Fanfiction on Episode

Hey Episodians,

If you don’t know me already, I’m Tyler (or Ty!) and I’m part of the Story Review Team. :wave: I’d like to talk to you guys about fanfiction on Episode.

As it turns out, authors have been promoting their fanfiction here on the forums, and that’s no good!

According to our Content Guidelines, fanfiction isn’t allowed on Episode:

In addition, by publishing your story, you agree that it does not include any content that infringes the intellectual property rights or rights of publicity or privacy of any third party. This may include using any of the following without permission:

  • any works of authorship of other parties, including excerpts or passages taken from but not limited to literary works, songs, television, film, musicals and video games;
  • any trademarks or references to corporate or business names; or
  • any references to real persons or places.

This isn’t a new rule, it’s always been a thing!

When we find them on the forums, threads or posts promoting these fanfiction stories get taken down. Then we have to deal with the stories on the app.

Some of these stories have a lot of work put into them, but these still do break the rules and need to be removed which can be disheartening.

FAQ:

Why can't I write fanfiction?

In most cases, fanfiction is a copyright infringement. It’s against Episode’s Content Guidelines to use copyrighted materials on the platform.

I gave credit! Am I allowed to use someone else's creative works?

Unfortunately not.

Is it okay if I get permission?

Even if you get permission, Episode doesn’t have the ability to keep track of or verify it in a legal way.

If a story is 'inspired by', does it still count as fanfiction?

If it’s inspired by, it means you’ve used enough content to mean the story isn’t entirely yours, so it’s still fanfiction.

What do you consider 'fanfiction'?

If it’s inspired by or uses parts of existing media. This would mean books you’ve read, or movies you’ve watched. Using things like:
-Characters
-Fictional location names
-Plot Points

What do I do when I come across fanfiction?

You can report it by sending a private message to me on the forums or sending a Support Ticket!

I wrote fanfiction on Episode! Will I get in trouble?

You’re not in trouble! If you have written fanfiction, send us a ticket and we will have it taken off the app for you, with no penalty to your account.

It’s better to tell us about it than to have us find it on our own.

What’s next? Share examples of fanfiction with me here in this thread!

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Thanks for the clarification. :books: Could you address the difference between adapting things in the public domain vs making fan fiction? I see this get confused a lot.

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Hi writingspirit!

Thank you for your question.

As of January 1st 2019, creative works made as recent as 1923 are public domain, so authors are free to use, reuse, or adapt all that content.

Here’s a neat article from earlier this year:

Something to keep in mind is that while fairy tales like Snow White or Cinderella ARE public domain and authors are free to write about and adapt them, the Disney versions DO possess copyright so if you plan on writing these types of fairy tales it has to be the older versions and not ones that are interpreted as the Disney versions.

:slight_smile:

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Hey Tyler, this seems rather limiting. A lot of stories draw inspiration from other stories, movies, tv shows etc.
Do you have any examples of where you draw the line between inspiration and imitation?

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Hi EliseC,

Thank you for your question.

This is always dealt with on a case by case basis, but most of the time when we see authors note that their story is ‘inspired by X’ what we have are copies of the source materials with several key details changed in attempts to make it unique.

For example, previously I was reading a story that was ‘inspired by’ the TV show Riverdale, however the character names and the town name had been changed, but not much else.

Authors are always welcome to send me private messages if they are unsure about the content in their stories.

I hope this helps :slight_smile:

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@weebmaster see, read this, I told you that fanfiction is against guidelines :confused:

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Could we still make fanfics of episode stories on a different app, like fanfiction.net, for example? Does this no fanfic rule only apply to making episodes on Episode?

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I’ve been seeing a lot of confusion regarding this lately, so thank you for taking the time to clear this up, Tyler! :relaxed:

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Hi QueenChid,

Thank you for your question.

Having fanfiction based on Episode stories on another platform would be a violation of intellectual property and is not permitted.

:slight_smile:

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Okay, thanks.
I was just wondering 'cause some authors seem to like fanfics, and some even promote the making of them. But anyway, so even if I said “DISCLAIMER: All characters are the work of Betty Jane and I own nothing”, this would still be not allowed?

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Hi QueenChid,

Much like our rules when it comes to explicit violence or sexual content, putting warnings or notices does not override any of the content guidelines. :slight_smile:

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So you want us to snitch? Or just offer some hypothetical?

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snitches

If we listed every fanfic on Episode, we could be here all day.

I just saw one called Harry Potter: Return of Voldemort which is complete with 40 episodes so has probably been around for a while lol

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We already are :upside_down_face:

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Just some hypothetical ones! Let’s avoid discussing specific stories or authors. Those can always be brought to my attention privately :slight_smile:

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My question is I have a couple of karaoke scenes in my new story. And my main character sings in the style of Gypsy Rose Lee let me Entertain You… is that allowed

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That’s a lot of post edits :eyes::fancysquiddance:

Anyway, thanks for clarifying! Just a question- if we get inspired by a book or movie etc. as in we watch it and it inspires a similar (but not the same) idea of our own, is that copyright if we were to publish it? So not based off of, not copying, it’s an entirely different story, it’s just kinda similar (I mean, a lot of books are similar to each other, a lot of episode stories are similar to each other etc.)

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it’s not a fanfiction of an episode story. and the whole fair use concept is to make sure people don’t steal content wholesale.

Episode doesn’t allow fanfictions of any stories.

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