ETA: If you are coming to the conversation late, xenacryst has helpfully collected up a bunch of links to a subset of noteworthy discussion threads, over here!
First, why fanfic is not illegal and why YOU should stop saying that it is even if you don't agree, by cesperanza. Please read it.
That said, the people behind fanlib (talked about many places, see astridv here) don't actually care about fanfic, the fanfic community, or anything except making money off content created entirely by other people and getting media attention. They don't have a single fanfic reader or writer on their board; they don't even have a single woman on their board. They're creating a lawsuit-bait site while being bad potential defendants, and they deserve to be chased out being pelted with rocks.
But even if they were, which I doubt is going to happen, because hey, they have people and money, we're still left with this problem: we are sitting quietly by the fireside, creating piles and piles of content around us, and other people are going to look at that and see an opportunity. And they are going to end up creating the front doors that new fanfic writers walk through, unless we stand up and build our OWN front door.
We need a central archive of our own, something like animemusicvideos.org. Something that would NOT hide from google or any public mention, and would clearly state our case for the legality of our hobby up front, while not trying to make a profit off other people's IP and instead only making it easier for us to celebrate it, together, and create a welcoming space for new fans that has a sense of our history and our community behind it.
I think the necessary features would include:
- run BY fanfic readers FOR fanfic readers
- with no ads and solely donation-supported
- with a simple and highly searchable interface and browsable quicksearch pages
- allowing ANYTHING -- het, slash, RPF, chan, kink, highly adult -- with a registration process for reading adult-rated stories where once you register, you don't have to keep clicking through warnings every time you want to read
- allowing the poster to control her stories (ie, upload, delete, edit, tagging)
- allowing users to leave comments with the poster able to delete and ban particular users/IPs but not edit comment content (ie, lj style)
- code-wise able to support a huge archive of possibly millions of stories
- giving explicit credit to the original creators while clearly disclaiming any official status
Other dream features of my own, which I throw out in a brainstorming spirit:
- posting interface that would allow you to post to the archive, to your blog, to your personal lj, and to up to (say) three lj communities you specify
- making it easy for people to download stories or even the entire archive for offline reading (thus widely preserving the work in case some disaster does take it down)
- options for people to post podfic or ebook format versions, translations, links to fanart/fanvids, stories inspired by, the original story, all of which would automatically be linked back so you could see the kind of interconnecting 'web' of how our work is interrelated (with the original author able to delete any given link if she wanted to, but not the inspired-by work itself)
- automatic rec lists (just click on a story to add it to your rec list)
- charity auctions -- we could do an annual fundraiser and send whatever is left over to charity
- mentoring: collect up writing advice, fannish history, acafandom, and create a simple FAQ (integrate a wiki?)
- beta-editing: an interface where you could send your story to selected other readers without worrying if their email addresses had changed (like @livejournal addresses, except everyone would have them, not just paid users)
If I had thirty seconds more time I would just try to do it, but I don't right now, and so I am throwing out this plea into the ether. And I'm putting myself out here right now to say that I would help as any/all of an advisor, a fundraiser, a promoter, and I would archive my own stuff there. I would even take on coding parts; I just can't take on project management.
But I know we have project managers in our community -- and coders and designers -- can't we do this? Seriously -- we can come up with a site that would be miles better and more attractive to fanfic writers/readers than anything else out there, guys, because we actually USE the stuff.
I have to go offline to write now, but clearly the conversation is happening right now, thanks to the fanlib guys, and I really wanted to get this out there.
A couple of quick ETAs:
I don't allow anonymous commenting, but if you don't have an lj
Also, please have no hesitation to have conversations among yourselves in the comments; I never mind that anyway, but in this case would like to totally encourage it. You can use the lj thumbtacks to track everything being posted in a single thread even if you don't want to get inundated with everything posted to the entry.