French transformative fandom and its perilous legal status: Emmanuelle Debats talks about her documentaries about French fandom. Excerpts:
My first reaction to fanfiction was surprise and shock. I mean I had the basic French reaction: “How can someone write from a work belonging to someone else?” Then, I discovered fansites, generosity, enthusiasm. I made my own interpretation of fanworks as an instinctive resistance to some kind of starvation. Fanworks appeared to me as a victory, a very smart tactic. Taking stuff from the canon and changing them is very wise: it means accepting being a fan, instead of fighting against it….
Due to our “droit d’auteur” (rights of the creator), fanfiction’s status in France remains fragile. Although it is a very popular hobby among young people, it remains totally illegal. In my opinion, that means people writing fanfiction are pretending they live in another country or simply ignore the law, and the European members of the Parliament pretend this popular culture (along with all the people involved in it) does not exist….
Fair Use makes a huge difference. … In France, we are living in the most hypocritical time…. The fact that European Members of the Parliament get in contact only with rightholders is very alarming. The law should provide shelter to the weakest, the amateur, or the young, the not self-confident ones, and it does not. I hope some day transformative works are protected by our law.