Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Rebecca Katz


fan fiction, copyright reforms, non-commercial user-generated content (UGC), second generation creators


Amateur, non-commercial writing based on contemporary copyrighted works — “fan fiction” — is a practice that is worth defending despite its unclear status vis a vis copyright law. In this article, I assess how Canadian fan authors may defend their works using Canadian copyright law. I argue that the recent copyright reforms are promising for fan and other second generation creators. The new fair dealing categories of parody and satire are positive steps, though the broad and technologically neutral non-commercial user-generated content provi-sion may be the most promising reform of all. I begin with an exploration of the benefits of fan fiction writing before going on to assess how fan fiction may have fared under the Copyright Act prior to the reforms. Subsequently, I argue that the new users’ rights embedded in the Copyright Act, including the new fair dealing exemption for parody and satire and, especially, the non-commercial user-gener-ated content (“UGC”) provision, may finally articulate a needed legal breathing space for fan fiction. While the UGC exemption appears tailored to YouTube and other audiovisual content, it may actually be the most important development yet for fan writers in Canada.