FanLib

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Story totals from random fandoms are from FanWorks.Org, FicWad, SkyHawke, AdultFanFiction.Net, FanDomination.Net, MediaMiner.Org, FanFiction.Net and FanLib as of June 13, 2007.
FanLib, FanWorks.Org, FicWad, AdultFanFiction.Net, FanDomination.Net info from Compete.Com.
BlogPulse trend chart for the last six months as of May 25, 2007 comparing FicWad, FanLib and FanFiction.Net.

Contents

Introduction

A FanLib advertisement
FanLib is a multi-fandom fan fiction archive.

About

FanLib is a fan fiction archive/fan fiction community that was created by with the long term effort of becoming a viable fan fiction community. To this end, it is funded by commercial interests. The company has a staff of 11: six males and five females. [1].

As of May 29, 2007, the site has approximately 2,829 registered users. [2] As of March 11, 2008, FanLib has 18,164 users. [3]

Fanlib was closed on August 4, 2008 due to financial considerations.

Archive Policies

FanLib allows adult material in the fan fiction so long as it appropriately categorized. They do not allow chan type content in their fan fiction or fanart. They have a policy of investigating plagiarism claims.

Usability and features

Location of printable version of stories
Stories are automatically broken into parts by the programming code used to run the site. To get around this, users can view a printable version of the story. This puts the story on one page for easier reading.

Closing

On July 23, 2008, FanLib announced its closing with a notice on its home page. Frantic members immediately innundated the forums with questions about the closing and plans to continue to stay in touch, as well as finding other sites to host the content they had created at FanLib. The site admins were unable to give the members any reasons behind the closure, but the site did create a content download function so members could save HTML copies of their written works. At the time of this announcement, FanLib had over 42,000 submissions, and over 25,000 members.
Notice about site's closing posted on FanLib's front page

Timeline

2007

FanLib, FanWorks.Org, FicWad, AdultFanFiction.Net, FanDomination.Net info from Compete.Com.
Organization for Transformative Works and FanLib, buzz in blogosphere according to Blogpulse as of December 26, 2007.

2008

Fan blowback

FanLib, FanWorks.Org, FicWad, AdultFanFiction.Net, FanDomination.Net info from Compete.Com.
The following quote is found on angiepen's LiveJournal:
However, by submitting the Submissions to FanLib, You hereby grant FanLib a non-exclusive, worldwide, and royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display the Submissions in connection with the Website. [21]

In addition, the original TOS stated that any legal trouble that could possibly arise would fall onto the shoulders of the writer. As of May 22 has been removed, Angiepen copied portions of the TOS to her own LJ:

Certain information about You is subject to our Privacy Policy. For more information, see our full privacy policy at [edited to remove link.] Notwithstanding the foregoing, FanLib reserves the right at all times to disclose any information as FanLib deems necessary to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, or to edit, refuse to post or to remove any information or materials, in whole or in part, in FanLib's sole discretion. ...You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless FanLib, its parent corporation, officers, directors, employees and agents, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees) arising from: (i) Your use of and access to the Website; (ii) Your violation of any term of these TOS; (iii) Your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; or (iv) any claim that one of Your Submissions caused damage to a third party. This defense and indemnification obligation will survive these TOS and Your use of the Website. [22]

To summarize, FanLib would not only not be responsible for any lawsuit brought against fanfiction archived at FanLib, but the writer would have to defend FanLib in addition to his/her should such a suit occur.

The FanLib advertising campaign also upset fen, as Icarusancalion summarized in his/her LJ:

Their current ad campaign, featuring a 98-lb weakling (who doesn't read fanfiction) alongside an muscleman who reads fanfiction on FanLib.com, left fans mystified. It seemed to be aimed at a stereotypical Star Trek fan with Spock ears in an ill-fitting uniform and a Klingon phrasebook. The fact that FanLib's founders were men counted against them as well with several prominent writers. According to one 2003 survey, 96% of fanfiction writers are women, and the exploitation of women writers is a current hot topic. Among the feminists, an attempt to make money off of women fanfiction writers with no compensation went over like a lead balloon.[23]

For a company claiming to understand fandom, the advertising campaign seemed off-putting, if not insulting, to the majority of fandom.

Posts about FanLib popped up around LiveJournal, and the Metafandom community featured numerous essays about the archive. In her LJ, Telesilla posted her thoughts on the subject, and Chris Williams, one of the CEOs of FanLib (posting under the LJ name of mimbo), replied:

A chart comparing mentions of LiveJournal strikethrough and FanLib. Chart was made on June 28, 2007.
hey everyone, I'm Chris one of the founders of FanLib> it's really late and i have been working on the site all day. I'm exhausted but i just realized what was going on here and all of the commentsts are making me sick. we're a small company with 10 emplyees who work 16 hours a day to try and make a great website. we're real people! with feelings and everything! we have been working on this and dreaming about it for a long time and you are just here to shit on it without giving us a chance. i care deeply about what you think but this is crazy. we're good people here and you make us sound like we're an evil corporation or the govt. sending your kids to war or something. we really are all about celebrating fan fiction and fan fiction readers and writers. im sorry this is so short and please excuse the fact that i am cutting and pasting this across a bunch of ljs but i gotta get some sleep. chris

This comment, however, only fed the flames.[24]




Despite criticism over Fanlib's marketing policies, their forums, contests, and easy to read format were very popular, and helped create a strong and active community consisting of writers from a wide variety of fandoms. The cross-fandom base of Fanlib was the major strength of the site, and the community that was built through the forums and contests, especially for authors writing in rare and obscure fandoms, was strong.

