fic:
Jo owns the characters, the plot, and my soul. I own only the spaces in between.
- From this (femslash) fic of A Series of Unfortunate Events:
Written by a Fan of Lemony Snicket — a phrase which here means "Someone who is most certainly not Lemony Snicket and would greatly appreciate it if he did not sue her."
- Death Note fanfics tend to have disclaimers along the lines of "If I owned Death Note, [character X] would still be alive" or "I do not own Light, but he probably owns me." The first and only disclaimer of Kira Is Justice ends with "And remember, this will be the last time you'll be seeing this."
- "Disclaimer: Little boy..." from the Super-Ultra-Mega Ranma ½ crossover On Ranchan's Crossing Bridges.
- Fittingly, given the nature of his act, some fics involving Stephen Colbert have two disclaimers: one for the copyrighted fictional characters, and one for any Real Life people who become involved during the course of the story (frequently reporters or political figures).
- Fanfic involving The Beatles often has something like: "I do not own The Beatles. They belong to Apple Corps., EMI, and their management..." (or MPL if it's a post-Beatles McCartney fic). One Beatles fanfic has: "Please don't sue. I spent all my money on a copy of Let It Be."
- "I don't own (emotion, I) RENT" is seen probably half of all RENT fanfics out there. Clever and funny the first time, mildly annoying the fiftieth.
- The disclaimer for The Last Days Of FOXHOUND reads:
Metal Gear Solid and its characters are ©1999 Konami. Metal Gear Solid is a registered trademark of Konami Co., Ltd. This webcomic is intended as a parody. I'd be flattered to get sued over it, but please don't.
- The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain has this disclaimer:
The only thing to which I can lay legitimate claim is the personality of Elizabeth (who says that she is perfectly capable of owning that herself, thank you very much).
- In one Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok fic, the author exclaims that her attempt to claim legal ownership of the Norse Gods resulted in her brother's car being blown up and her getting sued in multiple dead languages. Oh yeah, and the original mangaka's characterizations don't belong to her either.
- The disclaimer on this Kim Possible fic takes it to a ridiculous but logical conclusion:
I own nothing, which is why I'm currently sitting naked in an internet cafe. I'm getting some pretty funny looks, I can tell you.
- Not so much a disclaimer as an hopeful lawsuit deterrent, one Supernatural fic featured the header, "Our porn makes more people watch your show."
- A now-defunct site had the following disclaimer:
- Paraphrase: "I do not own the characters in House. I do own the complete sets of DVDs. One cancels out the other." Found on "Casualty" by Angelfirenze, an "M"-rated House "Fix Fic" running in an Alternate Universe.
- This Discworld fic has "Disclaimer: Do I LOOK like Terry Pratchett?"
- One Love Hina fanfic has a disclaimer which reads, in its entirety, "Myuuuuu!"
- One fic holds that the characters (who are all human) bear no intentional resemblance to any persons living, dead, or [something increasingly ridiculous with each chapter].
- The disclaimer of one Star Wars fanfic includes:
Some items, such as lightsabers, Jedi robes, etc., are owned by various characters, and Anakin Skywalker was owned by Watto once, but now he's not, so if you see an undisclaimed fic about him by Watto, report it immediately.
- The installments of Radio Free Cyberton's parody of the Transformers film usually contain this disclaimer: "Any resemblance to characters owned by Hasbro or Takara is hoped to go unnoticed by their attorneys. All celebrity voices impersonated... obviously." Otherwise averted, though, in that they actually used music from the Transformers soundtrack with permission.
- Chapter 33 of Spoiled Brats, a Ranma fanfic by DarkFyre99, actually quotes the first paragraph of this article (as it stood as of November 2009) as its disclaimer.
- Phantom's Secret Diary by Anthiena has:
Butch Hartman says it was all his idea, so blame him. On the other hand, I think he'd say at least three words you can't say on TV if he saw this fic.
- One chapter of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality begins "#include "stddisclaimer.h"; in fact, the first 33 chapters include a variety of humorous disclaimers, often with shoutouts to various fandoms. The author also posts this on chapter 7:
Whoa. A spokesman for Rowling's literary agent said that Rowling is okay with the existence of fanfiction as long as no one charges for it and everyone's clear that the original copyrights belong to her? That's really cool of her. I had no idea. So thank you, JKR, and thine is the kingdom!
