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Forums > Announcements & Site Feedback > Fan fiction goes the way of the dodo bird!

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 11, 2009 (12:49 AM)
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This is a note to let you all know that Fan Fiction no longer displays throughout the site and that's how things are planned to remain. I haven't removed the functionality, but it's unlikely that I will reactivate the feature.

Fan fiction is disappearing for a variety of reasons, but a few of them are the most pertinent.

The first is that each piece of fan fiction, while no doubt written with love, is a sort of copyright infringement. Numerous game publishers are understandably growing more ambitious in their efforts to protect their intellectual property and it's difficult--not to mention costly, if it came down to lawsuits--to argue against that.

Second, there's a tendency among many reputable sites and users to look down on sites that host fan fiction. Such sites can receive the 'amateur' label whether they deserve it or not, which is unfair to other content hosted on the site.

Third--and this is closely tied to the second point--the quantity and quality of fan fiction submitted to HonestGamers over the years has been uneven. While we've recently had some very promising submissions, the fact remains that in the long term, fan fiction is not as good a fit for the site as perhaps it once was. HonestGamers is growing, its audience is growing and what it really comes down to is that the best-case scenario for fan fiction on the site is still unpleasant: it becomes really popular and suddenly gets pulled down because of legal threats. The reality is that it would probably just continue to sort of exist, not really well supported but also possibly hurting the site's credibility and preventing it from getting the exposure that would allow other content--such as reviews, for which we hopefully always will be known--to flourish.

I have removed all references to fiction that I could easily find throughout the site, though more may remain. If you find any, please report them to me so that I can remove them.

If you are one of those individuals who recently--or in the distant past, even--submitted some fan fiction to the site and you would like to retrieve it for use on your own computer, please feel free to contact me and I will hook you up! The fiction remains in the database and will for at least the immediate future, plus you should still be able to find the fiction content listed on Google if you search for "HonestGamers fan fiction [game title]" or something similar.

Thanks go out to all of you for your continued suport of the site as we continue to emphasize and expand on its core content. I hope for some very exciting things in the near future, so be sure to stay tuned as we work to continue providing some of the most high-quality content around for the games you care about, new and old, popular and obscure, domestic and import!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 11, 2009 (11:19 AM)
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That is a tremendous bummer. A lot of people have been coming from other sites to read my ChronoTrigger fic.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: aschultz
Posted: May 11, 2009 (11:19 AM)
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I can find a link to my fan fiction on my contributor page.

I have it all backed up, so there's no problem there. And I am glad I was able to push through the fiction before this change. It was something I wanted to do. So thanks for having it here, and I wish I'd done it sooner.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: May 15, 2009 (04:06 PM)
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Quick question... despite the links no longer being supported, can I request that I be allowed to finish out the fan fiction that's partially hosted on my blog? As long as i can continue to link people to the blog links, readers will keep coming. Seriously, I haven't been able to bring over many reviewers, but I know a lot of people come for the Chrono Trigger fan fiction I wrote and go on to read reviews and give the site as a whole.

I've gotten many emails to that affect!


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 15, 2009 (04:17 PM)
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The links on your blog will eventually disappear, as well, since the site is not allowing new fiction submissions and will likely remove existing ones at some point in the not-so-distant future. If you want to post fiction on your blog, or host it elsewhere online and link to it from your blog, I have no objections until such a time as a publisher or developer gives us grief for allowing it to take up space on our server. I'm actually a big fan of creative writing.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: jerec
Posted: May 15, 2009 (04:35 PM)
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Venter, can you please accept my Animal Crossing "Fanfiction" as a review, like it was intended to be? I still have that awful rejection note from lassarina :(

Edit: I was able to access my fiction, but there's no way for me to edit it or remove it. Anyway, if I can submit it as a review, I'll give it a quick edit.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: May 15, 2009 (04:58 PM)
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Go ahead and submit it as a review with any edits that you have in mind. There's no need to worry about editing the fiction or removing it, since that will happen naturally over the course of time as the disappearance of fan fiction on the site becomes complete.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: jerec
Posted: May 15, 2009 (05:03 PM)
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Cheers!


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: yamishuryou
Posted: December 03, 2009 (09:59 PM)
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Do you realize just how much traffic I've driven to this site just by posting GUT's Aerobiz Supersonic fanfiction on LL?

Hundreds of hits!

...yeah. BRB I'm gonna make that thousands now.


