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Fair UseThis will be a very simple definition for a very complicated topic. 'Fair Use' is the legal concept that permits fanfiction authors to make limited use of material carrying copyrights without obtaining the copyright holder's permission. The definition of 'limited' is murky, but determining whether a fanfic falls under Fair Use generally depends on the following factors: 1. Is the fic an acknowledged derivative work? That is, does the fic author acknowledge that he/she is not the originator of the copyrighted material? 2. Does the fic damage the value of the copyrighted material or affect the commercial market for it? If so, it's not Fair Use. 3. Is the fic transformative? That is, does it reflect originality on the part of the fic author as opposed to re-presenting the work of the originator? If the fic meets the above three criteria, then the author is probably at least partially protected. See 'Trademarks', 'Berne Convention', 'Plagiarism' and 'Cease and Desist Order'.

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