When Fanlib.com closed its website, there was an active and concerted effort for the community to move en masse to an alternative fanfiction site. For a while, there was a mass migration to Myfandoms.com. With the opening of a new fanfiction site called FanNation, many of the members of this community are trying to recapture the community spirit of Fanlib. FanNation was designed to be ad free, and there are no membership fees, but still rely on a cross-fandom community.

Other Reactions

Blogger Lis Riba discovered a marketing brochere at My2Centences.com, Chris William's main web site, and posted portions from it in her journal on May 23. This brochere advertised that FanLib would be able to turn fanfiction into a "marketing service":

Here's how they're pitching FanLib to industry:
Introducing the new, turnkey entertainment marketing service

That's right, it's not primarily geared towards fans, it's a "marketing service.
Read more in their 6-page PDF brochure, with revelatory quotes like:

See How To: Grow Audience! Enhance Brand! and Increase Revenue!
[let] a mass audience collaborate democratically in a fun online game that you control.
[Emphasis theirs]
Increase audience -- if they build it, they will come
Massive Viral Marketing

And how about Page 4, describing how their site is "MANAGED & MODERATED TO THE MAX," including the following:

As with a coloring book, players must "stay within the lines"
Restrictive player's terms-of-service protects your rights and property
Moderated "scene missions" keep the story under your control
Full monitoring & management of submissions & players
Yes, a restrictive TOS isn't a bug -- it's a feature![25][26]

Teresa on Making Light noted that this was contrary to FanLib's "About Us" information, and that it clashed with most of fandom's notions about the purpose of their work:

Isn't that interesting? It's a perpetual motion machine — excuse me, an automatic content generator. This content generation will be done by fanfic writers, who'll be moderated to an inch and made to color inside the lines. Their work will be used as raw material to be finished and exploited by professionals. And all shall be done for the profit of FanLib's backers and customers. [27]

Fandom Reactions

Harry Potter

The enormous Harry Potter fandom dwarfs all of the non-Anime fandoms and the success of a multi-fandom fan fiction site requires support from their lion's share of fandom. A large number of the American Harry Potter fans happened to be at a Harry Potter convention when FanLib went live. Icarusancalion is a Harry Potter fanfiction writer, and her report on FanLib was printed and circulated at the convention by Bookshop. It was also given to Henry Jenkins, there to give a presentation, who quoted it in his blog post hosting a discussion about FanLib. The devisive Harry Potter fandom, which is scattered over numerous websites such as Fiction Alley as well as having a large presence on Livejournal, overwhelmingly decried FanLib.

Stargate

The Stargate fan fiction writers were among the first and most strident protests against FanLib. Stargate Atlantis in particular contains a strong feminist contingent, and these fans in particular questioned the male-orientation of FanLib's advertising. Stargate writer Astolat in response launched the Organization for Transformative Works to create a multi-fandom website that, unlike FanLib, the fans would control.

Lord of the Rings

FanLib caused a disdainful stir among the Lord of the Rings fans in April, 2007. David Williams of FanLib apologized when he learned utilizing private messaging to spam the members of Lord of the Rings Fanfiction was a breach of courtesy. When members voiced concerns about FanLib's corporate ownership and TOS, David replied that they must have mistakenly browsed the TOS of a different site. The Lord of the Rings writers were insulted and unamused. Word traveled throughout the Lord of the Rings fandom, which is hosted on websites and on Livejournal, that FanLib was not to be trusted.

CSI

FanLib is being embraced by parts of the CSI fan fiction community, most notably by members of yourtaxdollarsatwork.us. This community is 13,730 members strong as of May 23, 2007. [28] Members of the site appear to be variously involved in helping the site. This is evidenced by a May 9, 2007 post by LosingInTranslation which states:

Yes... And the FAQ isn't up yet, because it's currently in the *open beta* stage of development, so they are trying to get everything in place before writing up the FAQ's.
The alert system is almost ready to go online, but we threw a little monkey wrench in there when we told them everything that should be in there. laugh.gif So, it will probably take a little bit longer for it to be ready. We'll just have to see. You can, however, "subscribe" to authors to make it easier to see what's going on. [29]

Links

Official links

Criticism

Media coverage and academic responses

Post-FanLib archives and messageboards

See also

Sources

Below is a partial list of articles and academic sources to help you continue to learn about this fan fiction archive.


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