Copyright observance in the digital age: Norms and Practices in online fanfiction communities

Pham, Minh Thy Van (2021) Copyright observance in the digital age: Norms and Practices in online fanfiction communities. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Minh Pham_PhD Thesis_Final Version_Submitted Mar 2021_Final Award Sept 2021.pdf - Accepted Version

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Within online communities, social norms that set behavioural standards play a crucial role in the overall survival and core values of the community – particularly in the context of being at risk of litigation. For communities where the members actively participate in creative activities and therefore, have to make decisions about copyright every day, it is very important to understand what these norms are, how community members construct and enforce them effectively. In this PhD research, I study the online fanfiction communities, a creative community dedicated to producing and promoting fanfiction – fictional writing written by fans based on their favourite canon work. Facing the risk of being sued by copyright holders despite their innocent intent, and the absence of applicable law, these communities have developed and enforced several strong, well-established copyright norms to maintain their “sanctuary.” Through ten fanfiction sites’ terms and conditions, and online copyright discussions between the members from four online fanfiction communities, I examine social norms that have been sufficiently effective at protecting the communities from copyright holders’ unwanted attention. Using content analysis and corpus linguistics, I identify the disconnect between what is prescribed by law and what is understood and adhered to by online users. From that, the research highlights the intersection of social norms with law, and suggest how copyright law should change to accommodate better new generations of artistic creation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
9 March 2021Submitted
13 September 2021Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: copyright law, social norms, fanfiction, corpus linguistics
Subjects: CAH16 - law > CAH16-01 - law > CAH16-01-01 - law
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > College of Law, Social and Criminal Justice
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2022 14:38
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2022 14:38

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