Amazon licenses fan fiction e-books

The Guardian reports that Amazon are launching a platform for fan fiction e-books. The deal provides revenue for both the original and the fan authors. Of course, the rights holders must sign up before a franchise is opened to the platform.

A collection of established authors has already begun dabbling in the world of fan fiction via Amazon. “There’s probably not an author/fangirl alive who hasn’t fantasised about being able to write about her favourite show. The fact that you can earn royalties doing so makes it even better,” said romance author Trish Milburn, who has been writing in The Vampire Diaries universe.

From the Amazon Kindle Worlds announcment:

Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.

The Kindle Worlds Self-Service Submission Platform will launch soon and enable you to submit your original works for publication.

UPDATE: At the Guardian article, commenter Mikes005 noted that author and SFWA president John Scalzi has weighed in on this:

there are a number of things about the deal Amazon/Alloy are offering that raise red flags for me. Number one among these is this bit:

“We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.”

i.e., that really cool creative idea you put in your story, or that awesome new character you made? If Alloy Entertainment likes it, they can take it and use it for their own purposes without paying you — which is to say they make money off your idea, lots of money, even, and all you get is the knowledge they liked your idea.

And it gets worse:

“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”

Which is to say, once Amazon has it, they have the right to do anything they want with it, including possibly using it in anthologies or selling it other languages, etc, without paying the author anything else for it, ever. Again, an excellent deal for Amazon; a less than excellent deal for the actual writer.

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