- Chapter two of a crossover fic of Wicked Lovely and the indie band Larrikin Love, featuring Niall and said band's lead singer as a pairing, has this disclaimer:
Do I look like I own Niall and Edward? Really? Wow, that would account for the millions of dollars I DON'T have.
- The Kim Possible Crack Fic Morning, Pumpkin features many amusing examples of this:
I do not own Kim Possible, or any related characters. I also do not own a 1997 Chevy Impala, but that is completely irrelevant.note
I do not own Kim Possible, or any related characters. If I did, Dr Drakken would have a German accent (cliché I know, but really, doesn't the name "Drakken" sound German?)
I don't own Kim Possible, or any related characters. Of course, even if I did none of you would believe me.
I do not own Kim Possible or any related characters. Please don't tell on me.
I do not own Kim Possible or any related characters. I also don't own Family Guy (that's important, remember that)
- The author of The Dresden Files in fact only allows fanfics if they include a proper disclaimer, so all fanfic will have this sort of disclaimer by default.
- From MLIA-Anime's Haruhi Suzumiya fanfic A Memorable Moment:
I own the characters of Haruhi Suzumiya… as plushies. I don't own the show.
- ZUN, creator of the series, requests that you do this. Most disclaimers are something along the lines of "Warning: This is a derivative work of Touhou Project. It contains scenarios which differ considerably from the original work, and should not be taken as an accurate depiction of its characters or setting. Please proceed with caution if you wish to preserve your image of the original works. If you dislike such fanworks, please [do not continue reading/press the back button on your browser/etc.].".
- ZUN himself did this in Curiosities of Lotus Asia, not with a character or a universe (Touhou being a doujin series), but with a Game Boy.
Post-script to Afterword of Deity's Tool: By the way, by no means am I trying to get in a fight with Nintendo.
- On the poster of How I Became Yours: Rise of the Agni Army, author Jackie Diaz wrote, in a stunning display of class:
...and to all you bitch ass half cocked so called artists on DA, I DON'T OWN AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER(c) or the original characters from it. never said I did. The art and fiction from both HIBY stories I do own. read the fine print next time you fucking morons. write about that in your forom because I know you will. And by the way I'm doing better than ever! thanks for the fame!
- The description for this Bleach video has the following:
DISCLAIMER: blah blah blah i don't own bleach, Tite Kubo does blahhhh if i did, i would've made someone toss a bucket of pink hair dye at ichigo :P
- My Immortal does this many times when quoting song lyrics.
- Sonic the Hedgehog webcomic series Sonic Wrecks has long and detailed copyright disclaimers at the bottom of each comic, filled with shout outs and more jokes tying into the comic itself.
- A student-made film, parodying Angels & Demons, mentions the plan to immediately file for bankruptcy should any company sue, thus wiping out their student loans. It's posted on Youtube here.
- This Adventurers! strip has: "Squall belongs to Square. They can keep him."
- From this Static Shock fanfic:
Disclaimer: We do not own Static Shock or it's characters…and unfortunately, during the move, I broke my coffee pot…so…I DON'T OWN A COFFEE POT EITHER!*cries*
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic It Takes a Village, they get insaner each chapter. Most take the "wish I did" tone, until:
My ponies! Muaahahahah! Mine, all mine! M-my p-ponies! Mine? Please? Maybe one? Just a little one then? How about a background one? Aw dammit. Selfish Hasbro.
- From a Portal fanfic "SEXY TIEMUU" describing the horrors of Portal fandom:
Disclaimer: Valve owns Portal, thank God, because look what everyone here would be doing with them if they owned it.
- From a The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fanfiction, Beyond Family:
I did not invent most of these characters and can't claim ownership. A large majority of them were created over one hundred years ago and belong to a number of dead Victorian writers (if they do not like what I do to their characters, they are free to haunt me).
