Earlier this week, a fan of the British TV series Dr. Who was forced to take a portion of his site offline after receiving a cease and desist letter from the BBC. However, Mazzmatazz, the fan is question, was not posting clips onto YouTube or making pirated copies of DVDs, but rather, posting knitting patters to let other fans make their own Dr. Who characters.
In a similar, but much more famous case, J.K. Rowling has sued one of her fans, the author of the Harry Potter Lexicon site, in order to prevent a book from being published using information from her series.
These are just two examples of creators butting heads with their own fans over matters of copyright. Ever since the Internet made the fan site possible, it seems that copyright holders have struggled to find where to draw the line with their own fans and fans, for their part, have had difficulty finding just where that line is.
But how can such bloggers fan site creators avoid drawing the ire of those that they admire? What can copyright holders due to avoid needless clashing with their own fans? Sadly, copyright law is of little help in this area and the real key lies in making an honest attempt to resolve a very complicated matter. [Read more…]