Today Amazon announced a fan fiction platform in which people who write stories inspired by certain (currently three) fandoms can publish their work - and get paid for it.
If you just did a double take, you're not the only one. I haven't gotten to read too much about it yet, but the general reaction from people seems to be confusion. How is it legal? Is it legal? What are the parameters? Why are the specifics and 'rules' Amazon has set up for this so vague and, frankly, weird?
I have all these questions too, but another one that comes to mind is what does this mean for the nature of fan fiction? Right now, fan fic is a great outlet for people to express their love for characters, settings, situations. Like playing with dolls when I was a little girl, fan fiction is my 'grown up' outlet for extending the stories I love or choosing to take them in a totally different direction. It's also a way that I hear of many writers getting their feet wet. Rather than having to start it all from scratch, they can take pieces from things that others have already developed and practice with those parts. Because they want to and for the love of it, not because they get paid for it. Once money starts changing hands (outside the realm of authorized spinoffs and that sort of thing), can we really call this fan fiction in it's purest sense?
This is a more random post, but again, I haven't had much time to read up on this or form a more decided opinion. But what do you all think? Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!