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Quoting of copyrighted works in stories
As some of you may be already aware, some large fanfiction archives no longer accept songfics. Our understanding is that this is largely due to fanfiction sites having received C&D letters concerning stories that quote extensively from song lyrics, infringing upon copyright held by someone else. In some countries, solicitors do not even need to be instructed to send C&D letters to copyright infringers, and it has become a rather lucrative business for some to identify sites that infringe upon music copyright and serve C&D letters to them.

As an archive, we understand that the works we host are derivative and may infringe upon copyrights that are held by others. This is a risk that we have accepted. Most TV and Movie copyright holders are aware that fanfiction is not for profit and is written from love of the show rather than a desire to infringe on something to which they hold the rights. We are not, however, prepared to accept the risk that comes with authors quoting directly and extensively from copyrighted works, with or without disclaimers in place. Such quotage is in direct competition with the copyright holder's ability to sell song sheets, etc, and may be perceived as a threat to their income, with predictable results.

We don't, however, want to follow other sites in banning songfics completely. In fact, we haven't to date included anything in the rules about songfics at all, trusting to the judgement of our authors on what is, or is not, 'fair use' of lyrics (i.e. permitted quoting without infringing on copyright). Unfortunately, we have had a number of submissions recently:

- that have quoted most or all of the lyrics of a particular song

- where a large percentage of the story - in some cases more than half of the content - are actually directly quoted song lyrics written by someone else and are not the fanfiction author's own work.

In these cases we have had no choice but to reject these stories as it falls well outside our understanding of fair use, and we will continue to do so.

Could I therefore please ask all of our authors to be more careful about the stories that they submit and ensure that:

- the quoting of song lyrics is kept to a minimum. Consider them the fanfiction equivalent of hot chilli powder and use sparingly :)

- the vast majority of the story should be in the author's own words (and this would include not submitting stories that consist largely or significantly of dialogue from the shows themselves rather than the fanfiction author's own words).

Thank you.
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