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. for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.
Content Guidelines for Kindle Worlds
Pornography: We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
Offensive Content: We don’t accept offensive content, including but not limited to racial slurs, excessively graphic or violent material, or excessive use of foul language.
Illegal and Infringing Content: We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that their content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
Poor Customer Experience: We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art, or product descriptions. We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.
Excessive Use of Brands: We don’t accept the excessive use of brand names or the inclusion of brand names for paid advertising or promotion.
Crossover: No crossovers from other Worlds are permitted, meaning your work may not include elements of any copyright-protected book, movie, or other property outside of the elements of this World.
No explicit sexual content? So much for that, then.
So basically this is kind of like writing spin-off novels, only with a crappier contract and less money? Ummm, no.
VERY curious what dduane thinks of this!
Except with spinoff novels, the author retains the copyright to the novel and may (or may not have, depending on the source material) have paid royalties for use of the source to make money. Here, Amazon has secured the deal for the source so you don’t have to pay, but Amazon itself retains the copyright to your work.
And not only that, but the fact they’re being so restrictive regarding content means they’re dictating what constitutes “legitimate” fanwork (I just saw that word used on Twitter, that this goes some way to legitimize fanwork) and what isn’t; I would argue that fanwork as it exists right now is legitimate.
The slippery slope I’m seeing right off the bat is that by creating two separate classes of fanfic - paid and not, and also porn and not and violent and not, etc - you’re creating an atmosphere where its easy to say “This fanfic is legit and this one isn’t, so we’re going to go after the one that isn’t.” or, perhaps, “We have created a space for you to create fanwork, and we’re even paying you! NO MORE FIC CREATED OUTSIDE OF OUR SPACE WILL BE PERMITTED.”
Seems a bit overwrought, sure, but we’ve seen this happen already with music and movies; things that people shared and sold and copied all the time and gave to people - records and CDs and VHS tapes - now can be punished swiftly and harshly if you use the internet for doing the same thing. You don’t have to make money on the deal for that to be true.
Fanfiction and fanart exists in a delicate balance right now with copyright law, mostly because money isn’t involved in the transactions. We’re creating work for free, and reading for free, therefore we’re not invoking the part of the law that covers harm to the originator, and in fact are considered derivative. Upsetting this balance would, in my opinion, would give the most weight to the side that already carries the biggest stick - the publishers/studios.