- For a number of Tin Man fanfictions by animegus farmus, there are some rather entertaining disclaimers:
Disclaimer: I don't own Tin Man. If you have a problem with that, well I'm the person who just passed you giggling incessantly. Don't worry I'm not insane...much.
Disclaimer: You own what you own, I own what I own, and we agree that we each don't own what the other does own.
Disclaimer: I owneth this not.
Disclaimer: Ownership, by any other name, would still not be mine.
Disclaimer: I...do...not...loadingloadingloading...own...connection lost. Dialing-up. Ringringringbeeeeeep...loadingloadingloading...Tin...Man
Disclaimer: Don't own it, I admit it, you can't sue. If you do I'll just plead insanity, my stories will back me up (so will my friends for that matter).
Disclaimer: d n t wn T n M n. Can I buy a vowel?
Disclaimer: Yoooou shall watch the spinning object, give to me the ownership of Tin Man, yes you shall...
Disclaimer: As I explained to mommy when she wistfully commented that it would be nice if I could make money with my stories, I don't own Tin Man thus no can do.
Disclaimer: Share and share alike I say, you share with me Tin Man, and I'll share with you…um, my house plants? Yes, I will share my house plants, in fact, you may have them all. Aren't I generous?
Disclaimer: When I successfully conquer the galaxy I shall own this, too (and make more Tin Man they shall). Until that time, I'm afraid I own nothing. Sigh.
- From this Digimon fanfic:
I don't own Digimon. I don't own any Digimon Characters. I don't even own my own Plot Bunnies!( they revolted last summer…long story.)
Disclaimer: I don't own digimon....or, for that matter, a working pen.
I own digimon. I am also a four hundred foot tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings.
- An interesting variant occurs in The Prayer Warriors:
Disclaimer: I do not own the Bible, God does. I will not feel sorry for using Percy Jackson as it is evil and should not have a disclaimer.
- From a Star Wars/BIONICLE crossover:
Bionicle isn't mine. Neither is Star Wars. Otherwise I would have ended the 3D Clone Wars TV series a LONG time ago and replaced it with a Bionicle one.
- Dagayemar, a PMV artist well-known for his My Little Disney set, usually has something like:
I do not own My Little Pony or Disney, but I do own this deed to the London Bridge! That guy in the trench coat over there was selling it at a ridiculous deal! I just had to give him the number to my bank account and it was all mine! Now, what to do with my new bridge?
- The disclaimers for The Grim EDventures of Ed, Edd, n Eddy always refer to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (one of the series involved) as "that Grim show". When Original Character Edna is added to the story, the disclaimer becomes the following:
I do not own Ed, Edd, n Eddy nor "that Grim show"… but the original characters are mine... Especially "The Fourth Ed"!
- Chapter 5 of Ed, Edd, 'n Pony opens with the following disclaimer:
Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy belongs to…alright, you know what? Screw this! It's not like they even read these fanfics!...or do they? Um, in that case, Danny owns EEnE, and Hasbro owns MLP. So, if any of them are reading this: Don't sue me bros!
- John has some fun with these in Eddward Wright: Ace Attorney, starting with Chapter 7:
If I owned Ace Attorney, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney would have been released in the United States already. And if I owned Ed, Edd n Eddy, this would already be animated and I would be swimming in jawbreakers.
If I owned Ace Attorney, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 would have been released in the United States already. And if I owned Ed, Edd n Eddy, I wouldn't be wasting my time on a fanfiction and I would actually be animating it.
Of course I own everything! In fact, I am personally head in chief of the staff behind Gyakuten Saiban 5, making sure it is released in the states before Japan, because fuck Japan! It's all about America, fuck yeah! … Nobody's believing me.
I am now the co-writer for Ed, Edd n Eddy Highschool! How cool is that? So I now own all of the characters! … Yeah, right, as if you'll fall for that ol' trick.
I own everything. I am also an alicorn. I'm just kidding, of course. I'm a male, and alicorns are only female as far as I know.
- "If I owned Berserk, Casca would have been cured by now," is a disclaimer not unheard of in the Berserk fandom.
- At least one Doctor Who fanfic featuring characters from both Big Finish Doctor Who and Doctor Who New Adventures had a disclaimer along the lines of "Bernice Summerfield is the property of... actually, I don't even know any more."
