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Posted by violetknot on February 5, 2013
The article “Interrogating ‘Free’ Fan Labor,” raises the question that if fans should be paid for their work, and if so how could this be conducted? First of all, I completely disagree with fans being paid for their labor which I will discuss in length later. However, referring to the “how” of the situation, Andrew Hussie, creator of “Homestuck,” is able to effectively accomplish this feat, to an extent. Homestuck is a web comic that has a very small, but powerful fan base. With the medium being internet based it’s impossible to find any sort of memorabilia in a physical store and even the online stores are limited. This is due to Hussies’ stipulations toward the use of his comic. “Homestucks” must directly contact Hussie and submit a proposal for permission to sell their fan made items. If they are denied and wish to sell their items anyway, all profits must go to charity. This is a wonderful way to ensure that everyone is happy within reason; however there are issues with this. Homestucks have a tight knit community that’s continuously growing daily. In no time, this process will become infeasible due to supply and demand, not to mention the keeping of copyrights in check.
Referring back to the topic of whether fans should be paid or not, it is impossible to keep hold of the situation. With the increase of technology, fandoms have increased as well. This raises the issues of the multitudes of media outlets available to the masses. In turn, a media outlet and the creator must come to a compromise of how much share of profit each one receives. Furthermore, too much time and funds would be necessary to monitor even a singular social website to decrease copyright infringement.
Another issue that arises is a difference in opinion. As stated in the article, the beauty of fan created products is that they are able to focus on any part of a story and run with it. The problem with this is that shipping, casting characters into roles not designated in the work, characters is not always ethical. These ships can involve incest, bestiality and pedophilia. Creators that endorse fan made works run the risk of lawsuits and protest from activists groups.