From techdirt comments:
A HUGE thanks for pointing this out, Mike! If anyone needs a (public domain) letter about this to send to your friends, here you go:
Are you tired of having fan sites taken down by cease and desist letters? Are you sick of seeing wonderful fan creations censored by copyright claims? Are you tired of living in fear of a lawsuit because you like drawing pictures and writing stories about the characters you love?
Then now is the time to act!
Yesterday a group of budding copyright scholars launched a Whitehouse petition to make fan creations 100% legal. President Obama has pledged to personally respond if the petition reaches 100,000 signatures within 30 days. There are that many fans in the Star Wars fandom alone! We can do it! :D
Sign the petition below, then share this e-mail with every fan you know. We can deluge this petition with signatures if we all pull together!
Even if you don't live in America, it's very important that you pass this e-mail on to all your friends in fandom. The United States copyright law has a huge effect on the rest of the world, and if we can change American laws, it'll be easy to change them elsewhere too.
Want more details? Here's the long version:
The petition says that, "As responsible creators, we need to be able to freely remix existing music and other forms of creative expression to create new works without undue fear of prosecution. This upholds the original Constitutional purpose of copyright, which is to promote progress."
Fanfics, fan art, fan games, fan handicrafts and all fan creations are "remixes" in the eyes of the law...but unfortunately, they're also illegal! O.o This means that the "owners" of our favorite characters can shut down fandom whenever they want to. They can take down our favorite sites with cease and desist letters, censor our Youtube videos with DMCA notices, and even sue us for everything we own. All just for sharing our love for our favorite characters and shows. :(
If the goal of copyright is to promote the progress of art, then why is copyright being used to stifle fan art, fanfics, and fanvids? It seems that for every book and movie that copyright encourages, ten thousand fanfics and fanvids are blacklisted and deleted. This does not sound like the promotion of the arts. Actually, it sounds like the *suppression* of the arts. To encourage art, we must destroy it. To promote creativity, we must stop people from being creative.
How did this twisted logic come about? Were the Founding Fathers really that batty?
Believe it or not, fanfiction was once legal under US law. The Founding Fathers saw nothing wrong with the idea of creating new work from familiar characters and settings. In fact, the Founders realized that great writers like Shakespeare, Milton, Virgil and Dante all wrote new stories (fanfic!) about popular characters. Why would anyone want to forbid that?
Unfortunately, copyright law has been bloated and twisted by modern corporations until the entire rationale behind its existence has been lost. In fact, the way some people interpret the Constitution, you'd think copyright was intended, “To promote the Progress of...useful Arts by deleting and censoring hundreds of thousands of stories, art pieces, and videos.”
Fan artists are not second class artists. We are talented, original and creative. We deserve the same rights as other artists: we do not deserve to be censored; we do not deserved to be sued. Our art is real art!
Let's restore our old rights and put the copyright law back the way the Founders originally envisioned it! Sign the petition and then spread the word:
Post this e-mail on a fan forum, blog, etc
Create a piece of fan art, fanfic, etc. expressing your support for the petition and urging people to sign
Send this e-mail on to other fans
Post news of the petition on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, share it everywhere you can
Notify the news blogs in your fandom about the petition
Go forth, bold champion! Fight on behalf of your fandom! There doesn't ever need to be another fan site shut down again!