The Harry Potter Lexicon and the World of Fandom: Fan Fiction, Outsider Works, and Copyright

40 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2008  

Aaron Schwabach

Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Date Written: September 26, 2008

Abstract

Fan fiction, long a nearly invisible form of outsider art, has grown exponentially in volume and legal importance in the past decade. Because of its nature, authorship, and underground status, fan fiction stands at an intersection of issues of property, sexuality, and gender. This article examines three disputes over fan writings, concluding with the recent dispute between J.K. Rowling and Steven Vander Ark over the Harry Potter Lexicon, which Rowling once praised and more recently succeeded in suppressing. The article builds on and adds to the emerging body of scholarship on fan fiction, concluding that much fan fiction is fair use under 17 U.S.C. section 107. But much is not, as well.

Keywords: copyright, fair use, Harry Potter, fan fiction, slash fiction, intellectual property, law and literature

JEL Classification: K19, K39

Suggested Citation

Schwabach, Aaron, The Harry Potter Lexicon and the World of Fandom: Fan Fiction, Outsider Works, and Copyright (September 26, 2008). TJSL Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1274293; University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 70, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1274293

Aaron Schwabach (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

1155 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4304 (Phone)

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