At 9:55:00 PM MST on April 5th, 2005, Venter finally defeated Phantom!


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Author: radicaldreamer
Posted: December 04, 2009 (12:28 AM)
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Oh Jason, you are so clever with that topic title.


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: December 04, 2009 (02:05 AM)
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In response to Point the First -

Fanfiction actually falls within the "fair use" portion of the Copyright Act of 1976. To determining whether a work constitutes fair use of copyrighted material, the courts consider:

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

When considering fair use, courts will also take into consideration whether the use is transformative, as opposed to derivative. Fan fiction falls under the transformative category. Wikipedia has more to say if you're interested.

With regards to Point the Second - There's also a tendency among many reputable sites and users to look down on sites that flaunt hentai games on the front page. Perhaps this is another facet of the site that should be axed, no?

With regards to Point the Third - With zero risk of legal issues (not to mention the oodles of free publicity the site would gain from filing a counter-DMCA notice citing fair use), and with the admission that the people who look down on fan fiction also look down on smut-games, this point really boils down to what other people are doing. And since when do we at Honest Gamers give a flying finagle about how other people do things? Keeping fan fiction open doesn't really hurt the site as I have demonstrated - or at least no more than other more pressing matters - and shutting off that corner of the site merely closes doors that could gather more attention in the future. HG's member base is indeed on the rise; rather than sweeping fan fiction under the rug, perhaps additional traffic could be drawn by advertising that angle more openly?


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: December 04, 2009 (11:36 AM)
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Fanfiction does not fall under "fair use". If you are using characters from the game in question, then you've already gone far enough that a court would find in favor of the copyright holder. Setting a new story with new characters in the same or similar world might be defensible, although you would likely be forced to remove any attachment of the game's name to the story -- ie, you could not refer to it as "a Final Fantasy fiction" or whatever.

There are a couple reasons some fan fiction does exist. Namely: (1) Ranma's rights holders haven't bothered to mess with Western-written fiction, or (2) Star Trek fiction is allowed as long as certain rules are followed. Break those rules, and they'll come after you. Ranma and Star Trek are different mediums, but it would be easy for an RPG creator to establish that role-playing games are a storytelling medium.

Even some professional authors write fan fiction, but they do so under the rules provided by the creators. They know that they would get sued -- and lose -- if they were to just write willy-nilly.

Basically, if the fiction is perceived by a court as providing an extension of the game, then it is infringing on the creators' legal rights. Fanfiction is not transformative by nature. That's one thing that separates a fanfic story from a critical review that uses narrative style; the difference in purpose satisfies the legal definition of transformation.

I'm not personally against fanfiction; I like Japan's doujin environment. But in the US, hosting fanfiction is treading very dangerous waters.

//Zig


Unlimited Zig Works!


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: December 04, 2009 (05:27 PM)
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Debatable, but I'll agree that fan fiction in the US is presently a gray area. Having said that, should HG continue to host fan fiction the worst case scenario is a Cease and Desist letter from a copyright holder showing up on Jason's doorstep; HonestGamers itself is not the author of the "infringing" works, much like YouTube does not itself upload clips of copyrighted material, so the extent of a copyright holder's power is to request the work in question be taken down. Preemptively axing the fan fiction function altogether is a bit of an extreme measure; a more reasonable one would be a disclaimer.

Of course if we're axing fan fiction primarily to improve the site's image, well, see my response to Point the Second.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: December 07, 2009 (04:32 PM)
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Bump because I don't feel this discussion is resolved. I'm all for making HonestGamers more professional looking, but axing fan fiction feels more like a shot in the dark than an actual step toward that goal. In fact getting rid of fan fiction only serves to make HG look a little bit more like every other review site ever.

Also I think I'd have preferred this be discussed among the community rather than spoken from atop Mount Sinai, but that's another issue.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: December 07, 2009 (06:48 PM)
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Will: As much as is likely possible given our vastly different perspectives on the sanctity of IP, I understand where you're coming from. However, there are no current plans to bring back fiction and it's highly unlikely that a time will ever come when that changes. This is one of those cases where I had to make a judgment call and I did so only after careful consideration.

Your comments have been duly noted and I'm sorry that you're disappointed. None of the remarks arguing in favor of the return of fan fiction posted within this thread have eliminated any of the core issues that prompted its removal, however, and I do consider the matter resolved.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: December 07, 2009 (06:56 PM)
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Fair enough. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my concerns.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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