- At the bottom of every page of the Doctor Who fanfic archive A Teaspoon And An Open Mind is a disclaimer reading:
Doctor Who and its accoutrements are the property of the BBC, and we obviously don't have any right to them. Any and all crossover characters belong to their respective creators. Alas no one makes any money from this site, and it's all done out of love for a cheap-looking sci-fi show. All fics are property of their individual authors. Archival at this site should not be taken to constitute automatic archive rights elsewhere, and authors should be contacted individually to arrange further archiving. Despite occasional claims otherwise, The Blessed St Lalla Ward is not officially recognised by the Catholic Church. Yet.
- The Ranma ½ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ½ ends each story with such a disclaimer. Early stories were just a brief note saying something to the effect that the story used elements of Ranma ½ without permission, and also that the story was not directly affiliated with or meant to directly represent the values of the Boy Scouts of America. Very quickly these post story notes expanded to also provide various anecdotal authors notes, and to occasionally disclaim additional things when homages to things other then Ranma ½ occurred.
- Monty Oum's Web Animation Haloid, in its end credits, says that the Spartan VI suit and other Halo/Halo 2 material are the property of Bungie Studios and Samus Aran and all likenesses are property of Nintendo. Later they say "Bungie and Nintendo are awesome, please continue to be awesome by not suing me. This is fanart and does not profit me in any shape or form."
- On the intro pages to each of the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf stories on Vic George's Imaginarium:
SMURFS and all character likenesses are trademarks of Peyo/IMPS Licensing (Brussels).This story is not authorized nor endorsed by the current copyright owners.
- Parodied by EATATAU!!!, which has a sidebar on every page of the website with a Long List of things that Games Workshop, rather than the author, doesn't own, including things like "Eldar" and "Space Marine" that are Older Than They Think.
- Parodied by the Naruto fanfic Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, where the first chapter starts with a normal one of these before breaking off half-way through to incredulously ask what the point is of stating something every reader already knows. Chapter 2 followed up on this and each successive chapter comes up with a new joke:
Disclaimer: *yawn* Been there, done that...
- The author also did something similar in his debut short story where he started by declaring that he was in fact Masashi Kishimoto, a fact that had been kept from him by his parents for his own safety for his entire life, and therefore he does own Naruto, before going on to explain that he's being sarcastic "for the terminally sarcasm-blind".
- The author's note to the fifth chapter of Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles disclaims ownership of the "original books" in these exact words.
- From this My Little Pony/Danny Phantom crossover:
I own nothing, not the characters, the space where this story exists, or even the eyes that you are using to read it. This is for entertainment purposes only, no money involved.
- The author's note at the end of the first chapter of "Masks" reads thus:
Disclaimer: I do not own the show 'Danny Phantom' and I am making no profit off of this story other than my own self-gratification.
Quotes in the story are excerpted from 'I am a Pencil', written by Sam Shore. It is a story about a teacher, his kids, and their world of stories. I don't own that either, but I do own a copy of the book and helped myself to one of the better sections. Lancer needed something to read and I figured a book about teaching kids to write would be… appropriate.
- Harry Potter Becomes A Communist opens with:
I dont own HP. JKR does butt it should be owed by the stat cuz privacy property is evil lol. Workers of the world urinite! If you flam you have false consciousness.
Films — Live-Action
- Summed up pretty well at the start of Dogma:
Disclaimer: 1) a renunciation of any claim to or connection with; 2) disavowal; 3) a statement made to save one's own ass; 4) a foresaid word for not being blamed later.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara generally plays this straight in his reviews; in Amazons Attack reviews, he used several variations, such as:
"Wonder Woman is nobody's property... although the copyright and trademark belong to DC Comics."
"Wonder Woman is still no one's property, but this pile of crap Amazons Attack belongs to DC Comics, and they can have it.
"This miserable excuse for an event comic, Amazons Attack, is property of DC Comics. At least it will be until they throw it into the trash and try to pretend it never happened."
- Technically a subversion (he is the artist) but see for yourself on comic artist Jay Fife's webpage:
All characters are copyright their respective owners. Jay Fife is copyright his parents.