Hi All! I am writing a small commentary regarding fan fiction because a) I write it, and b) the dark side of it has reared its ugly head this past week or so on twitter and in various blogs, because someone apparently tried to pass off someone else's published book, with names from a different author's book inserted, as his/her own "fan fiction". I am not going into names, I'm sure you know what incident I am talking about. THAT isn't fan fiction, THAT is plagiarism flat out and I'm sure if the person's real name was known, they'd be shamed out of venturing anywhere near publishing/writing again.
The difference between honest fan fiction and plagiarism is a fine line, drawn only by 1 word...permission. Some authors and owners of other creative content are flattered and freely allow fan fiction, others are dead-set against it and actively pursue in the courts, while yet another set are middling, and allow fan fiction with various stipulations (ex. no nudity/porn/etc).
In my own personal case I will flat out NEVER use someone else's licensed, copyrighted, proprietary works in fan fiction unless permission is obtained. Now, permission can come in two forms, express or implied. Express means you actually wrote the owner of the material and sought written permission, and implied means by a general commentary, action or grant of materials to the public, you are able to use the material at will.
In my case I write fan fiction based on the MMO Rift. Permission is in this case implied due to the free access to a forum titled "Fan Fiction" by any and all who have access to the forums. Here is the wording heading the forum itself in fact " Forum: Fan Fiction A place for members of the RIFT Community to post original works set in Telara."
What I want to know is what is everyone else's opinion of fan fiction as a whole?