|Benefits of quantitative and doctrinal methodological approaches to fan studies research
|Flaherty, R. (2020) "Benefits of Quantitative and Doctrinal Methodological Approaches to Fan Studies Research." In "Fan Studies Methodologies," edited by Largent, J.E. Popova, M., and Vist, E. special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 33.
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|About the Data
|The study provides a literature review/methodology review of copyright and fan studies, and offers a view of how to bridge the gap between humanities and social studies through interdisciplinary research.
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“This discussion of the main practices of both legal research and fan studies research explores their key differences and similarities to demonstrate that there are important conclusions that can be drawn from the discourse between the two. The methodology of this research into copyright and fan fiction will be used as a case study to demonstrate how well these fields intersect. This research investigates whether transformative works of fan fiction should be covered by the new fair-dealing exception for pastiche within UK copyright law (Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988), similar to parody. To discuss this, my research investigates whether it can be said empirically and doctrinally that fan fiction could be classified as a special case that does not adversely affect the rights holders' interests, as required by Article 13 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Article 9 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. By adding doctrinal and empirical research methods to fan studies, the argument can be made that fan fiction is not harmful to the underlying work and does not interfere with the copyright holders' normal exploitation of that work, and as such should be permitted as fair dealing.”
Main Results of the Study
• The study finds that most research into copyright and fan studies is clustered in the US, with less consideration given to the UK. Further, as most fan fiction writers are unlikely to litigate due to high costs and uncertainty of outcome, there is a lack of legal precedent on how fair dealing might apply to fan works.
• Quantitative media studies confirm that fan fiction generates positive externalities, which the author speculates may be due to increased awareness of the underlying work and prolonged demand for future works. This factor may be used as a consideration for fan fiction as fair dealing.
• As a further factor for fair dealing considerations, quantitative studies concerning copyright and fan fiction may reveal that social welfare benefits outweigh the harm caused to the producer.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Whilst the study does not offer any explicit policy recommendations, it does identify the need for quantitative, empirical work on how copyright should apply to fan works.
Coverage of Study